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Played Some Genesis Tonight and More Memories

Atari 5200 Guy

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It's been a long while since I dragged out my Genesis, mainly due to a lack of games.  I have a few but only three of the games I have really spark my interest.  While I was playing, however, I tried to remember the games that made me want a Genesis in the first place.  My first hands-on experience with the console would happen in 1989.  


Mom and I were on our way home.  We had spent the day goofing off in Mt. Home, Arkansas which is a town that is roughly an hour to two hour drive east of my hometown.  Mom had to use the bathroom and stopped at a grocery store in a town called Flippin which is really a drive-thru area...or it use to be.  Next to the grocery store there was a rental store so I went in while Mom did what she had to do.  The time frame was about 6 maybe 7 pm and it was already dark out.


I entered the store to see if what NES games they had to rent.  The usual Super Mario Bros series was there along with titles that were not that great.  Then I seen the Genesis section and, wow, the games looked really cool.  I asked the guy at the counter about his rates.  There was no way Mom was going to want to come back in 3 days.  Then Mom enters the store and begins talking to the same guy who turns out to be the owner as well.  I showed Mom the games and told her about the new console from Sega.  Before I knew it Mom and that guy (I never knew his name) made a deal.  For $10 flat I could rent a console and two games for seven days.  If we were late when we returned it we had to pay full price for the system and games.  I turned to Mom with a worried look on my face.  Seriously...I didn't feel right having that kind of burden on something being rented.  I wasn't even sure if I would like this thing.  But...Mom winked at me so I just shrugged off my thoughts about it.


After that stop we continued home.  Well...I was going to my grandmother's as it was my weekend to spend there.  Granny always liked my games so I knew she wouldn't mind me hooking this up to her TV.  After Mom left Granny asked me what I had.  As best as I could I tried to explain to her it was a new game console.  


Up until the Genesis was actually released it seemed like the NES was the only console on the market.  That wasn't the case honestly but almost every ad seen was about or for the NES.  


So, with the machine hooked-up and ready to go I tried the first game I rented called Star Control.  I couldn't get the hang of it and thought I should have asked for the instruction manual.  It wasn't a bad game I just didn't take much time to learn it.  


Then in went the second game...Sonic The Hedgehog.  Immediately I was blown away by the intense speed the game was moving at.  Granny, on the other hand, was enjoying the music.  Being legally blind she enjoyed the sounds and music from some of the games I played around her, and Sonic became a quick favorite of hers.  For the remainder of the weekend Sonic was played.  Once I got home I switched off between the two and trying to enjoy Star Control.  


Then came the day to return it.  Mom and I made the trip back and what happened when we got back to the rental store was totally unexpected.  I go into the store to return the system and games while Mom waited in the car.  The same guy at the counter was waiting.  I laid the system and games on the counter.  He took them away and as I turned to walk out he said to wait a minute.  I was confused.  Did I miss something?  I was sure all the connections and controllers were in the case.  I didn't forget the games and there were no instruction manuals.  We had already paid and I don't think we were late.  I was actually a little bit scared at this point because I thought something was seriously wrong.  I walked back to the counter and waited.


The guy places a brand new, in box, never been opened, console and a new Sonic The Hedgehog game on the counter and says, "Here you go.  Enjoy."  Just like that.  I told him I didn't have any money and I am not walking out of the store with that thing as I didn't pay for it nor had a way to.  He placed a receipt on top of the items and said that it had already been paid for and that if we had any problems with it to return it that he did do returns for defective items.  A little worried I picked up the items and walked out the store.  I was ready to tell Mom what happened because I didn't want to get into any trouble, especially for stealing.  


I get in the car and had to place the items in the car first.  Mom owned a silver 2-door Datsun 280ZX.  It didn't have a back seat.  I get in and shut the door and look at her sort of wondering what just happened.  She seen what I came out with and asked about any game rentals.  Now I'm even more confused.  I have no clue what just happened and Mom was more worried about renting more games?  "But, Mom, I didn't pay for this stuff", I say.  She tells me Happy Birthday and to go back inside and get the game rentals that came with the purchase.  


Believe it or not this at-the-time 16 year old teen shed a few tears and gave Mom a big ol' hug and thank you.  I went back inside and that same guy was already handing out two tickets for the free rentals.  I picked out Phantasy Star III and I believe Phantasy Star II.  Not sure on the second game.  I couldn't believe what had just happened and, as much as it might sound like a made up story, I can assure you that it wasn't.  My mother was very loving but she was a master at sneaking things.  And, yes, I loved my Mother very much.  


Thanks to my Mother I was able to experience the Genesis and what it had.  Out Run, Space Harrier, Streets of Rage 2, Sonic 1, and Phantasy Star III became instant favorites.  Boogerman, Cyborg Justice, and Shadow Dancer were good games as well.  I can't remember exactly how many games I ended up with, and even with a Super NES picked up shortly after its release, I preferred the Genesis more.  F-Zero was a favorite on the SuperNES but Gradius III, as much as I had been enjoying the series, suffered from slow-down.  The Genesis games I had experienced up to that point didn't have that problem.  


The Genesis I have now is a replacement because I sold my 1989 unit off to get the next gen stuff.  And the games I have are good games but I have yet to get any of the games I had in the past.  I doubt that I will be able to as well because those games are now fetching almost 1989 face value.  Incredible.  I never located a copy of Star Control no matter how hard I tried.

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She spoiled me for sure.  But she was more than a Mom...she was my best friend in the world.  We did a lot together and I don't know how many times Mom would say I wasn't going to school that day.  Instead we would go somewhere.  It took me a long time to understand why she did things like that but came to the conclusion she didn't want to be by herself.  She had asthma really bad.  She had more bad days than good ones.  So if she wasn't feeling comfortable being by herself she would not send me off to school.  Instead we would pile up in the car and just go shopping.  Out of town of course.  And I believe the trip in my story above was one of those days.


One of the trips I do remember us taking was right before I got my driver's license.  She was trying to tell me not to get tickets and to watch my speed.  I wasn't driving of course.  It wasn't five minutes after she said that when she got pulled over.  She got a ticket for doing 65 in a 55.  Great example, eh?

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that's a great story and scheme between her and the owner of the store.


I'm sure the Granny-approval sealed the deal, if you were playing Firefly for 2600 thered be no tears of joy :P

Thanks.  I'm not sure if Granny was involved or not.  But her and my mother were very good at being secretive.  Firefly?  Naa ... I went outside to catch those :P

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