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Friday, August 29, 2014

Summer Gaming: 1993

Summer is winding down. I haven't hammered out as many of these as I'd have liked to, but here's the third installment of Summer Gaming. This time, were taking it back to 1993.

Tetris (GB)

Lots of other gamers were exposed to this game in 1989. For me, I wouldn't touch the game for another four years. Tetris has the honor of being the first portable game I ever played. Largely viewed as one of the industry's first casual games, Tetris was quite a pack in game to just give away with the system and it ensured that the GB flew off the shelves. While it really wasn't the game I was dying to try out, it made for a nice diversion. I think the first time I played Tetris, I didn't even break 30 lines. I wouldn't appreciate the true beauty of Tetris until I I got older, though B-Type music immediately clicked with me, more so than A-Type.

Mega Man III (GB)

This is the GB game I coveted most. After reading all about it in Nintendo Power, it was THE reason I wanted to own a GB. Despite playing the NES version of Mega Man 3 countless times, I still had to have Mega Man III on the GB. The lack of color didn't deter me, nor did fighting familiar foes. Actually, playing Mega Man III on the GB was fresh and nostalgic at the same time. I no longer had an NES so Mega Man III served as sort of a remixed version of Mega Man 3 and 4. The levels weren't complete copy and paste works and the GB's sound chip gave some slightly new spins on favorite themes. I especaially was quite fond of the game's rendition of Snake Man's theme. I had to wait for my dad to get off of work so he could drive me up to Meijer to get this one. The wait nearly killed me, but when you're a kid, 30 minutes seems like an eternity. Mega Man III provided me with some of my fondest memories on the GB and was an excellent 12th birthday gift.

Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins (GB)

Mega Man III was all kinds of awesome and Tetris was nice to have around. But it was the 4th of July weekend and I was a new GB owner so I was always on the lookout for new titles to add to my collection. Before nightfall came and the fireworks began, I was in Meijer with my family and my mother gave me some cash to go get something. I cannot remember what it was, but she gave me enough moola to pick up the game that introduced the world to Wario, Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins. By the time, I got my hands on it, it was about a year old, but I still remember that creepy commercial where Wario was trying to hypnotize the viewers. It sure left an impression on me, that's for sure. My mom was quite peeved when she found out I blew 30 bones on this game. I felt bad about it for about a minute. Then I heard the game's athletic themed and didn't give it much thought afterwords.

Despite not being a Miyamoto game, Super Mario Land 2 was no less a strange game. The game was packed with all sorts of oddball locals, each classified under zones, much like the Sonic series. Mario Zone was always an interesting place for me because it took place inside a giant Mario. The final level was actually the crotch, which was filled with, I kid you not, balls. This was also the only game to feature Rabbit Mario, which let Mario glide with a pair of, you guessed it, rabbit ears.

It was very easy to get lives in this game. In fact most of Super Mario Land 2 was quite easy. Right up until you reach Wario's castle. Holy crap. The difficulty spike here was completely unexpected especially since most of the game was a cakewalk. I've never actually beaten Super Mario Land 2 because of this stupidly hard final level.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (GG)

I wonder if my having a GB had anything to do with it, but my dad ended up plunking down some cash for a Game Gear during the summer. SEGA's big claim to fame for it's handheld was color and while it certainly looked nice, it sucked down batteries like a kid does Caprisuns. I think the six double A batteries my dad used for it on the first day died within two hours. Fortunately, he shopped smart and bought his with an AC adapter. My dad, bless his heart, let me play his GG whenever he wasn't using it and I treated it like it was my own.

Even I found the color of the GG attractive and more importantly it had some games that caught my eye, mainly the Sonic titles. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was a game he picked up the day he bought his GG and it was vastly different from the Genesis version. For one, Tails wasn't even playable and the usual green first level areas found in  Sonic 1 and 2 on the Genesis were 86'd in favor of what I think was my first experience of a mine cart level in the form of the Underground Zone. The big kick to the crotch was the third act. I made it through the first two acts with little trouble but Underground Zone Act 3 was my first brick wall, not only due to the boss and the screen limitations, but the fact that Act 3 contained no rings. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Lack of rings made what was already a frustrating battle far more difficult. As I progressed through the later zones, I caught on that each third act was ringless, which in turned forced me to get better at the game. 

So, provided you were alive and kicking at the time, what games were you playing during the summer of 1993?

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