A serious beat-down happened in 1989. No, we’re not talking about Dr. Dre’s incident with Dee Barnes. Rather, we’re speaking on the assault Sega’s Genesis put on the Nintendo Entertainment System. At that point, NES had been on the market for four years and Nintendo virtually cornered the industry with more than 90% market share and utter control over developers. But the Japanese innovators at Sega went on an all-out assault on Mario Brothers Corp., complete with a powerful gaming machine, aggressive advertising and edgy launch titles.
And even though NES celebrated its 30th birthday yesterday, here are six reasons why the Genesis once reigned supreme.
1. The Genesis Was Black
Back then, no one in North America had seen a console look so dangerous: it was rounded, slick and smart-looking. All the others were grey, boxy and boring. Sega’s attractive console shell created something called “Genesis envy,” where if you had this system, other kids were automatically jealous.
2. The Genesis Had “Blast Processing” & 16-bits
We didn’t know what it was back then, but when those commercials put Sonic the Hedgehog next to Mario, our minds were blown. Never had graphics been so sharp and quick in a video game. Much like the Jay-Z/Nas beef, many Sega devotees lost friends while arguing the console’s merits over Nintendo, as we all stood behind the blast processing and bits arguments.
3. The Genesis Had More Violence
Right out the gate, parents across America panned the Genesis for its library of games with adult situations and violence. The infamous Mortal Kombat blood fiasco only stoked those flames. If you had a Genesis and a copy of Mortal Kombat, you were one of the luckiest and most popular kids at the lunch table. Not only did your folks let you play the gruesome game, but you got the version with red blood. To an 8-year-old kid, that was f*cking awesome. And aside from Mortal Kombat, there were games like Eternal Champions and Primal Rage that, uncensored on the Genesis, satiated our appetite for violence back then.
4. The Genesis had the better Battletoads
Fact: Rare’s Battletoads is one of the best games in the NES and Genesis libraries. Everyone had it. But, without a doubt, it was better on Sega’s system. Consider the upgraded graphics, the crisper sound, and the more-responsive controls. People still debate this, but those who know know: the Genesis’ was better.
5. The Genesis Had Sports Games
It was no secret that the NES sucked when it came to sports games. Hell, Nintendo still sucks when it comes to sports titles. The Genesis’ early Maddens, NBA Jam, NBA Lives, and FIFA Soccers laid the foundation for today’s sports games. And we all have Sega and the Genesis’ three-button controller to thank.
6. The Genesis Had Sega Channel
You love XBOX Live and PSN, don’t you? Well Sega started that on the Genesis. If you had good grades, your mom would pay your cable company that $14.95 for one month of access to 50+ games. Sega Channel provided unlimited play time and the best games, so assuming you kept your grades up, you could play all weekend. Talk about heaven, right?