News Article

The Sega Genesis is Now 25 Years Old

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

How many of you are feeling old?

It's a day of hardware anniversaries, with the 19 year old Virtual Boy being joined by the 25th Anniversary of the Sega Genesis; as the name should have tipped you off, it's the North American anniversary of Sega's 16-bit beast.

Known as the Mega Drive in PAL regions, the Genesis arrived before the Super NES and kicked off the mainstream 16-bit era; in the years of its lifespan it would be engaged in what became known as the Console Wars, a phrase utilised by Blake Harris for his book Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation. Gamers of a certain age will remember that you were either Sega or Nintendo, in an era where owning multiple game consoles was a luxury enjoyed far less than today. It was all about choosing sides, and this writer admits he sided with Sega in that era — Please Understand.

The arguments over which was better — Genesis or Super NES — rages on today, but we can all agree that they were both terrific systems. Sega's console boasted some legendary titles, and can stand tall as the system that made Sonic the Hedgehog an icon in the industry; the mascot has ups and downs nowadays, but in the Genesis era his 2D platformers were exceptional. The Genesis also benefited from various ports of outstanding Sega arcades, and possessed too many classic titles to list here.

So, it's a happy quarter century anniversary to the Sega Genesis. If you want to bask in its glow a little more, be sure to check out our Sega Mega Drive hardware classic feature.

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User Comments (77)

ThomasBW84Admin

#2

ThomasBW84 said:

@unrandomsam It's the US anniversary, so I'm calling it the Genesis on this occasion. I did mention the Mega Drive name, what more do you want from me!

BinaryFragger

#3

BinaryFragger said:

@unrandomsam
The article is about the north American launch anniversary (August 14, 1989), hence the north American name. For us, "Genesis" is the name for it.

Jake_homs

#5

Jake_homs said:

I was the Nintendo fan, and my cousin (only a month younger than I) was the Sega fan. Lots of good Nintendo memories, and right up there were the ones with Sonic on the Genesis. Quite fun!

xj0462

#6

xj0462 said:

the genesis will live on forever, long after all other systems are forgotten, LONG LIVE SEGA!!!! #GENESISDOESWHATNINTENDON'T!!!!

sleepinglion

#12

sleepinglion said:

Man, I loved both the SNES and Genesis. I actually picked up my SNES on launch day at a retailer named Babagge's. I was very lucky to have a Genesis as well and even won a second when I was a contestant on a traveling Nickelodeon game show. It was thrilling for me to experience 'Golden Axe' at home and I seriously loved 'Castle of Illusion' as well as the Sonic titles. At the time, Sega seemed to have some of the better movie tie-in video games with unique takes on Ghostbusters and even Dick Tracy.

ecco6t9

#14

ecco6t9 said:

Today would of been an excellent day for Sega of America to announce the next wave of 3D Classics.

eltomo

#15

eltomo said:

Happy Birthday! This console is bigger than the SNES in my town, makes it hard to find Nintendo games at carboots :(

undomiel

#16

undomiel said:

I was lucky enough to own both systems as a kid. I definitely played the SNES more but I still had a blast with Sonic 1 & 2 and Castlevania: Bloodlines! I much prefer the rivalry of the Sega vs. Nintendo days rather than the Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo bit that goes on.

SphericalCrusher

#17

SphericalCrusher said:

I was four years old when I got this console... 6-8 months after it came out. I got an NES around the same time and we already had the Atari from what I remember... it's crazy how fast time flies and how things change. All I know is I played the heck out of this console and I still have it with all of my games, to this day.

YuuMonMu

#18

YuuMonMu said:

Awh geez... I'm one year older then the console...

I still remember the good times though. Who would've had imagine SEGA games would even come close to Nintendo's consoles back then?

sarkwalvein

#20

sarkwalvein said:

The great MegaDrive and its beautiful black and purple color scheme. Considering this was my third console I feel very old.

AyeHaley

#21

AyeHaley said:

One step in the grave...Someone grab me a diaper, some prune juice and ma teeth.

Dauntless

#23

Dauntless said:

My first console. I still have it and it still works, unlike some newer consoles that have already died on me. They don't build them like that anymore.

NintendoFan64

#24

NintendoFan64 said:

This was the first video game system I ever owned! I used to love playing it, until I got a Gamecube. Then I just sort of stopped playing on it...I need to play some Sonic 2.

WaveyChristmas

#26

WaveyChristmas said:

25 years old and still in the shadow of the SNES.
Genesis still had the greatest ghostbusters game period. ;)

I got the genny a few months after it's release, and i deeply regret it. Because it took another year for me to get my own SNES, which was far and away more magical than the pile of genesis games i went toe to toe with.

