5.06.2009

"Yeah, sure... We're friends..."

I got the new Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection game for Xbox 360 today. Talk about a blast from the past...

What's really strange is the memories it conjures up. I myself was a Nintendo / SNES owner, but being a huge gaming nerd as a kid, I did whatever I could to reach out and experience as many platforms as I could. And there was one kid who lived in my neighborhood who had them ALL.

His name was Kenny, and he was a grade behind me in school. His parents won the lottery when I was in 8th grade, and they did everything they could to live the rich life short of moving the hell out of our poor neighborhood (because what fun is lording your gobs of cash if you're in a neighborhood full of people with cash? No, it's way better to add a second floor complete with fucking COLUMNS to the front of your house while everyone else lives in typical ranch-style homes...). As a result, Kenny was spoiled rotten. He had everything you could imagine - every game system, a few stand-up arcade cabinets, Power Glove, pogo balls, a scooter AND a Mongoose freewheel bike... He was a lucky, lucky kid. And he was a total fucking loser.

Kenny didn't tight-roll his jeans when that was popular. Hell, they weren't even stone-washed! He never got into grunge music, and he never wore flannel. He wore penny loafers and button-down oxfords - even while at home. It was insane.

He never watched the cool shows growing up. He had no idea who Seinfield, Ross, Rachel, Hans, Franz, or any of the Ninja Turtles were. He spent all his free time playing violin and taking karate lessons. He could barely ride his bike, never rode his scooter, and couldn't figure out how to transform ANY of his Transformers. Half the GI Joe toys he had still sat in the box, because they just didn't interest him. He was such a little prick.

So it was really, really hard, pretending to be his friend so I could get access to all that sweet loot.

He wouldn't ever shut up when we were playing games, and he really sucked at them. It was awful trying to play Altered Beast with him - he'd continually steal my orbs, even after he morphed, even though I did all the work getting the damn things. He'd continually cheat in Mortal Kombat, doing low kick slides with Sub Zero over and over and over... It was an awful chore to put up with his shit just to play the glorious Genesis machine.

I used to invent excuses for him to go do something else while I played. I'd pick single-player games like Mickey Mouse and the Enchanted Castle, telling him that there were special endings I could unlock if he let me play through it. I'd accidentally kill him in several multiplayer games just so he'd get the hell out of my way.

His mother would come in with the worst snacks imaginable. Celery with peanut butter in it... COME ON. Where the fuck were the pizza rolls, lady?

Eventually, Mike came around in 10th grade and made going to Kenny's impossible, since Mike and I were pretty much inseperable once he moved to town. He pretty much gave up the gig by openly insulting the kid constantly - and I cannot refrain from joining Mike when he starts in on someone, no matter how I might benefit by keeping my composure. Kenny no longer wanted to hang out with us, because we kept calling him Stuart (like the kid in Beavis and Butthead).

I downloaded emulators throughout the years, along with huge catalogs of Genesis and Master System titles, but mostly just to have them. I never really broke them out, except to go through Sonic a few times. So this game is the first real taste of Genesis nostalgia I've had in a long time, and this is the shit I remember - pretending being a friend to a kid just so I could play his game systems.

But I don't feel bad about it, not even a little. I mean, come on... The Genesis was fuckin' SWEET back in the day. You'd have done the same.

Oh yes you would have, you liar.