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The Super Nintendo versus Sega Genesis condundrum

March 9, 2015

When you were growing up, how many times did you have to listen to it? "The Genesis is better than the Nintendo!" After all of those years supporting the big N, now another company called Sega butts into your life, and the next thing you know you have one of your friends taunting you on the bus about how the NES is now a "has been system" and isn't even worth playing anymore.

With a stiff upper lip you refuse to back down from your long time favorite console that has brought you so much joy over the years, and who wouldn't? The 8-bit classic console has had more fun games to play than you can shake a stick at. Everything from Super Contra, Gradius, to Metal Gear, Track & Field and so much more. Why turn away from it now?

Times do change, and so do we as we have no choice, but that doesn't mean you erase what you were. The one thing in life you never should lose, is the original fire you had growing up. If that happens, then you really do lose yourself. In the gaming world things have to move on, even if you don't, as was the case between the Sega Genesis (MegaDrive in Japan) and Super Nintendo (Super Famicom in Japan).

When Sega's 16-bit giant hit the scene back in 1988 in Japan, and then 89-90 in North America and Europe, it looked incredible and on par with what you currently saw in the arcades those years. It made what NES graphics look pale in comparison, and as far as the young folks were concerned, it was the next big thing, with commercials looming in the background that stated "Genesis does what Nintendon't".

That is, until the SNES came along, and gave the system a run for its money. The Super Nintendo boasted rich graphics, and according to its specifications it outranked the Genesis hands down due to its color palette, sprite engine, mode 7 hardware scaling and orchestral sound chip. The Genny's only real comeback was the fact that it had a 7.6mhz processor, whereas Nintendo's new kid on the block had a 3.58mhz cpu.

The commercials SEGA ran claimed that their system had "blast processing". Yeah, sounds like a marketing catch phrase, and that's likely what it was.

Still with the SNES launching major titles into the gaming market such as Super Castlevania IV, Gradius III, and Legend of the Mystical Ninja (Ganbare Goemon), as well as the mega hit Contra III: The Alien Wars, it seemed Nintendo had little to worry about as long as they kept pumping out hits like those.

So who won the war during that era? It seems when you factor in the opinions of the fans from both sides of the isles, it was a toss up. Both systems had their gifts. The SNES had great RPG games and action games, while the Genesis boasted some of the best sports games and shooter games. Whether you are a fan of either, or even both then you know what I mean and quite frankly, they both deserve a gold medal in the end. Perhaps the industry should move back to a market that only consisted of those two companies. What do you think?

To put some of this into perspective, popular YouTube icon "Angry Video Game Nerd" discusses his childhood memories and the pros and cons between the two gaming giants and their gifts to the world. It's a two part series worth checking out if you have the time, and sheds some light on an era that you and I will never get back again, but we can still dream can't we?

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