A Touch of Personal

Since I wrote about how great Sonic Generations is, I should also probably write about how it relates to me. It might even explain why I find it so great.

I already said something about gaming in the Balkans. You see, out here, actual original consoles like the SNES or the Genesis were rare, extremely so. Most people could not afford one, so instead, we were buying last generation clones like the SuperCOM, which looked like an SNES, but actually was an NES clone that used weird, but cheap, yellow cartridges. There was also a version that used the original NES cartridges, but those were 2-3 times more expensive than the yellow ones.

SuperCOM Pirate Console

The console of my childhood. Cheap, sturdy and unknown. It’s an NES, don’t let it fool you.

Anyway, I got lucky and got my hands on an actual Sega Mega Drive II, or Genesis for you US folks. It was way out of my price range, but I wasn’t the one paying for it so I didn’t mind. Compared to a clone of the NES, and let me remind you – an actual SNES was extremely rare, this was future technology. Advanced graphics, advanced gameplay, advanced sound. Suffice to say, even though I only ever had one 6 in 1 cartridge, I was the friend of everyone.

Sega Mega Drive, Genesis - 6 in 1 Cartridge

The only Genesis cartridge I ever owned. Columns, Super Monaco GP, Streets of Rage, Revenge of Shinobi, Sega Soccer and Sonic.

The 6 in 1 cartridge contained Columns, Sega Soccer, Super Monaco GP, Revenge of Shinobi, Streets of Rage and last but not least, Sonic the Hedgehog. So while everyone around me was getting familiar with the first Super Mario game, I was enjoying the company of an extremely fast blue hedgehog. I played this game daily, never got too far with it, but loved every moment.

My experience with Sega was short-lived, though. Pretty soon, the antenna cable broke and I couldn’t get a replacement anywhere. Soldering was out of the question to, because the material was extremely brittle. All in all, I owned the console a bit over a year, but it was one of the most memorable experiences I had. Soon after that, I got my own NES clone, which was great to, and a couple of years later, I god a PlayStation and a PC soon after. I never forgot my SEGA, though. I actually still have it stored somewhere.

Yellow Pirate Cart

These yellow NES pirate carts used to cost me about 5 bucks. I never got any mainstream game such as this one.

Since then, I discovered emulation, so I could return to my childhood through that. I also discovered the sequels to Sonic, which, although most of them were solid, got more and more different to the original. But Sonic Generations changed that. It took the old model, almost unchanged, and gave it a fresh new look. This is why I love the game so much – it gives me my childhood experience, but with modern graphics. The atmosphere is there, and the feel is there, and that’s all that matters.

Where I am in Sonic Generations?

Up to now, I finished all the levels, finished all the challenges and got all the red star rings on the first few levels. I also managed to snag a lot of the achievements, though some of the hard ones are still locked. Sadly, though, it’s time for a forced break from it. My gamepad, which served me well for 6 years, started acting up. It locks up and causes the game to crash often, and when it doesn’t, it makes Sonic strafe to the left almost constantly. Basically, the game is unplayable for me now. I hope to get a replacement soon, but I’m thinking about getting the official X360 gamepad, so I need to save up some money first.

For now, on to other games.


…or Sonic Generations, if you prefer to call it by its regular name.

First of all, I have to write some words on the side. There’s this great place on reddit called Pay It Forward. It’s full of a great bunch of people that give games to other great bunch of people and all they ask is that you give a game to someone else for every game you received. It’s there, that I got this awesome game. For now, I won’t name the generous person who gave it to me, because I’m not sure of his wishes, but suffice to say, I am extremely grateful to him/her.

Sonic Generations Logo

The official (I guess) logo of Sonic Generations

Anyway, Sonic Generations. Is it good? Short story – yes, it’s extremely good. It’s good enough to make me firmly believe Sega is making a comeback. It’s everything that a modern platformer should be.

Generations is split into a total of 9 different zones which have all (I believe) appeared in the previous games. Each zone is split into two acts, one of which you play with the classic Sonic, while the other is played with the modern Sonic. Classic Sonic plays like he used to on the early Sega consoles, or on the handhelds. It’s a 2D platformer, but with gorgeous 3D graphics and fun little parts where the perspective shifts a bit and you jump into another 2D plane, or the whole level rotates 90 degrees. The classic music is there, and the classic controls are there.

