In the Christmas of 1991 my parents updated our home gaming experience by purchasing a Sega Megadrive (Genesis for the North Americans). The console came in a package with Sonic the Hedgehog, arguably the definitive platform game of its era.
I loved the design of the Megadrive, because I thought it looked very futuristic. The games also looked out of this world to me. I couldn’t believe how far graphics had come in just a few years from the Sinclair ZX Spectrum to the Megadrive.
I also remember looking at the control pads, which were larger than the Nintendo’s and thinking that it had been design perfectly to fit into your hands while playing. It also had three buttons labelled ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’. Three buttons!!!
By far my top twenty favourite and most memorable games (Sonic the Hedgehog has already been mentioned above) from the Sega Megadrive are (Not in order of importance):
2. Golden Axe
3. Streets of Rage
4. Road Rash
5. NHL Ice Hockey
6. FIFA International Soccer ‘95
7. John Madden’s American Football
8. Desert Strike
9. Jungle Strike
10. Micro Machines ‘96
11.Shining Force II
12. Mickey Mouse Castle of Illusion
13. Toejam and Earl
14. Altered Beast
15. Ecco the Dolphin
16. Cannon Fodder
17. PGA Tour Golf
19. Wrestle War
20. Alien Storm
My grandfather bought version II of the Megadrive which was a smaller design. He also purchased the MegaCD that attached to the side of the console. This was my first glimpse at the next generation of computer games on CD rather than cartridge.
I didn’t know anyone who bought the 32x attachment (See below).
I only actually remember playing two games on the MegaCD. Tomcat Alley, a jet fighter game set in the sort of Top Gun cinematic theme, and a cartoonish looking driving game which consisted of you just being prompted to push buttons at certain points in the game to move onto the next cinematic scene.
By the mid-nineties I had also begun playing PC games at a friend’s house. We were Sci-Fi geeks at the time so our gaming consisted of mainly Star Wars and Star Trek games, our particular favourites being Star Trek 25th Anniversary and Tie-Fighter.
Tie Fighter in particular was an amazing game. In it you play the role of a pilot for the Empire and have to complete missions that mostly consists of blowing up the Rebels. You start off with a normal tie-fighter and as the game progresses get to pilot other more advanced vessels. You are given four types of missions too. Primary missions: these must be completed in order to progress to the next mission, secondary and tertiary missions: needed in order to unlock medals and special features, and you also have secret missions given to you by a sinister looking cloaked figure. These were usually missions straight from the Emperor. The game seemed to last forever but we loved it, spending hours away from the hideous sunlight of summer days until his mother came and turfed us out, and made us experience fresh air.
I first became aware of the Sony Playstation in 1996 when visiting a schoolboy chum who was playing Tomb Raider. If memory serves I believe it was one of the first games that I say in 3D that didn’t just look like blocks of polygons. I didn’t buy the first Playstation until the end of the nineties when my parents scoured the county to find one. My birthday is in January you see and usually all the best toys are sold out. My parents found one for me though and I was as happy as a pig in the proverbial.
My Megadrive was donated to my younger brother who seemed very happy with the arrangement and I began my journey through the next generation of gaming. He would later acquire a SNES of which I think Mario and Donkey Kong were probably the best games.
Games like the aforementioned Tomb Raider as well as Duke Nukem 3D, Worms, Abe’s Odyssey, Resident Evil, Tony Hawk’s Skateboarding and Metal Gear Solid, kept me occupied in the gaming world for the next few years.
Before leaving the nineties I discovered the most addictive PC game that I had experienced to date. It was called Age of Empires and would become so successful as to spawn a several sequels and expansion packs as well as a few spin off games.
The game consisted of campaigns and random map scenarios. In the campaigns you got to choose different civilisations (Egyptians, Greeks, Babylonians and Japanese) and would help them rise to dominance from the stone age to the iron age by defeating your enemies in the various scenarios and missions that the game offered.
My father also enjoyed this game and would waste hours completing the same missions over and over again but like I said the game was incredibly addictive.
What are your memories of computer games in the nineties?
Did you miss my post about Computer Games of the Eighties?