Ya know, I’ve always tried to keep personal, non-gaming related stuff off of this site, ’cause really, it’s not exactly the place for such, and well, nobody cares. However, seeing as how we’re many years removed from the pseudo-corporate leanings of the mid-2000’s TJG, the fact that the site has been essentially dead for eons, and that there’s nobody but me still kickin’ around here, I’ll step outside the box a little bit.
Life started to tank at the very tail-end of 2019 for me. Not only was I suffering like so many others with the ill effects of the pandemic and other societal issues (loss of income, the ongoing stress of everything Trump, watching America devolve into utter ignorance of the highest order), but since then, its been a near-endless stream of bad luck for me. There’s been serious physical injuries, a failing business, a debilitating auto accident that has considerably taken away my ability to be a musician, the death of a parent, a metric shit-ton of legal and personal issues related to that parent’s death, a complete personal falling out with the remaining parent (I suspect due to undiagnosed dementia or something of the sort), declining health due to the avalanche of stress I’ve been under for many months, and so forth and so on. If I’m to be 100% honest (and why wouldn’t I; I’m basically talking to myself), it’s about to do me in. And make no mistake, I’m a person who’s had his fair share of personal strife and trials over his lifetime (the child version of me really got a raw deal), but at this point in time, it’s all about to be too goddamn much.
But hey — and not that anyone cares (I’m firmly aware that I have always been of no particular import) — I’m not going to “off myself” or anything. (I guess this is the point in which I’m expected to share the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
“Help is available. Speak with someone today. 1-800-273-8255“)
Yes, I’m turning into quite the smartass. Now back to the show.
For most of my 51 years of life, that hellhound known as chronic depression has dogged me, and that dear old friend, suicide, has tempted me repeatedly…all without success. Sure, its become somewhat of a mainstay in my mind as of late, tapping me on the shoulder quite a bit this year, but as I’ve always done, I manage to push past it and carry on. After all, with decades of being a diabetic, being old and having a high level of constant stress, I’m rather confident this is the decade of my life in which I expire. I guess you could say, “Why try to get ahead of something that’s naturally going to resolve itself in the near future?”
But enough of that. The last thing I want to come off like, is one of those monumentally annoying “eternal victim” narcissists that we have on social media. You know, the sheltered and spoiled brats who have no barometer for what a REAL life problem is, and melts down over the most inane and petty things imaginable.
So why am I sharing all of this drama on a website focused on videogaming? Well, over the entirety of my life, there have been two passions that have helped me survive. The first, and foremost, has been music. Despite getting t-boned by a teenage boy in a large truck blowing through a highway median, I can STILL listen to music (and have been doing so, perhaps more than ever), but due to a blown out left shoulder and arm, I can’t do much with actually performing music. (Pretty soul-crushing, that.)
The second passion that has helped me escape the realities of life and survive, has been gaming. Luckily, the thumb on my left hand is still good-to-go, so I at least have that going for me. The thing is, though, I find myself becoming increasingly bored with modern gaming. Sure, games look absolutely phenomenal now, they can be incredibly complex and feature-filled, and we even have old-gamer dreams of things like viable virtual reality in existence…but ya know, I just can’t be bothered with any of it 99% of the time. Perhaps I’m just an old curmudgeon whose lost his way…or…perhaps this is just a natural evolution of things when you have literally been a gamer for well over 40 years. Whatever the case, I still very much want to game with the fervor that I did in my child and young man years, but the spark seems to be gone. I often lament it and desire it to be different, but I just can’t seem to resurrect it.
However, there IS one thing that has been consistently popping into my mind over the last several months, and that’s a revisiting of one of my most beloved eras of gaming, the 16-bit era. (I guess you could say the idea is something of electronic comfort food.)
I LOVED the NEO-GEO in the arcades (Samurai Shodown!), but there was absolutely no way in hell that the AES console was ever gonna be a financial option. (Hey! Just like in 2021!)
Living in Poedunk, Alabama during the 16-bit era, I can’t ever recall coming across anything related to the TurboGrafx-16. (Well, outside of the occasional TV commercial, that is.) That system always seemed like something that only existed in other parts of the world. As if it could only be accessed in far away exotic locations, where the food is strange and the language is unknown.
The Super Nintendo? OF COURSE, I had that. After finishing up my all-night, 12-hour shift in the local carpet mill, I fondly remember driving an hour away to be at Electronics Boutique when they opened their doors, so I could buy my launch day SNES. The pack-in game, Super Mario World, blew my mind, and the one other game I picked up that day, Pilotwings, finished off whatever gray matter SMB had left behind. It was a glorious time.
But you know, I can’t say there’s much desire to revisit the SNES (or even the beloved NES), as I’ve played that system to death over the years. I’m very much inclined to say that the SNES has already given me everything that it had, many years ago. Outside of Chrono Trigger, which I never got into (YES, I KNOW…), I just have no pull to go back there with any real sort of interest.
So that leaves us with the Sega Genesis…
I purchased a Genesis when they started bundling the Model 1 version of the console with Sonic the Hedgehog. I kept it for quite a while and had a decent library of games (hell, I even purchased the original model of Sega CD when it launched), but I never did fully commit to the console. I was always so enamored with the Super NES, that I kind of thought of the Genesis as the “red-headed stepchild” of the videogame family, never fully appreciating what it had to offer. I had many Genesis games over the years, but outside of a select few, I can’t recall ever getting very involved with them, much less the system’s overall library. It just seemed like my gaming time was always going to be better spent on my beloved SNES.
So here we are today in 2021, and more than ever, I find myself needing an escape…a diversion…a goddamn distraction. Until I can wrap up all of the loose ends that I’m currently suffering through and can flee to Mars, perhaps getting back involved with the one remaining thing that has always saved me in the past is the answer. (I’ve never drank or drugged over the entirety of my life, but if I wasn’t married and didn’t still have a child at home, you can bet your ass I’d be a raging alcoholic and/or crackhead.) My mind keeps jumping to the last console videogame era that I truly adored, and the one console from that era that I owned, but never gave proper attention to: The Sega Genesis.
I find myself longing for the unique properties the Genesis had, like its games featuring more mature themes and graphics, its excellent clamshell game cases with well-protected and often badass artwork, its superior versions of multiplatform games (Aladdin, hello?), and it’s ever so unique sound chip. The system just had a certain and unique feel about it, that I want to revisit and more fully explore. (And just maybe, more fully appreciate here in my late gaming career.)
So yeah, let’s do that.