The retro gaming community (world?) appears to be obsessed with the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Super Nintendo, two consoles I hold near and dear to my heart due to nostalgia. There are feature films that have been made about collecting for the NES. Entire podcasts and books dedicated to these systems. On top of all this, you have the prices. Oh, dear lord, some of the 25-30 year old games on these consoles are more expensive than buying a new computer, phone or tablet! NES and SNES game prices have been steadily increasing for years with no signs of reaching a breaking point as of this writing. This has been a huge turn off for me, personally.
Lately, I’ve been ignoring the hype of all things “Nintendo” and spending time and money collecting for another late ’80s/early ’90s console from the venerable Sega company, the Genesis. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts about this console, I never owned a Genesis during its original lifespan, but I did have friends and acquaintances that allowed me to play it a semi-regular basis. I will never have that same nostalgia for the Sega Genesis in the way that that one who received the console for Christmas, birthday, or saved up enough money to buy one at launch, or can recall with vivid detail that first game they traded for with a friend does. My brand of tangential nostalgia relates more to watching people play the Genesis while I waited my turn. Which is still a (less participatory) form of video game nostalgia, right?
The games I’m trying to add to my collection today are the games I wish I had played when this system was the latest and greatest. The games I wish I had heard of but my head was too far up Nintendo’s ass to really care. Games like Shining Force, Phantasy Star, Rocketknight Adventures, Streets of Rage. The list goes on and on. The Genesis was the shit and I only knew a very, very small portion of it. The Sonic games, the sports titles (Madden, Tecmo, NHL), the fighting games (Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter). The extent of my appreciation for the console began and ended with the games my friends had. Even though I’ve been on a 20 year journey to rectify those errors and I’ve still only scratched the surface.
So what am I still looking for, if I’ve been at it for 20 years already? The answer is, a lot. While I’ve technically been collecting retro games for the past 20 years, the enthusiasm of this hobby has ebbed and flowed over the years. I started out strong, faded out for awhile, only to reignite my passion for the hobby in the past 3-4 years. Even during the years I was most actively buying new games for old systems I had collected, I wasn’t focusing that strongly on the Genesis or Sega consoles in general.
My original goal when collecting for the Genesis has been, and continues to be, to collect the best and most unique titles that the console had to offer. These games are often, but not always, Sega exclusives. Anyone that doesn’t believe that the Genesis has enough worthy exclusives isn’t paying attention and probably has their head up Nintendo’s ass even more than mine was back in the early ’90s.
As a big fan of RPGs, one of my goals has been to own complete in box copies of all of the Phantasy Star games, three of them on this console, as well as the two main games in the Shining Force series. “Complete in box” is a key phrase you’ll hear me repeat more than once when I’m speaking of Genesis games. Rarely have I felt as compelled to own complete in box games for a cartridge based system, the way that I feel compelled to for the Sega Genesis. Their plastic clam shells were perfect for keeping carts and manuals clean and intact. For many Genesis game owners, these clam shells weren’t seen as cheap and easily disposable as the cardboard boxes used to house SNES and Turbografx-16 games, so they were usually saved. Unfortunately, later in the Genesis’ life-span, Sega went with the cheaper to manufacture cardboard boxes for games like Shining Force II, Phantasy Star IV, Sonic & Knuckles and Comix Zone, so these boxes aren’t as easy to come by. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to try.
The Top 5 Sega Genesis games I’d like to add to my collection are:
5. Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker – I hear it’s a pretty good game, but I mostly want it for my collection because I was a huge fan of MJ in the ’80s.
4. Truxton – One of the more highly regarded shooters for this system.
3. Splatterhouse 3 – Splatterhouse is my favorite game for the Turbografx-16 and I already have a CIB Splatterhouse 2, so owning the third game in the series seems like a natural progression for my collection.
2. Shining Force II – As mentioned, I’m attempting to collect the premiere RPGs for the Genesis and since the original Shining Force was a revelation to me, I definitely want the sequel.
1. Phantasy Star IV – The only one I’m missing from this amazing series. Obvious choice as my most wanted Genesis game.
Additionally, as the owner of only a loose cartridge of Phantasy Star II, I am also looking to complete my collection by procuring a case, manual, map, and if possible, the strategy guide that came with the game. This strategy guide is much harder to find and I may not be able to achieve this without shelling out more money than I’d prefer.
I’m also trying to collect a complete, in box set of the original launch titles for the Genesis and need the following games to achieve this goal: Tommy Lasorda Baseball box & manual, Thunder Force II, Ghouls & Ghosts case & a Golden Axe case. Chances are good that I’ll eventually just have to re-buy copies of some of these games just to complete them, but I’m hoping not to.
Lastly, I didn’t mention games like Crusader of Centy and M.U.S.H.A. primarily due to their status as two of the more expensive games for the Genesis, especially if you’re attempting a CIB collection. Owning a Nomad would be cool too. #goals