The 30th Anniversary of the Sega Mega Drive

Today, is a very special day because it marks the 30th Anniversary of one of the most legendary game consoles of all time. On October 29th, 1988 the Sega Mega Drive was released and since that day the landscape of the gaming world had changed for the better. The Sega Mega Drive was the first 16-bit game consoles to achieve mainstream success. The Mega Drive was also the game console that pushed Nintendo to release the Super NES back in 1990 to compete with Sega. The visuals for games on the Mega Drive were simply amazing which made the console seem like it was ahead of its time.

We got to see games such as Sonic the Hedgehog along with the Phantasy Star which became popular during the early 90’s. Without the Mega Drive console it would be hard to imagine what the landscape of gaming would have looked like back in the early 90’s. The Mega Drive console will always hold a special place in the the hearts of retro gamers who grew up between the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Should Sega make a new Thunder Force game?

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When it comes down to classic games for the Sega Genesis the Thunder Force series is something that instantly comes to mind when people think about the 16 bit era of gaming.   Even though, the Thunder Force series was not as popular as other Sega titles such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Streets of Rage it was definitely a fun title to play if you were a fan of the rail shooting genre of gaming.   The last Thunder Force game that we ever got from Sega was back in 2008 when Thunder Force IV was released for the PlayStation.   While some people may have good opinions about Thunder Force IV others would agree that the series is better suited as a 2D 16-bit side scrolling game opposed to the utilization of 3D graphics.

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Not only that the Thunder Force series had interesting storylines involving the Galaxy Federation and the ORN Empire that really drew people into the game.   Looking back at the Thunder Force series now its probably one of those things that many retro gamers took for granted growing up in the 90’s.  While the latest game Thunder Force IV did not do too well in terms of sales did does not mean that there are many people who are not interested in the series itself.  If Sega wanted to revive the Thunder Force series one of the things they should do includes reverting back to the 16 bit graphics and 2D gameplay that made it popular to begin with.  Second, Sega would have to effectively market the game in a way that would grab the attention of  both retro and modern day gamers.  However, that is a task which is easier said than done considering the fact that the landscape of the gaming industry has changed dramatically since the early 90’s.  While rail shooters seem not existent when it comes down to mainstream video games reviving a title like the Thunder Force series would make it stand out from all the other RPG’s and first person shooter titles that are very popular today.

16-Bit Gaming- Batman Returns: (1992)

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We all remember the famous movie Batman Returns which was released in theaters worldwide in 1989.  While the movie for Batman Returns was well liked by many people following its release the video game was also considered to be very popular along with being one of the 16-bit titles of its time.  When video game movie of Batman Returns was developed in 1992 it was released for a variety of game consoles including the Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, Mega-CD,  NES and Game Gear.  Out of all of the video game releases many people would argue that the Super Nintendo version of Batman Returns was probably the best.  The Super Nintendo version of Batman Returns not only had detailed graphics but it also included special gameplay which facilitated between beat em up and 2D side scrolling action.  While the beat em up levels of Batman Returns looked pretty cool and resembled games such as the Final Fight series the 2D side scrolling stages seemed somewhat constrictive since players were more limited in their actions.

The 2D side scrolling levels were tough to complete since players could only attack using weapons like the batarang and smart bombs.  Also, the battle against the Penugin is very difficult since players were limited in their actions along with the fact that almost every boss in this game seemed tough to defeat.  Some people might argue that Catwoman was easier to defeat than the Penugin which is saying a lot.   Even though, Catwoman is a difficult boss in this game that players must battle more than once she is probably easier to defeat than the Penugin since Batman is with more freedom to move around the level.  When people start playing Batman Returns for the first time they are most likely to be impressed by numerous aspects of the game from the intro all the way down to the character and stage designs of this title.  Batman Returns for the SNES is probably one of the coolest games that Konami has made among many in the early 90’s.  While the NES and the Sega Genesis versions of Batman Returns are cool in their own respective ways many would argue that the SNES version was the most superior version of the game overall.

