I never owned an NES and it's all Choplifter's fault.
Choplifter which would call to me from its perch between Arkanoid and Mario Bros at Papa Tronio's Pizzeria. My folks weren't likely to waste quarters on something as fleeting as video games, so I'd only played it once or twice, instead spending most of my time standing on a chair before its flickering monitor enthralled with the attract mode. For my first decade of life video games might as well have been nothing more than attract modes: little 30 second television shows where loads of people got shot, eaten, or crushed beneath plumbered boot.
When it came time to cash in on nearly a years worth of saving to pick up lil' Plucky's first video game console it didn't matter that everyone in town was living it up with Mario and Zelda. I went and followed my beloved Choplifter to its rightful home on Tonka's Sega Master System... complete with Hang-on/Safari Hunt.
It's not something I regret. I'm not going to go all fanboy and try and convince anyone that the SMS was half the system that the NES was, except graphically which I enjoyed, and still enjoy pointing out ad nauseum. Hell, if I could do it all over again I'd probably choose the NES just for being as RPG heavy as it was. Still, I have nothing but love for my Sega. Choplifter remains one of my favorites, and I'll take Rambo over Ikari or Guerilla War any day. Same with Phantasy Star. With the release of Final Fantasy IV/II Square had officially left Sega's flagship series in the dust, but as far as the originals go Final Fantasy has nothing on PS1. Duck Hunt may have reached some level of iconic status in the age of the internet, but it doesn't have Safari Hunt's crazy rap intro.
Besides, part of me loves the fact that with the crazy levels of eighties nostalgia that have swept the country most people respond to my first console with, "You owned a what now?" or "Don't you mean the Genesis?"
No I don't mean a Genesis dammit. I mean the system with Wonderboy in Monsterland and the version of Shinobi that wasn't a complete turd. The one that may not have had Metroid or Castlevania, but there was a sweet snail maze game built right in. The one that had those crappy white grid boxes and the wrestling game with the guy crushing his own head on the cover.
Bless you little Sega Master System. Alex Kidd may have been the lamest of platform mascots, but his game sure was fun.