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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon

Viewing blogs tagged Master System

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

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.


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.

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

We memorised all of the boss men's jenken strategies

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.

The Trendy Break in operation

Open In, Open Out?

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
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