Why Am I a SEGA Person?

Sega was my key to this whole video gaming hobby. I think it was 1993 when I got my Sega Mega Drive. I played a lot of it. This was of course making me not to play so much NES, SNES and even later Nintendo 64 and GameCube. Lately I have tried to catch up on Nintendo’s retro stuff. I have even studied some Game Boy games.

Nothing created such a rage inside me than a Mega Drive game that I was trying to beat. You can say that Mega Drive games are a bit repetitive in their nature so you had to be perfect on a try and if you failed you had to start all over again until you eventually would run out of lives and after that continues. Yeah. We didn’t have lots of memory for saved games back then.

Sega also made me to be angry to my mates that were playing some Streets of Rage 2 with me in collaboration mode. It became aggresive so suddenly. As I was playing with my brother we had many arguments. We were told that we took the game too seriously. We were separated and we both couldn’t play Mega Drive for that day anymore. This made me think even when I was a small ten-year-old child. And I didn’t take it so seriously. There was just something about how Sega made players a bit frustrated. I think that is some of the appeal of this franchise.

After Sega my life with Nintendo’s gaming products was again pushed towards later times because it happened that I bought a Sony PlayStation in 1997. This of course made me distant also to Sega Saturn. I have only lately been again interested in it. As PlayStation had real 3D games I thought it would absolutely have so much more to offer compared to Saturn. This thinking has changed, maybe just this year, and I have been interested in Saturns games which aren’t actually so much 3D games but it has some very interesting titles that Sony doens’t have.

So these choices made me to play certain games. Today I understand that the variety of different and good or decent game titles are from many different consoles and every consoles have at least some good or decent games be it that many of the best games are released on certain systems. This makes me definitely interested in exclusives. And this interest hasn’t faded when it comes to modern consoles.

What I was essentially missing a lot as a child were mainly NES, SNES and Game Boy titles. Later I missed some Saturn titles and N64 and GameCube titles. I also didn’t ever get a Dreamcast. So what caught my attention was first Sega and then Sony. Did I follow Sony a lot? Maybe not. I never had a PS2. Can you think about this? I hardly can.

All in all we can say that there are for all of us these gaming consoles that brought us to the hobby or maybe to some to the profession. It is your own curiosity that makes you want to dig deep and try to discover some old games that you haven’t yet played. And this is also what makes video gaming interesting.

Characteristics of Sega Mega Drive Games

I was playing Shinobi III – Return of the Ninja Master as I started to focus on how the game is actually developed. I am sometimes, maybe subconsciously, starting to think how the game that I am playing is programmed or how the graphics are put together. I am not a professional game developer but I still find thinking about this very interesting. I started to realize that there are some characteristics of games that are developed for Sega Mega Drive.

Mega Drive, or Genesis, was released in the late 80s. It aimed to be a serious competitor for Nintendo Entertainment System. It also made it’s best to bring the experience of arcade to consumers living rooms. At this point the hardware performance of game consoles was beginning to be a lot closer to the level of arcade game machines. It was clear that Sega wanted Mega Drive to be more powerful than NES. Sega made this message clear by printing the text “16-Bit” to the surface of Mega Drive game console.

What kinds of games there were back in the day? Are they still worth playing ? We can start from the visual perspective. As Mega Drive had power, it produced very nice graphics if they were compared to the graphics that NES provided. I think SNES has a bit better graphics if you compare them to Mega Drive’s. But SNES was released way later than Mega Drive. The graphics are of course two dimensional as 3D modeled games weren’t yet available.

Mega Drive games are said to be repetitive. I think this is somewhat true. Many times you have to play the same part of the game over and over again until you finally succeed and get to progress. Mega Drive games can be a bit more violent than Nintendo games. You can understand this by thinking about hockey games that have or do not have fights. If you also compare Mortal Kombat games released for these systems there are some clear differences. Sega’s version has more blood on it.

Let’s talk about the gamepad a bit. As you think about how the controller looks you realize that it definitely was designed to be an improvement of NES controller. I mean, just look at it! It’s completely round. NES controller is so edgy and simple compared to Sega’s. There are three buttons, a start button and an axis button – nothing else. This makes this controller simple and easy to use. Although in some games it would be nice to have some more buttons. There are of course some more advanced gamepads available and this is only the one that originally came with the console.

Mega Drive games are addictive. You can play it’s games for hours. That’s just about how long you can spend playing Mega Drive. I think PlayStation later made it possible and even preferable to play the same game for tens of hours and it’s sequel, PS2, took it even further to this direction. Playing Mega Drive can cause you some serious raging. I think this has to do with the repetitiveness. Mega Drive was in late 80s and early 90s very affordable if you compare it to for example PC. In those days you had to spend a fortune if you wanted to buy a personal computer.

