I’ll let you all into a secret…before I started blogging with Retro Redress, I was toying with writing for other sites, with a crazy dream of surviving on blog post payments. I had visions of getting £100 per post and just cranking the blog posts out, like some crazed writer surviving off his wits and savvy along. I really wasn’t enjoying my job at the time…
Reality soon kicked in and I forgot about the idea. However, a few scraps of writing survived, including today’s list…so I present to you, nearly 18 months later…
Five Master System games that everyone owned as a kid?
In the UK in the early 90’s, it felt like everyone owned a Sega console, either a Mega Drive or a Master System….even both. I started with a Master System in 1992, then got a Mega Drive in 1994, eventually getting a PS1 in 1997. Back then, we were just trying to get as many games as we could…the quality often varied between the games in our collections. Nevertheless, there were always some games that showed up in every collection, regardless of quality or funds…
#5 – Action Fighter
For the #5 spot, it was a toss up between this or Super Tennis…I plumped for Action Fighter as I owned it (later on in my collecting days) and it is one of the most common Master System games available. It’s basically a Spy Hunter clone and not a bad game, though it’s nothing special. I’ve always liked the title though…are you a fighter who is fighting for action or are you fighting against action? Maybe I like this game because subconsciously, I’m hoping you’re fighting for the right to sit on the couch and slob?
#4 – Alex The Kidd In Miracle World
Maybe having Miracle World on this list is unfair as it was the built in game for the Master System Mk 2. However, everyone had the Master System Mk 2 at some point – it was the cheaper, sleeker alternative of the Mk 1. Therefore everyone probably owned Miracle World, despite the cartridge version of the game being fairly uncommon.
Miracle World was the first and best of the Alex Kidd games, and the beginning of Sega’s attempt to find a mascot to complete with Mario. While Alex Kidd ultimately failed, he was a prominent figure during the Master System years and probably deserved better than being dropped completely from SEGA’s plans.
Miracle World was probably the first Master System game people played and it was a pretty good place to start. It was Sega’s attempt to make a similar game to Super Mario Bros and while Miracle World is not as immediate as Super Mario Bros, it’s a fun if challenging game. It’s also the game that introduced a generation to Rock-Scissors-Paper…
#3 – Teddy Boy
Teddy Boy was surely owned by everyone whose parents got them a Master System for Christmas. A Master System game so old it originally came out in Card format (literally a card that plugged into the Sega Master System Mk1’s card slot), Teddy Boy was re-released on cartridge as a budget price game and found it’s way into every Master System owner’s game collection at some point.
Teddy Boy was actually an arcade port – this time from a 1985 arcade game called Teddy Boy Blues, complete with pop star endorsement. Teddy Boy was also recycled by Brazilian electronic company Tec Toy into Geraldinho, replacing the main character with a frog from a Brazilian cartoon strip. Which means that probably every Japanese and Brazilian Master System owner has played Teddy Boy in some form….
Teddy Boy was a bright and colourful game, so it may have not disappointed new Master System owners. It was fairly repetitive though – the same music and levels repeat endlessly…so you would hope any new Master System owners had other games to break up the monotony.
#2 – Sonic The Hedgehog
Again, having Sonic on the list is cheating – it was the built in game for later versions of the Master System Mk2. However, it was also starring arguably the most popular mascot of the early 90’s, so it was pretty much a given for parents and relatives looking to purchase a Master System game as a present.
As a mascot, Sonic was crucial for Sega, helping to sell the Mega Drive as the must have console. Sonic also helped to sell many Master Systems and Game Gears too. Replacing the unfortunate Alex Kidd was an essential step for Sega, both for the 16-Bit and 8-Bit markets…
Sonic The Hedgehog is one of the Master System’s best games. Rather than a stripped down port of the Mega Drive game, SEGA made a brand new game, one that could easily stand alongside it’s 16 bit brother. More of a platformer than the Mega Drive version, Sonic MS also had some good ideas (such as hiding emeralds in the levels) and much less irritating Special Zones. See my review of the identical, but inferior Game Gear version I did for The Well-Red Mage, I think that covers it pretty well.
#1 – The Ninja
Ninjas are meant to be stealthy, elusive creatures, never seen until it’s far too late. The Ninja on the Master System was the opposite – it was a part of every Master System owner’s collection. I can see why many parents bought it for their kids; it was cheap and had a ninja on the front. Ninjas were en vogue in the 80’s/90’s so most parents assumed it was a safe bet to entertain their kids.
The Ninja on the cover is not who you play as in game, you instead control Kazamaru, a man who looks decidedly un-ninja like. Interestingly, The Ninja is actually a port from a 1985 Sega arcade game called Ninja Princess, which was much more cutesy and featured a female ninja as the main character.
The Ninja is not a bad game, but I think it disappointed a lot of new Master System owners, who were too young or whose parents couldn’t afford a Mega Drive. It’s a drab looking game and was kinda tough, especially for newcomers. At it’s core though, The Ninja is an enjoyable game, however it’s certainly not the first game you would want to play on your shiny new Master System!
That’s my picks for the games every Master System owner ended up with – do you think I missed any out? Let me know in the comments!