My memories of the Mega Drive (or the Genesis)

So I just saw that just a few weeks ago, the Sega Mega Drive, or the Geneis as it is known in America, celebrated 25 years, which makes it only about a month older than me. So I thought I would write down some of my memories of the console which was a huge part of my life.

This isn’t a list of the best games, these are just games that I have fond memories of.

Aladdin

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this game man, this flipping game (that level as well) This game was amazing, the soundtrack was great, the art was like you were watching the film and it was really challenging. I still played my Mega Drive in 2001, true story, I didn’t have a Playstation or an N64. And on 9/11, one of the most important dates in my generation’s life, I came home from school, I had just started secondary school. I came home, turned on the TV, saw that no cartoons were on, shouted to my mum “mama, there’s been a bomb or something in New York” and I went played Aladdin for the rest of the days. That might be the worst answer to one of those “where were you on that day type questions.” I only managed to complete Aladdin a few years ago. A lot of Disney games were also really good, I had Mickey’s Castle of Illusion and Lion King which were also really good.

Comix Zone

There were a few games that I would see advertised in Comic books that would look amazing. The problem was, the time that I had my Mega Drive, the bigger shops no longer stocked games, I had no understanding of buying things from the internet either, so the only place for me to buy games was at Cash Converters, where they sold second hand games. Comix Zone was one of those games. The game looked amazing, you were in a comic, what more could you ask for? Then I finally got it and it was really hard, but it’s a great game. I’m surprised that we haven’t seen a reboot in modern times considering how popular comic books are at the moment.

Eternal Champions/Mortal Kombat

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I’ll be honest, I’m not very good at fighting game. And while these games are not really known for their stories, I have really got into these 2 games mythologies. Obviously Mortal Kombat has more of a mythology because it has more games, but Eternal Champions’ mythology was really interesting. Every character in the game was dead already and the winner of the tournament would be allowed to come back to life and stop the end of the world from happening, what more could you ask for? Also Bone Thugs n Harmony rapped over a sample from this game and it was sick.

With Mortal Kombat I fully fell in love the world, I bought both movies, the Conquest TV show and the Defenders of the Realm cartoon. I would hype people up at school about the 3rd movie that was always rumoured to be coming out. I always preferred it to Street Fighter just because of the story behind it.

Sonic the Hedgehog 

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The Sega mascot, the only character that was strong enough to take on Mario. I loved Sonic, I would memorise levels of the game so that I would know how to get to a certain point quicker, because there was no save points at that time. I also thought Tails was useless, how many times would Tails get in the way. The soundtrack for these games were incredible. Sonic did inspire rapper one of the weirdest rappers of all time, Charles Hamilton, which I have to hold against the character but I still love him.

Kid Chameleon

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This was a game that a friend of mine had which I always wanted. I love the concept of virtual reality worlds and that’s what Kid Chameleon was about. Kid Chameleon was a cool kid, we know this because he wore sunglasses and a leather jacket and in the 90’s that’s what a cool kid was. By himself Kid was cool enough, but as you explored the world you would pick up different masks a Samurai helmet which gave you a sword and a Jason mask which gave you the ability to throw axes, as you do. This game was very 90’s, from the concept, it’s about an arcade game which every kid played, which unfortunately wouldn’t happen in this day and age, to the look of the main character and the different masks you could play as. It also included an insane amount of levels and is the only game on this list I still haven’t completed.

Story of Thor

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So I bought this because it was called Story of Thor so I was like “yeah, Thor, I love superheroes, this is a game about the superhero.”

Nope.

It’s also not about Norse mythology. Instead it’s about  a prince called Ali who finds a gold amulet which allows him to control water, shadow, fire and plant spirits. This was the first RPG I played and I loved it. It was also the only game I had that had save slots.

Clayfighters/Earthworm Jim

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These 2 games go together because Earthworm Jim ended up appearing in a Clayfighters game. Clayfighters was another game which I wasn’t really good at but I loved the characters, all of them were circus characters who were transformed by an interstellar object which gave them superpowers. My favourite was Blob, a master goojitsu who could turn into different things.