Greatest genny memories must of been Rocket Knight Adventures, Streets of Rage, Splatterhouse 2, Toe Jam & Earl, Ghostbusters and few or so other, but none of them can compare to nintendo, capcom and konami's heavy hitters on the SNES imo.

BakaKnight

#27

BakaKnight said:

Genesis (well, Megadrive here) was my childhood, I still can't believe that in the ninties I was so young I didn't even realized there was a console war XD

Then again maybe there wasn't even a console war here in Italy... ack... call me crazy, but I don't recall I ever saw any advertisement for any console when I was a kid >.>;;;

hydeks

#28

hydeks said:

yay, I feel really old now lol I loved the Sega Genesis, it was the system I had and I didn't want a super nintendo til later on.

joey302

#29

joey302 said:

My favorite console ever!! Was such a big SEGA fan!! Wanted them to mangle Nintendo cause I was pissed that Nintendo mangled Atari! Lol. But really the Genesis blew me away!! Wow!! Such an amazing library of games!! My personal genesis collection consists of 300+ games most of which are compete n mint condition!
So yea SEGA really blew it today and should've celebrated this bday with something! Probably should've been an announcement to get classics on the wii u vc?? But then again this is not the same SEGA of 1990 when Mr Kalinske was running the show! Great book btw, Console Wars, if you guys haven't read it yet!

DinoFett

#30

DinoFett said:

Have several versions of 'Genesis' and that cd-rom the Genesis sat on top of but sadly the drawer stopped working in the 90's. Did anyone get the 32X like I did?

Caryslan

#39

Caryslan said:

The Genesis was my first game console, and to this day remains my favorite. And to be honest, I loved my Genesis more than the SNES. The Genesis was the best place to play sports, action, and arcade games. Not to mention, it had the best controller of the era with the Six-button control pad. Street Fighter never had a more natural controller.

Who can forget Sonic though? Add in some of the best RPGs of that era like Phantasy Star IV, and the two Lunars on the Sega CD that could stand up to Earthbound and the SNES RPGs, and you just had one amazing system.

I find myself going back and playing Genesis games far more often that SNES games. The little Sega system that jumpstarted the 16-bit Revolution and made Nintendo sweat for the first time will always hold a special place in my gaming heart.

It brings a smile to my face when I still see consoles carrying the Genesis name being sold slongside the Wii U, PS4, and Xbox One in video game departments.

Nintendo may have won the generation, but the Genesis is the little console that refuses to die.

Happy Birthday to the best system ever made!

Caryslan

#40

Caryslan said:

@WaveBoy To this day, I still contend that the Genesis had the best Castlevania, Contra, TMNT game(Hyperstone Heist) and the best playing version of Street Fighter II which had real turbo. :)

Let me put it this way, I play Bloodlines, Hyperstone Heist, and Street Fighter II: Special Championship Edition more than their SNES counterparts.

audiobrainiac

#41

audiobrainiac said:

A headphone port, how genius! I sure do miss my ol' Genesis :)
I still think Mega Drive sounds like a run-down old lawnmower.
And if it weren't for NintenDOES, we'd probably all be playing the SEGA Revelation or something.

Artwark

#43

Artwark said:

Can anyone tell me that even with SNES and after the hate that genesis got from those add ons, why do people still love the Genesis? I mean does the genesis have any games besides Sonic, Toejam & Earl that were just revolutionary and all unlike SNES? Not that I'm complaining and all but the SNES just nails it with having better quality games.

joey302

#44

joey302 said:

@Artwark Really dude? Sounds like you never messed around with the genesis. I had both systems and I always went to genesis!
Way way more there than sonic & toe jam!
Take a good look bro!

Kolzig

#45

Kolzig said:

Time to get Mega Drive on Wii U VC.

All that was on Wii VC should come to Wii U VC, plus new platforms like Saturn&Dreamcast&Gamecube and more arcade games like Final Fight and Art of Fighting etc.

DiscoGentleman

#46

DiscoGentleman said:

I was definitely a SNES fan back in the day, and a few of my friends owned the Genesis- we were not close friends ;)

GreatPlayer

#47

GreatPlayer said:

SNES was more popular than Mega Drive in the East, although Mega Drive has many classics that are clearly superior, including Aladdin and Street of Rage, all due to the faster CPU in Mega Drive. When I play Contra in Genesis I was blown away by how fast the game ran (compared to the SNES version).

When will Sega port Shining Force 3 to VC?

Grumblevolcano

#48

Grumblevolcano said:

I never owned a Mega Drive (or SNES for that matter) but I liked a bunch of games from the collection released for 360 and PS3. The Sonic games were amazing (though not as good as the Adventure series) and a number of other games like Comix Zone were very unique and interesting.

