Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Gaming History Pt. 3

This blog series is going to be a look back through time as I recall my 20+ gaming “career,” if you will. I'll take you through the ups and downs, the trials, tribulations and the triumphs. The sleepless nights, the gorging on pizza, the tournaments, the competition, the fights. The friends made over gaming, and the friends lost ov-no wait, I can honestly say that I have never lost a friend because of gaming. That would be rather pathetic, would it not?

Part Three (Part One can be found HERE; Part Two can be found HERE)

So, thus far we have thumb steroids, cumming, erratic ducks, and many, many hours spent playing in 8 bit glory. Time, however, has a way of marching on, and, as it did so, my brother and I found ourselves moving into the future: the 16 bit future (albeit a bit late). (Note: magx01 still thinks the 8 bit generation was better in a lot of ways.)

So we had a Sega Genesis and 14 (yes, count 'em, 14) games. It took us some time to get into the modern era, but we did it in a big way. Yay bargain bins!

I don't recall what 14 games we got to the letter, but I do remember a few (I might be mixing this up a bit by throwing in games we actually acquired at a later date, so forgive me).

Altered Beast
Revenge of Shinobi
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Streets of Rage
Double Dragon V: The something something (turned out to be a fighting game as opposed to a beat em up)
Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition
Mortal Kombat II
Cyborg Justice
Bio Hazard Battle
Some X-Men game
The Incredible Hulk

Before I move on, here's a few other games we got at some point:

Shinobi III: The Return of the Ninja Master (absolutely on of my all time favourite games)
Super Street Fighter II Turbo
Ultimate Mortal Kombat III
Saturday Night Slam Masters
Streets of Rage 2 (another personal fave)
Alien 3
Boxing Legends of the Ring
NHLPA Hockey
NHL 94/95/96
Unnecessary Roughness '95
NBA Action '94

The 16 bit era did not last all that long for us, as we got in late and a few years later we had a Nintendo Dolph- er, rather, a Nintendo 64. (lol, Dolphin). In addition to it not lasting terribly long (2-3 years maybe) it was also less remarkable than was the 8 bit era (and this will reflect in the relative blandness of this particular entry into this blog series). We did not have an SNES, nor did I get to play much of it, and the games we did have for the Genesis did not, for the most part, match up to the brilliant games we had for the NES, despite the upgraded technology. The few exceptions were Streets of Rage 2, the Street Fighter games, the Mortal Kombat games, the hockey games, and the amazing Shinobi III, which I was in love with and will get to later.

(And yes, I know I did not put Sonic there. This was no oversight. SOnic was fun and all, but it never really grabbed me (nor my brother) like it did so many of you).

sorry, bro, but I just didn't love ya

Essentially, in our household, the 16 bit era was the fighting and sports era. TONS of Street Fighter was played. And I mean TONS. Quite a bit of Mortal Kombat was played, especially UMK3, which had a wicked roster of characters. To a much lesser extent, Double Dragon V (weak fighting game) and Eternal Champions (tough game) were played. We played NHL 94, 95, and 96 to death. Ditto for Boxing Legends of the Ring. My one uncle even got in on that action several times (both hockey and boxing). That was always fun. We played a lot of both Unnecessary Roughness '95 and NBA Action '94.

Sure, we played platformers, beat em ups (lots and lots and lots of Streets of Rage 2), etc I had a torrid love affair with Shinobi III, which I will get to momentarily, and we both got our asses kicked by Alien 3 a bunch of times (tough fucking game). We played a fair bit of The Incredible Hulk, Sonic, etc, but the fighting and sports seemed to dominate. There were a couple of factors contributing to this as I see it:
  • We had lots of fighting and sports games this time around
  • For the most part, the fighting and sports games were WAY better than they were in the 8 bit era
  • The platformers and other action games were better in the 8 bit era
  • Arcades were huge at this time, and we played lots of arcade games. MK and SF were all the rage

remember these? 

This generation was actually kind of an anomaly, as my brother and I were not big sports and fighting type gamers before then, nor were we ever after (not that either ever ceased entirely....it was just that the focused shifted again). So, as it were, we played lots of fighting and sports games. Both my brother and I had our strengths and weaknesses, and these shifted over time. It started out with my brother being better at fighting games than I, and I was better at the sports games than was he. However, as time went on, he got better at the sports games (although our skill levels remained close) and I really started to kick some ass at the fighting games.

 In fact, he started to lose to me almost all of the time, as did everyone around us. Everyone who was a gamer then and was a friend of ours (usually a friend of my brothers since I only had one or two and he had many, as he was always popular and I was always picked on, but I digress) played Street Fighter and/or Mortal Kombat (usually 'or' rather than 'and', as the 'rivalry' between the two franchises was HUGE then, plus, they were vastly different and it was tough to really get good at both without tons of practise or skill.....sorry, another digression....) and they all got raped by me, save for Sean, a mutual friend of ours, who was always (and still is) great competition for me.

I think I edged him out more often than he did me, but he was able to beat me fairly often (and still does....in fact, the last time we played Street Fighter (just a few weeks ago) he beat me more than I did him, and many of those victories were straight up ass kickings). Sean and I have always been fairly closely matched in Street Fighter, save for brief periods, over the years, in which one of us improves in skill and pulls ahead of the other (who invariably improved as well, closing the gap yet again). The times when he's better are rough, because he's got a pretty sick Cammy, who he can be quite unpredictable with when he's really on (and if I am off, it's doubly bad for me). He's also good at switching between offensive and defensive play with her.

