So, I have a confession to make. 9 times out of 10 I subconsciously choose the underdog and its archetype, and I don’t know why. The 1 time I consciously do not choose the underdog is it because of peer pressure or lack of availability.
Perfect example: The TurboGrafx-16 and the TurboDuo.
During the dawn of the 16-bit wars, there was the Sega Genesis. It was an amazing leap from the aging NES in both graphics and sound. Plus, it had Altered Beast and Golden Axe. Both of which ate many weeks of allowance at the arcade. And once my cousin got his Genesis and I got a chance to hold that curved controller with the huge buttons, I was hooked. And who can forget the amazing “Genesis DOES what NintenDON’T” commercial. That was enough to convince me that I HAD to have a Genesis under the tree that Christmas. See how peer pressure and lack of availability works.
Fast forward about a year and the Super Famicom is about to be released in Japan. I was obsessed with reading every detail in EGM about Super Metroid and I couldn’t wait for the SNES to finally make it to our shores. The original Metroid was, and still is one of my most favorite and beloved video games of all times. Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest is a close second. Metroid was my $h1t!! Even if I didn’t understand what the JUSTIN BAILEY code really meant and didn’t quite understand that Samus Aran was female. Shame on you glasses, 8-bit graphics and crappy TVs.
Well to make a long blog short, I never bought a SNES. Now don’t be too quick to snatch my OG card yet. Oh, BTW’s OG stands for “original geek”. During that year long wait for the SNES to finally arrive, I re-fell in love with Japanese animation.
You see, I grew up watching Spectreman, Voltron and Robotech every morning before school for a couple of years when I was 7-8 years old. And to tell you that anime made a huge influence on my life is an understatement. Even if I didn’t know what anime was. Yet. Flash forward 7 years and I am realizing that Japan has some amazing games that are not making it to the US, and that the art style on some of these titles has a familiar feel. I mean, who can forget the first time you looked into the oversized, bright blue eyes of an anime Angel?
And the Angel that I fell in love with just so happened to be in a somewhat obscure title, one that I had originally played on the Nintendo and wasn’t too impressed. But now I was obsessed. I had to have this game! And from that point on, my goal was to find out how I was going to get ahold of a TurboGrafx-16 CD so I could give Ys another chance. And I was not disappointed. The day the TurboDuo arrived, with Ys Book 1 and 2 as one of its pack-in titles (what luck) I was in pure gamer heaven. So, while a million other kids were having a blast with their Super Nintendo, we (my brother and I) were playing some of the most amazing titles that completely flew under the radar of the 16-bit era. Gate of Thunder, I’m looking at you.
So to wrap things up on this first (of many) Underdog Blog, I want to remind everybody that when you step out of the box and look for the obscure and sometimes unpopular, you find some really rare gems hiding in plain sight.