Retro Corner: A Gamer’z First Game

First Game

Ah, to be truly young again, you remember it, don’t you? Total lack of responsibilities, not a care in the world, trading Pokémon cards with friends and chasing girls with sticks… But before or during all that, if you were lucky enough to have a console in the house, probably owned by a parent or older sibling that would play to their heart’s content, then you probably have a distinct memory of your first game.

Your first game, in my opinion, is one that stays with you throughout your nostalgic memories of gaming culture. I think it’s also important as it can hold a strong influence not only on your opinion of video games as a whole, but can determine the type of games that you enjoy and play today.

I reMega Games 2member my first game, well, it was technically three games in one. It was some time in the late nineties, my dad owned a Sega Mega Drive II and although he didn’t get a lot of time to play because of work, I loved to watch the times he could play. Then one day he pulled out a second controller from out of nowhere and hooked it up before handing me this croissant shaped device. He blew into the cartridge (Did that actually fix games or was it always just a myth? I’m sure it worked) with three titles written in bright yellow on it. I glanced over at the box labelled Mega Games 2 (Okay, at the time I was still very young and probably couldn’t read, but the pictures looked cool!). On this cartridge you had Golden Axe, Streets of Rage and The Revenge of Shinobi.

I don’t know why I remember all these minor details, it’s not like they are of any importance, or are they? I mean, technically speaking, gaming does take up a considerably large portion of my life in some form or another so I guess you could say that particular memory is so vivid as it was the birthplace and my introduction to this culture and industry.

golden axeAlthough these three games all shared that side-scrolling beat em’ up style genre, which was highly popular at the time, Streets of Rage was my first and favourite of the three. The combination of the vibrant colour palette and iconic score by Yuzo Koshiro all complimented each other into delivering this downright cool and kick-ass classic. There were little things you probably remember, swinging a pipe, the unusually larger bosses, throwing a guy off the Stage 7 elevator. I mean yes there were other fantastic games of the time that I thoroughly enjoyed, Ecco the Dolphin, Comix Zone, Lemmings and Sonic the Hedgehog to name a few, but when anyone even mentions Sega, Streets of Rage instantly comes to mind as my all time favourite retro game.

From there the introduction to Metal Gear Solid on the PlayStation 1 system occurred and it all went on from there, but that’s a story for another time and one I don’t need to tell because you’ll probably all have a similar story in common from your own past gaming experiences.

Do you remember you first game? Did it have any particular influence on your gaming taste? Leave a comment below and share your gaming story, because no matter how vague it is, I’m sure there are those little details of memory that other people can relate to.

Retro Corner: Streets of Rage

Streets

Ah, Streets of Rage. A perfect example of early gaming’s ‘simple yet effective’ milieu.

You stride man-tastically from left to right (unless you’re playing as the woman, though she’s pretty darn butch too). You punch any villains you encounter in the delicate fleshy bits, and you stride forward some more. This wasn’t the era of bafflingly convoluted Da Vinci Code style plotting, it was the time of quick-fix arcade action. Few games embodied that spirit better than Streets of Rage.

In this 1991 Mega Drive beat ‘em up, the city (imaginatively named ‘The City’) has been overrun by thieves, muggers, murderers and every other sort of unsavory dude. The enigmatic Mr. X and his criminal syndicate have taken control, and the streets are as dangerous as a Gotham back-alley at midnight. But fear not, because three different Batmen are here to help.

Namely Axel Stone, Blaze Fielding and Adam Hunter. The trio were police officers, who left the force when the corruption began. The only ones who weren’t tempted to the dark side by Mr. X (and his promises of doughnuts, presumably; that being the old cop joke). Bar one other, whom we will meet later. But anywho, they have pledged to clean up all of the rage that has spilled onto the street. Via any punchy means necessary.

This whole situation has gone a little awry.
This whole situation has gone a little awry.

There’s a marginal difference between the three playable characters. You can choose speed over power, vice versa, or take the average-at-both route. In any case, with a friend or alone, it’s on to a series of sidescrolling levels, with a boss to dispatch at the close of each.

There’s some nice variety in the locations. On your homicidal sightseeing tour, you’ll take in a beach, a cruise ship, an odd sort of factory, the typical downtown area, and a couple more besides. That beat ‘em up favourite, the large moving elevator, is also included.

The combat is rather rudimentary in this first outing, with just a combo button, jumping attack and grapple available (other than limited pick-ups). Rather spangly special moves and such weren’t introduced until Streets of Rage 2 and 3. Nevertheless, there’s a timeless sense of fun to be had here, with a heaping helping of nostalgia to help it along. The genre is a dying art today, but indie releases with fancy new 2D art keep those old memories of taking down Mr. X at a friend’s house after a long school day alive.

Source of images: gamefaqs.