Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sega Genesis Restoration.

It's generally a sign of a healthy personality to have many hobbies. Even for those of us with possibly too many there's usually another interest we'd like to develop that simply evades our grasp due to factors such as budget or personal space. For years I've harbored some jealousy towards classic video game collectors, that is until reality sets in. Between new games, movies, TV, books, board games, blogging, moped riding/maintenance, writing, and even the occasional toy there's little room in my life to nurse old game consoles back to health, let alone supply them with the appropriate cartridges or discs. That's part of the reason I hardly ever hold on to my old consoles no matter how much I may want to. Every so often though you get the chance to delve into an interest on the cheap as I have this past week thanks to a lucky Goodwill find. Housed within a Bell's winter ale twelve pack box was a Sega Genesis and just north of half a dozen games.

I grew up in a Nintendo family but don't let that fool you, we played plenty of Sega thanks to a now defunct local joint called the Movie Market. It was our favorite spot to rent games for many years due to both the service and atmosphere. Especially the game room, a wide open half glass cornucopia of game art that was aimed in just the right direction to seemingly exist in a permanent state of sunset. A few times each year we'd rent a Genesis for the weekend along with two or three games. yes, young readers you could actually do such a thing back in the day. And what fun those days were when you would take a small break from all the Mario stuff to dive into some sweet Streets of Rage action. Even with that nostalgia I probably wouldn't have bothered with purchasing this old relic since I still doubt my ability to care for a classic console. However, there was one game in the box worth more than the asking price of the whole lot. Considering this both a win as well as a sign I brought it on home.

If only you could have smelled this poor thing when I brought it home. There was the distinct stench of somebody's funky old basement which has been mercifully fading over the past week. There was also the weird funk thrift items often have. You can't see it, and it barely has any physical form, but by god can you feel it. Suffice to say I washed my hands every time I handled this treasure.
First on the to do list was making sure it even functioned. For some people that question wouldn't be terribly hard to answer but I lack an old tube TV and while searches showed some folks flat-screens have no trouble interacting with old Genesis tech ours did not want to communicate. A stray yahoo answer gave me the hint to piggybank through the VCR. Success! Well roughly. I could only get one cartridge to work. Something had to be done, so I went to the web for any tips on fixing this baby up.

Believe it or not all you need for a light restoration are a couple Phillips head screwdrivers, compressed air, soapy water, and maybe some Pledge at the end to give the system the shine it's surely lost over years of collecting dust. I'm not going to attempt a complete instructional article as there are many useful videos on Youtube to guide interested parties along their way. I will note that it's actually a pretty easy process with the most time consuming aspect being the wait for outer shells and heat sinks to fully dry after a good washing. Even cleaning the games is easier than you may imagine. It can be done with just a few cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol. Speaking of games they're what really matters in a situation like this, so what was I lucky enough to get?

Packaged in the same winter ale box with the system were Sonic 2, and Batman Returns in their original cases plus NBA Jam, NHL 97. TMNT The Hyperstone Heist, and some football title. Aladdin was a separate item just a shelf above. In fact, I probably wouldn't have even noticed the system if not for the bright Aladdin box just a shelf above.
Definitely a few quality titles here, but most aren't partially valuable except Hyperstone Heist. These one had completely slipped under my radar but as it turns out it's an alternate take on Turtles in Time. In short, it's a blast but playing it wasn't as good as it could be thanks to the second controller having a dead button which left my brother unable to jump. I'm willing to take some time to study up on the controllers and see if I can fix it. If not, there's the option of buying replacements.
There is another issue that will take a bit more effort on my part. During my studies I saw brief mentions of a recurring issue with the power supply. Didn't pay much attention to to any of it at the time but sure enough my system has some real trouble keeping it's power. As you can imagine this makes getting games started kind of an issue. Once they're actually running it tends to do ok but as it stands there's usually 2 or 3 attempts to get everything started just right. If this is indeed the same problem I read about then it's time I learned some soldering skills. God help me, I'll probably burn off a digit.

Even though there are still issues to iron out with the system itself and my possible inability to keep classic gaming as a side-hobby, I still think I'll hold onto the Genesis for a while. On the practical end it offers a chance for me to study basic electronic repair and develop a few lacking skills. More than that is the pure rush of childish glee as my brother and I sat on the floor bashing hordes of foot soldiers. Feeling so carefree for just a few minutes was an absolutely priceless release from current responsibilities. That's something most of my other hobbies don't always provide and at a point in time where I'm dealing with just enough to make me jittery. pretending to be an ass-kicking turtle is almost a lifesaver.  

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