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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon
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Sunday, February 03, 2008

My Video Gaming History - Part II: The Sega Master System

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 03/02/2008 22:47:30
Updated by Joel Dixon at 06/02/2008 14:24:36


Quote:
Find the miracle ball
In my early primary school days a geeky-looking kid named Nick joined our grade 2 class a few weeks into the year. My best pal Jason and I had planned to torment this "new guy" relentlessly, until we found out he was an Essendon Bombers fan. We became fast friends and as I lived a 10 minute bike ride away from Nick's house, we spent most of our after-school time together. We used to take treks "down the creek" to investigate sewer pipes, ride our bikes (I had a sweet set of Skyway Tuffs wheels) to the Ringwood bowl (no longer there) accomplishing amazing tricks (like a mono) and we spent a lot of time on Nick's Sega Master System hurting our thumbs.

WE5T 0NE

Sega Master System
We had the vastly superior Sega Master System II

The game that utilised most of our time was Alex Kidd in Miracle World, which was bundled with the Sega Master System II (in this case bundled meant it was actually part of the system - when you turned on the game without a cartridge in it, Alex Kidd would start). Miracle World was a very simple platformer, and the first game starring the Master System's mascot Alex Kidd (in some games he was a boy with large ears, in other he looked more like a monkey than human). Being the time before Game FAQs, Nick and I spent countless hours trying to discover the secrets of Miracle World, and we eventually learnt all there was to know about the game. And, of course, all this time was spent bugging my parents for our own Master System.

Map
Alex is eating a rice ball here - but in my version it was replaced with a hamburger

Jenken
We memorised all of the boss men's jenken strategies

Helicopter
I really enjoyed the helicopter stages

Eventually our parents relented, and I think it was Easter of 1988 that we received our own holy grail of gaming. I didn't quite react like this guy - but I was very happy to say the least. We started with a copy of Enduro Racer (a very basic motorcycle game) and eventually built up our gaming library over time. As the games were all on cartridges, piracy was not possible, so we relied a lot on our local One-Stop Video store for new and exciting games. I can remember standing in One-Stop for a very long time, furiously studying the back of the game boxes to make my important choice. As we spent most of our money on hiring the games instead of buying them - we had a good variety of titles rolling through the Dixon household. I had hunted down some of the classics for a previous pixel-related blog entry:

Mega System Games
(from top-left) The Ninja, Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, Micky Mouse: Castle of Illusion, Desert Storm, Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Enduro Racer, Sonic the Hedgehog, California Games, Parlour Games

There were a few games which hold a special place in my memory. The main would would have to be Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap. Part of the Wonder Boy series, this game was a side scroller with a bit of a difference. At the very start of the game, after defeating the Meka Dragon, you are transformed into Lizard-Man a very weak character (doesn't even hold a sword). During your quest to return to a Hu-Man, you play as different -Man's (Mouse-Man, Lion-Man etc) each with unique abilities (ie. Lizard-Man is impervious to lava). You can also purchase various swords, shields and armour which can provide unique abilities (the Magical Saber can make invisible blocks appear etc). This game was on high hire rotation during primary school - and early in high school I found that Eryc-Ads was also a huge fan of this game (and better at it than I was). This sparked another period of squaring off against Mr. Meka Dragon & co. - and every couple of years I fire this one back up on the emulator.

Meka Dragon
The Meka Dragon is my biartch

Lizard Man
The first town isn't as fun when you're a damn lizard

Mouse Man
Mouse-Man is probably my favourite

Another family favourite was Parlour Games, providing electronic pool, darts and bingo faithfully represented in 8 bit graphics and a killer soundtrack. This title has the particular distinction of being the first game I ever bought with my own money (it was worth it!). Pool was the most popular sport in our family, but darts had a run every so often. This was another game that I rediscovered with Eryc-Ads in my high school days - as a group of us would take turns playing pool or sit around watching the one person play bingo.

Billiards
The Trendy Break in operation

Darts
Open In, Open Out?

Bingo
I still don't fully understand how this game worked

The Master System was a great introduction to console gaming, and it helped prepare me for the gaming juggernaut of the Mega Drive that was soon to follow!


This is the 2nd in the My Video Gaming History series
Part I - My Video Gaming History - Part I: The Commodore 64Part II - My Video Gaming History - Part II: The Sega Master System Back to Top

Comments

Ahh good ole Fistface
Man i was so envious of the master system kids back in the day, they had it locked in.. That fistface dood from alex kidd certainly brings back a flood of good times spent wasting various saturday afternoons down at my old friend josh's place.

Anyhoo to fuel your pixel related love a few suggestions..

