Sega Genesis
Sega Genesis

On August 14th, 1989 Sega released the Sega Genesis (successor to the Sega Master System), in the United States after first coming out in Japan on October 29, 1988.

Super Nintendo
Super Nintendo

On August 13th, 1991 Nintendo released the Super Nintendo Entertainment System or SNES (follow up to the NES), in United States after originally debuting in Japan on November 21st, 1990.

These two rivals were the talk of the day, every single day if you were a kid at the time. It was really this “16-Bit” rivalry of a generation that started the whole fanboy thing that the video game industry is so well known for. There also was no third system that really stood out as huge competition either. And with that, there was clearly a line in the sand that divided the Nintendo fans from the Sega fans.

You either liked Mario or Sonic, Final Fight or Streets of Rage, you were a fan of Mode 7 graphics or preferred Blast Processing, and you would fight to the death to defend your company and platform, swearing that yours is better. Ultimately, Sega and Nintendo brought out the best in each other, because as one would come out with an improvement in an area, the other would deliver somewhere else.

I miss this time, but will always remember it fondly. With that, I appreciate what both systems offered and if not for them, the generations to follow, including ad campaigns that take stabs at each other, the mudslinging, the fanboyism, etc., just probably wouldn’t be the same.

Here’s to Sega Genesis turning 21 and Super Nintnedo turning 19 this week. And if any of you are too young to remember this age of gaming (or perhaps weren’t born yet), be sure to check out some of these classics through Wii’s Virtual Console, Microsoft’s Xbox Live, or Sony’s PlayStation Network. Share your stories if you have them.

24 thoughts on “This week in gaming history (20 Years Later): Sega Genesis vs. Super Nintendo.”
  1. I began as a Nintendo fan (I had a NES while my friend had a Sega Master System) but when the Genesis came out my roommate bought one and we were all hooked. Fast forward 2 years and I had moved out of that house and bought an SNES from a dude at work (this was after buying and selling a Genesis of my own) and I was back on the Nintendo bandwagon. Super Metroid, Chrono Trigger, FF3, Starfox, etc. etc. I fondly remember pre and post nightclub parties at my house featuring a room full of people playing Ultimate MK3 and Killer Instinct.

    Also, my Master System owning friend later convinced me to sell my SNES collection to buy a Sega Saturn when they came out.

    1. That’s a cool story and I’m glad that you got enjoyment from both worlds. I have to ask though…were you happy with your move of selling your SNES and buying a Sega Saturn?

    1. There’s no doubt that Super Nintendo had one of the very best libraries ever. So many genres to choose from, so many big name games…yeah…the stuff of legends.

  2. I’ve mostly played the NES and some of the SNES, but both consoles had a great library. I had trouble playing Mario as a kid and still do, but it’s all in great fun. That’s what makes SNES (any Nintendo console) the best.

    1. One of the great things that technology has brought us, is the easy ability to play some of these old titles without scouring the internet (unless you want physical cartridges). You could use Nintendo’s Virtual Console to experience many of the games.

  3. I was in middleschool for the bulk of this knock down, drag out dual of consoles. SNES won my heart both first and foremost (with a massive and generally superior library) though I did eventually get a Genesis about 6 months after the SNES came out. I remember Final Fantasy 3 and Chrono Trigger being two of the best games to play just prior to the release of the PS1. I was only a sophomore in highschool. Where’s the time go?

    1. Where does the time go indeed. It’s hard to believe it, but there are people playing games today that didn’t even grow up on N64/PS, and that their first game system was a GCN/PS2/Xbox. I mean, I get it when I run into people who have never experienced an NES, Genesis, or SNES, but the generation after? Wow.

  4. I can remember having a bad accident that hospitalized me for months in the second grade and the only thing that I wanted to do was to play my Super Nintendo, preferably Donkey Kong Country. I can remember not wanting to eat due to my injury and having my family just sit around and watch me play forever.

    ….then, after I recovered, I discovered Vectorman at a friends house and had to get both systems.

    1. Aaah, Donkey Kong Country. Now that’s a game (and DKC 2) that really makes me feel nostalgic. It was always the title I’d play around Christmas time after getting a tree. And Vectorman, that one brings back memories too, of me playing at my friend’s house for hours at a time. I hope you don’t mind me asking, but what happened?

  5. I was OK with the Saturn due to my “launch” line up of games; Panzer Dragoon 2 and Guardian Heroes. I bought an N64 soon after it came out and sue to Mario 64 and KI Gold, the Saturn began to collect dust… until World Series ’98 came out.

    1. Sega Saturn had some memorable titles, including the best home version of X-Men vs. Street Fighter (I love that game), but yeah, Super Mario 64 really did a lot for that generation kicking it up into next year.

  6. I owned both consoles so I had the best of both worlds but alas…..long gone are the days of owning multiple consoles (excluding wii) unless your family name is attached to the side of a skyscraper.

    1. I often wonder what the industry would look like today if it became a two console war. Would Microsoft and Nintendo team up and develop a platform to battle just Sony? If that happened, would Sony dish out some big money to acquire Square-Enix only for themselves? What about other 3rd parties like Capcom and EA…what kind of incentive would they get to make exclusives for a system, rather than going the multiplatform route, etc., etc.? What systems of this generation do you own?

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