32-bit Of Fun!

March 8, 2011

Before the days of 3-D rendering, motion sensory, wireless controllers, and real time strategy, we had very simple means of video games. The classics were 16 or 32 bit rendering images, often side-scrolling, turn-based strategy games. Movement within a gaming environment was limited, compared to today’s mapping, and the background music was often a series of blips and beeps on a very primitive sound card. Today, video games are scored by actual orchestra sessions and recorded in a music studio somewhere. Still, these were the games that we loved so much, grew up with, and still hum the theme songs to.  ;-)

I thought it would be fun to write a post, reminding today’s gamers on just how far we’ve came in gaming, before 3-D rendering was ever imagined or before a time that live-concerts performed the musical score of video games. The following is just a small list of some of the games I grew up with:

Zero Tolerance (Sega Genesis) –

This was the army based first-shooter, way before “Call of Duty”. The objective of the game is that a bunch of military personnel are sent to cover up an alien attack on a space-station. Armed with guns, ammo, and grenades, your job was to go in, clear each floor of the station, before the ship blows up. I am proud to say, I had made it through to the end of this game, as a teen. The ending was “meh”, but the music theme and flashbacks of a character’s pixelated leg swinging out in a frenzy (whenever I ran out of ammo and had to fight off blood sucking aliens by hand… or foot), is still in my memory. ;-)

Super Mario – (Nintendo) –

I think it’s nearly impossible for any gamer to have not played Mario! Even for the younger generations, there have been newer versions of the Italian plumber and his brother Luigi, traveling through sewer pipes, bursting up brick walls with their heads (ouch!), and flattening Goombas. Yoshi was introduced later in the series, along with a few other characters, but way back when… it was just Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and King Koopa. And the theme song for this game had it’s own lyrics, by the late 80’s, due to the tv show aptly named, “The Super Mario Bros. Super Show”. Cue the music and sing along, “Swing your arms, from side to side. Come on, it’s time to go. Do the Mario! Take one step, and then again. Let’s do the Mario, all together now. Come on now! Just like that!” :-p

Cool Spot – (Sega Genesis)  –

This was an obvious ploy to advertise the sale of 7-Up soda to children. Yet, I can’t deny that this game was a lot cool. The little red dot character, with dark sunglasses for eyes, had an cute little personality of his own. The whole objective of the game was to get through each game board, full of puzzles, platforms, and deadly enemies, to rescue fellow Cool Spots from cages at the end of the round. And in the end, they did a dance together, free to peddle their carbonated and surgery soft drinks to children everywhere. ;-)

Sonic The Hedgehog – (Sega Genesis) –

Well before Crash Bandicoot, Sonic was the first side scrolling hero with an attitude. This game was not unlike the usual side-scrolling, ring gathering, enemy bashing games that were already out there, like Cool Spot and Super Marion.  But the big attraction to this game was Sonic’s speed, not common within any other game. The little blue hedgehog had the ability to scroll fast through any board, leaving the player to rely on luck and well timed movements, to collect rings, items, and bash enemies without falling off cliffs or into spiked traps. I was able to beat this game and it’s main boss, Dr. Robotnik, after many afternoons sitting in front of the tv on summer break. And I have to be honest, my eyes were a lot dizzy and tired from all the high speed loop-de-loops of various boards… but the ending was SO worth it!

Streets Of Rage (Sega Genesis) –

This game blew me away, when it was first released, back in 1991. It was a side-scrolling game, yet a fighting based one all the same! Before this game, you either had one or the other, but usually not both! The objective of the game was to fight your way through each board, to reach the final boss of Mr. X, leader of a crime syndicate that was terrorizing the city. This game was considered “violent” in it’s day, as you punched, kicked, and used weapons in street style fighting, in order to reach the end. Granted, I had enjoyed hitting gang members with pipes or tossing a pocket knife into them, from time to time. But as far as violent games go, there were no blood and once the enemies fell that was it. Unlike this next video game…

Mortal Kombat (Sega Genesis) –

This fighting game was so cool, that they spelled “combat” with an K. It was one of the most violent video games of the 90’s. Any player’s goal wasn’t simply to beat the boss at the end, but to pull off as many “fatality” moves within the game as possible. Of course, the fatality-feature was not the core point of the plot or even necessary for advancing in the game. But we were all juvenile teens who just couldn’t get enough kicks out of eviscerating our opponents to no end, in order to celebrate our victory over them. Fatalities could only be preformed in the game, AFTER beating the opponent in a round and the announcer says, “Finish him!” In a matter of seconds, you had to type in the special sequence of buttons and arrow keys, in order to over-kill your opponent. This includes, but not limited to:  severing your opponent’s  head from his  body; beating him with his own spinal cord; freezing him to death, then breaking the ice, and thus scattering chunks of his body across the screen; ripping your opponent and half, leaving his lower half still standing. And much more. I enjoyed doing the fatality moves, giggling like an evil little girl, as my opponent was horribly killed. This game didn’t teach us to be good winners, that’s for sure. Yet, we turned out alright. :-p

Jurassic Park (Super Nintendo) –

The music of this game will forever be burned into my brain! I had spent hours, within my teenage summers, trying to beat this forsaken game. I never made it… But, it was a very enjoyable game, regardless of the many times I got eaten by dinosaurs. I would like to take another shot at it, if it was possible. This game was based on the book by Michael Crichton, which was later turned into a movie. The objective of the game was to collect raptor eggs, while turning on the park’s power, and rebooting the computer systems in an attempt to escape the island.

There were many more games I had enjoyed, more from Sega, but a few others from Nintendo and SNES. I wish I could add them all, but this post is getting a little long. But, there’s always next time. ;-)




  1. They just don’t make em like they used to! Mind you I spent far too much time playing Sonic than was good for me. Oh hang on, I still spend far too much time sitting infront of a screen looking at pixels! At least I am creating with them this time round… :o)

    • Well, creating is a lot better than gaining levels, I think. ;-)
      Yep, I’m nostalgic for the good ole days, where video games were more than just flashy graphics, they were fun! =p

      Part two is for tomorrow. I have so much more to add to this memory lane. ;-)

  2. I really enjoyed this post :) It’s so nice how you put your own memories together with the plots of the games..
    I’ll have to get out my Sega Genesis this weekend… I still haven’t made it past level 2 or 3 with Sonic :/ But someday I will! :D

    • Coolies! :-)
      The ending of Sonic is so very awesome! I won’t ruin it for you, but I will say that it’s worth the hours of crazy spin action! ;-)

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