We all remember how cool the Sega Genesis was when it made its debut in Japan during the late 80’s. The console wars throughout the 90’s is what made gaming an exciting experience during that time period. One of the coolest things about the Sega Genesis was that it was a backward compatible console that could also utilize games from the Sega Master system that was originally released in Japan in 1985. When we think about the Sega Genesis the first thing that comes to mind is Sonic the Hedgehog who is considered the mascot Sega. The Sonic the Hedgehog games developed between 1991 and 1994 were legendary not only because it helped revolutionize the platform gaming genre it also provided a great alternative to most of the titles released by Nintendo’s Super Mario series during that era. Along with Sonic the Hedgehog the Sega Genesis also had many great titles including Streets of Rage 2, Sega Outrun, Golden Axe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist.
One of the many features that stands out about the Sega Genesis includes the sound chips used for this game console. The Yamaha YM2612 along with the Texas Instruments SN76489 had allowed the Sega Genesis to produce some great soundtracks for many titles especially the ones produced by Yuso Kushiro such as the Streets of Rage series and Revenge of the Shinobi. Along with having great soundtracks for many games Sega had developed add on hardware for the Genesis known as 32X which was available in both Japan and America in late 1994. The 32X was unique because it allowed people to play 32-bit games on the Sega Genesis which was originally a 16-bit console. In terms of high quality graphics some might argue that the 32X was Sega’s response to Super Nintendo’s Super FX Chip which provided enhanced 2D visual gameplay in certain game cartridges such as the original Star Fox.
While online gaming is predominate in today’s generation in the early 90’s it was not such a big thing. In fact many people who were children were probably unaware that the Sega Genesis had provided online service for a brief period of time. The online services were accessed using Sega Meganet which was only exclusive in Japan along with Sega Channel and the XBAND modem. While the development of online services appeared to be good in theory but there were some issues in practice. One of the issues for the Sega Channel had included a high subscription fee along with having a few playable games such as Mega Man: The Wily Wars which is considered an underrated classic by many people. When the Sega Genesis was originally released in the late 80’s many people where blown away by the graphics and gameplay it provided with the inclusion of the Motorola 68000 and the Zilog Z80 CPU. The visual design & sprites for various games such as Phantasy Star series was incredible and seemed ahead of its time during the early 90’s.
Since its release the Sega Genesis had sold at least 30 million units worldwide with the best selling game being the first two Sonic the Hedgehog games with a combined total over 21 million buys. It should be noted that the Sega Genesis game consoles were being manufactured and sold in retail stores throughout the entire decade as it was discontinued in 1999. Some might say that the reason way the Sega Genesis sold more units worldwide than Sega Saturn & Sega Dreamcast was because it was discontinued almost a decade after it was released while the other two were available for only a few years. Either way, the Sega Genesis along with Super Nintendo helped revolutionize the landscape of gaming during the 90’s during the console wars and is seen by many as one of the best game systems of the 16-bit era.