If you are a fan of video games you must have heard of the Sega Genesis. The video game console which became the successor to the Sega Master System. The Genesis offered gamers 16-bit graphics compared to the older 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). At the time, this was seen as a state-of-the-art console especially because of its advanced color schemes and fast pace animation (which could be clearly seen in the Sonic the Hedgehog game series).

Sega GenesisCredit: Wikimedia Commons

About the same time, Nintendo came out with the Super Nintendo (Super NES). The console also offered 16-bit graphics and had enhancement chips which was a new development for that time. So, which system was really better?

According to statistics the Super Nintendo sold a total of 49 million units as the Genesis sold around 40 million worldwide. Even though the Super NES may have outsold the Genesis, it is still debatable which console was overall better. Nintendo tended to cater to younger audiences as the Genesis focused on teenagers and young adults. This was reflected in many of the game selections that both consoles offered.

Over time, Sega executives decided to try a new strategy to increase sales. They dumped Altered Beast as the game bundled in-pack with the game console and replaced it with Sonic The Hedgehog. Moreover, they dropped the price of the console by $10, which made the Genesis the least expensive 16-bit system on the market. In the end, it did mean less of a profit on the hardware, but once gamers bought the system, Sega would make their money back on individual game sales. This strategy worked well and Sega was able to increase its profit on the game console.


Super NintendoCredit: Wikimedia Commons

The primary difference between both systems had to do with Sega executives having a little trick up their sleeves. The Sega Genesis had a handful of upgrades and add-on hardware which allowed the gamer to purchase. These upgrades included items such as a Power Base Converter and a CD-ROM add-on. This was called the Sega CD which had its own library of games to choose from. The other option was the Sega 32X. This add-on allowed the gamer to experience 32-bit graphics which utilized ROM cartridges as a format and served as a pass-through for Genesis games. By 1996, both add-ons were officially discontinued.[1]

Sega Genesis Add-OnsCredit: Wikimedia Commons

Today, the debate continues over which console is truly better and some believe that the Genesis simply offered more to gamers (including accessories). The Genesis was seen as a system that had a longer life-span than the Super Nintendo, therefore making it an overall more favorable system. Others will claim that the Super NES sold more units simply because it was just “that much better of a system”.

There is no doubt that both of these systems will go down in history as icons in the video game industry. Both systems laid the foundation for modern-generation consoles. Furthermore, games from these systems can still be played today on emulators and miniature condensed versions of these systems are available, which can be purchased for small amounts of money.