As far back as the 70s, Killer Shark left a big bite mark in my belly. And then Monaco GP, Zaxxon, Hang On, Space Harrier... even after it became a bona-fide home console player, Sega continued to produce groundbreaking arcade games, many of which remain lodged in my ribs as all-time favourites.
And then of course it all went a bit Pete Tong. I often gave Sega a hard time back in the 90s, but only because it was like seeing a good friend self-destruct before my very eyes. Sega had so much going for it, so much to offer, yet those gifts were squandered, and the company succumbed to one wrong-faced decision after another.
My patience and loyalty only extended so far, and in many respects Sega deserved its fate. That doesn't lessen what we all lost as a result. Imagine if Sega had carried on. Imagine a version of the modern games industry with the sort of big, bold, colourful games Sega did best.
But no. It wasn't to be.
Sega failed to keep the pace as the industry sped forwards without it. By the time Sega found itself again, it was too late. It was out of money, out of time, and out of step with fashion.
The Sega that crawled from the carnage of those difficult years was one lacking an identity, its arcade business now hollowed-out and desperate, little more than a distributor of branded ticket-dispensing machines sporting Sonic The Hedgehog livery.
And yet... in recent years Sega has re-established something of a connection with its past. Sonic Mania felt like a turning point, and we're soon getting new additions to some of its greatest series, including Panzer Dragoon and Streets of Rage.
And this: Virtua Racing for the Switch, unquestionably the definitive version of a Sega classic.
POLY GOOD SHOW
It's hard to overstate just how good Virtua Racing looked to our early-90s eyes. Though not the first arcade racing game to use polygons, it was so much better-looking than Namco's Winning Run or Atari's Hard Drivin' that it might as well have been.
Truth is, though, that few early polygon games have aged well. Whereas pixels often hold up, many of the first gaming experiments with polygons now look woefully dated. Observe pretty much any Super FX game, or Tomb Raider.
I'll be honest; I expected to be similarly underwhelmed with this new version of Virtua Racing, and yet... such is the respectful and painstaking restoration work that this looks exactly like the original... while also looking better than the original. The team responsible resisted the urge to significantly update the graphics - there are no texture maps, no extra details. They've kept the original, flat-shaded, look, and increased the resolution and frame rate.
Consequently, it looks beautiful; stylised, but somehow simultaneously vintage and modern. It's the gaming equivalent of when a classic album gets remastered using modern technology; the way you can hear new details in the music that you never realised were there.
Indeed, there are no remixes here, no bells and whistles, no bonus cars or tracks - just the arcade original's pared-back classicism. There's a bonkers eight-player split-screen mode, and you can play against others online, but for £5.99 you couldn't really expect much more. And, frankly, you don't need much more.
I went back recently and played the Mega Drive and 32X ports of Virtua Racing. At the time they felt surprisingly faithful to the arcade hardware - but that might've been a case of trying to convince myself, given the Mega Drive version's £70 price tag.
In reality, that version was pretty ropey, with chunky, flickery, polygons, and a framerate that was so low it felt like a flip-book. The 32X fared better, but - even with the addition of brand new tracks - it was, inevitably, a far cry from the arcade original. Following those there was an awful interpretation for the Saturn, and a decent-ish version on the PS2, but unlike this new edition the latter lacked a degree of faithfulness, having been created from scratch.
There are no such complaints here. The Switch version uses the original code as its starting point, and, to extend the restoration analogy, they've done the work necessary to show it as it was always meant to be.
It's Virtua Racing as it always was... only better.
Now do Crazy Taxi.
SCORE: 80mph out of 95mph