Some Characteristics of Sega Mega Drive

The image included here displays my Sega Mega Drive Mini. I have three controllers for it. One them has six regular buttons and two of them that were originally packaged with the gaming console that have only three buttons on the right hand side of the controller. I think original game pad is better than the updated one.

Today I have a free day. So there’s no work for me today. I had some good time playing some Mortal Kombat. It seems to be one of the best games on this gaming system. Other very nice picks are Castlevania – The New Generation, Dick Tracy, Kid Chameleon and Golden Axe II. There are several titles more that are worth playing. It’s not possible to go through them all here. Maybe I write another post about it later.

It is said that Mega Drive games repeat themselves and the gameplay is rough. It is sometimes said that Mega Drive games are worse than Nintendo games of the same era. I wouldn’t say it like that. You can compare these systems, NES and Mega Drive, but to think clearly, you should consider them to be different. You might like Nintendo games more. Or you might think like I do and I think these consoles are both good in a certain way.

Sega’s games are maybe harder to play. They definitely are more violent. In some ice hockey games there is fighting and in Mortal Kombat you can see blood as you hit or kick your opponent. NES’s games are more complex and maybe a bit more better when considering gameplay. But Nintendo’s games can be called childish. In a matter of fact this is a case of sense of taste and you can’t really argue on these.

When it comes to 16-bit devices Nintendo might have better performance in SNES than Mega Drive. That’s natural as SNES was released years after Mega Drive. I think Mega Drive had good graphics. SNES maybe had a bit better ones. But it is clear that these two represent the best quality of their own time. In the 90s you found some good games that brought you maybe the best graphics that were possible to produce as 2D graphics. When the next generation consoles were released they were heading strongly towards 3D.

I have greatly enjoyed my Mega Drive Mini. It’s price tag was about 60 euros. As I mentioned in the beginning of this blog post it came with two controllers. It takes days of two to three hours of playing to really understand this console. You will find the best parts of it. And of course you will also find the limitations that this device has. Things have progressed in designing of games and of course the technology has advanced. We might even see some new games to be released for Mega Drive even today.

Altered Beast and The Showcase of Sega Mega Drive

Altered Beast is a game that was available when Sega Mega Drive was launched back in 1988. You have to consider that this game was one of the first games ever released for a game console like this. Nintendo had its 8-bit system in the markets. Sega gained the position of the most powerful gaming console in the industry. At that point SNES wasn’t yet released. I think SNES had a bit more power to it when compared to Mega Drive.

I am mentioning this detail because you know how it is when a console launches. It usually has only a few games and these games aren’t the best ones that will be made for this console. Everyone seems to understand and know this. You need a game that you can play right? So you have to choose at least one from the ones that are available. This pattern was recognizable also when systems like Saturn and PlayStation launched.

Altered Beast is a nice game. You control a character that gets waken up from grave to beat all kinds of beasts. You basically control the character with three buttons of the controller. One button gives you jump, one gives you a hit with a fist and one makes you kick. You can also crouch with down button. This game reminds me a lot about Splatterhouse 2 that was also released as a Mega Drive game later. You also get upgrades. When you get enough of updates your character transforms into a beast that is faster and stronger than it was earlier.

The game play isn’t perfect. Still this game kept me playing for some hours or maybe about three hours. I couldn’t get past through the boss at level 2. Like any Mega Drive game this game also gets you easily frustrated. This is a common feature in Sega’s games. There is a bit of a repetition going on. But it’s not the worst game of Mega Drive I have played and I think it showcases the abilities of this gaming console nicely.

I think for me this was a nice pick up. I paid about twenty euros for this game. I think it is a huge part of gaming history and also part of the legacy of Sega Mega Drive. This wasn’t the only game I ordered as I also bought two PlayStation 1 games. These other games were Bomberman and Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX Maximum Remix. So this time I bought three games for a low price.

Differences between Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter

I finally managed to get my hands on original Street Fighter II SNES cartridge. It is not a rare or expensive game. But it is definitely a good fighting game and has earned its position as one of the greatest fighting games ever.

There is however competition. Street Fighter games are always compared to Mortal Kombat series’s games. Back in the 90s these two were the best fighting games that any decent arcade, or a video gaming console, had to offer. It was before we got these 3D styled fighting experiences like for example Tekken or Virtua Fighter.

The competition between these two brands was furious. Nintendo wanted to get more young players to enjoy their games. There is no blood in Street Fighter II. In Mortal Kombat you have these deadly fatalities that can be executed after you have beaten your opponent . This was also a time when consumers were becoming more aware of violence in video games.

