When I was a kid, like many folks who grew up in cities big or small, I had an arcade within walking distance of my house where I would frequent after school. It was filled with plenty of good, solid arcade classics – Tapper, Burger Time, and Ghosts n’ Goblins to name a few, some pinball machines I wouldn’t be able to name if I was held at gunpoint, and a couple of those lousy rigged claw games.
What really stood out to me though, were the newer arcades. Altered Beast, Golden Axe and Strider. That triumvirate of awesome had me enthralled, and spending more time in that dark corner of the arcade than the others.
So when they tore down the arcade to put in a movie theater, I was pretty irked. I liked this arcade. The Salem Willows was full of people. Not this little gem in the East Indian Mall. My brother and I could go and hang out, and no one else was ever there, it was perfect for my shy young self.
I realize these days that part of their problem was the sore lack of customers, though that made no difference to young Alex and his cohort, young James. Hell, this arcade was unpopular enough that I can never seem to find anyone else who remembers they existed.
We informed my father of the travesty that those corporate big-wigs and their one dollar movie theater were doing, and that Christmas he purchased us some games for the Sega Genesis. Previously we hadn’t been allowed to use it without him around. He was getting too busy with work (and us) to play video games, and was going to pass the torch.
Luckily for us, all three of the games that we thought were truly awesome were on the Sega. My father already owned one of these, Altered Beast. We were stoked.
Sure, it may have been the only game system that we had for the next four years until we got a computer. Even then, we didn’t get another system until the Gameboy color, and after that? I bought a Dreamcast with money from my first job, twelve years later. The Genesis didn’t have seemingly any of the titles my friends enjoyed and talked about, like their marios and their metroids. It was ours, though.
And we played the hell out of it.
Anything you’d care to see us play and review? Let us know!