Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg Get All Nostalgic About Video Games

What's to come?
May 14 2014 8:49 AM

What Was Up With Sonic and Tails?

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg discuss Sega, Skynet, and using video games to learn how to navigate Los Angeles.

Actor Seth Rogen and Director Evan Goldberg.
Nintendo loyalist Evan Goldberg and Sega fanboy Seth Rogen.

Photo-illustration by Slate. Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images

This essay is adapted from the foreword to Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation, by Blake J. Harris, published by It Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Seth: Hi! Welcome to the foreword for Console Wars by legendary author Blake J. Harris!

Evan: Video games are great, but books about video games are even better!

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Seth: We grew up as video games were on the rise, and they played a major role in our upbringing.

Evan: And that’s why we couldn’t say no when Blake asked us to write a foreword for this awesome book you will love reading!

Seth: OK, what next?

Evan thinks intensely and an idea comes to him.

Evan: Let’s talk about what systems we preferred.

Seth: Solid idea, partner-ino!

Evan: I preferred Nintendo.

Seth: I preferred Sega. I’ll never forget the first time I ripped someone’s spine out playing Mortal Kombat.

Evan: Yeah, Sega always seemed to go to a place that Nintendo didn’t, and that opened the doors for video games that weren’t just targeted at kids but teenagers and even … adults. I don’t think games like Grand Theft Auto would even exist without Sega making games that went places Nintendo never would have gone.

Seth: I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. But Mortal Kombat definitely felt like a wonderful step in a new direction at the time. I was awesome at it too. Sub-Zero was my man.

Evan: Me too. Hey, here’s a Sega question: What was up with Sonic and Tails?

Seth: What? It was just your classic platonic speedster hedgehog and two-tail fox relationship.

Evan: I felt some tension there. Sexual.

Seth: Oh, it was sexual.

Seth and Evan exchange awkward looks in what is clearly a sexually charged moment of their own.

Seth: I used to own a Power Glove. I got it right when it came out.

Evan: Sweet petunia bush! Please elaborate using as many words as possible!

Seth: It didn’t work that well at all. I remember the bad-ass dude in The Wizard (arguably the most important video game movie of all time), and mine didn’t work worth crap.

Evan: I was always confused by TurboGrafx-16. As far as I recall, there were only two games for it. Keith Courage and Bonk’s Adventure. I only ever played Keith Courage.

140513_FUT_RogenGoldberg-cover

Seth: I played Bonk’s Adventure. A friend of mine had it, and it truly blew my mind. I also remember renting Sega CD in high school. It had that raunchy horror game with real controversy surrounding it.

Evan: Yup, that was Night Trap. You had to stop drill-wielding serial killers from impaling sorority girls. That was the first time I remember thinking to myself, “Well they have just gone too far this time.” And I was 12 or something …

Seth: Then came Sega Saturn, and kind of shat the bed.

Evan: And then there was Goldeneye.

Seth: I would confidently say the reason I never really had a girlfriend in high school was because of Goldeneye. I specifically remember leaving parties to go play it.

Evan: Our favorite level was the Facility. We would sit with our buddy Fogell for hours and hours on end and play it.

Seth: I memorized every level. The game was as much about watching your friend’s screen as your own.

Evan: When I went off to college, I met a group of guys from out east that were way better at Goldeneye than we ever were, and it crushed me. They were operating at a whole other level.

Seth: Then you got super into Super Smash Brothers.

Evan: Yeah. It was on Nintendo 64. My buddies and I would have tournaments that would go for hours: entire evenings. I was the nimble-footed puffball of power, Kirby.

Seth: That game makes no sense. The whole thing is based on a percentage of the likelihood that you’re going to fall off a magical island, and it goes up to like 600 percent and that’s bad and you’re actually trying to keep your score low, which I find confusing and counterintuitive.

Evan: Well, games are getting continuously confusing. I don’t even know what my grandparents would think if they played Grand Theft Auto.

Seth: Remember when Martin Starr and I taught you to drive around L.A. when you first moved here by playing the game True Crime: Streets of L.A., because it had a realistic map of Los Angeles?

Evan: That was sincerely helpful. It’s crazy how they started doing stuff like that.

Seth: I bet soon games will start calling our cellphones and emailing us and stuff.

Evan: Maybe that’s how Skynet finally happens and we all end up in a Terminator/Matrix nightmare version of the future where mankind is nearly wiped out and machines rule the world.

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