BOOM SHAKALAKA!!!! Those two words (if they can even be called words) were ingrained into my brain as a 9 year old. I’d walk past an NBA Jam arcade machine and hear the awesome music and kids screaming with laughter when they were ‘heating up’. Well folks luckily for us back in 1993 the guys at Midway gave us a great port of the arcade classic NBA Jam to the Sega Mega Drive and later the Super Nintendo.
For 2 on 2 Basketball it doesn’t get much better than this game, scoring three times in a row will put your player on fire, turning the basketball into a flaming implement of can’t miss 3 pointers! The series is well known for its gravity defying dunks and no rules basketball antics. The voice commentary in this game was somewhat revolutionary in its day also, no other basketball game at the time was able to capture the excitement of televised basketball in a video game before.
The soundtrack is excellent and the game includes all 27 NBA Teams (from back in 1993). Being a fully licensed game by the NBA was a major deal as you could play from a selection of great NBA players like Scottie Pippen, Dominique Wilkins, Clyde Drexler, the list goes on. Unfortunately Michael Jordan does not make an appearance in this game, but around the time not too many Basketball games were lucky enough to obtain the Jordan license anyway.
From a time when we had many many Basketball video games to choose from, most pretty good ones also NBA Jam stands above them all as a diamond in a sea of slightly less polished by otherwise fairly shiny diamonds!
I don’t know about you but when I think of the Sega Mega Drive, the first thing I think of is Sonic The Hedgehog. More specifically, Sonic The Hedgehog 2 which came out for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis in 1992. A 16-bit classic by anyone’s opinion developed by Team Sonic and Sega Technical Institute and a direct sequel to the 1991 release of the original Sonic The Hedgehog (also on the Mega Drive – there were also releases of Sonic on the Sega Master System but we won’t go into those now. Although they were apart of the same franchise all sonic releases on the master system were their own distinct individual games with no links to the mega drive releases).
The story of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 builds upon the original Sonic the Hedgehog game. Dr. Robotnik is plotting to take over the world with his army of animals he’s placed into robots, and continues to seek the power of the chaos emeralds – this time, to construct his ultimate weapon, an armored space station known as the Death Egg. Sonic, who has now befriended and teamed up with a new character, Tails, must progress through the levels, collect the emeralds himself, and defeat Robotnik.
Just like in the first game there are a number of hidden secrets and special stages that can be entered into when you pass a checkpoint with the required number of rings and by jumping into the circle of starts that shows above the checkpoint.
One very cool thing about Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is that 2 years later Sonic and Knuckles was released. Although released 2 years later these two games (and also Sonic 3) share a common link that was only made possible by the special ‘lock-on’ slot of the Sonic and Knuckles cartridge allowing you to insert another game into the top of the Sonic and Knuckles cartridge unlocking new functionality. If you insert Sonic 2 into the Sonic and Knuckles game cartridge you would unlock the ability to play as Knuckles in Sonic 2, even though Knuckles was not introduced into the Sonic family until 1994. The same can be done with Sonic 3, but again even more functionality can be gained by using the Sonic 3 cartridge since both those games were developed as one large game (more on that later).
All in all Sonic 2 for the Sega Mega Drive is a great game. If you are into retro gaming or a fan of Sega in general you really should hunt around for a copy of Sonic 2. In my opinion it’s probably the best Sonic game ever made (before Sonic started looking all weird and wide-eyed) and the first game in the franchise to include ‘Tails’ for co-op or single player companionship was great.
Just as in my previous post with the Sega Mega Drive model 1 being a near mint condition retro console, I was able to pick up a near-new Sega Mega Drive model 2 today!
The Sega Mega Drive model 2 (MK-1631-50) was released by Sega in PAL regions (including Australia) in 1993 shortly after Nintendo released the Super Nintendo in the region. The Sega Mega Drive 2 differs from its bigger brother the model 1 in a number of ways. Most notably the physical size of the console is much smaller and compact with a new ‘square’ shape and the absence of a stereo headphone jack meant you can only play your mega drive games in mono sound loosing much of the sound quality from games that much such great use of the model 1 sound abilities.
As such the model 2 is usually had for a much cheaper price than the slightly rarer model 1 with many more of them produced and less demand for the unit. Any collectors out there can find a mega drive 2 in decent condition for around $30-50 AUD. Just as the model 1, the entire Sega Mega Drive library of games can be played on the model 2.
Being able to add this console to my collection is a great thing, the mega drive was a great console (still is) and shows Sega’s progression in the gaming industry nicely. Just need to find myself a Sega Saturn which will be the next step!
It has been far too long since my last retro gaming update, but unfortunately for the first half of the year I just have not had the time to expand my video game console collection. Luckily now though I have the means to continue my collection and what better way to do so than with a Sega Mega Drive Mk 1.
I was lucky enough to find a near-mint condition Sega Mega Drive model 1 for about $50 which is awesome (I also picked up a Mega Drive model 2 for about the same price which I’ll cover in my next post). Comes with the brilliant Sega Mega Drive 3-button controller, AV cables, power cables, everything you need to get up and running quickly. No need to scrounge around on EBay trying to track those down. For collectors trying to find old consoles in excellent condition you know how difficult that actually is so I’m very very impressed with myself for being able to find such a well looked after Mega Drive.
The Sega Mega Drive model 1 was released by Sega in 1988 in Japan, followed by a north american released in 1989 as the Sega Genesis then in PAL regions (including Australia, UK, etc) in 1990. It was one of the first 16-bit consoles to hit the market and allowed Sega to gain some market share of the home video game scene from the popular Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) which came out years before in 1985. The extra power of the Mega Drive’s 16-bit architecture showed some stunning graphics of its time far surpassing its rival Nintendo’s offering on the 8-bit NES. However shortly after worldwide release, Nintendo would release the successor to the NES the Super Nintendo (SNES) in 1991. For most of the early 90’s Sega and Nintendo both shared roughly equal market share (around 40%) during the 16-bit era. Some say the 16 bit gaming days showcased some of gamings greatest games of all time.
If you are a vintage/retro collector and are looking to buy a Sega Mega Drive I’d definitely recommend the model 1 over the smaller more slimmer model 2. The model 2 looks good but actually the model 1 has a few extra features over the model 2. For starters, the model 1 has a nice stereo headphone jack in the front. When coupled with stereo RCA to mini stereo jack cable you can play your Mega Drive games in STEREO sound instead of the mono sound you get from the standard RF-switch or AV connections on the back of the unit. The second benefit is that the audio processor in the model 1 is better than in the model 2. The audio is more crisp and cleaner than in the model 2 but if you didn’t know that you probably would not have picked up on it by listening to the difference.
All in all I’m very happy with the addition to my console collection of the Mega Drive model 1. I was a Super Nintendo kid back in the 90’s not playing many Sega games but looking at this console now and playing some great games like Sonic, Columns, Alex Kidd, Altered Beast, etc it’s easy to see why Sega was able to give Nintendo such a run for their money.