short stories

Sega Genesis

Sega Genesis

Going for the trifecta in posting three days in a row. Never done that before. The 63 posts that I completed yesterday have taken me more than two years to author. And at least eight of them are chapters from an e-book I wrote (for all you dedicated Apple people, there’s a Kindle app), where I bound myself to publishing a new chapter every two weeks, like Sir Charles Dickens serialized his novels back in the 19th century.

So this will be lucky #64. Sixty-four is sort of significant. You can write it as 26 (two to the sixth power). It also reminds me of Nintendo’s 64-bit gaming console, N64.

Nevertheless, I was a Sega Genesis guy (16-bit).

So when I was little—maybe 8 or so—I’d play Sega’s X-Men like every day. Errrrry day. I completed level after level after level. Then I got stuck on the second-to-last stage for what seemed like a couple of months.

I just couldn’t figure out how to beat it. You see, at the end of this level, a message appeared. It said ‘RESET THE COMPUTER.’ Yet there was nowhere on the screen to reset the computer. A timer counted down, and frantically I searched for a solution. Time after time, the clock would dial down to zero and I would lose. I’d lose a life and have to start the second-to-last level all over again.

Eventually, I’d run out of lives and have to restart the entire game. Slowly, I’d make my way back.

After a while, when I approached this fateful, seemingly dead end, my eyes would glance down at the Sega Genesis itself.

There was a little, grey reset button there. It was installed by the manufacturers to reset the console, in case a game ran into glitches—kind of like restarting your computer. As I watched the clock winding down, time after time, an idea slowly crept into my mind: What if that was the solution?

I was extremely hesitant resorting to such a drastic measure. If it truly was not the solution, I would lose everything. No matter how many lives I had at the end of the second-to-last level, I would surely have to start from scratch. The risk for failure seemed too great.

One day, I got fed up with inevitably losing. I reached the end of that level and the clock began counting down. I felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger (Dutch) when Predator initiated his self-destruct sequence and the digital wristband counted down in those weird alien numbers. In a fit of pure, pre-pubescent adrenaline, I threw caution to the wind and pushed that grey button.

The screen went blank. I thought for sure it didn’t work.

Then a little green cursor appeared in the upper-left corner of the TV screen. And messages scrolled across the display. The Sega Genesis had indeed not been reset. At last, I had “RESET THE COMPUTER,” as the X-Men game had been telling me to do.

This experience has stuck with me all these years. It symbolizes an evolution in thinking, a paradigm shift. In some ways it represents a fundamental change in the way I perceived Sega Genesis, the X-Men game and how I solve difficult life problems to this day.

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