A look back at the Sega Mega Drive

— Danielle Salmon contributed with this article

When the Sega Mega Drive came out in early 1990s, it felt like a it was a one of a kind console. The variety of exciting and creative games made it instantly into a childhood favourite.

Everyone had their own favourite game on the Mega Drive. There were games like the “Adventures of Dizzy”, or “the game where you played as an egg” as most people remember it. It’s fun, entertaining and an all out feel-good game as everyone wants to be an egg, right?

The Mega Drive was a popular console but time has left it behind. Photo: Steve Berry via Flickr

There was “Mega Bomberman”, a game you would play if you wanted to blow up little blocks and in turn, blow up the other players. A simple yet fun game.

“Golden Axe” is another prime example – a short multiplayer RPG game where you could play as a barbarian, a dwarf, or a sexy woman wearing nothing but a badly home-made bikini. It’s comparable to the “Baldur’s Gate” series due to similar story and gameplay.

The Mega Drive produced a lot of different styles of games and generally opened up a whole new world of gaming. Pushing things to their limits and opening up the imagination of younger children.

However, 10 years on it seems like there are only a few people who still own a Sega Mega Drive, let alone play it. Everyone’s moved on to bigger and better things like the PS3 and Xbox 360. But have the game ideas and stories improved along with the graphics?

Scott Homer, in his third year of game design, grew up with his hands glued to the Mega Drive controller with his favourite game being “Global Gladiators”.

“I liked it so much because it was the only game out on Sega at the time that involved shooting a gun and I like to shoot stuff, so to me it was the perfect game,” he said.

Scott Joyce, also studying game design, insists that the best game ever was “Alex the Kidd in the Enchanted Castle” calling it his “childhood love”.

“I downloaded it for my PC a few years back and couldn’t stop playing it… I wouldn’t be so into games if I didn’t play ‘Alex the Kidd’. I want to make games for young kids to get them into games when I’m older, I think it’s amazing.”

The “Alex the Kidd” series was well known by a lot of Mega Drive owners as Sega’s previous console, the Master System, had one of the games built into some systems. The main character, Alex, became the subject of much merchandising and for a time was the unofficial mascot for the Sega Corporation.

Andrew Skinner, a second year journalism student at the University of Lincoln says that “FIFA Soccer 95” was his favourite game.

“You could run away from the referee whilst he was trying to book you and also because it’s what got me into foreign football.”

Sega’s biggest step in showing the world just how good they were was the release of “Sonic the Hedgehog”. It received critical acclaim as one of the greatest games ever made on the system, and the console really took off.

The Mega Drive took two years to make its way from Japan to Europe, but there was a good side to the delay as it meant the system launched with a lot more games than other regions. Many gamers chose not to wait another two years after that for the rival Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) to come out and decided to purchase the Mega Drive. Even when the SNES hit Europe, the Mega Drive was lower in price and had a larger selection of games.

With games like “Alex the Kidd” and “Sonic the Hedgehog”, the Mega Drive had the ‘pick up and play’ style nailed and was cheap enough to be found in a lot of people’s homes. While Nintendo’s SNES might have ruled the market overseas, the simple joys of some Sega games meant the console was an important part of many people’s childhood.

One Response to A look back at the Sega Mega Drive

  1. Ian Wilson says:

    Interesting article, there’s a thriving Mega Drive community out there worldwide who are reliving those memories from the 90`s!

    I’ve got a blog & You Tube channel dedicated to it :)