Our Imposter Syndrome cancels out our Dunning-Kruger

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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. Jarl
    March 28, 2015 @ 12:12 am

    In terms of Genesis, I would rank them Sega at the top, God in the middle, and Collins somewhere down in the murky depths.


  2. ferret
    March 28, 2015 @ 1:21 am

    I was blown away by the graphics and gameplay on Starfox, and played all night at a friends house while everyone else slept. I was still running a ZX Spectrum at the time, so it was a big deal.


  3. Chicanery
    March 28, 2015 @ 2:40 am

    I have never seen a SNES in person. However I have fond memories of four player Bomberman and Worms on the Mega Drive. Bloody brilliant machine it was.


  4. Jeff Heikkinen
    March 28, 2015 @ 2:54 am

    Well, the game that left the biggest impression on me was what was known in its SNES incarnation as Final Fantasy II, though it was really Final Fantasy IV and its many rereleases have been numbered accordingly.

    I'd played the original for the NES and considered it slightly above average, but mostly of a piece with other RPGs of its time. But this was clearly something much more interesting in terms of story depth, the issues you mentioned in your Dragon Quest entry notwithstanding. I'd had no idea a videogame could actually be a medium for compelling storytelling.

    Plus the soundtrack was extremely impressive given the technology limitations, and the full orchestrations that have come out since bear out that it really is good by any sane standard. Nobuo Uemastu is a composer of the first rank.


  5. TheWatersOfMars
    March 28, 2015 @ 5:12 am

    I just remember it as that thing that came out before the Gamecube. But I do have hazy memories of other people's N64s, though I discovered most of those games when they were remade for the DS.

    Also, just got my copy of "Recursive Occlusion" up here in Scotland, so now I know how I'll be spending the rest of the afternoon.


  6. Kit Power
    March 28, 2015 @ 5:15 am

    Never owned either. I had a friend who has a MegaDrive and another who got the SNES. But therefore had that halo of unattianability, as I could never get my fill of either (unlike my Amstrad CPC 464, which I played until it held no more fun for me – a long, long time).

    For the MegaDrive, it was Ghouls n' Ghosts, and Sonic. Sonic most of all, there was something exhilarating about those first couple of worlds that has stayed with me to this day – yes, of course the speed, but also the art and setting and controls… I still think it's an impressive, innovative game.

    For the SNES, MarioWorld, obviously, as it shipped with that in the UK and it was a superb Mario game. But my fondest memory is the Street Fighter II summer. My best friend, who owned the system, played Ken, and I played Chun Li. All summer was an arms race between us as we mastered the moves. I figured out the head stomp and kicked her butt for a couple of hours with it, then she learned the dragon punch and kicked MY ass, then I got the spinning kick, then she mastered the fireball… After the summer, I didn't go around as much, and she soon surpassed me utterly, but for a while there, it was a real battle of equals. It got so we had to turn the timer off because we'd often go the 90 seconds without landing a single blow, so well did we know each others strategies.

    Man, those were good times. Thanks for prompting the memory.

    PS – Logolopolis landed on my doormat in the UK this morning, so thanks for that too – it's a lovely object, and I fully support your decision to keep it physical for a while.


  7. Eric Rosenfield
    March 28, 2015 @ 6:09 am

    I had the Genesis and remember playing long hours on the original Phantasy Star only finding myself unable to beat it at the end, even with cheats. There was some object I just couldn't find. In an era of neigh-unbeatable games, I think that was my biggest heartbreak.


  8. Eric Rosenfield
    March 28, 2015 @ 6:12 am

    Strike that, I had Phastasy Star for the Sega Master System. The Genesis, I mostly remember that my parents got me those 3D goggles that gave me headaches and that almost no games used.


  9. T. Hartwell
    March 28, 2015 @ 8:36 am

    My parents never bought me video game consoles when I was younger (we had some educational games on the computer, but not much more than that), so the only time I ever really had to play any was when we would visit my Grandmother's house, where she had a Super Nintendo.

    As such, a lot of my gaming tastes is shaped by what she had–stuff like Super Mario World and Yoshi's Island, Donkey Kong Country 1 & 2, Aladdin, and a couple oddball games like Dr. Franken and Obitus. Very fond memories of playing them on many a vacation there.

