The Great Hyperconcole Wars. Sega vs Nintendo? I always love this one. Remember "Genesis does what Nintendon't?" Nintendo does what Genesis did. You'll see what I mean. In the '80s, there were three worth mention - Atari, Sega, Nintendo. Atari quckly deflated after the great gaming crash of the early '80s, but still, there was Nintendo and Sega. The Master System boasted superior graphics (doubts? just download the emulators and see for yourself), two types of gaming hardware, and a sleek, black and red case. Nintendo boasted third party support, a snazzy automobile trunk-like apperatus for inserting your games, and that ever-satisfying sound of the cartrige being loaded, then pushed down into place. Both systems had a gun. But again, Nintendo had third party support, as well as that little Gyromite robot, and later such accutraments as the Power Glove, and the Power Pad. Nintendo had advertising, licensing, and power.... later super power. The Master System had a nice, sleek black and red case.
Hands down, Nintendo was going to win this battle, and Sega knew it. So, in the late '80s they began R&D for the first 16bit home console. While Sega sat back and waited, Nintendo grew in power, strength, and fanbase. Link, Mario, Samus and Megaman were looked on with as much love as Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior, but ever present was the beast that was Sega, and in 1990 they struck. "Turbo Blast Processing" it was called, but it was only due to the 486 processor located within the heart of the NEW sleak, red and black case. Complete with a headphone jack and a volume slide knob, the Mega Drive was ready for action. Upon it's release in the states, Sega utilized what it had learned years ago during it's fight with Nintendo; Sega finally marketed this new console to the masses. The Genesis finally arrived. Not one to be outdone by Sega, God, or ayone in it's way, Nintendo had been working on a monster of it's own. Not that it mattered, really, I mean Sega was doing things that Nintendo..... not necessarilly couldn't, but WOULDN'T do. The packaged title with the Genesis featured a half-naked Greek man fighting the dead and demons, to ultmately (after about 8 minutes of gameplay) be rewarded with rescuing the princess who had a really big nose. We're talking Streissand. See? Sega was down with using ugly chicks... that shows real balls.
1991 rolls around with the Super Nintendo. Oddly enough, despite using such a stupid American name for the system, Nintendo also used the word Super in Japan. I'd have named it the "Shin Famicon", or Famicon no something. Yeah. What was realeased with the SNES is what made me buy the damned thing.... the single (in my opinion) greatest Super Mario title of all time. This was followed after a long wait by the (again, my opinion) greatest, and last TRUE Hyrule adventure, A Link to the Past. Now, most of the kids I knew had one or the other. Me? After a summer of working my ass of I bought both. See, I was fat, had no real friends, and girls didn't like me, so I bought video games. Still, most kids had only the Genesis, because despite Nintendo having these great titles, most people "couldn't be bothered" with Ultraman, or Sim City, or F-Zero when they were playing Streets of Rage, Sonic the Hedgehog, Madden '92, or what have you, so they stayed with Sega. Sega was winning this round!
