That soft welcoming chorus when you first boot up most Genesis games is how it all started. I had just gotten a Sega Genesis for Christmas in 1993, branching out from the SNES my family shared. My dad was always a techie. Long before I knew or understood what that was (which ultimately was passed down to me), I just reaped the benefit of constantly being surrounded with cool gadgets. I don’t remember what game(s) came with the Genesis, but I do remember getting Sonic the Hedgehog 2 as well that Christmas. What was cool about this gift was that it was the first console that was “mine”. Normally video games were a family present, a shared entertainment that none of us had claim to. Being the youngest of three though my brother and sister were over video games for the most part so they didn’t care about the cool new system I got with the super fast blue guy in red shoes. They definitely didn’t care about his little double-tailed fox buddy either. So all through that Christmas break at school I stayed indoors playing a bunch of Sonic 2 from top to bottom. I learned to hate Chemical Plant Zone and drowning. Despite that I was tickled pink from the blast processing experience that was unlike anything I had before on either of Nintendo’s systems.
Well a few months went by when heading up to Blockbuster Video to rent a new game to play. Fairly common on a Friday night for my family to go up together to get a couple movies and maybe a game for play for the weekend. Peeking through the Sega aisle to my surprised there was a new Sonic game, Sonic the Hedgehog 3! In my excitement I plucked it off the shelf only to realize they were out of copies available to rent. My poor 8 year old emotions learned what it meant to be a broken man at that point. Thankfully that sorrow was short lived as by some weird miracle (likely involving whining or crying as a spoiled 8 year old would) I got my dad to get me a copy of Sonic 3. It was mid-day Saturday at that point. Not to rent, but he actually went out and bought it for me. Hoooooo boy was that a mistake on his part. I only had a chunk of Saturday and Sunday to play this until I had to go back to school on Monday. Better make good on that time that I had I figured and went into crunch mode.
I played that game for hours on end that weekend, well into Sunday night. I was up until at least 2AM or 3AM before finally falling asleep during repeated plays. I couldn’t help it, it was just so much fun. Right from the beginning where this futuristic 3D looking Sonic was waving his finger at me on the opening menu, to the rush of watching golden Super Sonic flying across water in the intro, to that punk Knuckles smashing me and taking all my emeralds. Sonic 3 was a revenge mission and I intended to work it over and get all it’s secrets. Not to mention some parts were just the coolest thing to 8 year old back then. I couldn’t get over how different and advanced the technology was for the bonus stages, letting you run around a 3D stage collecting blue orbs to get the chaos emeralds? Super nifty! I’m sure I uttered something about how awesome the graphics were.
Yeah, I totally missed school that Monday from not going to sleep on time. Playing hooky to stay home and play Sonic in retrospect probably wasn’t the best idea ever… but you’d be hard-pressed to convince a young Chris that he wasn’t a genius living large on the fruit of his (non)labor.
And then later that same year this happened… The cycle began anew as I was in complete awe again. Games that plug into other games to make the first game better?! More levels, a new character to play, on top of being it’s own game? Yeah, I totally missed school again from late nights and “not feeling well” in the morning. Those chaos emeralds weren’t going to collect themselves ya know? Plus that snowboarding level was just flat out bitchin’.