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Growing Up Sega: The Master System

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Sega-Master-System-Set
I play video games because of my father. Way back in the previous millennium, the mid 1980′s to be slightly more precise, he started getting me into gaming via his Atari 7800. This was short-lived, as he bought an NES shortly afterwards, which we played on for probably a couple years. I’m not sure when exactly, but at some point, my Dad became a complete Sega fanboy. This would influence me as a gamer for the rest of my life.

One weekend when I went over to his house, probably around 1990 or so, he had this weird, black, triangular-looking video game system I had never heard of before. I vividly remember him playing this nifty motorcycle racing game, where he was going over jumps alongside dune buggies. The game was called Enduro Racer, and he was playing on the Sega Master System. I didn’t realize it yet, but my gaming future was being written. No longer was the entire gaming world controlled by Nintendo or that Atari thing that wasn’t really around anymore. There was now Sega, a company that would come to be the driving force of my gaming life for years.

EnduroRacer_01

After we played Enduro Racer for a while, my Dad pulled out a lightgun and this giant peripheral that looked like sunglasses with a cord hanging out of them. He plugged his 3D glasses in and loaded up a game called Missile Defense 3D. I watched these horribly blurred graphics that I could barely make out on the screen, while Dad blasted away with his “Light Phaser”. I had no idea what was going on, but I was in awe of this mysterious technology.

After a few minutes, my Dad let me try. I put on the giant 3D glasses and I brandished the Light Phaser, ready to take on… whatever I was about to take on. Presumably missiles. The game started up and, like magic, nothing was blurry. Somehow these massive, heavy glasses turned that those garbled images into a three dimensional field of polygons like nothing I had ever imagined. Soon I was looking down into a canyon, blasting away at these stupid looking missiles in a way that I never thought possible. I was living in the future.

As time went on and I became more familiar with the Sega Master System, the sheen inevitably wore off. We only had 3 games for the thing, Enduro Racer, Missile Defense 3D, and Zaxxon 3D. Apparently, my dad had gotten it at a garage sale or something, and never found any place that carried other games for it.

It wasn’t just the lack of games that ended the “relationship.” The Sega Master System controller was a bit strange, and even as a kid I thought it was stupid that the pause button was on the console, instead of the controller. I spent a lot of time glaring across the living room at that little grey button, trying to fathom why anyone thought that was a good idea.

None of that mattered much. It wasn’t long before both the NES and the Sega Master System disappeared, sold off to FuncoLand, never to be seen again. To this day, that remains the only Master System with 3D glasses I have laid eyes upon in person.

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