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Kontra Kommando

Reigniting the Old Console War: SNES vs. Genesis

Which console system was superior?  

50 members have voted

  1. 1. Which console system was superior?

    • Super Nintendo
      32
    • Sega Genesis
      18


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If you grew up in the early 90s, you know that a hot topic of contention was which gaming console was superior; Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis. I grew up with SNES, and would faithfully defend it on the playgrounds and lunch rooms of my youth. 20 years later, I want to know, which do you feel was the better system?

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The opinion of gamers on this issue mostly boils down to bias, based on what the kid owned in the 90s. But I think it's objectively harder to argue superiority for the Genesis. The technical superiority of the SNES meant that you could compare a game head-to-head on the two consoles and the graphical and audio fidelity of the SNES won in probably most, if not all, cases. As far as the amount of "good games" goes, again, I think SNES is the clear winner. What was even great on Genesis? What Genesis games are you talking about 20 years later? Sonic? Vectorman maybe? Squaresoft's SNES library alone defeats all challengers, in my opinion. Even if Genesis has one or two great RPGs, they just can't compare with SNES' library. And let's get real. Does Genesis have ANYTHING as good as Super Metroid? Hell, did Genesis have anything like Mario Paint? People still make Mario Paint music and art and post on the internet.

To me, there's hardly a comparison.

Full disclosure: I was a rich kid in the 90s and owned both the SNES and Genesis (and Sega CD and 32X), along with a Playstation, Jaguar and some version of the 3DO.

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Gunstar Heroes, Road Rash 2 and Comix Zone weren't available on SNES, so Megadrive/Genesis for the win.

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Genesis owner here.

I think both systems had a lot of great games, but SNES had a larger user base (at least in North America) and thus has had a larger group of people talking about its games over the years. Also Nintendo is and always has been really big on sequels and franchises, and Sega less so, apart from Sonic. Combined with Sega's floundering following the Genesis, many of its games just don't have the same legacy as Nintendo's all these years later.

In terms of hardware, the SNES was superior in most aspects, although a few things are subjective. I always liked the FM sound chip and didn't care much for the MIDI-esque sounds of the SNES, though it was certainly a more natural sound and had better audio processing. I found the shoulder buttons of the SNES a bit awkward and preferred the Genesis's 6-button pad in most cases.

The 32x and the SegaCD were both bad ideas with poor support, although IIRC the SegaCD was extremely successful upon launch.

They were both great systems and I think it's unfortunate that lots of good Genesis titles are kind of overlooked 20 years later, at least in comparison to the SNES classics. Off the top of my head: Landstalker, Phantasy Star 4, Gunstar Heroes (and Alien Soldier!), Revenge of Shinobi & Shinobi 3, Streets of Rage 2, Mutant League Football, Blades of Vengeance, Beyond Oasis, Toejam & Earl.

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Don't forget that the two systems also had a 2-3 year technological disparity, and IMO the SNES better fitted into a category of its own, along with the early transitional (pre-PSX) "32-bit" consoles like the Amiga CD32 or even the weird hybrids like the Atari Jaguar.

The Genesis was, in all honesty, a generation behind the SNES and as such it was much more conservatively designed (M68000 and Z80 CPUs, FM sound etc.). It looked like a dumbed-down version of the average 68000-based arcade hardware of its era, while the SNES was really unique and forward-looking.

I think the only thing the Genesis has really going for it is a better selection of classic 16-bit arcade titles (if you are into Sega and Taito titles, at least). Also, it's much easier to get a functional inexpensive "Genesis clone" today (Firecore-based plug & play TV games) which can also play ROM images.

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I owned both consoles, and they certainly had their strengths between them. But the Genesis had Sub-Terrania. =P

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For the sake of fair play, I'll be the boring one by taking the neutral position and answering...:

Both.

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NeoGAF had this thread recently. It was a curbstomp; SNES won with a ratio of just over 3:1.

Objectively, the SNES is better. Its classics are talked about much more frequently to this day (helped by the fact that some of the franchises it boasts actually hit it big after the fact - FFVII comes to mind, boosting up awareness of Squaresoft's entire library that much more), it has more colorful graphics (~256 vs. ~64), it boasts the more versatile sound chip (albeit it's generally quite muffled - something emulators gloss over), it has more layers to work with for parallax (4 vs. 2), it can do all sorts of nifty rotation and scaling effects with at least one of the layers (Mode 7, anyone?), it had pad with eight buttons standard (A, B, X, Y, L, R, Select, Start vs. A, B, C, Start), et cetera et cetera.

Subjectively, I like the Genesis better. It's what I grew up with, and I still have a soft spot for its lineup. It also boasted a wider resolution (320x224 vs 256x224, although it could do the latter in some cases) and faster CPU, which made it better for action games (shmups in particular; Thunder Force IV and M.U.S.H.A. are pretty ace, to my understanding). Also, while some are quick to call the sound chip nothing but "robot farts", I've always been partial to FM synth music, when it's in the hands of somebody who knows how to use it well.

So yeah, both, I guess.

