The Sega Mega Drive is to games consoles in the 90s as George Best was to football 30 year previously. Video gaming and football were obviously around before them but once they appeared on the scene the future would change forever.
The best piece of black plastic since Michael Jackson, the Mega Drive revived Sega’s fortunes in the marketplace and with some cracking games released during its eight year production its popularity lasts until today.
After the Sega Master System had been overtaken by the Super Nintendo in the late 80s, Sega realised that they had to produce a 16 bit fourth generation console to keep up. It was launched in North America as the Sega Genesis but when it arrived on our shores in November 1990 the Mega Drive was born.
The Mega Drive II followed soon after with a few tweaks making it the best console around. Add-ons would follow such as the Mega CD but even when Sega developed the Sega Saturn in 1998 it was still outsold by its older brother which went on to sell 29 million units worldwide.
With its simple design there was very little that could go wrong, but if it started playing up a simple blow into the port to force any dust out was more than necessary. However there was a glitch where if you gave it a good kick whilst you were getting destroyed on a game it would freeze, ending any torture early.
And there were plenty of classic games to play on it once you’d plugged it in and heard the classic Segaaaaa noise. I am still partial to a few games of World Cup Italia 90 and as mentioned elsewhere in this blog still bash buttons on Sonic the Hedgehog which was a worldwide smash hit.
Micro Machines was another favourite of mine due to the fact that you could plug an extra couple of controllers into the cartridge itself for four player gaming. Streets Of Rage was also a cool platform game, and I used to love messing around on Tazmania and Dizzy The Egg too.
Whilst all my mates are purring over their fancy PS3s or Xbox 360s, I still can’t resist the urge to set up my Mega Drive from time to time and kick some virtual ass on Street Fighter, safe in the knowledge that I’m playing the coolest console ever for a few hours. Well, dust permitting anyway…