Video Game Archaeology Blog #2 – The Mega Drive lives again!

The Mega Drive II lives again!!!
The Mega Drive II lives again!!!

As I said in my previous blog post I had acquired a Mega Drive II console through my wife’s uncle but in the knowledge that it was lacking controllers and a TV cable. Therefore in order to resurrect this beloved console I scoured Amazon and E Bay for a cable, controllers and something to play on it.

Now I am not exactly the most financially well off person in the world – far from it – so I therefore have to make sure that every penny counts. First thing I found was a selection of TV cables that featured the traditional aerial connector but as I scrolled down the page I found a cable that featured a tri-colour scart connection. I am not one of those people who buys in to gimics especially about my retrogaming. I know my Mega Drive or SNES is not going to give me 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound with high definition graphics because of one cable but I did consider the fact that many TVs are no longer sporting TV aerial connections and therefore I decided I was going to get this instead of a standard one setting me back just £4.50.

Sega Mega Drive Genesis 6 button controller SNES
The SNES has always been said to have the better pad but this six button Mega Drive pad is definitely on a par at least

So now I could at least see what the console was doing. Now I needed a controller. There were a number of originals for sale many of which had original packaging which put their price up. Now I remember how awkward the original controller was. It was without a doubt the Mega Drive’s worst feature being big and angled with only three buttons which is not a major problem as nearly all the games are configured to at least use those buttons. Later in the console’s lifetime the six button control pad appeared and this was produced in two sizes; western and eastern. The eastern pad which is what was sold in Japan was smaller than the western one because the designers believed that the physical size of western hands was bigger than those in Japan. In my search for a controller I found a pair of replica eastern six button pads for the same price as one original pad. I knew it wasn’t entirely authentic which is something of a by-word in the retrogaming scene but given that I could buy two pads for one I decided to go for it. The pads cost me £11.99 and I was not disappointed. They are very comfortable to use sitting nicely between the index and middle fingers and it’s almost no effort to move the thumb to all the buttons.

Mega Games 6
Mega Games 6

The last thing now was to actually have something to play on it. There was plenty available in the £5-£10 range on Amazon but I remembered the Mega Games series as I had Mega Games I included in my original Mega Drive back in the day. The Mega Games series were multi-game cartridges with three games on them so I did a search for one hoping the price would be the same as a single game cartridge. Boy was my luck in when I found Mega Games 6 for sale in cartridge-only form (no box) for £4.47. Mega Games 6 has six full classic games on it namely;

  1. Sega Soccer (actually World Cup Italia 90)
  2. Columns
  3. Super Monaco GP
  4. Revenge of Shinobi
  5. Sonic 1
  6. Streets of Rage 

Six games for the price of one; who could fault it? Now its not that I want to say I have six games but rather I am less likely to get bored if I have some sort of choice.

So there we have it. The Mega Drive is back and for less than £25 but it didn’t all go smoothly. The console hasn’t been switched on quite literally for at least seven or eight years and when I first booted it up nothing appeared on the screen. I had to leave it on for a couple of minutes before booting it up again when finally it showed signs of life.

Even then there was a small problem with what I was seeing. The images on the screen have a slight ghost image around everything and after I first noticed it I couldn’t ignore it again. Immediately I put the blame on the cable since my SNES works perfectly on my TV with the old fashioned TV aerial. However I took the Mega Drive to my brother-in-law’s house and played on his main TV and his small flat screen in the bedroom and in both instances the image was perfect. I can only assume I have to tweak my TV to correct the image but in all honesty I can live with it and it hasn’t stopped me playing the Mega Drive when I can squeeze in a spare half hour to myself.

All in all I am happy to be playing my beloved Mega Drive games again. However – I find my loyalties are being tested by the rather old looking SNES that sits next to it on shelf in the living room. Have I been a Sega fanboy all these years only to discover I had a heart for Nintendo?

My currently non-operational Sega Mega Drive II and the recently acquired Super Nintendo

Watch this space….

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Author: Tony Wilkins

When Man entered the atomic age, he opened a door into a new world. What we’ll eventually find in that new world, nobody can predict.

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