Devil’s Advocate: Super Nintendo vs. Sega Genesis
Back in the early 90s, there were two consoles who ruled the gaming industry – the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis. Both systems had plenty of top notch games while they also managed to provide their own spin on things, and ultimately split gamers into one camp or the other.
Which one was the best?
Today, Ryan Bates will argue that the Super NES was the best console of the 16-bit era, while Josh Boykin plays Devil’s Advocate and argues to the contrary for the Sega Genesis.
Ryan Bates – The Super NES was the best
Genesis may have done what Nintendon’t, but it paled next to its evolution, the Super Nintendo. While both may have been similar graphically, the SNES had something SEGA really didn’t: a face. They had Alex Kidd. Oh boy. That was something. Sonic came along and did something, but nothing like what Nintendo did with Mario, Link, and Samus Aran.
Nintendo adopted the characteristic that they have held on to even today – that graphics should not come before storytelling. They vastly expanded the world of Mario in Super Mario World, revealed the land of Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and thrust Samus into darker, danker worlds in Super Metroid. They also developed major franchises such as F-Zero and Super Mario Kart, and encouraged innovation from third-parties high on the success of the NES, such as Squaresoft, Konami, and Capcom. It stole the best of the arcade and developed the rest itself. SNES not only won the war, it started Genesis on a pathway to an exodus.
Josh Boykin – The Sega Genesis was the better console
Sonic. Streets of Rage. Vectorman. While friends were off making Italian plumbers eat mushrooms and ride happy dinosaurs, Sega owners were playing REAL action-packed games. Hell, whenever games were released for both the Sega and the SNES, the Sega always got the version that was more action-packed and exciting: Jurassic Park for the Genesis was a dark, thunder-filled platformer while the SNES had a top-down, egg-hunting puzzle game with elevator music. Even Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and Aladdin packed more action into their Genesis versions than the SNES ones.
But let’s cut to the chase and talk about what REALLY made the Genesis leaps and bounds better than the SNES: Sonic and Knuckles. One single, stackable cartridge that was a full game in itself, but also changed the worlds of Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 when you placed either of them on top of the S&K cartridge.Sonic 2 is STILL one of the best platformers the world has to offer, and Sonic 3‘s introduction of 3D bonus levels, various powered shields, and a save game function make it a pretty damned close second (nothing beats the original Casino Night Zone and its music), but the addition of Knuckles the Echidna and his gliding, climbing skills changed the whole feel of the franchise, encouraging more exploration and a more adventurous pace to Sonic games than ever before. It was brilliant, it was simple, but most of all, it was fun.
Sonic had some pretty rough days ahead of him post-Genesis (and let’s pretend Shadow the Hedgehog was just a cruel, cruel nightmare), but the innovation of the Sonic series back in the 16-bit days was the pride and joy of Sega Genesis owners. Add that to the action-oriented focus of most platformers on the Sega, and you capture the essence of what made the 16-bit era great: fast-paced action and challenging gameplay. How can you not love that?
Which side were you on during this era? Did you own an SNES or a Genesis, or both? Which console was the best? Let us know what you think.