The “half-step” console that nobody wanted

The Sega 32X.

Before the PlayStation 4 Pro and the Xbox One X, there was an infamous add-on to the Sega Genesis. My friends and I would always joke about what a waste of money it was and the fact that it was likely a piece of junk. In an age where producing an upgraded version of a current console to sell to hungry consumers exists, Sega of the 1990s tried something bold and almost succeeded.

I was never on team blue, but in retrospect, it was either pretty cool or probably pretty disappointing arguing for blast processing. This time around, trying to be ahead of the curve proved to be disastrous for Sega.

Also, do check out more of the Gaming Historian, it’s a great channel filled with well produced mini-documentaries.


Remembering: Donkey Kong Country (SNES)

Donkey Kong Country is a 2D sidescrolling classic. It’s a solid platformer and deserves its high praise. Developed by Rare in 1994, DKC entertained me for hours and was one of the first games I ever saw to 100% completion, or in this case, 101%.

I remember the first time I reached King K. Rool (the game’s final boss). My hands were sweaty and my mind was racing with excitement. At my young age, it wasn’t often that I got to beat a game. It took me countless hours to get there and I could already see the ending in my head. However, DKC was clever in tricking you towards the very end, giving you two parts to the final boss. After finally defeating him, you are rewarded with your infinite supply of bananas that was stolen.

There is a fine line between outright frustrating game design and frustrating elements of game design meant to challenge the player. Donkey Kong Country provides the latter: lots of aggravating moments and obstacles that seem impossible but can be resolved with skill or just dumb luck.

Back then the length and challenge of the game seemed longer and harder, playing it again definitely seems much shorter and a lot easier. I was able to breeze through it in a couple of hours. It is not perfect but, has plenty going for it. Donkey Kong Country’s music still rings in my head from time to time, the melodies and tunes are very well composed. And there are somethings you can’t forget after playing this for hours on end like the location of the bonus stages that gave you the most trouble.

The game was also released on the Game Boy Color (which I also played some time after beating the SNES version) and the Game Boy Advance.

Little things to recall …

  • The “3D” graphics and the first time you saw it
  • A video tape revealing DKC …
  • Favoring one character over the other
  • BARRAL for 50 lives!
  • The easy way to beat Stop & Go Station