Christmage Day 11: “A Tale of Two Segas”


cba1 “The following is a contributor post by the Middle-aged Horror Mage.”

Growing up in the ’80s, I was definitely a Nintendo kid. I had one, my babysitter had one, my friends had one… you get the picture. What we’d often do, in order to experience as many different games as possible, is ask our parents for games that none of the other neighborhood kids had. That way we could head over to one another’s house, eat snacks, yell a lot, and play all sorts of games – good and bad. Kids are clever little brats.

In my earlier years, I had no idea console generations even existed. I was born in 81, never heard of the Atari, and got into the original Nintendo the year it released. As far as young Bradley was concerned, he’d be playing the NES for the rest of his life and that sounded awesome!

Being super into gaming, many of us in the Baltimore suburb of Glen Burnie, Maryland picked up or subscribed to different video game magazines. When they started talking about the Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, and TurboGrafx 16, I was mostly confused. Will my old games work on the new console? How was I going to convince my parents to buy me one?

The latter concern aside, a friend and I devised a plan: he would ask for a Super Nintendo and I would ask for a Sega Genesis. It was perfect! We’d have tons of games to play and wouldn’t have to worry so much about double-dipping. He’d get Super Mario World, F-Zero or Pilotwings and I’d ask for Altered Beast or Ghouls n’ Ghosts, and then we’d spend the night at each other’s house on the weekends to nerd it up.


That’s how it was supposed to go, though. The little turd ended up asking for a Sega Genesis as well. *shakes fist*

Prior to this knowledge, I was floored to wake up on Christmas morning and unwrap a brand-new Genesis with a copy of Ghouls n’ Ghosts! My first “next generation” console! And also his.

My disappointment in his betrayal was short-lived, though, as I learned he received Space Harrier II, Tommy Lasorda Baseball, and Altered Beast – three games that I didn’t. At least we could go back to the first plan and buy and share games the other one didn’t.

Although this anecdote has an overexaggerated sense of pre-teen treachery, it’s still my favorite Christmas memory to this day. I loved my Nintendo to death and used it often to pass time and get lost in adventures. I was an only child, so in a silly way, the NES was my robot brother. Discovering that newer, more powerful consoles were coming soon blew my undoubtedly mullet-covered mind!

Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t ask for a TurboGrafx 16. Our local shops stopped carrying that stuff within the next six months.





Trash is the Middle-age Horror Mage here at TWRM, an irregular co-host on The Unlikely Herocast podcast for CA! Radio, and sole contributor for his own games-related website, Cheap Boss Attack. Follow him on Twitter @Trashlevania!

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Categories: Celebratory

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16 replies »

  1. I wished I’d had early experience with Sega. I was Nintendo 100% with a few exceptions. I think we rented a Sega Genesis with a few games a couple of times, so I got to experience Sonic. My dad loved and still loves anything techie so we had Coleco and Atari, which is where I cut my gaming teeth. I remember getting the original NES when I was five in 1985 and it was like nothing we’d ever seen before. It would be nice to have nostalgia for Sega like I do for the Big N.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I had a unique perspective during the 16 bit wars. I grew up on Atari 2600, and Commodore 64 gaming. One of the best parts of the C64 was just how many of the NES, and SMS games landed on it. I was a huge fan of SEGA’s arcade cabs growing up. Zaxxon, Out Run, Afterburner, Golden Axe, Alien Syndrome, Shinobi, were but a few of my faves. The C64 ports of most of them were pretty amazing efforts. (A few like Altered Beast were stinkers. Even Commodore Super Fan Deviot can admit this.) But when the Genesis came out it was really the first time we saw games that looked *that* close to the arcade machines on a home console. The only other way was to get a Commodore Amiga, but that was going to cost you several hundred dollars. Plus SEGA was behind it so you knew it would be good. So while I preferred Nintendo by that point, I never thought the Genesis was bad. In fact around then my local Mall had a SEGA Genesis event where you could play it, and enter to win one. (I didn’t win.) But Altered Beast, Golden Axe, and Afterburner were mind blowing upon release. We ended up getting a Super NES though, and I have to say I preferred Super Mario World over Sonic The Hedgehog. But I was there in High School during the great rivalry, and it was one of the good ones. Because it forced both companies to do better. Even third-party efforts. Mortal Kombat on the Genesis had the blood code, but The Super Nintendo looked much closer to the arcade machine. Street Fighter II moved a ton of Super Nintendos. Then a bunch of Mega Drives. NBA Jam was faster on the Genesis, but it wasn’t a terrible effort on the Super NES either. Basically everybody won. Whichever machine you preferred.

    And I wouldn’t bag on the TG-16 too bad either. the 8-bit console with 16-bit Graphics gave us Bonk’s Adventure, Blazing Lasers, Alien Crush, A high quality port of Ys Books 1 & 2, and (as Metal Jesus would say) a slew of hidden gems.


    • Oh man, if I’d have gotten a TG16 back *then*, though? Nobody really sold those games a few months after it launched and Toys R Us was chock-full of SNES/GEN. TG16 is rad now, especially with the emulation/online shopping/video review stuff. Back then, though, I’d have been pretty bored.

      Your experience growing up was definitely different from mine. I didn’t even know what video games were until the NES released and my babysitter bought one as soon as our local store got them in stock. My uncle was the only person in my family who liked video games, but he didn’t live close enough to regularly play his Atari.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Living for most of my childhood essentially in a clearing in a jungle on a generator for electricity, my nearest neighbor was like a mile away, so I never had this experience of sharing consoles with one. I did however get to play a lot of SNES at my friend’s house over summer break when I stayed with my grandma. But I had a SNES myself so it was more like whatever games he had that I liked I would try to hunt down. And that’s the story of how I barely got to play a Genesis as a kid! XD

    Liked by 1 person

  4. First of all I gotta say how awesome your mage name is, kudos for that. I really love this story, how could he turn on the plan at the last minute like that! The Genesis was a great console and I inadvertently had the experience that you were going for with my neighbor across the street. He had a Genesis and I had a Super Nintendo, so we could always run back and forth playing games from both systems. Those were the days!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice piece! I had a friend as a kid who owned a microcomputer (I can’t remember which one exactly, possibly an Atari 2600) and I used to love going round to his house to play on Zool or The Addams Family whilst he enjoyed coming round to mine to play on the Master System, which he didn’t own.

    Liked by 2 people

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