    (later on, we found that she had a lot more than a Super Nintendo–she had an NES as well (just Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt), I believe a Colecovision, and most interestingly an Odyssey, complete with the cards, plastic overlays, etc. It was pretty special to be able to play that)


  10. Alex Antonijevic
    March 28, 2015 @ 11:06 am

    I remember being 10 years old and playing co-op Donkey Kong Country with my best friend.

    I didn't get a SNES myself until 2002 or so and I managed to build a decent collection. But the SNES was pretty faulty and when the Wii started putting out Virtual Console games I decided to go with that instead.


  11. Daibhid C
    March 28, 2015 @ 3:04 pm

    My main memory of the SNES at the time is that I got my sister's NES, thereby beginning a pattern that would later see me get the SNES because she had a Playstation, the Playstation because she had a PS2 and the PS2 because she had a Wii.

    Since I'm more of a hoarder than she is, my most recent memory of the SNES is trying to work out how one connects it to a TV with a built in digibox and no analogue tuning settings, some time last year.


  12. Daibhid C
    March 28, 2015 @ 3:15 pm

    Oh, I also remember how bewildering I found Mario 2 on the All Stars cartridge. I'd played 1 and 3 on the NES, but we hadn't had the middle one. And 1 and 3, for all their differences, had some basic similarities (plot, enemies, attack mechanic) that made the fact that between them Nintendo had made a completely different game with the same characters and pitched it as the middle of the series seem even more surreal than "attack the dream creatures with vegetables" was anyway.


  13. Jarl
    March 28, 2015 @ 4:15 pm

    Let me rephrase, for I just remembered the venue we're in.
    In terms of Genesis (geneses?) Certainly I would rank them Sega, of the Daleks, God, and Phil Collins.


  14. BerserkRL
    March 28, 2015 @ 8:54 pm

    I'm still waiting for the movie version of Pong.


  15. ferret
    March 29, 2015 @ 3:42 pm

    Sonic 2 in two-player mode on the megadrive was fantastic as well 🙂


  16. Heath
    March 29, 2015 @ 6:40 pm

    I got THE nintendo NES for Christmas from my grandma when I was in first or second grade. I was the first of all my friends to get one I was quite popular, and everyone came over to my house to play. I only had one disk for a long time, that came with console: Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt. Two controllers and the gun for duck hunt.

    I later built up a pretty decent collection of mostly awful NES games, like Commando, Baseball, and SuperMario Bros 2. I got really addicted to Tetris and later Dr. Mario, wasting many hours of many nights playing obsessively. Later something call Game Genie came out and you could put in cheat codes for almost every game. This somehow made playing, long term, many of these games really frustrating when you so easily found their flaws. I loved Legend of Zelda, but only after I got the Nintendo Power magazine that laid out the whole map and all of the secrets.

    Later I got a SEGA Genesis, and thought it was infintely better. AND the controller had and extra button! I've played more Street Fighter 2 than probably any other activity. I beat the game with every character after many frustrating weeks, with Balrog being the biggest pain in the ass. Mutant League Football was also an amazing Genesis game. I also spent many hours with ToeJam and Earl.

    I miss those consols. I never upgraded from Genesis, letting that be the last of my console gaming. I played some computer game like War Craft and War Craft II, which are also games I miss. I got a Wii as an adult. And that was the last console I've played.


  17. Daru
    March 29, 2015 @ 9:12 pm

    I remember having a Sega Megadrive (or was it my brother who had it, think it was him). I have never played that many computer games or really been into them much, but I remember being very into Sonic and got pretty addicted to it and loved the vitality and speed of it.


  18. Froborr
    March 30, 2015 @ 4:38 am

    Thanks for the plug!

    I remember scrimping and saving for over a year to get together the cash for a SNES, and then when I finally had enough… I got sick. So my mother took my money to the store to buy one for me, with STRICT instructions to get the one that came with Super Metroid prepackaged…

    …and she came home with the Donkey Kong Country one instead.

