Thursday Jun 13, 2013
SEGA is proud to announce four new classic Game Gear titles are now available in the Nintendo 3DS eShop!
The color (!!!) portable system from SEGA’s 90s past – the one that ate batteries like tater tots and had a TV Tuner, which was pretty awesome even if it ate even more batteries – has previously joined forces with the finely-crafted Nintendo portable system. We’re back with more, adding four of the games that helped define the Game Gear:
Sonic the Hedgehog, Columns, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, and Shining Force: Sword of Hajya!
If you’re a fan of Game Gear’s unique portable offerings, then we have more on the way in the near future — for now though, let’s plug in the car adapter and buckle in to the backseat for a trip down memory lane to look at these titles:
Sonic the Hedgehog
Ah yes, Sonic. We know about this game, right? Blue Hedgehog runs fast, collects rings, thwarts plans, frees animals encased in unfeeling metal, is charged with the mystical energies of special emeralds. Classic!
Actually the Game Gear version is a slightly different spin on the original – it’s the same version as appeared on the SEGA Master System: half of the zones feature a different design than the 16-bit counterpart, and it has different level design and story elements.
Notably, the game also featured original music from chiptune wizard Yuzo Koshiro – the same musician who created the amazing tracks for the Streets of Rage series and contributed fifteen original tracks to Shenmue.
Seriously though, Columns. Yes, there is a fine tradition of games where the player arranges falling things in a desperate bid to make them disappear. It’s as apt a metaphor for life itself as video games have devised. The twist in columns – have you guessed it? – is the frenetic arrangements are all vertical, a metaphor for the chaos of our waking lives, and/or a metaphor for spinning falling gems stuck to one another that vanish if you line them up just so.
As is becoming a recurring theme here, Columns also had some fantastic music.
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
Look, it was the 90s, and matching contortionist strings of goo-beans was just something that we did back then. It’s hard to explain if you weren’t there, but this game is a window into the culture of my people.
Oh! Also it is basically a Puyo Puyo game, which is to say exactly a Puyo Puyo game, but remade with a Sonic theme, because again, it was the 90s, and that’s how we rolled.
One neat thing about the Game Gear versions of Genesis titles is they often had something unique going for them – in this case, a “Puzzle Mode” that didn’t appear in its 16-bit cousin. Nineties! Yeah!
Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya
A rare gem from one of my personal favorite series – the original Shining Force games rank highly on my list of all-time favorites for their blend of tactical strategy and story-driven RPG.
Sword of Hajya takes place some 20 years after the original Shining Force, give or take, and continues the story of Guardiana. A handful of characters from the original – including Luke, Ken, Lowe, and the magical egg-shaped squid-creature (???) Domingo – return in this Gamer Gear exclusive.
To be honest, RPGs don’t always age well – they can be grindy and they can belong very much to their eras. Sometimes you take what you can get. But tactical RPGs and in particular the Shining Force series have always felt very much alive, and the blend of character progression, story, and tactical strategy still hold a primal appeal. I mean, I’m biased! But I like to think I’m biased for a reason, and those reasons say I am very excited to see this game (and all these games) show up for download on the 3DS.
Stay tuned … there’s more on the way for the Nintendo 3DS!
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