|How I crushed in to Video Games|
posted by Kaneda – on 02.02.2022
Hi PAL, (or are you NTSC?)
welcome to my online database. My nickname is Kaneda and I am collecting videogames & v.g. consoles/handhelds since 1994.
My first system was NES with
Super Mario Bros., that I got second half of the year,
followed by the SNES in summer of 1995 with
Street Fighter II Action Pack.
Before that I had only contact with videogames on a chinese bootleg level. Thouse consoles
constantly broke or were not compatible with SECAM ;) TV standards, resulting in monochrome screen. My first contact with
Nintendo console was in May 1994 in PAL territories, when we (me and my two younger brothers) visited our oncle‘s house.
My cousin had that robust and aerodynamic looking console with a game cartridge in it that was labeled as
Super Mario World.
Blown away by large sprites and catchy music tones, we spend many hours exploring those huge levels full of dinosaurs and goombas.
I also liked my cousins game room setup. A small TV that was standing on the table which was integrated (by design) into a big blue closed.
Really good looking and comfortable to play directly from the bed. We stayed over night in oncle‘s house.
Without any memories when we went to bed, this moment in my life became a kickstarter for a new hobby that would last many many years ...
My room at parents house in 1995
By the time I got NES, Super Nintendo was already on the market for quite some time. In my case the time gap between 8-Bit and 16-Bit machines
was negligibly small. Followed shortly one after another, there was not even a year between NES and Super Nintendo. But before we got SNES,
that my younger brother and me got from our savings, I had to catch up and master the 8-Bit worlds, that used to be more rough and difficult
to master then their 16-Bit counterparts. Games like Rockin‘ Kats, Castlevania II - Simon‘s Quest,
Little Nemo - The Dream Master, Zelda II - the adventures of Link, and even original Turtles which I beated to the credits (multiple times) back then and still own to this day.
Most of the NES games I lend from friends at school, usually with a comment "you can not beat this game, it is to difficult".
To prove that my friends were wrong, I spend weekends, master the timing sequence pattern in Jump&Run or trying to solve the puzzle
to be able to make a progress in the game. And it worked most of the time. I remember having that funny "philosophy" back in the day, that those
games were made by humans and not aliens or some higher intelligence. If they can make it, I can beat it! .... that did not worked for
Simon‘s Quest †
package of european NES with Super Mario Bros.
iconic GameBoy package
Somewhere between NES and SNES my younger brother got his GameBoy with a brand new game that just came out for it.
Wario Land (Super Mario Land 3).
Knowing it only from video game magazines, our anticipation was quite decent.
As for me, GameBoy was until that point just a "nice to have" system. Even after my brother showed me that huge review
in a VG magazine to Link’s Awakening, I still preferred my beloved NES. Wario Land was the game that introduced me
to a new hardware and showed all it capabilities. For several month that black & stealthgreen dot matrix display
with intense pixel laziness, became our main gaming machine. Fun fact! Being a less powerful system, GameBoy was more
authentic experience then NES or SNES wich was slowed down by ~16% (PAL). But we did not had any clue back then, and it was totally ok!
Wario Land beeing gorgeous but short, couldn't stay our only game. Soon other titles found their way
in that tiny cartridge slot. Most of them we lend from our friends at school.
One day my brother brought home a green labeled GameBoy cartridge with a sword and the armor on it. Mystic Quest. (Originaly titled Seiken Densetsu in Japan)
Without any guide or internet I spend redicilouse amount of time with this game, exploring that huge world and it dungeons full of monsters and bad dudes.
Not realizing parallels to Secret of Mana on SNES (by the time we already had SNES), I was in my own universe, riding Chocobo and being obsessed to find the way to the tree of Mana. What I eventually did!
... But this was not the only game on the GameBoy that I totally lost myself in. Even before I got NES, another game, telling the story of
a bounty hunter, hunting dangerous organism on the planet SR388, was introduced to me. A distant relative of our family had a GameBoy
with two games. One of them was Metroid II - Return of Samus.
I was told that this game is really hard to beat and that depending on how fast I can do it, there will be different animation and less closes on the chick at the end. Wait .. what?
Which cocky teenager would not like to see that? But the problem was that I could only get thru to 5rd or 7th Metroid, before getting completely lost.
After my brother got his GameBoy, I traded two films on VHS (Demolition Man and Last Action Hero) in for Metroid II cartridge
and was dead serious about beating that game. I did not wanted to "cheat" and look up in some guide or magazine rather then finish it by my own.
This game made me to rethink my strategy and attempt to play it different way. I also did not alowed myself to take any notes on paper or draw a map.