I played Street Fighter II for a while. It got me to understand how it is different when compared to Mortal Kombat. The latter was released for Sega Mega Drive and the first one was a SNES title. First thing that caught my attention was the differences between controllers.

The way you play these games is almost identical. There is one fighter against the other fighter. The moves are however different. You do have kicks and punches and you can throw your enemy to the other conrner of the screen. Mega Drive doesn’t have shoulder buttons in its controller while SNES does have. Button layout is a bit different when compared between these two gaming consoles.

Mortal Kombat is the one of these two that shows elements of brutal violence. Street Fighter doesn’t show you blood and violence is a bit more cartoonishly expressed. Is it okay to show how violence in real life affects your victim? I don’t have a clear answer. Both of these games are violent. Do you have a problem with it? Well, I don’t as I think of it as fantasy. I do understand that you might have to have a conversation with younger palyers on this topic at some moment.

While this might not be a good time for a discussion about violence in video games but it is a time for me to try to finish this blog post honestly. Both of these fighting games are great. Maybe I should say that I like both of them and that they both have their own strengths. So I can recommend both of them if you have the ability to also play both of them.

Breaking Down Mortal Kombat II

I’d like to spend a moment describing my experiences about the second Mortal Kombat game that was released for Sega Mega Drive in 1993. The game has some technical limitations as Mega Drive isn’t, and wasn’t even back in the days, the most powerful platform to release a game like this. Arcade version of this game might have been smoother but we aren’t going to go there today since it’s been too long time for me to talk about that here.

As a software developer graduate I can see some things while playing that I don’t know if they are so clear for people that don’t know computers, technology and programming so well. This small blog post is here for you to dive a bit deeper on how the game is played. I also understand that some people are way better at playing this kinds of games. I have only spent some tens of hours playing Mortal Kombat. Also I like to note that I am concentrating on Mortal Kombat II here instead of all two dimensional fighting games. Yes, there are many of them and I have to mention Street Fighter series here.

This stuff is very interesting for me. I can see how the game kind of “reads” your moves. The opponent, it is this time a computer, reacts to your moves. It can make a move that is most suitable for a certain situation. So the key to winning your opponent is to react with a move that is the best move in your situation. You have to time this move correctly. You have to be in a right position. And this isn’t all there is to it. You can make moves freely. You have to define when and at which position to make the move that is correct move for you to make the opponents health bar decrease.

Fighting games have come a long way since the days of 1993. It is very different to play against the computer than it would be to play against a player. I know that games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter are very popular as genres of electronic sports. So you can have a competition against human players. This is how the game was designed. It sometimes feels like the computer is cheating but what else would it do than read your input and position and react as fast and powerfully as possible.

But to talk more about the game. It’s a great game. I find it very fascinating. The graphics are better than the first Mortal Kombats were. It seems like the development team have done a great work. The game has twelve different characters that have their own strengths and weaknesses. This makes the game even more interesting. To beat the game you have to know how to play with not only one character but many different characters that have their unique special moves and so on. You could actually compare and describe which characters are best against a specific opponent.

I am not sure what the basic attributes of all the characters are. I haven’t touched or even seen the source code. I am not aware if this code is available or is it “open source” or closed code. I know that Mega Drive didn’t have so much memory to use. Graphics and movement took a lot of processing from this gaming console also. When considering that this game was released in 1993 it is a game of very good quality. There is also a port for PC. If you are a big fan I can recommend to getting your hands on Mortal Kombat X. And to be honest I have to say that I just some days ago ordered Mortal Kombat 11 for PS4. I had to do it because the price was, I think, this time good. I hope this short blog post can give you inspiration wherever you are and in what situation with work or studying you might be.

How Basketball Games Have Evolved – From Super Real Basketball to NBA2K18

The first basketball game I ever owned was Super Real Basketball. It was released for Sega Mega Drive. Later NBA Jam came and it was maybe the best basketball game, or maybe title, of all time in sport games history. Let’s take a deeper look into how Super Real Basketball was played and how it was compared to the latest basketball game I have right now in my collections.

Super Real Basketball was fast paced game. You could move one player that had or didn’t have the ball. You had your defensive play and your offensive play. You could steal the ball if opponent tried to pass it to a teammate. When you had a drive to the basket there suddenly appeared an animation that required you to hit the shoot button at right moment. If you were on defense and you were near the player that was trying to score you could block the shot, again, by pressing a button at correct time. If you wanted to shoot a three pointer that was also possible.

