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!
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.
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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