When it comes to gaming, I have been extremely fortunate. I grew up in the mid-80s and was given a NES for Christmas when I was only 3 years old. From the moment I started playing Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt, I was completely hooked. It just happened to be the perfect time to get into gaming too with Nintendo bringing gaming back from the brink of ruin. As I grew up I saw new ideas being tried, consoles becoming more powerful, and video games evolve and grow into the massive industry that we know today. However, even with all that good fortune, I feel like I missed out on some of the things that have defined the game industry. I have since gone back and enjoyed many of these, but there will always be the regret that I missed it the first time around when I could’ve felt the true impact they had.
5. The Sega Dreamcast
I still remember vividly when the Dreamcast first came out. It was 9/9/99, the same date that Final Fantasy 8 was released. At the time, I was much more interested in the new Final Fantasy entry than I was for Sega’s new console. I had been burned pretty hard by my Sega Saturn and had essentially turned on Sega in favor of Sony. That was where I had been introduced to Final Fantasy 7 and RPGs in general. I was so excited for 8 at first, but the joy gradually wore away with each new battle that forced me to use the Draw system. Instead, my eyes were slowly drawn back to the Dreamcast and all of the amazing-looking new games that were coming out for it.
Every time my family went to the mall, I would track down an EB Games (this was before they were bought out by GameStop) and play whatever game they had in the Dreamcast. One of my most vivid memories of the system was when I watched a friend take on the final boss in Sonic Adventure. Between the awesome music, ruined city, and seeing Super Sonic jet across the water, I was completely in awe. Looking back, I can barely believe how many great games were released for the system. The Sonic Adventure games, ChuChu Rocket, Crazy Taxi, Phantasy Star Online, Soul Calibur, Jet Grind Radio, Skies of Arcadia, and many more all came out for it. Of course we all know the Dreamcast eventually died and Sega went third party which has allowed me to play many of these games. That is, all except one. For some asinine reason, I decided to skip on the Gamecube rerelease of Skies of Arcadia. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it and would love the chance to actually play it. I’m truly hoping for a HD digital release of it in the same vein as Jet Set Radio or Sonic Adventure 2, but as of right now it’s just a pipe dream.
4. The Panzer Dragoon series
When the Playstation, Nintendo 64, and Sega Saturn first came out, my parents had a choice as to which one I’d like the most. They decided to stick with Sega since I had enjoyed the Genesis so much. There was no reason to think that it wouldn't be just as good. I hated the system. Well, hate is too strong of a word. I was mostly indifferent to it. I had some games that I would play and enjoy, but my collection was meager at best. While I enjoyed playing NiGHTs and Clockwork Knight, most of my other games were decidedly mediocre. I doubt many of you even remember the Bug! games. Trust me, they’re best left forgotten. So in this lull of content, I often found myself putting in the demo disc that had come with the Saturn just to play one game: Panzer Dragoon.
I had never been much of a rail-shooter fan before this but the visuals and non-stop action had me hooked…even though I could only play one level. There was no doubt that I enjoyed the game but for whatever reason, I never bought it. And it’s a shame too because I know I would have bought its sequel, Panzer Dragoon Zwei, and inevitably Panzer Dragoon Saga. The simple fact that I missed those amazing collector items is heartbreaking nevermind the fact that they would’ve allowed me to have even more fun with my Saturn. Alas, all I can hope for is another digital rerelease or (please, Sega, please) a collection containing all four Panzer Dragoon games.
3. The NES Classics
As I said before the original Nintendo was my first gaming system but, considering I was a 3 year old, I hardly had the most discerning taste. What games I played often came down to which ones my parents decided to buy me. Fortunately, this worked out a lot of the time. Thanks to the Super Mario Bros. pack-in, they knew to get me every Mario game that came out. But they got a lot of the games based on Disney cartoons which, due to Capcom's involvement, were almost always great. I still remember playing DuckTales over and over again. However, it was rare for them to branch out beyond those and a few racing games like R.C Pro-Am or Super Off-Road. Because of this, I never got to play the NES classics until much, much later.
