"I can't get an SNES?"
By Daniel "Hardcore" Stull
1990. I'd essentially worn out my NES(having even to go so far as to get a replacement controller kit - buttons and all along with a cleaning kit) from 1987, and it was time to get a new system. I'd heard of both the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and I was dying to remain in Nintendo's grip. I'd read about the SNES. I wanted one pretty bad, especially to play the new Super Mario World game. I'd even gone so far as to read up on the technical specifications of the SNES. I wanted one, and at the age of thirteen, my parents had to deal with a teen's whining now. They acquiesced during the Christmas season of 1990, and took me to the local Sears to shop for one.
We reached Sears, and, instinctively, I sought out the video game section, which bore a horrid name, which, of course, escapes me now. There it was. My grail was before me, inside a glass case, along with a Genesis and some NESs. My parents considered both, and found the the SNES to be too steep in price for them, as it cost $199. The Genesis brought the better offer to my parents' wallets, so they told me, "Either this one, or nothing this year." Chagrined, I accepted the Genesis. As Christmas Day approached, I brooked a brooding attitude concerning my video game gift of the year. I knew little about the Genesis, admittedly, but that didn't stop me from sulking a bit as I thought about playing Super Mario World instead of...Sonic the Hedgehog? Who makes a game about a hedgehog?
Christmas Day 1990 arrived, and I was allowed to bring my 12-inch TV into the living room so my parents could see me play with my new gift. I popped the Genny out of its cardboard case, and took it from the Styrofoam innards, hooking it deftly to the RF in on my TV. Time to put in Sonic the Hedgehog. Hmm. Well, it's fast. A bit faster than I expected. Wait, am I having fun?
I am! I found that my maternal grandmother packed in a little something extra to the gift - a copy of Pit Fighter. I enjoyed playing Pit Fighter in the local arcade, let's see how that goes on the Genesis. Well, almost arcade quality, same moves, works with all three buttons...I'm impressed.
After a couple of weeks, I asked for an opportunity to start renting games. My mother took me to a video store across town from where we lived, and I found a Genesis section, where I perused title after title, unsure on which to start playing. I finally settled on something I'd never heard of before - The Immortal. Well, that was a gruesome title that I couldn't figure out that well. Toejam and Earl? I spent HOURS just playing with the music. The gameplay itself lacked to me. Starflight? Blew my mind at 14 years of age, but it was IMMERSIVE.
Reflecting on the six years I played my Genesis, even getting the 32X and Sega CD peripherals, while I wanted to play a SNES, and I eventually bought one on my own, I ended up really enjoying the Genesis more. I played hundreds of Genesis games while I owned my system. Some were duds(Madden Football? What was I thinking?), while some were destined for greatness(Warsong, now THERE'S a game). Sadly, my Genesis died in the summer of '96. I ended up using my tax return to make my next video game purchase - the Sony Playstation.