You know, I’m sure most gamers have a particular game or series from their childhood that started the whole nerdy thing for them. I’m no exception, but I feel that the place I started from was a little off the beaten path. For most people, it was probably something like Mario or Tetris. Statistically speaking, those games must have awakened the gamer in a very significant number of kids. For me, those things didn’t come until later. I had a SEGA Genesis growing up, so my options were slightly different. The most obvious choice, then, would be Sonic the Hedgehog. Well, I had that game, but it was never my favorite. Nope. For me, it was Gunstar Heroes.
This was where a pretty substantial amount of my free time as a child disappeared to. Gunstar Heroes was a side scrolling shooter, similar to the more popular Contra. The difference, though, was that this game was very strange. In fact, I have heard it described as anime Contra on occasion. You fought through waves of minions, giant (sometimes shape shifting) robots, an M. Bison lookalike with stretchy limbs, and an incredibly non-threatening face called Melon Bread.
Every stage was unique and exciting in some way, you could combine weapons to get creative with your carnage, and there were explosions everywhere. This was the perfect game for my ten-year old mind to become obsessed with. Sadly, though it is still well-remembered by some, it mostly sank into obscurity. Treasure did release a sequel / remake (yes, it was both) for the Game Boy Advance years later. That game was also good, but nothing is more nostalgic for me than the original. I will forever remember it in all its 16-bit glory.