By classics, I mean the big ones that everyone mentions in “Best of” lists. I missed out on Metroid, Castlevania, the Mega Man series, and even The Legend of Zelda. It was years until I was able to play any of those because my next system was a Genesis. The first of these series I experienced was Castlevania, thanks to my Playstation and a copy of Symphony of the Night. While I still prefer the Metroidvania type of gameplay, I’ve learned to appreciate the challenge of the older NES games. Next up was Mega Man when a friend let me borrow Mega Man 8 and X4. I enjoyed them both though I found them to be quite challenging. Still, my interest was piqued enough that I eventually got the Mega Man Anniversary Collection, the X Collection, and the Zero Collection. I’m not the best at them, but I still find myself hooked on the games and wishing I could have experienced them sooner.
And then of course is the big one, The Legend of Zelda. I might never have experienced these games had I not swapped my Playstation for a friend’s N64 for a month. In that time, I tried out a bunch of his games, but the one that stuck with me was Ocarina of Time. The game captured me in the same way that Final Fantasy 7 did. Both were games that seemed to expand what was possible in the medium, and they did it in completely different ways. It’s taken a while, but I have since gone back and beaten every Zelda game save for Majora’s Mask, Oracle of Ages/Seasons, Zelda 2, and Four Swords Adventures. I love the series to death but wish immensely that I could have been there from the start like many of these classics.
2. The Super Nintendo
I’m not sure what decided this, but when I had to choose between owning a Sega Genesis or a Super Nintendo, I chose the Genesis. Maybe it was the cool-looking posture of Sonic and the promise of super-fast gameplay, but that’s just the way I went. I don’t regret it either. I loved all of the Sonic games as well as some of the more unique titles for the system like Atomic Runner and Comix Zone. I have a suspicion that it also prevented me from joining in on the Console Wars since I liked both Sega and Nintendo. But despite all that, I wish I had been able to convince my parents to get me the SNES as a second system.
It’s widely considered to be one of the greatest gaming consoles of all time, and I’m inclined to agree. There are well over thirty games I could list off the top of my head that I wish I could have played when I was a kid. I did get the chance to play some like Super Mario World and the Donkey Kong Country games, but games like A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, Kirby: Super Star, Chrono Trigger, and Final Fantasy all passed me by. Of course, like many of the other things on this list, I’ve gone back and played all of these iconic games, but there’s something missing. I can’t give my own take on how I first experienced many of the most talked-about gaming moments because they were already spoiled for me by the time I actually played the games. It’s a small gripe to be sure, but it’s still a massive regret.
1. Nintendo Power
I never had a subscription to Nintendo Power growing up. Actually, I’ve never had a subscription to Nintendo Power at all. There was no need for me to have one when I owned the NES since I was so young. When I was old enough, I was mainly playing my Genesis. Then I moved on to the Saturn, the Playstation, and so on. It wasn’t until I got a Gamecube that I owned another Nintendo system and by that point I was subscribed to two magazines, Official U.S Playstation Magazine and Electronic Gaming Monthly. Since I was mainly a Playstation gamer, I used the former to check out what was on the system plus used it to get demos for upcoming games. EGM was so I could check out games for other systems and get a “less biased” look. I just never felt the need to get Nintendo Power.
But with Nintendo Power ending last year and hearing all of the testimonials of people who grew up on the magazine, I started to feel like I missed something important. This wasn’t the same as when the two magazines I had subscribed to ended. Sure there were people that were upset but nowhere near to the degree of Nintendo Power. I have a feeling that if I had gotten a Super Nintendo then I would’ve subscribed to it and seen all of the games that I had missed. In fact, a subscription to Nintendo Power would have taken care of many of the other regrets on this list.
However, despite these regrets, I’ve had an amazing time growing up with games. I’ve seen them evolve, I’ve gotten to play many of the classics, and I’m even able to do what I love by writing about the gaming industry. I’m sure we all have regrets when it comes to things like this so be sure to let us know what gaming regrets you have, if any.
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