In 1991, there was an arcade game that revolutionized the gaming world. Street Fighter 2 was unlike aything anyone had dealt with before, and through shrewd planning, Nintendo got "sole rights" to the title. This was the first time Nintendo had gone this far to get a title under it's control... It made a deal with Capcom that would ensure the death of the Genesis with one game, and both Sega an Capcom felt it. Those who didn't have a SNES begged, borrowed and stole to get one, and SNES sales skyrocketed. Genesis sales went nowhere. Until, that is, when it was announced in 1992 that Capcom had found a loophole in it's Nintendo contract, and announced a Genesis release of "Street Fighter 2: Special Champion Edition." Now, it was Sega's turn. Most of us were tired of stacking a Game Genie with an Action Replay just to use glitched, disfigured versions of the SF2 boss characters on the SNES, so Genesis sales increased, again. Wolfenstein comes out for the SNES. No blood, and the dogs have been turned into giant mutant rats, and they lose ID software. Skipping a lot of things, let's move to the first Mortal Monday. Snes. NO blood. Huhh. People were realizing the lack of balls in the Nintendo office, while also noticing the vast amount of blood on the Genesis version. Strike one. Square also grows weary of Nintendo's marketplace warmongering. Foul ball. Nintendo is working with Sony to develop something to compete with Sega's CD console adapter. Attrocious to look at today (and, does anybody really know who shot Johnny Rock?) the Sega CD was top of the line, and scared people because it was new, expensive, and CD. You ever wonder what that little port in the underside of your SNES was for? A project that was later called the Playstation. Nintendo succeeded in driving Sony away. Strike two. Sega would later release the 32X, much to the glee of boys (especially fat ones like me) who had no women to look at and let the VCR record Showtime while we slept at nite so that the next day we might see some boob. Okay, maybe that was a little much. Anyway, while Sega was trying to "improve" it's existing console (a little thing I like to call 'Genesis evolution'.... try finding another sentance with those two words so close together), Nintendo released the Superscope. And then, to combat Sega's ad campaign, Nintendo turned to untrue grunge music, twill beanie-wearing greasy stoner chicks (you know they didn't shave ANYWHERE), twacked out, scwany unattractive skateboarders, and other representatives of a Geration X I kow I didn't belong to. Nintendo relied on Star Fox, a remake of Punch Out!!! and the long-forgotten Donky Kong to keep it going. Fortunately DooM ad Mortal Kombat had blood, so Nintendo it seemed was finally coming around. A little too late, though.
It looked like Nintendo had won yet again, as Sega ran out of peripherals to not support. Sega does what Nintendid. Think about it - How may games were developed, released and sold for the the little Gyromite robot, or the Zapper, or the Power Pad, or the Power Glove (and actually worked with the damned thing) and the Superscope? About as many as were made for the 32X. If memory serves, only 13 titles bore the 32X logo. These two titans were so busy fighting eachother, they never paid attention to Phillips, or the beast from their past, Atari. Now understand, the CD-i was like the 3DO was like the Jaguar. Under normal circumstances, these consoles would never have seen the light of day, due to their heafty pricetags, lack of quality games, and fear that the Jag controller would set off a nuke, somewhere. But with Sega welcoming you to the next level, doing what Nintendon't, bragging about "turbo-blast processing" (which was nothing, really... think about it - do you actually believe Sonic moved that fast because of the time it took to load a stage?) Nintendo was reassuring it's base that now we were playing with power... super power, and asking, "Why go to the next level, when you can go lightyears beyond?" During this Mario vs Sonic bitch fight, the rest of us watching Beavis and Butt-Head were wondering during commercial breaks, "I wonder how good Burn Cycle really is"
1995/96.that area. The Genesis is dead. Did Nintendo kill it? Nope, it was Sega. The Saturn has been released, and nobody cared. Sega does what Nintendid, only Nintendo never let their contraptions exceed $200, only to be abandoned by it's makers. Well, I'm not sure how expensive the Virtual Boy was..... that thing looked to dangerous to buy, though. Sega, however flooded the market with Genesis modifiers, only to abandon them in favor of more R&D on newer technologies. People did buy the Saturn though and they even liked it, but they felt betrayed by Sega. For almost six years, Sega loyalist emptied their collective pockets to buy the newest Genesis goody, only to feel dejected by the company months after purchase. The SNES was still gowing strong, and Nintendo was working on their next big console. Let's move ahead, shall we?