The only map I draw was in my head. Soon I managed to make progress and find more than a dozen Metroids. Geting deeper and colser in to the planets core
(that is how it realy felt for me then) was one of the stunning and exiting moments in gaming up to that point. Sound effects and especially
the music contributed a lot to the atmosphere. Never before I felt goosebumps while listening to chip-tunes. The most difficult in M-II was to
find hidden passages. There was no sonar or X-ray scope, as it was called in Super Metroid. I had literally blast my way free by setting bomps on
walls while rolling on them with a spider morph-ball. The effort was worth it and the acoustic announcement of an upcoming enemy felt like running over needles.
After beating final Boss and sparing a life of a baby Metroid there was that superb chiptune ending melody blasting from 8 Ohm speaker ..... but unfortunately no naked chick ^^
Later I got my own GameBoy as "Play it Loud" series hit the market and transparency became irresistable. I loved that clear case and hoped to understand one day the function of each visible part.
Unfortunately I traded this exact GameBoy for a N64 Castlevania in November 1999, but got it back
in my collection in 2016. I also remember that me and my borther also had GB link cable to have multiplayer sessions together, but we failed on getting two copies of the same game
and give the idea up pretty quickly. GameBoy stayed single player platform for us, providing accessible software available at any schoolyard for a decade after it debut in 1990.
Sure there were also alternatives on the market, at that time. Some of them like SEGA Game Gear, Atari LYNX
that me and my brother were aware of and some of we even did not knew that they existed. Finding out years later that there was more. But isn't exactly this, what makes collecting so exciting? ;-)
GameBoy is a small and simple machine. It worked its way from a "nice to have" to my top systems of all time.
Even years later, with all those phones in super duper HD, I still honor and adore that tiny dot matrix display, giving it a second life
by adding backlight and inverting pixels or swapping it with
IPS panels. This game brick still rocks and holds up to its former glory!
Street Fighter II Action Pack came in Europe only with 1 game pad, but with a beautiful package
The day when our SNES Street Fighter II Action Pack arrived, my cousin
(same one who introduced me to SNES) was visiting us. I still remember the moment, when we were playing NES on a big TV in living room,
the door bell rings and postman is asking us to sign for that big package from QUELLE (famous German shopping catalogue in the '90)
and me saying to my cousin that the NES is going to the closed now.
SNES, beeing more expensive console then NES or GameBoy, my younger brother and I knew, that we had to join our forces to be able to aford it.
For the purpose not to argue, whose turn it would be to play, the choice fell on Street Fighter II Action Pack, where the game was already included.
Unluckily this set came only with one gamepad, so we had to add another (aftermarket) gamepad to our purchase. This one had turbo function
for repid punch! The fights we hold against each other were a blast! In comparison to NES this was a huge step up in terms of graphics and animations.
At that time my favorite Street Fighter was Guile. Being able to throw sonic booms and flash kicks so early, made me unreachable. He's cool animation
and multiple catch and throw down possibilities was a joy to watch. The first two or three weeks both controllers were constantly at heavy use.
Using turbo buttons of that aftermarket controller was a nice advantage for my brothers. But it did not hold so long...
After countless hado-kens and sho-ryu-kens the directional pad was beaten to death. Continuous pressing of the "A" button, to progress in
Mystic Quest Legend, did the rest and this aftermarked gamepad became practically unusable.
I still kept it in the box though. There is no material value in this one, beside my personal. That gave me the idea to assign my own personal value (p.value)
to each item in my vg collection.
The same year we got SNES, I borowed a game that came in a massive big box with its own guide, Secret of Mana.
Beeing not so much in to RPGs in general at that time, I was sceptical. But this game really got my attention. Ok actually the box got my attention first and not the game
but we were surprised, when we found out that this game was a multiplayer. We did not had multiplayer adapter though,
what would be more awesome and our little brother, who just learned to hold the controller, could support us on the mission to get to the tree of Mana. He played with us from time to time anyway.
After finishing this game, we fell in love with it so much, that we desided to save cash and get our own copy. It felt like we were still not done with it and there was more to see and explore.
As the next summer came and with it the opportunity to get this game, we went to the local store just to find out that they sold out. We went to several other shops in town
and even to the nearest city but had no luck. By that time I already knew that there were other "big box" games available and one of them beeing brand new just arrived last month in stores.
Already been seeing TV-spots and actually adoring that new game graphical look, I suggested to my brother to get Illusion of Time
instead of Secret of Mana. But he denied. So I desided to get it by my own. And I was not disappointed....
The game story begins in a small town near the ocean slowly and almost layed-back then quickly unfold itself and became very melancholic and emotional.
The focus is on the main character Will (Tim in Japan) his friends and their journey to find Wills father. It is about friendship and growing up.
There are similarities to the movie "Stand by Me" from Rob Reiner that was also popular in Japan and Mariko Ohara (scenario co-writer) adopted some of its plot. In this game you
will be confronted with difficult topics such as slavery, famine, sacrifice or even cannibalism. Like most other games of the developer QUINTET, this game also deals
with the issues of "end of the world" and its eventual rebirth. I had absolutely no idea back then about that specific developer and their other games (Terranigma was not released yet), that people
call "spiritual relatives". For me both, graphics and the storytelling were the highlights here. I also liked the music in this game a LOT!
