I'm lucky enough to consider the nice dudes over at Arcade Attack as Friends Of The Freezer.
Recently Dylan from Arcade Attack suggested that he would love to write an article for Games Freezer!
Needless to say, I was super excited about this prospect as it was to be a Dylan Bio on his gaming background (these are the articles I love the most!)
Recently Dylan's article popped into the Freezer and I am glad to say Dylan didn't disappoint!!
Read on for a video games lesson.............
"I used to have a lot of fun with those LCD games. I mean, any kind of invaders, Gary Lineker’s Soccer, Zelda Game and Watches (which I still have), I was there. Christmas money, birthday money, it didn’t amount to much but everything I had I plowed into owning these tiny wonders of joy. For the first eight years of my life TV-based gaming was a thing of wonder. My parents didn’t have a lot of money so my experiences were limited to visiting friends’ houses and waiting a couple of hours for C64 and Spectrum tapes to load. And when they eventually did, the games crashed.
Christmas 1990 and my whole world changed. It changed to the dulcet chiptunes of the Sega Master System. Despite the Mega Drive already being out, Sega went hard on Master System advertising in the UK that December. So much so that I didn’t even know the Mega Drive existed when I constantly harangued my dad into getting me one that year. It must have been Christmas Eve (or Christmas Eve Eve) when we went to Woolworths to pick one up. And my oh my, was it a thing of beauty. The cross-hatched white box with a huge picture of the original power base, light phaser, and screenshots of Hang-On and Safari Hunt. On the way to the till, we were unaware that the games were built in so it only seemed right that the discarded (and already discounted) Ghostbusters cartridge was snapped up. In retrospect, I really hope no one left it there for safe keeping to buy later on.
I didn’t have to wait long to unbox it. And I also didn’t receive special dispensation from the board of mum and dad to receive my present early. Long gone are those days of leaving it to the last minute Christmas shopping. Still, at this point, I didn’t realise Hang On and Safari Hunt were built-in to the console which meant hours of Ghostbusters. I’ll retrospectively review Ghostbusters at some point but I think it’s fair to say it represents the film and doesn’t at the same time. Boxing Day when the cart must have come loose I was presented with an unfamiliar blue screen. Press start for Hang On. Shoot the screen for Safari Hunt. I was in heaven.
Near new year’s a few of my cousins came round and I had this lovely shiny new toy to show them. Oooooohhhhh, or something similar they said. Safari Hunt was obviously a hit. Hang On, where I still didn’t learn how to change up gears, was not. Ghostbusters was a farce. And this continued for the next two or three months. Finally realising how to change up gears, it was like having a new game! Those Master System instruction booklets were awful. Well, definitely awful for an eight-year-old.
One of my uncles got me Galaxy Force and I was hooked. At that point, I knew I had to get more games. Play more games. I’d completed Ghostbusters about twenty times and the built-in games had me going round and round and round… Thank heavens for Blockbuster!!
The concept is almost alien now and it’s crying shame because there was nothing like the feeling of going into a Blockbuster on a Friday night after school. The clean, crisp smell. The sense of anticipation. The gut-churning realisation that someone had taken the Castle of Illusion cartridge again. In the space of a year, I must have played every single one of their Master System selection. Even Super Monaco GP 2 which I knew was awful. And how did I know it was awful? Sega Power, Sega Pro, Mean Machines Sega, I could keep going. It’s as if video game renting and video game journalism were combining to alleviate my boredom as a child. I’ve no brothers or sisters which meant that unless one of my friends was organising something, evenings and holidays were spent on the 8-bit. The shadow of the Mega Drive remained true but I plowed on with the 8-bit. At least for a solid two years until I harangued my dad into getting me a Game Boy.Unsurprisingly, it was again Christmas Eve that my dad succumbed (to my mother’s dismay) to forking out £74.99 in Littlewoods (the catalogue store of course) for the 4-bit wonder. I’d already had a go at one of these at cub camp but lighting up Tetris for the first time in the comfort or my own home was out of this world. I owned that game, literally and metaphorically. Couldn’t play it for toffee these days, though, shot reflexes and all. I (briefly) delved into buying Nintendo magazines and CVG, but they weren’t for me. It was when my Game Boy was stolen at a wedding (what other way is there to get through those) that I finally realised that the Master System was my one true love. Still working even though I accidentally spilled a glass of coke in it (which incidentally doesn’t work with an A1200, milkshake that time) and battered it about mercilessly.
The console became more and more marginalised the more I read Sega magazines. The shadow of the Mega Drive could no longer be ignored. There was even an offshoot MS magazine – which I would have still owned had it not been for my mother putting all my magazines (even the nice ones with the bound edge) in the recycling. Which brings me to the reason why I’m here chatting at Games Freezer. Talking about retro gaming is a way for me to bring out what I lost with those magazines, the hundreds of reviews and features I would immerse myself in. Now that I’m old and have my own disposable income I feel it only necessary (with my compadres Adrian and Keith) to spend almost all of it on games that I never owned or got the chance to play when I was younger. And also to talk about them at length.
So keep on coming back to The Freezer (Richard does good work here), come visit us over at Arcade Attack, join our retro gaming community and enjoy the banter.
I’ll see you soon.
I can totally identify with everything that Dylan has mentioned in this brilliant article.
I too was a SEGA Master System devotee and a Video Games Mag addict!
What about YOU?
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