My Journey as a Gamer Part 1: The Sega
Growing up my family moved around a lot, and to say we were poor would be a sizable compliment. I was born in Chicago, but grew up in Las Vegas, and Oklahoma City. This story picks up in OKC around the end of 1999. We were living in a run-down public housing spot, and were living very close to the grind stone. We had no car so we had to walk EVERYWHERE! We walked to the grocery store, we walked to school, we walked to Wal-Mart, we walked to the pawn shop to PAWN whatever we got from Wal-Mart for food money (yeah, a vicious cycle I know). With no “real” friends it was just my brother and me. My mother and father would argue, and fight day in and day out, so my brother and I would take our beat-up bikes and roll the streets. One of the spots we would love to visit was this game store called Game Exchange. Think of it like a GameStop, but more Mom & Pop style. They would have tons of Sega games, Super Nintendo, PlayStation, Gameboy and so much more. I remember the feeling of sheer excitement we would get just from looking at the covers and box art of the games. The owners of the store were a little annoyed by us coming by so often without purchasing anything, but they soon warmed up to us and figured out that hey, we’re just two broke kids who just discovered video games with nowhere else to go. They also had game consoles on display, and they always had the newest games to play. When the Dreamcast came out, they had Sonic Adventure to demo, and our minds were BLOWN! The graphics were a total overload of the senses! We hadn’t seen anything like it, especially coming from the Genesis.
But getting back to our first console, which happened to be the aforementioned Sega Genesis that my father acquired in some sort of scumbag, pawn shop deal. My father struggled with addiction and would sell or trade just about anything in our house to get money. Even though by 1999 that would make the Sega Genesis just about ten years old, my brother and I were STILL filled with excitement and bliss. We only had two games at that time, NBA live ’95, and Sonic The Hedgehog. None the less we logged many hours burning the midnight apple juice, and would replay Sonic the hedgehog over and over again. Every now and then on one of our many drug related pawn shop trips, we would get a new genesis game (new to us, old to everyone else in the world). They were only a couple dollars each, and by that time the Genesis was all but obsolete, so the pawn shops wouldn’t take it anymore. That was great for my brother and I, because that meant that after school we would ALWAYS have a game console to come home to. My brother was a lot like me and we really didn’t fit in with the other poverty-stricken children of the neighborhood, so gaming was all we had. We played that Sega Genesis on a 13” black & white TV for well over a year… until it AND the 13” black and white TV broke. I will continue my journey as a gamer in part 2!