The From A to Z series lets our editors go back and take a look at games from past generations that are classics, overlooked gems, or just titles they remember fondly. The idea behind this is to pick five games from each letter of the alphabet, once a week to showcase. This delivers 26 weeks and 130 games to talk about. Hopefully it sparks some conversation, and of course plenty of memories.
The third in our series focuses on Sega’s Mega Drive (Genesis in the US).
Let’s start with the letters “N and O”.
NBA Jam: Tournament Edition
“He’s on fire!!!” Scoring all those flaming buckets whilst on a shooting streak made me feel like such a boss. I’m a huge basketball nerd and this game is one of my all-time favourite sports titles. It had the NBA licence and featured great 2-on-2 gameplay with ridiculously exaggerated physics. The player could throw down crazy dunks, commit as many fouls as they liked and unlock a wealth of hidden characters to play as (including the likes of Bill Clinton). I’d consider this one of the most fun games ever made.
I guess 1995 was the year for sports games. Much like Fifa Soccer, this was my preferred version of EA’s NHL franchise…and, just like in Fifa ’95, I would always employ the ‘skate down the right side, cut in and shoot’ tactic to score. EA’s 1995 version of NHL Hockey set itself apart from its predecessors (and, indeed, a lot of hockey games that followed) with a wealth of content and gameplay that felt naturally quick and smooth.
Also known as the button-bashing Olympics, especially then it came to the 100 metre sprint race. The game offered seven different events for the player to compete in – I always enjoyed the diving more than the other sports. The game’s content was relatively easy to pick up, but being consistently successful required mastering the different speeds, timings and accuracy across the varied events. Although the results sometimes seemed quite arbitrary, Olympic Gold was a pretty satisfying experience overall.
Out Run is a SEGA classic, and the Mega Drive version is no different. There’s plenty of versions of this game out there but they all share the same magic: blisteringly fast races through various stages, checkpoints and forks in the road, at the wheel of a Ferrari with a low-slung camera that provided (at the time) a unique perspective for the player.
Tune in next week for the next collection of titles.