Thursday, 15 January 2009

Games of my life - Part 1

I was saving this for Saturnalia, but since this blog hasn't seen an update for quite some time I might as well do it now. This, my friends, is my story with that wonderful console we call the Saturn.

It all started back in...fuck, I forgot... Anyway, I was still a kid, so it was probably somewhere around 1997 or 1998. Anyway, back then I was console-less. Ok, not quite to be honest, but my first console was just a clone of the Atari 2600 with a lot of built-in games, and since it wasn't a "real", retail console, for which you had to buy games, I usually don't consider it my first console. That would be the Saturn. It was Christmas, my parents took me to the store (a store that, unfortunately, is long gone) and while they were still considering if it was worth spending so much money in a "toy" (actually, now that I think about it, I don't know how much they paid for it, but it probably wasn't cheap) I was completely hooked to the console in display, playing, guess what? NiGHTS!!! Hell yeah! Nice way to start, eh, folks?

Anyway, they eventually got it, along with a nice gift that came with it (a Sonic mug, my mom would later accidentally break it) and a couple of games. Those were, if I'm not mistaken, Christmas NiGHTS, Virtua Fighter, Virtua Fighter Kids (not sure, can't remember if it came with it or if someone bought it later for me) and a demo cd. Later I would get more games, but since no one in my family was rich and games were expensive as hell, I wouldn't get much more. Now that I look back, it's funny how back then I wouldn't get bored of playing the same games over and over again...

Anyway, these were the games that marked my childhood:

Virtua Fighter/Virtua Fighter Kids

My first beat'em ups, I loved these games to death, specially the first one (even as a kid I guess I liked more serious stuff). I sucked at it, and I probably never beat Dural more than a handfull of times, but it was so damn fun. I think it was actually the only beat'em up in my entire life that got me to memorize combos, after that I would only play these games using the venerable strategy of button-mashing. I still love it to this game (and play it from time to time), and I got around to play all of its sequels.

Sonic Jam

I never had a Mega Drive, so the first time I played and beat Sonic, Sonic 2 and Sonic & Knuckles was on my Saturn. Of course, if you already have those games on other platforms, this has little to offer, but still it has some damn sweet extras. It was like the precursor of collector's editions, or dvd-style extras in games. You had movie, music and picture galleries and a 3D Sonic mini-game, which is to this day the only way we have to play Sonic in true 32-bit glory 3D (other than the leaked beta of Sonic Xtreme).

Virtual-On: Cyber Troopers

It has fucking giant robots! How could a kid not like this game?! I know I loved it! Although, once again, I sucked at it, always struggling to defeat the 3rd robot, and only managing to get to Nirvana (the final boss) once (only to be trucidated in a matter of seconds), I still loved it. It was so unique, the gameplay was so addictive and the graphics so awesome for the time, another game that I can still play today and have fun with it. Oh, and I'm lucky enough to own the PS2 Sega Ages port/remake :D

Dragonheart: Fire & Steel

Nowadays I have to admit that it kind of sucks, but back then this was another of my favourites. Not so much for the quality of it, but for the simple fact that it features dragons. Lots of them, and pretty well drawn, by the way, and I fucking loved dragons (heck, I still do!). Haven't beat it to this day (damn forest level, with all those mages casting spells at me!), but I still dream of accomplishing that one day. Anyway, if you've never heard of this game, it's based on the movie of the same name and it's a side-scrolling platformer. The graphics are nice, the sound is very immersive and the gameplay is not that bad, so if you like the genre give it a try.

Christmas NiGHTS

Yeah, it wasn't really a full game, but I only discovered that a long time later, and back then I just didn't care. It was fun! And with tons of unlockables for just a simple "demo". The ambience was once again unique and that soundtrack... God, it brings tears of joy to my eyes every time I listen to it.


(I didn't have this exact demo disc back then, although I have it now)

Yes, demos. Don't forget that I was fucking poor ("was", lol, like I'm rich now...) so, whenever I was bored of my full games, I would spend some time messing with demos. By now I probably have all of those games in full versions, but back then it was its demos that kept me entertained. I'm talking about Alien Trilogy, Loaded, Panzer Dragoon Zwei, Baku Baku, Tomb Raider, Sega Rally and more, but I'm going to talk about those in detail later. Hope you liked this post, stay tuned for part 2 :)


elend said...

Ahhh, those were the days. Where a simple demo disc was enough to keep you entertained for weeks! I remember playing my Playstation (shame!) demo disc A LOT. And it's really funny, how games didn't bore you that fast back then. I remember playing Turrican on the Amiga. I never ever managed to reach stage 3, yet I played it over and over again. This is really hard to do these days. I am either getting bored or don't have that much time to practise so much.

マーティン said...

Demos used to keep me entertained too. Back then, I really used to appreciate the value of games (mostly because I had no money at all - £5 a month pocket money), whereas today, £37.99 doesn't seem like a lot - looking back and seeing a Saturn game with a £39:99 sticker on it makes me feel a little strange. Mostly because they are now "worth" £3 each.

The games today are not "worth" £37.99 most of the time. Nor were a lot of the Saturn games. There are games, like Christmas NiGHTS that simply have no price to me. It's fantastic - a tribute to gamers. People who love gaming will love this game. Only thing is, the Saturn's 3D graphics have aged somewhat badly - unless you play on a small TV.

gnome said...

A fantastic write-up oh Nebachadnezzar. And despite what you -correctly, I guess- say about Dragonheart, I must admit I quite love its style.

The GagaMan(n) said...

'this blog hasn't seen an update for quite some time?' You mean three days ago? XD

Nights said...

Aww I remember when i received my saturn and played a lot demos (daytona, virtual on, tomb raider and worldwide soccer 97) great times :D I miss them T.T

DEITRIX said...

Dragonheart looks pretty freakin' cool!

I remember the movie, but never caught the game...

Nights said...

Dragonheart is quite cool sometimes boring and sometimes fun :D

The Plushiest said... was all about the Sega Rally Mountain track on the Bootleg Sampler....I played that so much. I was sad that the rear spoiler on the Celica didn't look the same in the full version of the game that I subsequently purchased. Being able to play all the tracks, and getting to use the Delta HF, and Stratos more than made up for that though.