I’ve never been an early adopter when it comes to consoles, which is why it always seems impossible when their significant birthdays roll around. The Sega Genesis is 25 years old? That just doesn’t seem right.
My love of sports games predates 1988, as I put in many hours on the original “Ice Hockey” on the NES. But it really took flight when my brothers and I got our hands on a Genesis, simply because there were so many great games across every sport. Football alone had the “Madden” and “NCAA” series, plus titles like “Mutant League Football” and “Cyberball,” all of which we owned and are probably still floating around at our parents’ house somewhere.
“NBA Jam” was another favorite around the house, yet the hockey games will always stick in my mind the most. Along with heated games against my siblings, my best friend and I used to play seasons in “NHLPA Hockey ’93.” Since this was before the games were smart enough to track stats (or even have a season mode, for that matter), we did everything by hand: compiling the schedules based on real life, playing every game and keeping box scores on notebook paper that we kept in a big three-ring binder. Dedication, right?
The next fall I left for college, and while the family Genesis stayed at home, one of the purchases I made for my freshman dorm room was a Genesis of my own. That made it the first console I could truly call my own, which is something in and of itself. I also discovered the classic “NHL ’94” was a great way to get some free meals, as it became popular to wager food points on games in my hall (Editors note: GameSided does not condone betting on video games, as much fun as it is!). I got good enough that I could beat most of my friends with the expansion teams, Anaheim and Florida, no matter which teams they picked, though sometimes they’d get me with the All-Star teams. And they got better as the year went on, but the extra competitiveness made it even more fun.
By the time my college days were over, we’d moved on to playing “NHL” on my roommate’s PlayStation, appreciating the improvements in realism that continue in sports games to this day. There’s also no doubt that it’s great to be able to play those games online and get a challenge (or more often in my case, a butt-kicking) from someone far away. Still, there’s something to be said for the sheer playability and joy of the sports games of the Genesis era. When it came to sitting next to someone and battling it out in hockey, football, or basketball, I’d argue that no console since has matched it.
Those are my Genesis memories since it apparently really is 25 years old. Drop a comment below or hit up GameSided on Twitter and let us know what you remember most fondly about Sega’s most iconic console.
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