Let me take you on a journey. A journey of spiky blue hedgehogs, combat with a K, rectangular controllers and pause buttons on the console!! Anyone born after 1987 need not apply.
I have nothing against today’s games. Indeed Fallout 3, The Walking Dead, Dishonored and Halo: combat evolved sit proudly amongst my list of all time greats. I dream of a simpler time though, when games came in cartridges and you were only allowed to play for two hours before being chased outside for some fresh air.
So here is my top five memories of the 8-16 bit era.
1. Alex Kidd in miracle world: Not just for the game itself, which was wonderful. A rock hard adventure that had you jumping, swimming, running, zooming about on a motorbike and vanquishing the bosses by playing paper-scissors-stone. You even got to fly some sort of helicopter thingy. This game was built into the Master System!! A whole game built in. My tiny mind was blown, granted not impressive by today’s standards but you have to remember this was late eighties/early nineties. To my ever lasting regret, I never finished it.
2.Sonic the Hedgehog 2. This sticks in my mind for a few reasons. Number one being that it was just so fast. To a nine year old the simple joys of collecting rings, smashing into baddies in a ball and generally doing everything in a rush was exactly the tonic for a rainy day. Number 2 though was the fact it was a two player, well technically. Tails was not fast enough to keep up with the blue blur that was Sonic and would often vanish off screen, leaving your mate to twiddle their thumbs till Dr Robotnik (I refuse to call him Eggman) showed up. To make up for the flawed two player story it included a special designed split screen race mode where for some reason Tails could keep up with his prickly friend…
3. Micro Machines Turbo Tournament. Four players. Let me just say that again. FOUR PLAYERS!! The ingenious edition of two extra controller ports on the cartridge was a significant step in making games the social experience they are today. It also included Violet Berlin as a character. You know Violet Berlin from Bad Influence, keep up. Later editions included tanks and boats but it was the T.T edition that sticks firmly in my mind.
4. The side scrolling beat ’em up. Streets of Rage, Golden Axe, Batteltoads, Two Crude Dudes or whatever you have fondest memories of. Mine is Streets of Rage but I loved them all. A simple premise that is sorely lacking in today’s market. Wave of wave of bad guys that got progressively tougher as you progress across the level and special moves that had your character engulfing his hand in flame. You could also interact with some of the scenery, pulling pipes of the wall or picking up metal bins, to increase the destruction. Grab a mate and you have button mashing at its finest.
5.World Cup Italia 90. Often found hanging about with its mates Columns and Super Hang On, Italia 90 was not actually that good. I still played it though, played it to death. The reason I include it on the list while leaving out games such as Aladdin, Jungle Strike, The Lion King, Astrix and Psycho Fox is this, it had no save! You had to play the group stages all the way to the final without and single save. If you where knocked out that was that. Just as challenging as the real thing and I love a challenge. Days were wasted on the quest for world cup glory but once achieved I am pretty sure I never played it again!!
So what are your favourite memories? Or just musings of a bygone time. I know that I have focused on all things Sega, you don’t have to but after all;
To be this good takes ages, to be this good takes Sega