Earthworm Jim I knew about first from the cartoon which was a great parody of superhero cartoons at the time and is another character that I’m surprised hasn’t been brought back. The games were crazy but very fun

Robocop vs Terminator

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You may have noticed that a lot of the games, especially the platform games, were very bright and vibrant, usually featuring some sort of anthropomorphised animal. Not this one, this game was dark and gritty and bloody. Based on a Frank Miller comic, you took control of Robocop, I loved Robocop as a kid. I remember going to buy the trilogy in HMV years later and talking to the cashier about how I didn’t understand how we were allowed to watch it as kids, it was really violent. The game had blood splattering, had some great guns, had the robots being sent to attack as terrifying as they were in The Terminator movies, it was everything a kid could ask for. And this day and age of cross branding, I’m surprised there haven’t been attempts to turn this into a film.

 

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How I inherited Doctor Who or why Peter Capaldi is already my Doctor

I was born on September 25th 1989, 3 months before the last transmission of Doctor Who’s original run. People in that age range are the lost generation, we don’t have the tales of hiding behind our sofa watching it, we never had sonic screwdrivers as kids and we missed out on the now traditional Christmas Day Special.

Though this is kind of a lie, because while we didn’t have these things, we did have 1 episode of Doctor Who, because on the 27th of May 1996, we got the infamous attempted Doctor Who reboot movie. I had never heard of Doctor Who before, not the against it, it just wasn’t in the public consciousness. But my dad had, he grew up with it and wanted to share his enthusiasm with his son. Here is where I must say that the title of this blog is a double entendre (don’t even ask me how, that’s a Jay-Z reference). Yes it plays on the “meek/geek shall inherit the earth” phrase, with my belief that things that were once considered a part of geek culture are now mainstream culture. But the other part of it is that it is partly my inheritance. A lot of the things that I’m into and have been into in the past, were things that my dad made me watch, from superheroes to martial arts movies to Star Wars and Doctor Who, all these things are pieces of pop culture that my dad wanted to share with me. 

My dad passed away in 2000, I was 11 years old. He didn’t leave much in terms of money or possessions for us, but what he did leave was an impact on me and my love of certain aspects of pop culture and while with some of them I didn’t love straight away, when I have found myself getting into them, I remember fondly my dad telling me about it.

So the 1996 special came and went. My dad explained to me what Doctor Who was, who The Doctor was, what the Tardis did, how it could time travel and it was bigger on the inside. Of course nothing came of that special but flash forward 9 years later and the beginning of the “reboot” Doctor Who. It was Spring of 2005 and I was 15. We were all at my friend’s house and one of my friends convinced us to watch the first episode. I wasn’t particularly enthused, in my teens I was really into hip hop, that was my thing, so Doctor Who didn’t really fit into that aesthetic. That doesn’t mean I was a cool kid, I also spent my early teens really into wrestling and at one point only owned wrestling t-shirts, and some of them are the most uncool things you will ever see. However it was enjoyable enough, but I had no desire to watch it week in and week out. I’d catch episodes every now and then and share in the shock of certain revelations, for instance I remember looking at my friend in wide eyed amazement when Captain Jack said people called him the Face of Boe.

Then in 2012, I got really into Science Fiction and fantasy . Maybe it was because I had just finished uni and I was now facing the big wide, scary world and watching Sci Fi was a way to escape from the daunting world, I watched it all, Buffy, Angel and Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Fringe, Chuck. These shows were my escapism, I was working a retail job that I hated at the time so knowing that while the day would be dreary, I knew I had something to look forward to at night. But I still didn’t commit to Doctor Who. I have a weird, kind of obsessive mind and I didn’t want to plunge into British Sci fi, for reasons I’m not even sure of. I watched Christmas specials and would catch episodes here and there but never a fully “I’m going to buy the boxset and watch it all properly” type of way.

