Wizard Week Prelude: Sega Genesis Secrets

Wizard: No
Dragon: Yes
Instant mastery for all players: Yes

Kicking off Wizard Week (I’ll explain later), here we have…a strategy guide with no wizards on the cover. Don’t worry. I’ll get to the good stuff soon.

This well-worn guide is oddly memorable for me, for several reasons. It also serves as a prototype of sorts for what’s to come later this week. For now, note the cover’s fantasy setting and conspicuous lack of wizards, which I assure you will be addressed shortly.

Read on for more incredible artwork and stunning strategies.

Published in 1990, Sega Genesis Secrets was one of the first (if not the first) paperback-sized strategy guides dedicated entirely to Sega Genesis games. The console was quickly gaining popularity stateside, so publisher Prima and author Rusel DeMaria thought it was time to capitalize on the growing number of kids stuck in the waterfall level in Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker.

Unfortunately, the guide’s release was somewhat premature. There weren’t a lot of particularly noteworthy Genesis games released at the time of its writing, so Sega Genesis Secrets is filled with dozens of pages devoted to obscurities like Budokan, Air Diver and Zany Golf. There’s eleven pages dedicated to Genesis pack-in cartridge Altered Beast — a game for which an in-depth strategy guide amounts to “walk to the right and kick dudes.”

The need to fill as many pages as possible with content led to the creation of some interesting preface and epilogue chapters, though. Here’s DeMaria’s somewhat superfluous introduction:

The text exists mainly to make the book thicker, but the artwork is nothing short of fantastic. The piece used to illustrate role-playing games sticks out in my mind to this day:

I’ll recall this image almost any time I’m forced to grind in an RPG. Because that’s what RPGs are — a guy wearing a fez and a loincloth, beating up on birds with a tiny sword.

I like this one, too. It’s used to represent character customization, but the warrior just looks kind of nervous and uncomfortable. Not like I blame him — those hands are firmly set in “grope” position.

The introduction reminds that some games allow characters to stand at the edge of platforms, as illustrated by triple-chinned Batman.

And this is what a shooter looks like.

The final chapter is more interesting. Here, DeMaria presents a parents’ guide to what many adults back then referred to as “them game tapes,” assuring that their positive effects outweigh the negative.

The material is probably outdated by now (it references a grand total of one research publication), but it’s interesting to recognize many of the same arguments and points used today in the defense of video games.

There’s also many helpful illustrations. This one in particular…

…is one that often comes to mind whenever I’m frustrated with a video game. Everyone has wanted to drop-kick a controller at one time or another, but this kid had the balls to actually do it.

This doesn’t go unpunished, of course. I guess that’s what’s going on here, anyway.

Other highlights:

I don’t think people look like this.

Figure 3B: Humanoid child sits on cube and points detachable penis at video screen on a stick.

“In MY day you didn’t have no fancy pants 16-bit graphics! We had one button, one joystick, and 53 different game variations per cartridge! And we loved it!” “Sure you did, grandpa. Can I go back to playing Zany Golf?”

NEXT TIME: Wizards. I promise.

5 Responses to “Wizard Week Prelude: Sega Genesis Secrets”

  1. halfassured Says:

    Oh god I owned this. I had completely forgotten until the fez knife kid brought the repressed memories flooding back. He’s pudgy, too, so there’s kind of a Goonies vibe going on there.

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  4. Captain Rufus Says:

    Hey, the book at least gives advice for Phantasy Star 2 which supplements the pack in clue book.

    Those later level dungeons were BRUTAL. I only wished I had bought the book in mid 90 when I got the game. (Was bad enough the lack of a walkthrough put Super Hydlide on the shelf till some magazine explained what you were supposed to do. Game was approaching Sierra Adventure game levels of oddness in parts!)

    Because I had no gimpy trade paperback I had to write in my tip book to figure out where all those blasted pits and elevators and such went in the Dezo missions, ruining my collectible niche game’s value even though I have like 5 copies of the blasted title now. (Original game, Dreamcast Genesis Collection, GBA Phantasy Star Collection, PS2 Genesis Collection, PS3/360 Genesis Collection. I have a problem when it comes to Phantasy Star..)

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