16 Bit Games- Wonder Boy In Monster World: (1991)

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When it comes down to 16 bit games for the Sega Genesis Wonder Boy In Monster World along with the other games within Wonder series are among the few titles that some that stand out to some people in regards to the platform genre.  While some may argue that Wonder Boy In Monster World was nothing  special they can also claim that the game itself was probably one of the most difficult platform titles that they have ever played on the Sega Genesis.  Even though, the story for Wonder Boy In Monster World was very basic and involved destroying monsters and slaying BioMeka with the main character Shion the game itself was much more challenging than it actually looked.  As people try to progress throughout the game they will discover that its almost impossible to complete the whole thing within a few tries.  In fact, trying to figure out what to do in this game can also be a huge challenge for first timers especially when it came down to using items.

Figuring out what to do in the game on one hand was tough at times but it was also something that made Wonder Boy In Monster World interesting.  Aside from the actual gameplay for Wonder Boy in Monster World the graphics and  stage designs for this game were nice and made for an adventurous platform title.  When it comes down to which game is the best in the Wonder series many people who are familiar with it would probably suggest that Wonder Boy III: Dragon’s Trap was great.  While some people might argue that Wonder Boy In Monster World was not as good as “Dragon’s Trap” released in 1989 they can definitely agree that it was just as challenging.   Old school video games such as the Wonder Boy series for the Mega Drive which were popular in the late 80’s and early 90’s had showed us that when it came down to 2D RPG platform titles that Sega can definitely be as exciting as the SNES in that same genre.

Retro Games- Shining In The Darkness: (1990)

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The RPG titles for the Sega Genesis were always special especially those that were featured in the Shining series.  One of the many games in the Shining series for the Sega Genesis that some people found interesting was Shining In The Darkness which released in the early 90’s.  The plot for Shining in the Darkness is very basic and has the main character rescuing a king’s daughter along with his father while going on a journey to discover the Arms of Light.  The plot for Shining In The Darkness takes place in a place known as the Kingdom of Thornwood and has people playing throughout the game in various 3D Dungeon Mazes to thwart the plans of the main antagonist known as Dark Sol.  While Shining In The Darkness is an adventurous turn based RPG title for the Sega Genesis its also known to be one of the first games in the Shining series.  The visual design, sound and gameplay for Shining In The Darkness were all qualities that made the game itself appealing.

The graphics for the Shining In the Darkness was probably one of the best in terms of RPG games back in the early 90’s especially in comparison to games such as Final Fantasy III & VI for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.  While the Sega Genesis was not well known for being a console that specialized in role playing games Shining In The Darkness was a game that paved the way for other titles within its genre during the early 90’s .  Even though, Shining In The Darkness was known mainly as a dungeon crawler game for the Sega Genesis it was still considered to be an excellent prequel to the Shining Force I & II.  When it came down to popular RPG titles of the 16 bit era Camelot Software Planning  was responsible for developing one of the coolest game series for the Sega Genesis along with the likes of Phantasy Star.

Retro Games- Thunder Force III: (1990)

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During the late 80’s and early 90’s there were so many cool games that people remembered and loved during the 16 bit era.   While there were various genres that were popular during the 16 bit era including beat em up, fighting, platform and RPG many people also remember how much fun they had with side scrolling rail shooting titles back then.   One of the coolest rail shooting titles that emerged from the 16 bit era was Thunder Force III which was developed by Technosoft and released for the Sega Genesis in 1990.  As many of us know the game also had an arcade release under the title “Thunder Force AC” along with being ported for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System the following year as “Thunder Spirits” in 1991.  Since the Thunder Force series first began in the early 80’s many people were impressed by how much it evolved over time in terms of gameplay and visual design especially during the early 90’s.  As many know Thunder Force III emphasizes the ongoing saga involving the battle between the Galaxy Federation and the ORN Empire.

