The Retro Bear looks back at the second stage of his retrohood, including those all important first encounters with Mario Kart and Street Fighter II without the aid of rose tinted spectacles….

Originally Posted to on October 12th 2010

Retro Gamer

Lame gamesplayers need not apply

My knowledge of game consoles was rather poor when I was younger and just discovering games. Spoiled with the Amiga 500 you came to believe that anything on that machine was arcade perfect, and you sneered at the mention of anything to do with Sega and Nintendo. How wrong we all were – by the mid 90′s home computing, as it was known, was restricted to slow running PC games (and most of those games were flight simulators, ideal if you fancied a career as a pilot) and consoles such as the Mega Drive and Super Nintendo were the must haves.

My mate Jim got me interested in the console side of things. He originally had a Master System and raved about the delights of Psycho Fox and Shinobi, all titles that were not available on the home computers. I even made him an offer to buy the console and games off him for £10 a week, but he was unsurprisingly dismissive of the proposal. He then upgraded to a Mega Drive and was the only person I knew (and still know) to have a Mega CD.



Providing you didn't try and bend the CD in half, this was an awesome shooter

Jim also suffered from Game Rage (see my previous column), involving him punching and bending a vast variety of cartridges and CD’s. Silpheed on the Mega CD was badly bent in half but still worked surprisingly. It was a good test of a game’s playability if it passed the Jim Rage Test. Street Fighter II also suffered, with one punch forcing a large crack down the side of the SNES cartridge. He also paid £65.00 for that when it came out. When I purchased a loose cartridge of the same game last year he was put off by the £40.00 price tag I tried to sell it to him at, having only paid £2.00 myself for it.


Andy still plugged away on his C64 while our other mate Neil invested in a Super Nintendo, and shortly after Jim followed suit. We spent many many hours round in Neil’s bedroom, playing a vast array of titles such as UN Squadron, Super Star Wars and the previously mentioned Street Fighter II. We also played Super Mario Kart, and there I developed my long term hatred for the game. It also went to show just how lucky Neil was at gaming, a trait I understand he still has today, and many the night was ended with Jim storming home after another fluke red shell knocked him off the track.


Neil eventually invested in an N64 when they were released and we spent time between his house and another mate, Mark. Mark loved games like Zelda and Mario 64, but it was here we discovered Goldeneye and Mario Kart 64 and the


The expressions on the guards faces says it all really. Bond Rules.

joys of multi player gaming. In fact I don’t think we played any game more in multi player mode than Goldeneye. Of course, I wasn’t much kop at any of them and would rather than stayed at home than endure another round of Mario Kart Battle Mode. Neil would also never tell you the instructions or controls before you started, which didn’t help.


Andy, and then I, decided to go more upmarket than cartridge based machines, and thus we both purchased a PlayStation 1. I remember Christmas Day night one year, round Neil’s, playing Crash Team Racing and marvelling at it’s superiority to Mario Kart (well I would wouldn’t I ? I didn’t tell Neil the controls either). And then almost as soon as it began all, those years ago, our big nights in were swapped for big nights out and gaming took a back seat to be dipped into now and again.

As far as I know, Andy upgraded to a PS2 and then PS3 and where he now happily resides in Australia. Jim – well Jim didn’t get any new consoles after his N64, though he assures me his whole collection is in his parent’s garage, locked away safely. In the original boxes. It’s worth a few quid I keep telling him but, like me, he’s happy to horde it. Neil meanwhile has both a Wii and PS3, though I am unsure of his reasoning (well two young children is a good one). He told me a few weeks ago he purchased God Of War on the PS3. When I asked why, he simply replied “I don’t know”. More money than sense that one.

Jim and I always used to enjoy a good blast in the arcades – speciality House Of The Dead or Jurassic Park : The Lost World. We weren’t very good but we always loved

Daytona Deluxe

Daytona Deluxe

the trips to Blackpool to seek these out. Mark became a specialist on Time Crisis and Star Wars (the newer version by Sega where you have lightsaber battles with Darth Vader and Boba Fett). We always loved a good 4 player bash at Sega Rally or Daytona if we could find a 4 linkable set up. Finally I’ll never forget the 4 player horse racing game we found in Blackpool one year, where you had to sit on plastic horses and move the heads back and forth to simulate riding one. It sounds erotically sick, but I have never ever been so knackered after playing a game in my life.


As mentioned, even now, gaming isn’t too far away from our everyday lives, but I am the only one with a retro passsion. That may be more down to me missing out when I was younger, and that I prefer games from the past as opposed to newer titles. Sure I can appreciate their aesthetic qualities and how technology has advanced since Pong, but to me you’ll never beat the cuteness of New Zealand Story, the will to win on Kick Off 2 and the downright brown trouser-ness of the original Doom. To me that’s gaming.

So there you are – a brief history of me, a few mates and the games we played when we were young. Till the next time – If it ain’t retro , then it ain’t gaming.