That was until late 2013 and the hype around the 50th anniversary took over me. I was excited, I was a casual fan but I was still excited, I remember coming home from work and watching it on iPlayer. I loved it, I laughed, I cried everything. I had to take the plunge. I went and bought all of “nu-Who” on DVD and over the next few months caught up fully to the show.

Now here we are, I sit here writing this hours from Capaldi’s first episode and I couldn’t be more excited. While I didn’t particularly love Time of the Doctor (on first viewing, on a repeated viewing I enjoyed much more) one of the first things that stood out to me was Capaldi’s charisma, he has a way of lighting up the screen, I rewatched the re-generation scene so many times. So technically Capaldi is going to be my Doctor, he is the first one that I will be watching week in and week out.

And I can’t help but think about my dad, and his excitement for the show and his desire to make me excited for it as well and I can just imagine how he would feel saying how big and how popular Doctor Who is now. And I am grateful to him for giving me Doctor Who as an inheritance

The worlds of Avatar and Adventure are 2 of the most important fictional universes of the 21st century

With the success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers at the box office this year along with the continued success of Marvel and the excitement around the up and coming movies from the Star Wars franchise and the DC Cinematic Universe, I realised that a lot of these properties are things that people of my age range have grown up with and in the case of Star Wars, go even further back.

And I think this is a major part of it’s success. Of course marketing plays into it, but nostalgia helps. People who grew up watching the Ninja Turtles, Transformers, X-Men and Batman: The Animated Series are now in the elusive 18-35 demographic, considered the most important demographic for advertisers as they are seen as having the most expendable income. And while with characters like the DC and Marvel superheroes have been around for decades in comic book form, I do think that the animated series of the early 90’s are what introduced my generation to these characters. For many, and rightfully so, Kevin Conroy is the definitive Batman and Mark Hamill is the definitive Joker.

It also helps that, if someone who grew up with these franchises now has children, they can enthusiastically promote these franchises to said child. This happened to me when the Star Wars Special Editions came out in 1997. I was 8 years old and I had never heard of Star Wars, but my dad did a very thorough job of promoting it, bough me some toys, bought me some books, told me stories of him going to see it when he was younger so by the time we were going to the cinema I was fully immersed in the world. The same thing happened when the attempted Doctor Who revival in 1996 came on. This was obviously less successful but 9 years went the 2005 revival I still remembered everything my dad had told me about the show.

So I got to thinking, what animated series or franchise now will have the most impact in the long run. And 2 of the ones that I think will be important are Avatar and Adventure Time.

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I’ve recently just caught up with Legend of Korra Season 2 and 3 and the other night I watched Beginnings Part 1 and 2 from Legend of Korra’s second season and I was in awe at the world building of this show. In the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, we are thrown into a world very different to our own and through three seasons we got to know this world, the different tribes, the history of what the Avatar is and what that means in the wider world. Watching Beginnings, how the Avatar started, the Lion Turtles, the spirits, I was in love with this world.

The world of Avatar has a major benefit in that once the story of Korra is told, it could go anywhere, we could see the next Avatar after her, or one in the future. I would love to see an Avatar function in an equivalent of our modern world, you know we would see someone try to create social media accounts for the Avatar. Loving Sci Fi, I would also love to see an Avatar set in the future.

Avatar could also go backwards. Fans loved the episodes showing the first Avatar Wan and many have asked for even just a mini series depicting his life. Or imagine seeing the first Avatar after Wan being born and growing up and learning what being the Avatar means.

Or it could go back to what started it, and show what happened between the end of The Last Airbender and the beginning of Legnd of Korra. Everyone loves seeing the characters we love from the original series in Legend of Korra, what about a miniseries or a TV movie showing these characters in action.

I believe that the impact of Avatar will not be fully realised until about 15-20 years. Maybe we’ll see another attempt at a movie, or a reboot series, or a continuation, but we’ll see writers who grew up with the series writing it, in the same way the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series is obviously written by people who grew up watching the show and have  love for  show and the characters and can put homages in that appeal to those who watched the original without impacting it for first time viewers.