However, those times when I am better are rough for him, especially when I'm really on and am playing as Ken, as I am great at predicting his moves and using aggression to create gaps in his defense and quickly punish mistakes. Lots of quick jabs and short kicks, feints, safe jumps, movement, and near psychic DP's. My Guile can be nasty as well, but much more predictable and not nearly as precise.

I prefer the red suit, but you get the point

Overall, we've traditionally been fairly evenly matched over the years.......except of course for Killer Instinct Gold (N64)....right Sean? My Jago is vicious, isn't it? Probably gives you nightmares, eh? How damn fast he is? The juggles? It's like a blur of pain.....muahahahahaha. However, as that is an N64 game, it's outside the scope of this blog entry. Killer Instinct Gold will be featured in the next entry, as the 64 bit era will be the focus.

Anyways, back on subject. Earlier I alluded to a torrid love affair between myself and Shinobi III: The Return of the Ninja Master. I say it was torrid because there was some fighting, a bit of animosity, and lots and lots of passion. I say love affair because I FUCKING LOVE THIS GAME. This game, the third in the Shinobi series, is easily the best, and for my money, is one of the best 2D action games ever made. I'd even go so far as to say it's one of the best games ever made, period.

Your character is very agile. You can wall jump, double jump, run quite quickly, hang from ledges, etc. You are also able to ride (and fight) while on horseback and on a jet ski, so you are not limited to on foot movement only. Combat includes use of your sword, of course, but also shurikens (double jump multiple cascading shuriken toss FTW),

various magical abilities, and melee attacks, including the super sweet (and effective) jump kicks. You fight some huge and menacing bosses in the game, and the locales and level design are spectacular. Shinobi III features some really awesome, challenging, and varied platforming sections, both on foot and off. Basically, the name of the game is variety. Variety in abilities, and variety in locations. An agile character with a varied moveset, awesome locales and boss fights, great visuals (even today, but SPECTACULAR for the time) and music, very good level of challenge, and a great variety in enemies all add up to one memorable game. Oh, and some great cheats (which were put to good use from time to time).

In fact, the awesomeness of the game actually led to some disappointment that generation. If THIS is what a next gen Shinobi could be, WHERE THE FUCK WAS NINJA GAIDEN? (Rhetorical question, see HERE for the answer if you really want to know).

MAN oh MAN could I envision some amazing fucking Ninja Gaiden action in glorious 16 bit. And what did we get? Zilch. Well, the SNES crowd got an 'updated' Ninja Gaiden trilogy port/collection. HA! Updated. Lol. I put quote marks around updated because it was actually downgraded in many ways. Irrespective of the quality of the ports, is the central issue: I saw what amazing shit could be done in the genre, and my all time favourite ninja, Ryu Hayabusa, was nowhere to be found.


Beyond that, there's not much left to say. We stayed a one 16 bit console household (I did not get an SNES until I was in my 20's) and had fun (although I think the 8 bit era was probably superior overall) until we got a Nintendo Dolph-er, rather, a Nintendo 64. Lol. Sorry about the Dolphin thing....reflex.

Dolphin, lol.

And so, we eventually moved on, with the acquisition of the N64, to the 64 bit era.

Except of course, that could be considered a misnomer, because what the fifth generation really brought was the proliferation of 3D gaming. And after that, gaming was never the same again. For better.....or for worse.....

See you in part four!!


  1. One of the main games I remember from this era that you don't mention is [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flashback_(game)]Flashback[/url]. I spent a lot of time playing this game at my friends house because he was grounded all the time. It's probably me favorite game from that era.

    By the way all of the fighting games in this part makes it even funnier that you forgot the genre in your poll.

  2. Guy said:

    "One of the main games I remember from this era that you don't mention is Flashback. I spent a lot of time playing this game at my friends house because he was grounded all the time. It's probably my favorite game from that era.

    By the way all of the fighting games in this part makes it even funnier that you forgot the genre in your poll.

    Of all the possible games to mention, the fact that you mention Flashback is incredible, because that's the one game Claudio (my best friend) mentions whenever we discuss the 16 bit era.

    You two are the only two people I have ever encountered who mention that game.

    As for the poll not including fighting games....DAMN IT! Now I have to redo the fucking thing.


    Off to do that now.

  3. Sonic actually scared me.. There was a mission where the water would gradually rise and you have a limited time and if you touch the water it's instant death. If I saw the water I would get SO scared.

    I was a little late to arcades.. I remember paying at least 20 quid one day just to play one of these shooting games which I was WICKED at!

    Ninja Gaiden.. Well obviously that game means nothing to you whatsoever...

  4. It sounds like Claudio is a smart man as I really enjoyed that game. Did he ever get you to try it?

    I know it is tough to remember all of the gaming genres, but to have missed one of the most common genres was just so unlikely. I didn't even plan on voting for it and noticed it's absence immediately.

    I guess I get to go vote again. I think I'll vote for other just for fun.

    By the way why is my original comment gone? Did it just get absorbed into your comment when you quoted it?

  5. Ninja Gaiden means nothing, this is true.

    That water stage in Sonic was a decent challenge, although to be scared by it is an experience I cannot say I share ;)

    Guy, I have no idea what happened to your original comment. It was gone when I got here (after seeing it in my email).


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