1. Check out pixelblocks (i recall showing hitman these at some stage but dunno if i showed you). I got a box of 2000 of these babies off of thinkgeek a little while ago and had nearly used them all up in a couple of hours. Very addictive!! Essentially tiny legos that can be used to build 2d or 3d shapes, 1 pixel at a time.

http://www.pixelblocks.com


2. See anything done by Paul Robertson.. Like this! http://www.joystiq.com/2006/04/26/pirate-babys-cabana-battle -street-fight-2006/

If anyone should be writing videogames its this dood. You'll see why soon enough. Plenty more bits by him on youtube.


3. Not pixel related but if you haven't seen any of Don Hertzfeldt's animation bank on that too. Twisted. Weird. Genius.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSb-nV8l2QY


# Posted - 08/02/2008 10:41:51
Hey Lurkster - good to hear from you. Thanks for the reply - as items 1, 2 and 3 are all news to me!

Firstly - PixelBlocks are hawt! ThinkGeek has run out unfortunately, and it's tough finding another online retailer that ships to Australia. I shall get some though! You hadn't told me about them before - do you have any pictures of your end results? I think my first work of art will look a little like this:

Wonder Boy

That video from Paul Robertson was sweet, could have used a little more blood though. Made me think back to Final Fight and those style of games (like The Simpsons arcade game). I liked this ad that he did.

And Don Hertzfeldt is great (and yeah - wierd pretty much explains it ). My favourite is Billy's Balloon. I like that he actually uses an old 35mm camera for his animation.

Did you see the video my brother linked to in my last pixel rant? http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/mq - very amusing. BTW - Fistface, nice name. We just called him stone head.


# Posted - 09/02/2008 18:43:08
Cool post.

Were the tuffs on the Mongoose we got from Trace?

Tuffs are cool.



# Posted - 12/02/2008 15:41:48
Is that where the bike came from? I had actually wondered how our family came into possession of a Mongoose with Tuffs.

Even though one of the wheels had five tuff spokes and the other one had six - that bike almost made me cool!


# Posted - 12/02/2008 20:35:11
After i read this i discovered a couple of great second hand games retailers near my place. Been going deep on classic systems for cheap (Working NES $10!).

Just locked into a MSII the other day, given that I was deprived of them as a chile. Its funny noting that my housemates, who generally complain about any game being played on the lounge room tv (notable exception Guitar Hero III), were all deeply enthralled in the nostalgic trip that is alex kidd.

Btw, I got the message about lunch meetup yesterday, was keen but well under @ work at the mo, there's a new release on friday that needs attending to. Should definitely lock in a after works drinks in the city on a friday in the next couple of weeks, alot more time to catch up than is allowed in a single lunch break.


# Posted - 21/02/2008 13:25:53
Nice - International Cricket and Aussie Rules Footy were two of my favourites on the Nintendo.

But yeah - the Master System is where it's at. You a Guitar Hero fan too? I'm so addicted to that game! I'm still on GH II at the moment - Sweet Child o' Mine can make even me feel like a rock star! I'm hanging out for some sweet drum mayhem when Rock Band finally comes out.

No probs about lunch - I knew it was going to be tough for you to make it. A Friday drinks is a good idea - I'll have to start getting something organised.


# Posted - 21/02/2008 21:17:07
out of bounds. on the full!

# Posted - 03/03/2008 12:03:20
Ah Furey - I can still remember that voice informing us that the ball was out of bounds. Especially as it happened fwarty times a game.

We usually mocked the voice by responding with something which almost rhymed like "You're a dick - you're a fool". I was pretty cool back then.


# Posted - 03/03/2008 19:28:28
ummm, ever heard of gaming addicition?

# Posted - 19/03/2008 03:53:28
devlin - welcome to this rarely updated site. Thanks for your input.

I found the link you provided very interesting (though a big part of why the term "addicting games" is searched so frequently is the Addicting Games website. It's not like we use the terms "addicting drugs" or "addicting porn" - the term "video game addiction" barely makes the top 50).

I've actually been thinking about gaming addiction for a few months now - and not just because my wife has been suggesting I spend a lot of my time in front of the 360! I find addiction an incredibly fascinating topic - more so once I started reading Irvine Welsh's novels. I'm actually planning on blogging about it some day (especially when a hobby / interest / habit becomes an addiction).

But yeah - I'm pretty sure I have some level of addiction to video games - depending on how you define addiction. Though I won't get too worried about it until I quit my job to concentrate on gaming full time


# Posted - 19/03/2008 13:44:42
been polishing up (on your blog, natch) and just had to reply to this thread. that damn MEKA dragon was so much easier to beat in wonder boy 3, that stupid timeclock thing in wonderboy in monsterland meant that by the time you got to him you were nearly finished anyway.

ahh, happy days wasted playing the mega-drive; we are best friends, right?


# Posted - 30/04/2008 14:40:22
ha ha - got any homework that needs doing?

Wonderboy III was a pretty good level of difficulty IMO. Monster Land was ridiculous.


# Posted - 30/04/2008 23:02:20

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