The limitations of one of the first Sega Mega Drive basketball games were that although it promised a sense of reality it actually wasn’t very realistic. One thing there is that could have been designed better and that was the statistics of the game. The game didn’t have strong statistics. There weren’t real names of players of NBA or any other league. Names were just some basic names. You really couldn’t make much of a difference between players. Some players were faster than others or had better shooting skills. You just couldn’t name a player that was good with for example ball handling.

When it comes to the latest basketball games there is lots of improvements that have been made over the time as sport games have generally developed more. The latest NBA game I have is NBA2K18. The 2K series of basketball games has had good reviews, I think, since the release of NBA2K14. I think you can already trust the quality. When there is another season beginning there will be a good basketball game made with the latest players and teams.

Statistics ar great in NBA2K18. You basically play maybe two or three seasons and develop your player. You first choose some qualities of the player that don’t change like the name, number of the players shirt and height and even weight. You have to think what kind of a player you want to create. Will it be a 3 point shooter, point guard or play maker or do you want to become a center that has amazing blocking and defensive skills. After that you play the regulat season, one season is 82 games long and if you win enough games, you go to playoffs. Your player gets skill points that give you options to buy more stats for your player.

The gameplay is very nicely developed especially compared to the first basketball game I was talking about earlier. You can make steals, although you can get a penalty, if you are too much into stealing the ball, block a shot of an opponent in real time. Shooting is based on how open you are, what kind of a release you have and also how good is the ability of shooting of your player. You have a strong feel that you are actually the player. The Mega Drive game was about team play – the newer game is about individual player, but you have some game modes that enable you to play as a team or as a coach. I’ve only played NBA 2Ks, 2K14 and 2K18, as a single, individual, player.

So there is a lot of progress. I can tell you about NBA Jam also a bit. I first started playing it in an arcade. We had a great arcade that had games like NBA Jam and Mortal Kombat. So that was the first touch. I later played with a friend that had College Slam on his PC. That was cool. Lately I bought NBA Jam for Mega Drive. It’s still a great and fast paced basketball game that is played two versus two. There have been many versions and I like the PS3 version the most. It’s funniest when played with an opponent that is a human person. It’s not so much fun if played against a computer.

So these two basketball games are ones that I truly have myself played and I’ve played them a lot. It’s really nice to see how the sports games have been developing since late 1980s. And you can see how licensing, and I mean here that the players and teams have real names, affects the experience of the game. You can name a player that is good at shootiing three pointers for example. Like, to mention someone, Stephen Curry. It gives that certain touch to the games build aaround playing basketball. There are also games in which you can play on the streets. Maybe I have space and time to write about them some other time.

There’s Something About Space Shooters

There is a genre of video games that is called “shoot-em-ups” or “shmups” for short. These shooter types of games have been in my mind since I was a child. I am not sure where I picked up these memories. It was probably from some arcade, restaurant, bar or some other place that I spotted a game or few that were about space, shooting and monsters. The game I have in my mind, or the memory of it, takes place in some space related environment. There are blinking dragons and a flying star fleet ship that is shooting that thing.

Of course this isn’t any real game. It was some unknown game that I had seen somewhere. It is however true that there were games like this, space shoot-em-ups, in the end of the 80s in arcades (for example). When the hottest gaming device was Sega Mega Drive they marketed the gaming console with a promise that it would bring arcades to living rooms of our homes. Maybe the graphics weren’t as impressive but they were something at that time. They were a bit more detailed than those NES games we had seen some years earlier. And the sound that was generated was better in pure quality also.

The screenshot that is related to this¬† blog post is taken from a game that is called Gynoug. I’m not sure if it is qualified as a space shoot-em-up but it for sure is a shoot-em-up. This game represents the genre. Playing this game can give some view about the it. It is often said that Mega Drive games are hard to play and that they repeat themselves a lot. I am mentioning also the fact that there was no way for the player to save the game and this caused the game usually to be very repetitive. I can understand this better when I think about what kind of a deal it was to design and program a game in 1990s. So the game development methods weren’t as advanced as nowadays. Maybe someone should desing more new games for Mega Drive today?

The influence these games gave to the whole industry of game development is undeniable. The key to success inside space shoot-em-ups is to move to correct direction at correct time and shooting all of time and accurately. I can already see how programmers coded the behavior of the monster you are shooting. Often you can recognize the pattern. Then you move according to where you see you have the position that enables you to not get hit by a missile or any other particle that is headed at you. This can be fun. Nowadays you do see the limitations of the games designed in the past. Althought there is a lot to learn from these games. I definitely recommend you to play some shooter game like this. This game can be Zero Wing, M.U.S.H.A. or Gynoug but there are also other good ones.

