Christmas with the Sega Master System
“Christmas, Christmas time is here, time for joy and time for cheer. We’ve been good, but, we can’t last, Hurry Christmas-hurry fast! Want a little shopping wisdom? Just buy me a Sega Master System! We can hardly stand the wait, please Christmas don’t be late!”
That’s right. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and for many of us in our younger years, it all came down to that one special moment. It’s Christmas morning. The one gift you’ve been hoping and praying for all year long is most likely tucked away under the tree. It’s that new Sega Master System that your parents couldn’t afford to buy you… but it’s Christmas! Surely the spirit of giving has invaded their hearts. You can’t sleep all night because the thought of blasting dragons in Space Harrier is just too thrilling! Your anxiousness borders on obsession, but you have faith that it’ll all soon become a reality.
The morning approaches. You’re so excited that you wake your parents up WAY earlier than they said you could, but they don’t mind… too much. After-all, it’s Christmas! The family trots down the stairs. Mom puts on some Christmas music while Dad fetches the Video 8 camcorder or Polaroid. You and your Sis sit patiently (or impatiently) underneath the tree, getting acquainted with your still unwrapped dreams. You’re ready to tear through paper faster than a blue hedgehog with a blast processor. Then the moment comes. The whole family has gathered. “Can we open them now?” Wait! Grandpa still hasn’t finished putting in his false teeth! Slowly but surely, he sits down with a smile on his face, knowing all too well he’s holding up Christmas. A glance at Mom and Dad. A slight nod of the their heads as they smirk. IT’S TIME! You start tearing into that big box that has Sega Master System written all over… WHAT!?!?! “No no no, not yet! You have to open that one LAST!” Your beaming smile sullies into a frown, but in the back of your mind, you now KNOW that it must be true. It IS a Sega Master System.
The rest of Christmas morning pans out as expected. A new dollhouse for Sissy. A pair of slippers for Grandpa. Even a tasty new bone for Max! But where’s your moment? Where’s that moment in the sun where you stand tall holding a brand new Sega Master System over your head? Where ARE you Christmas?! “OK, now you can open it.” That’s all you needed to hear. A thousand trees cry a thousand tears as you rip open the biggest package under the tinsel, and THERE IT IS… Fireball Island by Milton Bradley!?! This can’t possibly be happening! Your 8-bit dreams… dashed in an instant! “Don’t you like it sweety?” Well, of course you do. It’s even something that you asked for, but it’s not… THE ONE. “We couldn’t find you that Sega thing you wanted. All they had was something called Nintendo.” “Nintendo?! What about SEGA?!” you think to yourself. Suddenly this Christmas morning has turned into a Christmas mourning. “Wait a second honey, what’s that behind the tree?” It couldn’t be. “Looks like Santa left something for you that we missed.” OF COURSE! You can always count on the BIG GUY to Ho-Ho-Ho his way down the chimney with a Christmas miracle! You hold out your trembling hands with glee as you accept the Master System shaped package addressed “From Santa.” You don’t even care that it says its to you AND your sister, you know that it’s really for YOU! Together the two of you tear into the present, only you’re doing most of the work. Before the paper is even completely off, the white checkerboard box and Sega logo are smiling back at you. “SEGA MASTER SYSTEM!!!” Your cry of joy is so loud it wakes up Grandpa! He catches the happy moment in his eye, while Dad captures it all in an immortal picture, one you’ll always have to look back on.
As the the years go by, you’re getting older. Mom and Dad are looking greyer. Sissy has four kids and a pet ferret, and you have a family of your own. Grandpa is no longer with you, but the picture taken on that day is. You look at it from time to time and… remember. You remember the feelings; the perpetual joy and excitement leading up to that day. The time spent with loved ones – the same people who (little did you know) planned every moment of that magical morning. All for you. All for the memory they knew you’d carry with you for the rest of your life. These are the things we remember. The Sega Master System, wonderful as it is, was just the gateway to something that will last much longer. The console could break the moment you get too angry after a session with “Penguin Land”, or perhaps you just might trade it in once that new Sega Genesis is released… perhaps. What will remain, however, is the memory, the love, and the joy of that fateful Christmas morning. It’s something you’ll cherish forever. A story and a photo you can even share with YOUR children. Something that will even outlast you.
The story in this article is a fictional tale, but it just might be your story. The kid in the photos is Adam Campetti (@hootyhaha), who so generously gave us permission to use them in this writing. Here is his actual recollection of that fateful day:
“Like several kids of the time, I had an NES. I didn’t expect anything else since that’s mainly what my mom could afford back then. I knew about a few Sega games, but not the SMS. I knew about Sega from the arcades only. Space Harrier was my absolute favorite at the time. It was so different from any side scroller. It was nearly 3D, and you could float up at will from a run. I used to have dreams like that. That if I ran fast enough I could fly. For this reason, I absolutely loved this game. Later I heard that I could get this Space Harrier greatness with a SMS! I asked my mom for it, expecting that Christmas to be tight, but to my surprise she was able to get it through layaway. WOOT! Even better, Space Harrier came with my SMS, WOOT WOOT! I had other great gifts from friends and family, but that SMS took the cake. At the age of 12 or 13, I was staying up til 3 AM playing Altered Beast, Space Harrier, and Zillion several nights of the week. While all the other kids were talking about Mario Bros, I had these little golden secrets that were SMS games. Only I had Zillion, with its really cool cartoon cutaways. Only I had Space Harrier. That title sounds better than any other NES game could try to sound! Only I had Altered Beast, where you morphed into a friggen WEREWOLF AND FOUGHT THE UNDEAD! To this day I still have that same SMS, with the same laser gun, and the same games. Ahhh SEGA, a company that couldn’t be done away with and who’s still making great games.”
From all of us at SegaMasterSystem.com to all of you, Merry Christmas!