I currently include a hedgehog in my varied menagerie because it seems that my Great Dane has something seriously wrong with her lips – in that she has no feeling in them. I caught her a few weeks ago running around the garden tossing the hedgehog around, apparently in the belief that it was a spiky ball. I got it off her and, fortunately, it did not appear to be hurt. But it was seriously underweight, and the hedgehog rescue people told me that it would be unable to survive hibernating as a result. I therefore have to look after the hedgehog until it warms up in the spring, at which point I can let it go.
I have been calling the hedgehog Spiky Harold, which has got me thinking about the original Spiky Harold. For those who don’t know, Spiky Harold is a fiendishly difficult retro computer game back from the days when computers didn’t have mice. It’s the first computer game I can remember and, even now, just hearing the name of it gives me that childish excited feeling. Having said that, my brother and I could never get very far on it before poor Harold got killed.
But after Spiky Harold came the Sega. I know 99.999% of gamers will probably deride me for saying so, but I regard the Sega as by far the best games console. These were games that you could just sit down and play without having to spend hours and hours and hours practicing first. The original Sonic, for example – absolutely loved it. Spent many happy hours battling Dr Robotnik and co. But a while back I tried to play a new Sonic races game with my brother on his Playstation 2, and I couldn’t even finish the race. Stupid bloody New Sonic kept running off the edge of a cliff, damn him.
My eight year old cousin got a Wii for Christmas, and when I saw her playing on this recently I was like ‘jeepers!’ It all looks so complicated! A far cry from the pick-up-and-play games of yester-year. And I can’t help but lament the decline of the Sega because for people like me – who are not hard-core gamers but wouldn’t mind whiling away an hour every now and then – we need games we can just plug in and play. Things like old Sonic and the absolutely tremendous Castle of Illusion.
Perhaps the new games have better graphics, and the remote controllers vibrate now and all the rest of it, but I will always prefer the Sega, and I miss that clunky old games console even now. I could actually beat my brother in the occasional Sonic race or Bloody Roar battle back then (which infuriated him, and made me feel tremendously good about myself). Now if I ever try to play a game with him on one of these modern consoles, I get pitifully thrashed within minutes. Seconds, even. If I want to play a computer game now, it’s pretty much a question of tetris or nothin’. And – let’s face it – there’s only so much tetris a person can play before they get the urge to kill someone. So my plan is for the shops to scrap all this PS3/Wii/X-Box nonsense and just bring back the good ol’ Sega. Games ain’t so much fun when you have to spend hours perfecting your technique before you can even start. It was all so much better in my day . . .