My Recent Experiences of SEGA Mega Drive

I recently stumbled on a nice deal. I found that SEGA Mega Drive Mini was on sale. Its price was 59 euros. Of course my living, or gaming, room is full of consoles. So I had to buy also a new HDMI Switching Console to get some more devices connected to my television. I forgot to buy one more HDMI cable so I ended up unplugging my PlayStation Classic. I’m getting a new cable some time after the holidays. Anyways I got my “retro nostalgia” on again. Played a game of Streets of Rage II with my wife. She usually doesn’t play so much but this game inspired her a lot. We played some time maybe an hour or so. Mega Drive has so many great games.

Some might say that SNES is better than Mega Drive. In my opinion there isn’t “the best console” or “better console” just a different type of console. If someone says Mega Drive doesn’t have any reasonable, decent or good games, I believe is wrong. There is always this comparison. Mega Drive and SNES were competing hard. SNES seemed to capture younger audience with games and characters like Super Mario or Donkey Kong or Zelda. Mega Drive brought fighting and violence in the form of hockey games with fights and blood in games like Mortal Kombat. I’m not going very deeply in the technological differences of these two. Let’s just say that Mega Drive was released, in Europe, 1990 and SNES was released 1992. So I believe SNES was slightly better in purely technical view.

As I am saying these consoles were not bad or good. They were different. For me it was always Mega Drive. I remember getting it in maybe 1993. I still have the original box it came in. It is a bit worn out because I took my Mega Drive with me at times when spending time outside our homes living room when I was a child. It has so many memories. I played hours and hours. At that time games wouldn’t take ten to thirty hours to complete. They were smaller and often more difficult to play. So there really was no room for SNES inside my gaming hobby at that time. I have got to know SNES better as I grew more older and understood better its meaning as one of the most popular gaming consoles of the past.

Music and graphics are a bit old but at the same time very nostalgic. I don’t know if it’s reasonable to spend some hours to play these old games. Why do I keep coming back to Mega Drive? Because I like also about the fact that it was a part of history. It was part of my history and it was part of the history of gaming. The price for this purchase I made was low. If you consider that the price was about 100 euros, and 59 euros was the price I bought it,¬† and that this device had 42 games installed I think this was a very good deal and it brought many great memories to my mind. It is a reflection of the times of the 90s.

I am saying Merry Christmas for all the readers of this blog. Take a break. You have earned it!

Sega vs Nintendo – What was it all about?

Nintendo released a maximum mega hit gaming console back in the 80’s. It was called NES or Nintendo Entertainment System. Atari had released gaming consoles targeted to use inside customers living rooms. It was about the time when arcades were quickly challenged by these kinds of devices you could easily set up inside your own home. The trend was there. Personal computers, PCs, were becoming more and more popular also.

While Sega Master System wasn’t a very bad console it couldn’t fully challenge NES. Sega knew they had to release a better, more powerful, gaming console to compete with Nintendo. Mega Drive, or Genesis as it was called in the USA, was released at the end of 1980’s and in Europe right at the beginning of 90’s.

I remember clearly the commercial of Mega Drive. It was a promise to bring arcades to homes. It delivered graphics and sound at 16-bit quality instead of earlier gaming consoles 8-bits. If Master System didn’t have so many hit games Sega promised also to bring good quality software in the form of great games. Sonic The Hedgehog and Golden Axe II were some of the most popular titles back then with not forgetting some greatness that was brought to paying customers by games like Splatterhouse, Streets Of Rage and for example Kid Chameleon.

Nintendo had Super Mario. Can someone say seriously that Super Mario wasn’t a great game? I think no one would say or think that way. So he was the mascot of the whole NES and also Nintendo. The battle for the gamers hearts (and money) was ultimately bloody and sweaty. You can have, if you wish, a great debate about which console had better games then the other.

As the battle continued Nintendo seemed to take in consideration how violent some games were. They started to deliver fighting games with no blood, hockey games without fights and cute characters that might seem to appeal to younger audience. Sega instead was reaching for customers that wanted this kind of rawness in their games. They didn’t remove the blood or the violence. You have to remember that things were a bit different back then since games in general weren’t so realistic. Sega was also paying more attention to the packaging of their games since Master Systems games were catching critic on that issue.

So who won the battle? You can definitely say that both consoles and companies were doing great. Sega was successful and so was Nintendo. Later, Sega made some bad decisions and started to be in trouble. The last console that was released was Dreamcast. Nintendo instead has been bringing gaming consoles up to this day as Switch is their latest console. Dreamcast was released in the end of 90’s and Switch was released 2017.

 

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