Seeing all the message board skirmishing as the E3 corporate chest-beating is about to begin, I’m reminded of The Great Nintendo-Sega Console War, fought in lunchrooms, playgrounds, and classrooms in schools across America. I like to think we handled it a bit more “gracefully” in our time than current day console warriors (i.e. corporate shills), but I make no guarantees. I can tell you that Sonic was dumb and that a bunch of games featuring a fast hedgehog couldn't compete with an veritable army of quality titles, filled with plumbers, an elven warrior, some dude (who turned out to be a chick) in a suit with crazy lasers, and a robot whose powers and adaptability could only be defined as “mega”.

Or so I would claim in the trenches of my elementary school, a time when Nintendo was king and I was one of its many loyal followers. I was in pretty thick too. We’re not just talking games here, I was knee deep in the TV shows, the toys, the lunchbox, the bedsheets, the puzzles, and whatever ever else I could get my Nintendo-loving hands on. I even had the Nintendo Sticker book. Naturally I was also a subscriber of Nintendo Power, our own version of The Daily Worker, which fueled me with the monthly information I needed to claim supremacy of the Nintendo brand above all else. Does what Nintendon’t? Not a chance.

As an adult I can look back on this sort of thing and laugh, knowing that the only reason anyone participated in this playground warfare is because we had to make a choice. It was going to be one or the other, and whatever it was, that's what you stuck with, no matter what. I can't imagine any of my fellow warriors ever turning down a Genesis if one had been offered to them. Hell, even I bought a Game Gear with money I had saved up, and thought it was pretty cool (when it wasn't consuming all of the AA batteries I could find). What it ultimately came down to was I had one, not the other, and there was no way I was going to feel like I had the short end of the stick.

Knowing how that sort of mentality is, you'd think I'd have some sympathy for today's youths and console warriors, but the truth is I don't. First off, I'm not sure that any of these companies really court fervent followers like Nintendo and Sega did back in the day. I can't believe that anyone really loves giant corporations like Sony and Microsoft, who honestly don’t give a damn about them, and yet people defend/revile them like they’re some sort of helpless kitten/Nazi war criminal.

Secondly, none of the big three have anywhere near the propaganda of old days. And even if they did, there’s more information out there than ever before, so you think people would make informed decisions about what works best for them and live with it. But no, instead they twist whatever little pieces of information they can find for slander and ammunition.

Do they still suffer from the “my mom can only buy me one” mentality? I suppose it’s possible, but there's less and less reason to care – compared to the Sega-Nintendo days, exclusivity is a joke. They make portable versions of most big releases nowadays for Christ's sake. And yet people still fight on across the internet about which is the better console, even going so far as to compare screen shots. And none of it matters in the slightest, because the console that looks the worst is outselling the other two in spades.

Maybe I'm getting a little old and curmudgeonly, but allow me, a veteran of the console wars, to say a little something to the younger generation of troops in the battlefield.

Chill out.

And lay off the corporate kool-aid. Because you don't want to end up like this guy.

Case closed.


Colure said...

Haha I remember going through your old Nintendo box and finding all your old issues of Nintendo Power, and your Nintendo bedsheets (which we HAVE and I absolutely LOVE and they WILL be used on our child's bed in the future!!), and I think I remember even finding your Nintendo sticker book! :D Good times, good times. Must say though, I AM glad you didn't end up like THAT guy. ;)

Lindsey Hein KPACTP said...

Haha, I was such a Nintendo child as well. Mario beat Sonic every time. But you are right, I definitely wouldn't have turned down a Sega Genesis as a kid. But I had to choose, so it was always Nintendo.

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