As players control “Styx”  with the purpose of destroying the ORN Emperor they must travel to various planets including Hydra, Gorgon, Seiren , Haides  and Ellis before infiltrating the ORN headquarters.  While many people like the Sega Genesis version of Thunder Force III some people would probably prefer the arcade or the Super Nintendo version of this game.   In terms of graphics and soundtrack many people would argue that the Sega Genesis version of Thunder Force III was more superior than the Super Nintendo version of this game.  The soundtrack for Thunder Force III was probably among  the best that anyone would hear in a side scrolling rail shooter game and would be considered a 16 bit masterpiece for those who are familiar with this title.   Even though, the level designs for each stage in Thunder Force III was impressive some might argue that a few of the stages were tougher than they looked.  Those who were very skilled a rail shooter games probably had no problem with this game and found it to be more fun then challenging. Thunder Force III was definitely one of the best rail shooter games to have emerged from the early 90’s and is a title which is considered a classic in the eyes of many people who grew up during the 16 bit era.

Retro Gaming-The Revenge of Shinobi: (1989)

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There are many games that were memorable during the console wars between Nintendo and Sega.  One of the many games that comes to mind Sega fans enjoy includes The Revenge of the Shinobi which was originally released in 1989.  This classic title which was published by Sega was a sequel to the first game entitled Shinobi.  This title had included enhanced gameplay and graphics from its predecessor along with a plot takes place three three years from the previous game. In this game players must take control of Joe Musashia in order to fight against the criminal organization known as Neo-Zeed.  While some people may criticize the lack of originality of this plot others are content with the connection it has with this game’s prequel.  This platform slash game allows players to journey through eight different levels in order to complete the game.   While each stage presented its own set of challenges the game had included great BGM which made each level more exciting.

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The musical composition for Revenge Shinobi was created by Yuzo Koshiro the same person who worked on famous titles such as the Streets of Rage series.  Out of all the soundtracks for Revenge of Shinobi  some would argue that Chinatown was the best among some others.   While completing the game provided individuals with a great sense of satisfaction some would argue that the stages near the end along with the boss battles were very difficult.  However, many old school games during the 8 bit and 16 bit were very difficult and provided players with more excitement.   Overall, The Revenge of Shinobi was a significant improvement from the original game and served as a great predecessor for Shinobi III which was released in 1993.

Retro Gaming 80’s -Tetris: (1984)

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There have been many games over the past few decades were designed to challenge individuals mentally. One of the games that many people are familiar with includes the Russian puzzle game known as Tetris.  Since its release in 1986 Tetris has not only received numerous remakes over many years but has been seen by many critics as a iconic puzzle game.  Some people would argue that Tetris is an educational game that is good for cognitive functioning that constantly challenges the players to make decisions based mostly on memory.  There are also others who feel that the game is too repetitive and simplistic but would argue on how fun it is.

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Tertis has become so popular in many countries including America to a point where the game has been released on numerous consoles from the Nintendo Entertainment System to mobile devices which can be downloaded from various app stores.  While Tetris many look like a boring title to many people of today’s generation in the past many retro gamers use to kill a lot of time playing it on their Gameboys when they were bored or on a road trip.  One thing that was noticeable about Tetris includes each level becoming more difficult as one progresses throughout the game.  Increased difficultly in video games is nothing new especially when one progresses throughout the game but in Tetris everything seems to become more inconvenient as one tries to clear the puzzle by eliminating every row until there is nothing left.

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Difficultly in various Tetris games usually surface when the speed of the game increases or one is not able to get the desired blocks they want.  To many people the level of difficult usually begins around level 5 but this generally depends on the player and how much of an expert they are on the game itself.  Overtime this game has become so popular that publications such as Electronic Gaming Monthly and IGN had ranked it among the top ten in the “Greatest Games of All Time” category.  Overall, Tetris is often looked at as the innovator of puzzle gaming and has left a huge impact on the genre since its inception.

