My earliest video game experiences were with the NES, so when my parents caved in and got me and my sister a newer console, the choice was obvious: Super Nintendo. Everyone seemed to agree, it was the best. But moments before heading off to the store, a voice spoke to me. Not god, not the devil, but the dulcimer tones of a commercial break speaking two words that changed my childhood: "Blast Processing."
"So what's Blast Processing do?" the man in the advert asked. Before I could reply, "I don't know but it sounds AWESOME," he showed me: very fast games with very fast rock music playing over them. That Sega Genesis was on a formula one race car! And look at that SNES — on a broken down milk truck thing. Super Nintendo was for slowpokes and chumps, clearly — just listen to that rock music! "SEGA!" yelled the race car driver, a look in his eye of bewilderment at just how fast blast processing was. With dreams of playing fast games on the back of a speeding vehicle, I went to the store with my dad and picked it up.
Of course, my sister had never heard of blast processing; heck, she'd never even listened to rock music played during video games. How could she understand? It was worse than the time I was sent to the store for Super Mario Bros. and got Super Mario Bros. 2 instead. She never fully came round to Sonic, but that just meant that I got more time with that sleek, dark console. I had all the Sonics, even the spin-off Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, which is still one of my favorites to this day.
I was hooked. I ate Sonic macaroni, watched the Sonic cartoon show and hummed the Sonic 2 casino theme when I walked. I still regret snubbing the SNES until its final days, I never played video games on the back of a race car and I'm still not completely sure what blast processing is, but I had a great time with that little machine. Sega brought us some great games and set the standard for video game advertising — saying "Sega!" in just the right way can still give a generation of gamers the warm and fuzzies. God bless you, Sega, Sonic, your advertising firm and anyone who's ever opened a pair of formula one racing goggles (or their equivalent) with a look in their eye that says "blast processing."