The SNES library was better imo due to games like A Link to the Past and Super Mario Kart (how about supporting the VC better Nintendo, especially NoA and maybe we'll get some Mega Drive games from SEGA :P)

Mega719

#49

Mega719 said:

Hope Sega starts with VC again with Wii U and 3DS. They already been making 3D Classics now they even can make HD Classics. Heck fans are make a HD remaster of Sonic 2

Byron-3D

#50

Byron-3D said:

I remember the day I got my Mega Drive, one of the best Christmas Days I ever had, hours spent playing sonic, Mortal Kombat and Mega Games 2. Looking back now though I wish my parents had bought me a SNES

8BitSamurai

#53

8BitSamurai said:

Always preferred the SNES, but the Genesis is no slouch either. In particular, the platformers, sports games, and shmups are nothing short of fantastic on the system. Although, I've definitely never cared for the sound as far as most games go.

Kirk

#54

Kirk said:

I'm a SNES boy at heart but I've always loved the Genesis (Megadrive) too.

Peach64

#55

Peach64 said:

The Megadrive was my first console, and I have so many fond memories from it. Haven't played it in years due to the awkwardness of setting it up on a modern TV, so can't wait for the Retron 5 to get back into some Micro Machines Turbo Tournament, Virtua Racing, Aladdin, and Road Rash II. Thankfully I can easily play the Sonic games, Streets of Rage, Shining series and Phantasy Stars anytime due to the great compilation discs.

retro_player_22

#56

retro_player_22 said:

I got both 16-Bit consoles so I don't mind which is better but Genesis isn't a bad choice either really love the exclusives titles it got and the many arcade ports it offer.

Dpishere

#58

Dpishere said:

This was the first system I owned as a kid and had many good times with the likes of Sonic 2 and Aladdin. Kinda wish I would of had a Super NES instead though.

baba_944

#59

baba_944 said:

This was the first console I own thanks to my dad. I'm 17 but dang this thing has memories. Sonic 1 was my first game, although my dad has "PGA TOUR GOLF II", "ROAD RASH II", and I lost it since we did not paid the storage shed, "Outrun". I also have MK3. Still have them. Great times.

Graeme

#62

Graeme said:

I Was always a SNES player myself however the console did ignite my love for Madden and the PGA golf games were great.

Also yes this makes me feel old but I am still playing video games so its not all bad ;)

Shy_Guy

#64

Shy_Guy said:

X-Men 2: Clone Wars is my favorite Sega Genesis game,love the Genesis system,and still have it :)

S3OL

#67

S3OL said:

The console may as well have been called the Sonic Genesis because that console is what made him so massive today... Although he isn't as great as he used to be.

My two favourite games from the Genesis: Sonic 3 and Knuckles and Castle of Illusion.

sdelfin

#68

sdelfin said:

@WaveBoy I feel the same way, but in reverse. I got a SNES a few years after my Genesis for a few superior ports(MK2) and some exclusives, but I never felt much magic with the Super Nintendo. It's cool that each system had a distinct style and was a better fit for certain types of gamer.

@Caryslan I agree with you. I can't speak about Contra since I haven't played it on SNES, but I've compared Castlevania, TMNT and Street Fighter 2 fairly recently. I prefer all three on Genesis. Castlevania is very different on each, but I didn't enjoy Castlevania 4 at all compared to both Bloodlines and Rondo of Blood which I tried all at the same time. I think Hyperstone Heist plays a bit better, but Turtles in Time has more style. As for Street Fighter 2, I didn't like the way the SNES version played compared to the Genesis and PC Engine versions, though I want to do further comparisons of all three. I had some issues with the SNES version's sound as well. The music for Ken's stage was awful, at least to my ears.

McGruber

#70

McGruber said:

There was a Genesis (the smaller one) at my local salvation army yesterday with Batman and something else for $15. Am I an idiot for not buying it?

8bitforever

#72

8bitforever said:

They had the best cartridge boxes! I loved mine and only got rid of it later because SNES had so many RPGs I wanted to play. I had to sell one to get the other back then. Good memories.

BulbasaurusRex

#73

BulbasaurusRex said:

I had (and still have it) a Genesis as a kid. I basically got it for my 10th birthday in '94, and it remained my primary video game system (along with eventually the 32X add-on) until I got a GameCube in '02. I have a lot of great memories playing with that sleek black box.

Objectively, both the Genesis and SNES had their strengths over the other. The Genesis had a more powerful CPU (hence "blast processing"), while the SNES had superior graphics and sound cards. Games like "Sonic the Hedgehog" could've never run on the SNES, while games like "Donkey Kong Country" could've never been displayed on the Genesis.

JaredJ

#74

JaredJ said:

I remember going to K-Mart to buy a Super Nintendo and buying a Sega Genesis instead. I loved my Sega and still do.

Blue-Thunder

#76

Blue-Thunder said:

It was the Megadrive that lured me downtown to buy my first console. God intervened when I got there and I came home with the NES. :-)

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