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I owned a sega megadrive for the first time back in 1990 when my dad brought me and my brother one to share at xmas. The megadrive is a simple 16bit console that went head to head with its main rival Nintendo and had two of the classic gaming franchise faces in both Sonic the hedgehog and Super Mario.
I was lucky throughout my life to have a whole host of computers such as the Atari 2600,Nes, Megadrive,Snes, Atari jaguar, Gameboy, N64,Playstion 1,2and briefly 3 and xbox 360 and now my laptops as well. Adding to that host of computers I owned have also used friends computers as well so that covered the Amstrad,Master system,Gamegear, Sega saturn, Dreamcast,xbox so throughout my life I consider myself extremely well versed through the gaming worlds console range as growing up everyone has always been at mates houses using each other stuff more times than I remember as that is what under 15's do.
The thing about the megadrive was that it was the first computer I owned and really loved plus itwas one of the two best available at the time along with the Snes. On reflection it is amazing how much longer they can last as where the games back then were cartridges they were nearly indestructible and even with cracked cases the good old reliable Sega would always soldier on compared to the scratched discs nowadays that can ruin a game instantly.
Most of the games of the 90's were simple left to right platform games and the megadrive had good graphics which after owning the earlier 2,4,8 bit computers the graphics took a massive leap from previous consoles. Bear in mind that after the 16bit Sega/ Snes period the disc generation of gaming set in that would be the Playstation era although the megadrive had a mega cd option (It docked into the cartridge slot) that although revolutionary for the time (A lot of music was still sold on tapes at the time people) it never seamed to take off as mainstream as you would of expected although that maybe of been due to the lack of internet and magazine coverage or just in the uk PAL system area as I would of thought Japan and the USA would of snapped it up.
Anyway..... Back to basics, The megadrive 1 had a very simple layout which consists of two ports for controllers, a small white reset button and a sliding power on/off switch along with a sliding volume control for headphones (I have never used this) with a bulky plug for the power source and the RF antenna tv switch to put in the tv.
The controllers were very simple and bulky too with a Dpad (up,down,left,right/Diagonals) a start/pause button and three buttons A,B,C which was all you needed although in the case of sonic1 all the buttons did the same thing! The buttons were nothing like the touch sensitive stuff we have nowadays but in my opinion that just adds to the retro feel of the whole thing .
The thing that staggers me is that the games in the 90's would cost £39:99 from woolworths (remember them) and considering how much the exchange rate is now compared to then that works out to be a lot of money for old technology compared to today's state of the art gaming which £40 now would be a premium new release.
Places like ebay still sell megadrive stuff and it must be collectors to some as I have seen a unopened copy of Streets of rage 3 up for sale for over £200 which is absurd considering on the xbox megadrive collection it is on there along with loads of other games for under £20 but it shows it's worth as an old gaming collectable.
Megadrive along with snes started to die out along with the other old classics around 1996 when the N64 hit the shelves and after that period the gaming world and consoles came thick and fast.
I brought an old megadrive console a year ago just to reminisce and it is amazing how far we have come in this industry but also how younger gamers are lucky that they are spoilt by the technology nowadays and would consider my generations computers rubbish where I have enjoyed the progress they have made over the last 22years.
To summarise the computer launched for over £100 and you could buy one now for £20 but for starters 1) The games will last longer than any new cd's 2) It was a great source of my childhood entertainment and will hold a very important place not just 90's gaming but the computer history full stop.