Ah, the Genesis. In the halcyon days of my youth, I was a Nintendo kid through and through, but I also had a soft spot for SEGA and its little blue hedgehog. While I never owned my own Genesis, I got to play it at two different locations; my grandparent’s house and my cousin’s house. Sonic, Vectorman, Road Rash, X-Men, and numerous other titles would occupy my time on visits to both. While the Genesis might have ultimately claimed second place in the war against Nintendo, SEGA’s system is every bit as classic and beloved to this day.
My favorite SEGA memory is, fittingly, Sonic-related, running across Green Hill Zone and marveling at the spinning flowers, flowing water, and blistering speed. It’s a shame that SEGA was never able to maintain Sonic’s momentum going into the Saturn and Dreamcast eras. The Genesis Sonic titles might not have been as groundbreaking as Nintendo’s Mario games, but they were still incredibly fun and creative. The energy and enthusiasm of the staff is evident in all four titles, and if they could have kept that spirit burning, who knows what SEGA would look like today.
It would be nice to see a slew of previously unreleased Genesis games make their way to 3DS and Wii U’s Virtual Consoles in recognition of this anniversary. Too many titles still sit barely remembered and undervalued on little black cartridges across the world; it’s a waste of the system’s wonderful catalogue and legacy. Nintendo’s stranglehold on the video game industry might have continued unabated if not for SGEA’s shot across the bow. By giving Nintendo genuine competition, it allowed developers more freedom to make different type of games for SEGA’s system that they might never have been able to release on the NES and SNES. For that alone, the Genesis deserves a great deal of respect.
Besides Nintendo’s Virtual Consoles and SEGA’s various digital offerings across all other gaming platforms, there is an awesome SEGA Genesis replica system available at retailers like Toys R Us. The device comes with 30 built-in pieces of software and is an excellent way to relive some classics as they were meant to be played. If nothing else, save your Genesis a little wear and tear. Happy birthday, Genesis! May you Blast Process forever!