Category Archives: Mega Drive

#77: Sonic CD



October 1993 – Sonic CD

If you’re strong
You can fly
You can reach the other side
Of the rainbow…


There are those that think of Sonic CD as the great ‘lost’ 2D Sonic game, who look at its relatively forgotten status when compared to the canon of Sonics 1-3 (& Knuckles) as some huge miscarriage of justice. Certainly, it was on these terms that I first ever encountered descriptions of the game’s existence, some years after I’d already become intimately familiar with all of the Mega Drive trilogy. And while it had a lot of work to do to supplant Sonic 3 & Knuckles at the top of the pile, I was definitely predisposed towards a positive outlook on it, especially after watching the intro cutscene. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on September 25, 2017 in 1993, Mega Drive, Sonic the Hedgehog


#76: Mortal Kombat


September 1993 – Mortal Kombat

There’s simply no way that I can approach Mortal Kombat without acknowledging Phil Sandifer’s fantastic essay on the game in his Super Nintendo project. It’s not the first time we’ve overlapped, but talking about Super Mario World, Link to the Past, and especially Lemmings, I found plenty of unexplored terrain left to uncover. But what can I possibly add to the Mortal Kombat discourse when the world already has “These days, there’s plenty of people whose spines I’d like to rip out, but that’s just called adulthood”? It’s impossible. He makes a compelling argument tracing a direct line from Mortal Kombat to the birth of Gamergate, and I can do nothing but nod and agree. It’s a tremendously ugly game, in all senses of the word, and I want nothing to do with it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on September 15, 2017 in 1993, Mega Drive


#66: Sonic the Hedgehog 2


November 1992 – Sonic the Hedgehog 2

but with the introduction of the spindash, Sonic 2 does away with all the buildup, and allows you to go from 0-60 in the blink of an eye. It’s an astonishingly bold statement of purpose, one that promises non-stop thrills the likes of which have never been seen. As I argued in the original Sonic post, that game was meticulously crafted to make the most of its limited opportunities for unrestrained speed by carefully doling them out at exactly the right moments to make them really stand out, but this sequel provides a compelling case for the alternative all killer no filler approach. Taking away the need for long stretches of runup before the big flashy set pieces like the loop-the-loops means they can be more densely packed into the levels, allowing for a much tighter construction, and yet Sonic 2’s levels actually go bigger and more sprawling than their predecessors. It’s a case of the game brazenly trying to have its cake and eat it too, and one which turns out, preposterously, to be a completely unreserved success. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on February 14, 2017 in 1992, Mega Drive, Sonic the Hedgehog


#62: Ecco the Dolphin


July 1992 – Ecco the Dolphin

The Mega Drive’s major Japanese mascot character was of course, Sonic the Hedgehog, a bright blue, vaguely humanoid figure with exceptional speed and radical attitude. He bears little resemblance to an actual real-life hedgehog besides some slightly spiky hair. The major mascot character for the system to come out of America, meanwhile, was Ecco the Dolphin, a blue-grey bottlenose dolphin-shaped bottlenose dolphin. He doesn’t have any incredible powers. He’s just an ordinary dolphin.

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Posted by on November 25, 2016 in 1992, Mega Drive


#49: Sonic the Hedgehog



June 1991 – Sonic the Hedgehog

Part I: Gotta Go Fast! (Green Hill Zone)


Let’s start with the loop-the-loop, because it is perhaps the iconic image of Sonic the Hedgehog, and because it so effectively represents, for better and for worse, what the series is all about. It is, first of all, a thoroughly incongruous image. The appearance of the Green Hill Zone is a lush and verdant tropical paradise, a place of natural, unspoilt beauty. With a few great honking loops in its landscape. While our understanding of real-world geography would lead us to assume that such a structure could only be man-made, there’s nothing within the diegetic world of Sonic the Hedgehog that implies that this is anything but a natural rock formation, and plenty to suggest that it is. This is just the way things are here. No need to worry. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on June 22, 2016 in 1991, Mega Drive, Sonic the Hedgehog


#42: Golden Axe


November 1990 – Golden Axe

In the latest of her “Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games” series, Anita Sarkeesian examined what she refers to as “strategic butt covering” – the tendency for games to emphasise the buttocks of female characters as if they are the most important aspect of the character, while going to absurd lengths to avoid doing the same with male characters – and concluded that the solution is not for games to pay more attention to the essential, Male Ass, but in fact to try avoiding the objectification of their women as well as their men. Golden Axe provides a vision of a world that takes the alternative view. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 22, 2016 in 1990, Mega Drive