One of the cool functions was for me when after saving you could choose between continue or not to continue. By choosing not to continue
the melody would change to one of the best titles of 16-Bit generation "in the earthen womb" from Yasuhiro Kawasaki. Due to it infinite loop structure,
you could listen to it forever. I remember me playing this game at summer evenings before going to bed, saving and listening to this melody while slowly falling asleep ...
in the earthen womb
Illusion of Time is a very unique game. It is also not everyone favorite. My guess is that for many the game mechanics were immature and old-fashioned.
You can't really level up or build up your status. Instead you can find the way to transform yourself in to more powerful being. Every time to get
more HP, you had no other choice but to eliminate all enemies in one specific area. I absolutely had no problem with it, as it was my standard
tactic back in the day, even if I would not get anything for that. Illusion of Gaia (as it was named in US) had also it secrets. 50 jewels being found
in this game, offered you an optional dungeon. Beating this optional dungeon and its final Boss (Déjà-vu from Soul Blazer) will gain you nothing.
Sounds fair for me^^. But to get all 50 jewels was not an easy task. Most people got 48 or 49. The last one, or should I say "one of the first" jewels
you could find in your hometown, was hidden within an random(?) event. Even if you followed the game guide, that was included in Germany with each big box game,
the chances were low. Spoilers: I got all 50 on my second attempt in 1995. Persistence pays off.
today is your lucky day
Other SNES classics also found their way in our SNES. One day my brother brough
Super Metroid another big box title home, that his classmate lent him out
for a playthrough. Right after cinematic opening and breathtaking encounter with Ridley, we felt that this is really polished and stunning game.
Metroid was not a new term for us, as we already had our hands on its GameBoy release Metroid II - Return of Samus.
SNES version being superior in any possible way, made us to play through the whole game in less than one week. I am pretty shure that we used
the guide this time arround, because my brother was not a fan of "getting lost". But it didn't hold me of to draw samus in varia suit and put her on the wall.
the last metroid is in captivity ... or not?
Looking back, the year 1995 was the best year to own SNES. We could not afford to have all those new games, that came out that same
year, but we had our friends. There where in particular two games that we were interested in to play.
Donkey Kong Country 2
and SMW2 Yoshi's Island.
Both came out in a second half of the year and I remember reading previews in a video game magazines about those upcoming titles
over and over again. I already started saving for DKC2 as my brother got his hands on Yoshi's Island. One of his classmates already had this
game beaten and was kind enough to let us play the whole game until we could finish it too. We played a lot. So much, that our dad lost his temper,
grabbed the console and throwed it from the second floor downstairs against the wall. Shocked by the fact, that we might not just only lost our console
but also the game of a friend that was still inside SNES during impact, we hesitated to switch it on. While my brother run different scenarios
in his head of how he should explain his friend that we just broke his game, I run off to the nearest hardware store with a hope to find a screw bit
to open the console and see if anything broke inside. We were lucky that the housing of SNES is very robust. We switched it back on. It was still working!
I cold not find any crew bit, but both the console and the cartridge survived. The rest of the year we did not played in our room, instead
we moved our SNES and a small TV to the small storage room at the rooftop of our house to play secretly there. Our parents had no clue.
Lustiges SNES Drama
When I saved enough to get DKC2, something unpredictable happened and I ended up getting totally different game. Different in any mean.
It was an Square RPG, but it was not from Japan. It was brand new and came in a big box.
The guy and his dog from Großostheim
Secret of Evermore was my second game that I got from my own savings.
Unpredictable for 1996 was, that by the time I totally fell in love with RPGs. BIG boxes, witch they usually came in Europe,
always included full size game guides. There was much more value in it and even the price of a big box was even lower than of a regular game.
But as unfortunate as it was, Secret of Evermore was only a single player game. Even if it would perfectly make sense to add second player
for the dog character, american studio desided not to do so. (Years later I was happy to see a "patch" that fixed this issue)
What drew me in to that type of games back then, was storytelling, emotional attachment to the characters and relatively long playtime with a lot of text.
Boring you say? Due to the fact that I'm not a native German speaker and in 1996 I was still learning the gramma, my brother and me used it as an excuse
to play video games, by telling our parents that there was a lot of text that we had to read and understand^^. I am doubting that they belived us,
but the more shocking thing was that Claude M. Moyse was our German teacher! "GIB MIR DEINEN SAFT, ICH GEB' DIR MEINEN" from
Link's Awakening beeing one example. Our parents didn't like to see us
play the video games and also did not allowed us to have a part time job, because they knew it will affect our performance at school.
We only received a small amount of pocketmoney and did not own so many games back then.
My brother would eventualy get in to another hobbies (skateboarding), leaving SNES console to me.
my PAL SNES collection in 2006
my PAL BIG BOX collection was complete in 2007