The Sega Genesis was my video game platform of choice when I was a teenager. I spent the bulk of my childhood without a video game system, up until the Atari 7800. By the time I got that, most of my friends had already moved on to the SNES, obsessing over Super Mario this and that, or how to beat Mike Tyson in Punch-Out. Personally, I just wanted to play Pac-Man and Centipede. And Dig Dug.
The Genesis—with graphics and gameplay that were mindblowing compared to the Atari—was my first introduction to next-generation video game playing. This was an era when most games didn’t have a save feature. If you wanted to play through an entire game in one sitting, be prepared for a sore everything.
The best thing about this new generation of gaming was being able to rent games from Blockbuster. Now you could try out dozens and dozens of games at a far more reasonable price. For many games, a weekend was enough. But there were several where were that one rental ended up leading to a purchase.
Many of these games have had some version of action figure. Sonic and Earthworm Jim are two in particular. But there are plenty that have never had toys.
The following are five games I enjoyed that I need action figures from.
Yeah, that’s right. You fling boogers at the bad guys. You also burp and fart. You can also fart-fly. Because this is the most mature game the world has ever seen. Basically, I just want to have an action figure called Boogerman. Sometimes my needs are simple.
Splatterhouse (2 and 3)
This was a creepy kind of low-key horror game with a guy that looks like he borrowed Jason’s hockey mask shtick. It was simple, with kicking and punching and picking up random objects to beat monsters into goo, but at the time the overall mood was kind of cool. While the main dude—a guy named Rick who wears what’s called a Terror Mask and tries to save his girlfriend—isn’t the most exciting looking thing, I think it would still make a cool toy.
A late entry into the Sega Genesis library, this is a robot made up of balls that fought another tyrannical robot. It was mainly your standard-for-the-time side scrolling jump and shoot adventure, but the gameplay was addictive and the design was great, and would translate into a very nifty action figure.
Streets of Rage
You walk a little, some enemies appear, you beat the crap out of them, you walk a little, more enemies appear, you beat the crap out of them…and on and on. It’s a very well-worn concept, but it was extremely fun, especially when you could grab random weapons like pipes or knives. I’d love to get at least a set of the first game’s heroes: Adam, Axel and Blaze. Sure, they’re dudes in regular clothes, but the streets aren’t getting any calmer out there.
ToeJam and Earl
I never played the first one, but I rented the second one—Panic on Funkotron—and remember absolutely nothing about it. I’m pretty sure it was enjoyable, but it didn’t say “buy me” like others on this list. But the name and those designs still resonate with me. Regardless of my lack of memory of the game itself, I’d buy those funky alien designs.
Honorable mention to Flashback. While it wouldn’t inspire the most exciting toy, since the main character is just a guy with a gun, it is probably the best Sega Genesis game due to game mechanics, plot, fluidity and wackiness.