For the longest time, I wasn’t even aware of there being games on the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive (hereafter referred to as Mega Drive, just for ease when referring to the console outside of the US) before Sonic the Hedgehog. Granted, this could be mostly attributed to the fact that I was all of six years old whenever the first Sonic game was released, and for all I knew the console burst fully formed from the head of Santa Claus to children that had been less awful to myself, Sonic the Hedgehog already in the cartridge slot and the superfluous headphone jack already busted. And growing up I never owned a Genesis, because by the time I had the financial and parental freedom to purchase my own video games, I already had access to a Sony Playstation and would much rather spend the limited resources a 13 year old boy might have on newer games. So I didn’t really throw myself into the Genesis until the late nineties, when broadband became available and I set up the family’s semi-functioning Pentium 133 in my bedroom to lose myself in emulation. But even then, the flashier NES and SNES emulators tended to take up most of my attention, as well as exploring the mysterious library of the ludicrously named Turbo-Grafx 16, a system I genuinely was not aware existed until I discovered how to emulate it (this could just as easily be about the PC Engine, but I am already ripping off Kevin Gifford enough without stealing his system of choice as well).
So it wasn’t really until Sega realized the money was in repackaging their sizable retro library to rerelease budget price ad nauseum that I realized that there were games for the Mega Drive beyond Sonic. Several, in fact. At last count there were well over a hundred Mega Drive games released before Sonic’s debut in July of 1991, and that’s not even including games released in the western world during this time period.
So what’s my goal? Simply enough, I want to look at all the games that were released before Sega finally found it’s fortune in a blue hedgehog. Certainly not all the games on the list are worth looking at (in fact, the very first entry stands out as one of the most joyless games I’ve ever played) but each is going to get as close of an examination as I can stand between work and studying. I always enjoy non-nostalgic looks back at games that time has forgotten, rightfully or otherwise, and hope to at least improve my writing ability while doing the same. This idea is kind of spur of the moment bug that hit me while thinking over a comment I left on the Chrontendo website about his newest episode (another resource for this sort of thing that I cannot recommend enough) about my love for this particular era of the Mega Drive. Blame it on a grotesque fascination with the obscure and rightfully forgotten (Lord knows I do) but I figure somebody may as well look over these things. And as it turns out, regrettably that person is me.