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As for Adventure Time, this is a show which already plays on nostalgia without actually being nostalgia. It’s a fantasy world which harkens back to the days o anf RPG on the SNES, of Saturday Morning cartoon adventures, of classic Disney films and turns it on it’s head.  So while it is set in the Land of Ooo, a land full of whimsy and magic, there is a darkness there. We know that the Land of Ooo is actually a post-apocalyptic Earth, the result of which is different kingdoms. This is a fully realised, lived in world with recurring side characters who are sometimes given episodes all of their own. So if one day, it’s decided that Finn needs to hang up his sword and him and Jake have to stop going on adventures, this is very much a world I would love to revisit.

There are spin off comics starting to be made with Marceline getting her own series along with Peppermint Butler and Cinnamon Bun getting their own noir comic run and a Banana Guard academy with Root Beer Guy searching for new recruits to the Banana Guard academy. So could one of these spin offs get their own animated series?

I believe that Adventure Time will be a long lasting franchise, whether we grow up with Finn or we get a spin off series or we see Finn’s kids and Jake’s kids carrying on their father’s legacy. My only hope is, if we get a movie, keep it animated, I don’t think the vibrant colours of the animation could transfer well to live action. However a 90 minute animated adventure would be great and I think that Adventure Time is a movie franchise waiting to happen.

So in 15 or 20 years, when we are taking our kids to see the Avatar movie or the Adventure Time movie, we can tell our kids about all the memories of these shows that we have, show them action figures, DVDs (which will be antiques by then) and comics. We can get them excited before the sit down in the cinema to watch it with us. Yeah we’ll probably moan about how something isn’t like how we remember it, but it’s not for us, it’s for a new generation and  that’s what great franchises do.

 

WrestleMania XXX and Raw the night after

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So I planned on staying up to watch WrestleMania but a combination of waking up early and having work the next day put me off that. I mean as much as I would have enjoyed it, I felt like a few things were a foregone conclusion, Daniel Bryan was going to get his fairy tale ending, The Shield would dominate, Bray Wyatt would be creepy and of course The Undertaker would win.

So I wake up about 8:30 on Monday morning and the first thing I do is check WWE.com while having my breakfast.

I expect to be greeted by pictures of Daniel Bryan, both arms raised doing the Yes chant, with a title in each hand.

Instead I was greeted with this

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They did it.

They really did it.

WWE pulled off one of the last few things that would shock every wrestling fan, even the most cynical ones.

I was in complete shock, with no one in my house, I just walked around while making my breakfast, saying outloud to myself “they did it, they actually did it.”

I never thought we would see it, I truly thought he was going to retire with the streak intact. And if he was to lose, I thought it would be against someone who the WWE were building up to be the face of the company. But thinking about it, Lesnar makes perfect sense.

When Brock Lesnar wrestles, partly due to his sporadic appearances and also partly due to his UFC background, he brings the big fight feel. I envision Brock Lesnar now becomes the man to beat at WrestleMania.

But The Undertaker losing plays into a larger thing which became even more evident on Raw last night, there is a real changing of the guard taking place in the WWE right now.

Some older wrestling fans have a yearning for it return to the way it was in the olden days, the Attitude era, a time in which a lot of people, including myself, first got into wrestling. And when The Shield had Billy Gunn and Road Dogg in position to hit a double triple powerbomb, JBL mentioned it “there goes the attitude era.”

At WrestleMania we saw Daniel Bryan come out on top, The Shield and Bray Wyatt continue to impress, The Streak was broken, Cesaro picking up Big Show and throwing him over the top. The next night on Raw, Cesaro became a Heyman guy, The Shield and Daniel Bryan were a united front against The Authority, we saw the debuts of Paige and Rusev and promos for Adam Rose and Bo Dallas. It’s often said that WrestleMania is like the season finale for the WWE and last night’s Raw truly felt like a season premiere.