Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Posts Tagged ‘nomad

Day 5

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On the fifth day of Christmas my memories gave to me…

Five Genesis Models!

For a console that was only around for roughly six years, the Sega Genesis sure was releasing new iterations like there was a reason for all the updates.  To be fair, every single one of these consoles changed something about the Genesis but not all of them for the best.  Sega in the 90s was like an eager child, just ready to jump at the next opportunity to improve current technology and release new ones.  This is why the Genesis had 5 different models, not including the many licensed models that also released from different companies, as well as two more add-ons.  They would also jump the gun and release the Saturn less than a year after selling you the pricy 32x, which claimed to turn your Genesis into a 32-bit system and didn’t do a good job at it.

Thankfully all of the standard Sega branded Genesis models ran the entire Genesis library (yes, some 3rd party consoles did not), but not all of them were compatible with Sega’s add-ons.  It’s easy to imagine that the Nomad wouldn’t work with the Sega CD and 32x – at least not without a hardware hack – but the CDX, which already combined the Sega and Sega CD, you wouldn’t assume would be incompatible with the 32x.  Even more odd was the fact that Genesis 3 was incompatible with both Sega CD and 32x due to hardware design.  Furthermore, the 32x would be on store shelves with the CDX and Genesis 3, both consoles it was incompatible with.  It was a nightmare for everyone involved from the marketing guy to the retailer and finally the parent.  The only person who could keep it all straight was of course the gamer, the one person that couldn’t be involved in the transaction thanks to Christmas and gift giving.  I’m sure there were at least a few massive $500 refunds after a rich parent purchased multiple incompatible parts.  In those days if it didn’t work like it was supposed to right out of the box, who cared how cool it was, parents returned it. 

I managed to get out mostly unscathed thanks to the gaming press, which kept me informed of the upcoming Saturn.  I did ask for a 32x, which would end up being incompatible with my CDX, but I didn’t fret because I knew the next console generation was around the corner.  I returned the 32x (and both games I got with it – Doom and Star Wars Arcade) and kept the money waiting in my dresser for the Saturn.

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Written by Fred Rojas

December 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Gaming To-Go Part 2: Gameboy and beyond

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For more than 10 years various portable games came and went, mostly focusing on a single title in custom hardware, then in 1989 it all hit at once.  With such a small gap between releases it was clear that multiple companies were developing cartridge-based portable consoles.  Most portable systems in history moving forward had one simple goal: to port home console games to handhelds as faithfully as possible.  While some gems of creativity did spawn from portables that were clearly not ports, the main goal of many developers was always about getting those console ports in the palm of your hand.

Gameboy – Launch Price: $89.99 – Released: 1989
In every way shape and form, the Nintendo Gameboy was designed to be a portable NES.  The brainchild of Gunpei Yokoi (Game & Watch series) and Nintendo Research & Development 1 (R&D1), known best for the creation of Metroid, the Gameboy was defined by one game: Tetris.  Not only was the portable 8-bit console looking as promising as the NES – complete with launch titles Super Mario Land and a handful of all-too-familiar titles that launched the NES like Baseball and Tennis – but Nintendo picked the ultimate pack-in.  With the Gameboy, Nintendo linked to a more casual market as well as the NES and gamer faithful, which was no more clear than the inclusion of Tetris, not Super Mario Land, in the box.  Tetris fever was rampant in the United States at the time, some six or more versions were floating around on various platforms by 1989, and the Gameboy was a convenient and relatively inexpensive (Tetris was around $40 in most software versions) way to get a versatile version of the game.  Starting in 1990, after many children and adults alike received a Gameboy for Christmas, it was not uncommon to see people in public grinding away the hours on a Gameboy.  What was unique is that they almost always were playing Tetris and nothing else.

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Written by Fred Rojas

December 9, 2011 at 11:49 am