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The Video Game Memoirs #1 - Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega Mega Drive/Genesis)

Sonic the Hedgehog Cover

One of the first, what I consider "real", video games I remember playing, was Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Mega Drive. I say real, as I had played other other smaller games on those portable LCD screens, from companies like Tiger, but these were never much more than 5 minute distractions.

Sega Mega Drive

No, here was something with a fully realised world, a story, a beginning and an end, characters and substance. This blog is meant to be a record of the vivid, often singular, memories that video games have imprinted upon me and it is these aspects that I will often point to as indicators as to why or what I remember them for.

I do not have a very good memory. I often can spend minutes just trying to think of a specific word when trying to describe something. If I am cut off in the middle of a conversation I often have difficulty getting back on track. I do however remember every word to the Bare Necessities from Disney's The Jungle Book, a film I watched religiously as a child, but have probably only seen once in the past decade. I remember vividly certain memories of my childhood whilst I may not be able to recall what I had for dinner last night.

The inspiration for this blog series came from Reasonably Sound, a podcast by the presenter of Idea Channel; Mike Rugnetta. In an episode from June 2015 he spoke about Echoic Memory and our ability to remember sounds. He describes a scene from his childhood, attempting to describe each of the details as best he can. Some are strikingly vivid, others are aptly fuzzy.

This made me think about my memories of video games and my contining minor obsession with nostalgia. I love things which remind me of others things. I try to not live a materialistic lifestyle, however I have many things (mostly in my parents loft) that I do not need, but have continued emotional importance to me; Lego, Dinosaur magazines, the teddy bear my dad bought me the day I was born. Although I do not get the same feeling of enjoyment from these things now that I did then, I relish being able to have them to memorialise those memories which I sometimes have difficulty forming or recalling.

Sonic 1

Now I have provided a premise for this blog, I will return to the gaming memory in question; Sonic the Hedgehog on the Mega Drive (Genesis). Specifically Daniel Bennett's copy of Sonic. This memory is not of the first time I played that game, indeed that memory is truly lost to the sands of time, it is however the first time I remember playing it.

As will become apparent throughout this blog series; many of my gaming memories are of me playing other people's video games. Indeed for the longest time for me playing other people's video games was my only way of playing video games, and then my only way of discovering new ones!

I sometimes wonder if my love of video games actually sprouted from my inability to access them as a child. They became this holy grail I was constantly chasing. Due to a number of reasons; console cost, only a single TV in the house etc., my family did not get a home console until around 1995. And even then it was a Mega Drive when my friends were playing Nintendo 64 and Sony PlayStation.

Anyway, I would play games at my cousins house and my friend's houses. It turns out I would want to play them so much I would go so far as to go round my friend Dan's house, even when he wasn't there, to play his Mega Drive.

Before the easy access of social media and SMS, I would have to walk a full 5 minutes along the road just to find out if Dan was even in. This memory is specifically of me playing Sonic the Hedgehog in his room, by myself. He was definitely not there. Which means that either, when I found out he wasn't in I asked to come in and play his Mega Drive, or his mum suggested I come in and play in his room until he came back. I do not remember him ever coming back. This suggests to me that I may have gone round there specifically just to play his game console!

Sonic 1 Level 2

Fortunately our friendship has endured my childhood compulsion, and we still game together as adults. But I'll always remember playing Dan's Sonic the Hedgehog, for his Mega Drive, in his house, and he wasn't even there.

Currently playing:

  • Newer Super Mario Bros. Wii (Nintendo Wii)

  • Final Fantasy V (Nintendo Game Boy Advance)

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