Here's a first for me. I used speech-to-text to write today's feature. I've never used it and thought I'd give it a go in Google Docs. All in all, it was a pretty great experience! A few hiccups to be sure, but it definitely sped up the process. I think I'm sticking with it! As always, thanks for reading.
Back in the 90s, kids were either team SEGA or team Nintendo. You were supposed to pick a side and fight about it on the playground. We all argued passionately, but truth be told, none of us had any idea what we were talking about. It was a silly battle about blast processing, mode7, Mario, Sonic, and a bunch of other random stuff. That's just the way it was.
When it came to discussions with friends/acquaintances at school, I firmly placed myself on the side of Nintendo. Thinking back on it now is quite embarrassing, but then again, lots of things you do when you’re a kid are embarrassing. I used to sing the virtues of Nintendo every way I could possibly think, all while hiding a dark secret. Tucked alongside my Super Nintendo underneath my 19 inch TV was a SEGA Genesis.
While I certainly do love Nintendo, I love video games in general even more. That's why even my die-hard Nintendo fan status couldn't keep me from wanting a SEGA Genesis. My love of Nintendo's games wasn't waning, but I couldn't resist the snazzy marketing that SEGA had put together. I wanted to see what Sonic was all about, I needed to get my hands on Toejam & Earl, and Streets of Rage was calling to me unlike any other.
Up to that point in my life, my parents had bought my video game systems. They purchased my NES, Game Boy, and Super Nintendo. When I wanted to get a Genesis, I had to beg and plead with my parents to get one. The discussion eventually led to a place that really scared me. My parents said that video game systems were just too expensive, and if I got the SEGA Genesis, it would be my last console from them.
Being a kid, this made me super upset. Looking back on it as an adult, it makes perfect sense. My parents weren't well off, they had bought me countless game systems and video games over the years, and they both worked ridiculously hard to make sure I could spend time enjoying my hobby. Truth be told, looking back now, it's hard to understand how they made it all work.
Are my parents really going to make the SEGA Genesis my final system? Was I willing to give up whatever platforms came out afterwards just so I could see what SEGA was up to? When you're a kid and you really want something, it's hard to look past the thing you're fixated on. I went back and forth in my mind on what I wanted to do, and eventually I decided that I didn't just want a SEGA Genesis, I NEEDED it.
A few months later, the glorious day came. For my birthday, my parents gave me a SEGA Genesis and a copy of Sonic the Hedgehog. I will never forget hooking that system up to the TV. I plugged it in as fast as I could and slammed the cartridge in so hard that I almost damaged it. I just couldn't wait to fire up the TV and see what Sonic had to offer. I had seen Sonic in TV commercials and read about him in game magazines, but now was my time to see what he was all about.
The music, the visuals, the presentation, it all seemed so different from what Nintendo was doing. I almost felt a little dirty playing it, but I felt fantastic at the same time. This was a feeling I got from Genesis titles in general. There was something about the Genesis and its games that felt a little rough around the edges, but in a very good way. Just like Sonic himself, it felt like SEGA had an edge to them. There was something back then, especially in the advertising, that made them seem like the cool choice to go with. I would never turn my back on Nintendo of course, but I couldn't deny that I was really enjoying what SEGA had to offer.
My foray into the Sega side of things would take me down a whole new path of games. Sonic the Hedgehog, Toejam & Earl, Streets of Rage, Rocket Knight Adventures, Ristar, Golden Axe, Vectorman, Shinobi, and so many others. So many games that I would have never had the chance to experience without the SEGA Genesis. These were the titles, along with countless others, that convinced me that picking up a SEGA Genesis was the right decision.
The SEGA Genesis also taught me something a lot more important about video games in general. I realized it was dumb to pledge allegiance to just a single video game company. Back in the day I did love video games in general, but I felt the need to defend Nintendo whenever discussions of competitors came up. No matter the statement, no matter the argument, I would always say that Nintendo was the best. Again, I look back on this and I really cringe. Sure, I was a kid, but it's still embarrassing to know that I acted this way.
I certainly love Nintendo to this day and I think they’ve put out some of the greatest video games ever. That said, giving the SEGA Genesis a try allowed me to expand my horizons and helped me to realize just how great video games in general can be. Countless companies, countless developers, countless publishers are all capable of putting out absolutely unbelievable software within this industry. There's nothing wrong with following a company and really enjoying what they do, but blindly ignoring what others do because of a blind allegiance causes you to miss out on hundreds of amazing games.
I'll never forget how the SEGA Genesis led me to that conclusion. I gained a better understanding of video games in general thanks to my time with the Genesis, and I grew as a gamer as a system grew on in years. The Genesis led me to be a lifelong SEGA fan as well, and I still follow them to this day. I'm always eager to see what’s next with their brands, and I always wish them the greatest success in this industry. The industry just wouldn’t be the same without them.
P.S. - Yes, my parents stayed true to their word. They never bought me another system, but they did buy me games for subsequent systems. I had to save my own money and trade things in to make it happen, but you better believe I did!