Modern Sonic is different, closer to the other newer games with the hedgehog. Most of the time, you are running forward, “into the screen”, using your boost to execute some insane moves and get to the goal as fast as possible. You also have moments of shifted perspective where you move classically sideways, but even there, you still have your boost and other modern moves. The controls can get a bit clunky in the modern acts, but this is offset by the ability to strafe, and more importantly, to home, mid jump, to enemies or gameplay elements such as platforms, sliders, springs, etc. It’s also offset by the absolutely amazing experience you get. You really do feel like Sonic while playing the modern acts. The experience of speed is absolutely incredible.

Nine levels may seem on the low side, but they are lengthy, contain alternative routes and you have to collect five hidden red star rings on each of them, as well as finish fast enough for an S rank in order to get all the unlockables. Additionally, there are 90 different challenges, which, while not as long as a level, mostly still take a couple of minutes to complete. The challenges also give you more unlockables, like music from the old games, character bio, artwork and the most important ones – skills.

Yes, you can unlock additional skills by collecting red star rings and finishing some of the challenges. The skills vary from passives ones like better acceleration or faster recovery from hits, to completely new ones like the water shield which lets you bounce or the fire shield which lets you air dash. You can even unlock the homing attack for the classical Sonic. You can then equip these unlocked skills at the skill shop or before entering a level, and use them to get the secrets, or to break speed records. Both the classic and modern Sonics get 100 points to fill up, with each skill costing between 10 and the full 100.

With all of this, you also get online mode, which allows you to compete with your friends and the rest of the world for speed and distance records on levels. Additionally, if you get the console version (though I’m not sure which consoles have this), you can unlock one of the classic Sonic the Hedgehog games for play. Again, I’m not really sure which one it is. As for steam achievements, there’s plenty of those and they basically cover what you need to do to unlock everything in the game. Nothing special, but it serves well as additional motivation.

In any case, if you’re a fan of Sonic, you finally, after to many years, have a great modern Sonic game to play. Go get it! Now!

My gaming experience over the last couple of months has been mostly limited to the PC. And why shouldn’t it. I know a lot of people love to scream how the PC is dead for gaming, how all we get are crappy ports and how piracy is killing the platform, but honestly, I cannot disagree more.

The complainers are making one common mistake – they are looking in the wrong direction. Sure, a lot of the big dinosaur publishers and developers seem to be having a hard time. That’s because they are short sighted and narrow-minded. On the other hand, If you look at the indie scene, it was never this big. We get small and innovative games, we get big quality games, we get a return to the old, forgotten genres as well as the creation of completely new genres. There is literally something for most people.

This should in no way be a surprise. It’s just how the market works. If it looks like things are bad, it’s only a matter of time before a revolution happens. If people want a product, there will eventually come someone who can supply that product. So, don’t worry about the future of gaming on PC or on any platform. People love games and they will get them, the good ones as well as the bad ones.

And now for some concrete info…


Thanks to an extremely generous person on /r/favors, I got a brand new copy of Skyrim. Bethesda did not disappoint with this game. Sure, it’s a bit simplified compared to Oblivion, but so was Oblivion compared to some of the elements in Morrowind. There are other areas, however, where the games have greatly improved over their predecessors. The graphics shouldn’t even be mentioned. The Elder Scrolls series was always at the peak when it comes to that. The music, oh the music… Nothing needs to be said about that. Again, we have an upgrade of the traditional Morrowind theme. I never thought they could make it better than Oblivion, but they sure did. The Norse theme really adds to it, in the same way it adds to the story. Norse culture always intrigued me and while this is in no way the real thing, the elements it shares with it are more than enough to keep me hooked.

Of course, the gameplay is the critical part and no amount of atmosphere can make up for that. Luckily, this, also, is an improvement over Oblivion. The controls are just as good, maybe slightly better, the combat is the same style, but slightly more complex, the magic is greatly improved and the stealth element actually added some nice moves like proper backstab attacks, rolls, etc. As for the story, it’s classic, but it fits nicely and takes from the lore of Elder Scrolls enough to be interesting. SIDENOTE: If you’re not familiar with the Elder Scrolls lore, but love to read about a fantasy universe, go read up on it now – it’s one of the best and most complex I know of.

Two More Games

One of the games I should also mention is Sonic Generations. It’s been a long time since I played a platformer as awesome as this, so I won’t write much about it here. It, like Skyrim, definitely deserves more than a few paragraphs. This one, I also still actively play, or I would, if my gamepad wasn’t acting up. As for the PSP, It wasn’t used a lot, but I did play some Final Fantasy VII on it, simply for the sake of nostalgia. In short, the game is still as good as it ever was.

In any case, there will be more to follow on all of this. For now, you got a short recap.