Retro Gaming-Phantasy Star II: (1989)

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Phantasy Star II was an RPG game that was originally released in Japan by Sega in 1989.  This title was a direct sequel of the original Phantasy Star game but included slight changes such as new characters.  In Phantasy Star II the main antagonist known as “Dark Force” still plays a major role in the plot of the series but this time he is confronted by a new group of heroes.  The game centers around the main protagonist Rolf who is accompanied by seven allies including Nei, Rudolf Steiner, and Amy Sage.  In retrospect, this game was very good RPG game especially by 80’s standards but some people would argue that the game should have received higher ratings than it.  While a few publications had given the original Phantasy Star game higher scores there are many Sega fans who would argue that the second installment was just as good.

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Similar to the first game Phantasy Star II had awesome sprites and great battle scenes.  One of the enhancements this game has made would actually include the battle scenes because the player can actually see the character they control rather than fighting at a first person view where he is not visible.    Also, the soundtrack of Phantasy Star II was also well composed with BGM such as: “Rise or Fall” which had a nice 80’s vibe to it.  The composer for this game Tokuhiko Uwabo had also did a fantastic job with soundtracks of this game just he did for the prequel.  The BGM for this game had captured the atmosphere of the background and action of everything that occurred which kept players on the edge of their seats.  Even though, Phantasy Star II was originally released for the Sega Mega Drive as many people know this game had been ported to various consoles from different generations including Sega Saturn, Game Boy Advance, Dreamcast, PS2, etc.

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This game had also received a remake back in 2005 entitled “Phantasy Star Generation 2” that was released in Japan with more optimal graphics and gameplay.  If one is huge fan of Phantasy Star II it would be considered advisable that they search for it online because its great.  Overall, Phantasy Star II is considered to be one of the best RPG games made during the 16 bit era and will continue to live in the hearts of many people who enjoyed following its initial release.

Classic Gaming- Phantasy Star: (1987)

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Phantasy Star is another classic game developed by Sega which was released during the later part of 1987.  This title was considered to be a groundbreaking RPG game that included both gameplay and features that would many people would consider superior in comparison to the Nintendo Entertainment System.  Many people would argue that the gameplay for Phantasy Star was ahead of its time for a game produced in the late 80’s.  While competing with rival RPG games such as Final Fantasy this title had included crisp graphics along with 3D like sequences when passing through tunnels.  Another cool feature included the first person view utilized when a player enters battle which deviates from the traditional format of combat used in many other RPG games.

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Phantasy Star focuses the main protagonist Alis Landale quest to stop King Lassie along with her friends Myau, Odin and Noah within a setting called Algol.  In this game King Lassie had become corrupted by the Dark Force that led him to discover a new religion.  Finding a new religion has led to King Lassie to create political oppression within his jurisdiction while allowing monsters to roam freely throughout his kingdom.  Throughout the King’s corrupted reign he is assisted by villainess named Medusa who helps Lassie achieve his agenda.  Even though, some people might have felt that the plot for the game was generic and lacked complexity many would probably agree that the storytelling was very good and grabbed the attention of players.  The soundtrack for this game composed by Tokuhiko Uwabo was also very exciting and kept players glued to the game along with the colorful spites and fast paced action during battle scenes.

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Phantasy Star  had easily become one of Sega’s best games following it release and received highly positive reviews from critics and fans alike.  Publications such as  RP Gamer had given Phantasy Star a five star rating while AllGame scored it a perfect ten.  Phantasy Star was so popular that it made the “Greatest Games of All Time” list for publications such as 1up, Game Informer, and Electronic Gaming Monthly which awarded the title for “Best Graphics” in 1988.  Overall, Phantasy Star was one of the best RPG games released for the Sega console and while this game had  eventually received a remake in 2003 many people are very nostalgic about the feeling of excitement they had when they played for the first time in the late 80’s.