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I can't choose favourite console of these two, both have excellent game library and over all both have unique features: I like the metallic sound of mega drive game soundtracks and same time that hard to explain vibrant sound of snes soundchip. Both controllers are also well designed and what I like the most with the old gaming hardware are the cartridges. That plastique sound you hear when entering cartridge into slot and flipping the power switch, It's all gone with the soulless disc format

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Objectively: Super Nintendo. It was by far the more powerful console overall.

Subjectively: There is no 'vs' as far as I am concerned. Own both, love both. They both possess strong libraries, which some equally bad turds every so often.

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The only thing I don't like about the SNES is that it starts to slow down with just few sprites on screen, unlike the Genesis.

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Waffenak said:

That plastique sound you hear when entering cartridge into slot and flipping the power switch, It's all gone with the soulless disc format


Looks like someone didn't have a PlayStation, with its unmistakable sound of clicking the disc into place and the hollow locking sound of the lid closing into place.

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BaronOfStuff said:

Looks like someone didn't have a PlayStation, with its unmistakable sound of clicking the disc into place and the hollow locking sound of the lid closing into place.

Too bad those damn ball bearings pop out of the spindle after enough time of whirling around at 1000 RPM and then having the discs popped off and back onto them. Lost two Playstations to spindle death. Currently on my third. Though, the first had a lot more problems than just that (bad laser calibration, and glitchy hardware MPEG decompressor).

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I owned both consoles (and a 32X for the Genesis), but far more games for the SNES. Most of the Genesis library just didn't appeal to me, at least out of what I rented back in the day. (My SNES library was also bigger because my mom played it, she hated the Genesis controller and was a lot more willing to rent/buy SNES games "for me" than Genesis, heh.)

In hindsight, I think I like the NES more than either of them.

Kore said:

The only thing I don't like about the SNES is that it starts to slow down with just few sprites on screen, unlike the Genesis.

Blast processing was propaganda; Genesis games slow to a crawl too.

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Sega Genesis for me. But I like the SNES as well, but than PC and Sony Playstation took over my life and I never looked back lol.

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Technician said:

What was it like being fucked in the ass?

I owned both a 32X and a Sega CD. I ran out of places to get fucked in.

Though in all seriousness, Sega CD had a few good games. Sonic CD and The Terminator spring to mind.

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SNES by far, I don't even know if the Genesis is any good. I do remember the times of when it was about how many games you had and not what games you did have, comparing numbers rather than tastes.

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I'm going to have to say neither. For most of my early childhood, I had only DOS games to play. My first consoles were a Gameboy Color and a Playstation and, by that time, I must have been nine or ten years old already.

My cousins owned a Genesis, but I didn't get to play with it very often and I don't think I knew anybody who a had a SNES, so I don't feel any particularly strong attachment to either.

I might have a bit of bias towards the Super Nintendo simply because a lot of older SNES-era franchises found their way to the Gameboy Advance eventually.

Also, after probably eight years of posting sporadically on Doomworld, I have finally achieved member status...

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I feel SNES had overall a better lineup of games but the genesis had sonic 3 @ knuckles. Genesis obviously.

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I had both but I had the genesis (mega drive in the uk) first and so I used to claim it was superior. The bloodless SNES port of Mortal Kombat apparently enough to rest my case on.

Looking back the SNES was better though. Both technically and in terms of games library. Others have explained why already.

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I like the Genesis a lot, especially the sound chip despite popular opinion, but I'm going to have to say the SNES; not becasue of it's technical advantages, becasue it has such a larger library of good games. This might not be fair becasue Nintendo had a library of IPs from it's last console, but in my opinion, many of Nintendo's original IPs peaked on the SNES.

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Genesis.
Even the fact that SNES had three years on it technologically, and more established franchises didn't beat the replayability of Genesis games. Only Mario Kart comes close to the average Genesis title in being as fun the 1000th time as the 1st.

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I grew up with a Sega Mega Drive which was my brothers, however I found I prefer the SNES console.

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The only reason I like the Genesis is because of Sonic, but the SNES had tons of memorable games.
I'm pretty sure one of the reasons people got the Genesis is because of the uncensored Mortal Kombat, and Sonic the Hedgehog. Most of the games for the Genesis were obscure. Then again, that's because I barely got any games for the Genesis besides Sonic...

But, what game do people think of when hearing 'Sega Genesis'? Sonic, of course. But the SNES had so many legendary games to its name, like Chrono Trigger, Starfox, Link to the Past, Super Metroid, EarthBound, Street Fighter 2...

But that's just my opinion.

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Dragonsbrethren said:

Blast processing was propaganda; Genesis games slow to a crawl too.


Blast Processing was just marketing, but the Genesis could handle more sprites on screen than the SNES. Of course bad programmers will make any game lag, and good ones will make every cycle count. But if only ace coders were allowed to make games, we'd have far fewer games for either system.

boris said:

Sega does what Nintendon't!


W E L C O
M E T O T
H E N E X
T L EV E L


God what a horrible slogan/layout.

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