    I was furious… but also an impatient kid, so after confirming that the store was out of Super Metroid SNESes, I decided not to wait for them to get home, and just sat down to play DKC. It was pretty okay, but no Super Metroid. Given nothing else to play, however, I played it a lot, eventually getting 101% completion.

    Then a friend introduced me to the Final Fantasy games, and since it took about eight months to save enough to buy a game, I ended up gettingnothing but Square games for it–FFII, III, and Chronotrigger. The last of which I played the everloving fuck out of, New Game + repeatedly over years until I eventually had every character to level ** with all Tab-able stats at **, perfectly kitted out, with 99 of every consumable item. It is the only game I have ever done anything like that with.

    I never did get Super Metroid for the SNES–I played it emulated in college, and then finally bought it when it came out as a download for the Wii.


  19. BerserkRL
    March 30, 2015 @ 7:18 am

    I see that Arya Stark is going to be guest-starring on Doctor Who.

    "Everybody lives!"

    "All men must die!"


  20. encyclops
    March 31, 2015 @ 9:01 am

    My memories of the NES, SNES, and Sega Genesis are playing them at my friend's house, since my parents didn't buy them for me. I had the Sears Super Video Arcade — a sort of store-brand knockoff of the Intellivision — and a TRS-80 Color Computer, and then eventually a Macintosh Plus, and I played all of my games on those things until 1997. That's when I finally bought myself an NES off eBay which barely worked, and so I finally just gave up and decided to hop on console gaming in the present and bought myself a Playstation.

    As a result of all this my platforming skills never really developed, and I played a lot of point-and-click adventure games instead. I'd solve a puzzle and tell my mom "I'm making progress!" and she'd look at me askance as if to say "…are you?" Quite right too.


  21. Nick Petrillo
    March 31, 2015 @ 6:01 pm

    I only got my Super Nintendo last year, but for years, as a poor child who read about retro gaming online from the eyes of people who grew up with them, it was a holy grail for me. I waited until I could find one for under $40 in the wild – and that finally happened when I got mine for $20 at Goodwill. Without an AV cord, of course, but that was cheap to find.


  22. Simon
    April 1, 2015 @ 1:20 am

    Despite spending uncounted school holiday hours on the Atari VCS in the shop where my Mum worked, we were never able to convince the parents that it would be a worthwhile purchase, and ended up on the computer side of the gaming world. So at home we went Sinclair ZX81 – Sinclair ZX Spectrum (later upgraded with a Spectrum+ keyboard) – Atari ST – Atari STE – Atari Falcon – PC and quietly laughed when the NES and Master System started to appear in the magazines as the hot new thing from Japan. After all, games started at £1.99 on the spectrum and £14.99 on the ST when console titles were £30+ and you couldn’t do anything useful with them either. And yes, we did do more than just play games – I probably spent just as many hours on the Spectrum with the OCP Art Studio and Tasword 2 and 3 than I did with Lunar Jetman, Saboteur or Beach Head. Heck, when I went to college the Spectrum came with me and I wrote my dissertation using Tasword 3 and a couple of micro-drives. And yet, and yet…

    One of my college friends borrowed a Gameboy from her cousin and the idea of a portable console began to appeal, especially after I also had a go on an Atari Lynx in Dixons. And then another friend blew some of his grant on a MegaDrive and that was it. Spare hours in my final year were devoted to Sonic and when I graduated and went home I knew I would have to have one. It took another year for me to get round to it though, as I still had the family ethic of computer good, console bad in my brain. I started off by buying my own Lynx within weeks of getting home (the local Boots was closing their gaming section and selling them off ridiculously cheap) which was great during that unemployed summer. My brother and I would spend whole days in the spare room – him composing music on the ST and me playing Roadblasters, Robotron and Chips Challenge on the Lynx (praise be to the mains adaptor). Then autumn came, he went off to university himself and I finally got a job in retail (Argos) that not only enabled me to save some money, but also gave me staff discount when the time came.

    By this point the SNES had hit the UK as well and it was a serious choice I had to make, but the lure of the hedgehog was too great and I ended up with a MegaDrive bundled with Sonic 2 plus Megagames 1 (Columns, World Cup Italia 90 and Super Hang-On). I’ve never really looked back.


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