Remember that company that Nintendo pissed off? No, not Id, they made up. No, not Square, the fathers of Final Fantasy still had nowhere else to go. Say it out loud..... SONY! It's now 1997, and Nintendo's about to be bitch slapped. Enter the Sony Playstation (PSX for the gaming cool). The PSX (yes, I am the gaming cool) single-handedly changed the way things were done. Better graphics, true digital sound, true 3D processing, and an open door policy to third party manufacturers. NOW Square had a place to go. And, so did Capcom, for that matter. When you lose the company that saved your ass in 1991, you know you're in trouble, and Nintendo rushed to keep up with this new monolith. Their answer was the Nintendo 64. What an answer it was.... a, uh.... well.... it was..... it was a cartrige system. Huh. I miss somethin', here? Even Sega knew cartriges were obsolete. Not Nintendo, though, NO! And commanding their new flagship was? Mario. Well, I guess if something works for twenty years, why change it, right? And then, though they were epic, the new Zelda games were released. They had nothing to do with Zelda. I actually found all twenty heart containers in A Link To the Past, still play the second quest on the original Zelda, and learn the downwards thrust BEFORE fighting that horse-head boss dude in the Adventure of Link. I know my Zelda.These new titles were Hyrule for the sake of sales. Ocarina of Time is still probably the only reason to own a 64, tough I do think it's funny that the only other games that really shine are both (again) rehashes. Mario Kart 64 was fun, as was Smash Brothers. Four franchises based on twenty years of use. That's all it really had Sad. Well, my Girlfriend really liked Turok, though I don't know why..... it was just as bad as "Charles Barley's Shut Up and Jam"
Now, with the loss of true support, Nintendo was hurting, but still not as bad as Sega.... this is where Sega made it's fatal mistake. Had they waited and released this console instead of the Saturn, I think that today we would have a four-way battle in the console gaming world. Alas, Sega decided to bombard the marketplace with too many consoles, in too short a time. Now comes the days of the Dreamcast, arguably the best console ever created up to that point(and I happen to argue in favor of the statement). The Dreamcast was the first true 128bit system. A real step in the right direction, the Dreamcast offered true onlie play via a modem, boasted crisper, clearer graphics than the PSX, had those fantastically Japanese titles (Chu Chu Rocket? Hell yeah!), was Windows-based, and offered USB support. Not to mention all the things you can do to a Dreamcast, but there's forums for that. Here was a twist for Nintendo.... Capcom was releasing titles on the PSX and the Dreamcast, and NOT the 64. Final Fantasy was a PSX exclusive, and would remain a Sony exlusivefor years. Eidos worked with Sony and Sega, bringing the Tomb Raider and Legacy of Kain series to everyone but Nintendo. I imagine that after nearly twenty-five years of gaming godliness, Nintendo was feeling the urge to go back to making Pokeman-like card games. Something was wrong, though. In it's desire to beat it's oldest foe, Sega had done itself in. Young and fresh was the Playstation, and most gamers denied Sega it's profits for fear that the demigod would again abandon it's current console in favor of a new one. This is the critical point where Sega decides what to do next - it decides to phase out of the console building market. They had in their possession a system that would have carried Sega into the next millenium, but due to Nintindo-like barbarism and short-sightedness, Sega had slit the Dreamcast's throat. The greatest console at the time to date died due to the poor planning of it's parents. Nintendo had won by default, though it's battle wasn't over, yet. Again, let's move ahead.
Here, at last, was the PS2. Meaner, stronger, and a little quicker than it's predecessor, and learning from Sega's mistakes, Sony made it backwards-compatible. What made the PS2 so great? The same thing that made Nintendo systems of yore great - third party support. All I need to say is I wasn't going to buy a PS2 until I played a bit of Final Fnatasy X, then it was over. Gand Theft Auto? Sold. Soul Reaver 2? I'm there. Street Fighter Alpha 3? Hell yeah. Nintendo? Who?
November, 2001. Two months prior, the Twin Towers had fallen, the Pentagon had been heavily damaged, and America, for the first time was afraid. Hell of a time to release a system, but the creators of the XBOX didn't care. Moreso than the system itself, which is sad to say, Halo had arrived along with Dead or Alive 3, the triquel to the ever popular PSX and Dreamcast fighting titles. I feel it necessary to mention only those titles, as Nintendo would have never bothered with Halo, and even after all the success with it's Ninja Gaigen franchise on Nintendo systems, (which later moved to the XBOX) Tecmo wouldn't even talk to the fathers of video gaming as we know it. Nintendo was hurting, bad. The 64 had flopped (I don't care what anybody says, the 64 was a failure. You can't make up for poor gaming by showing me profit quotiants, I care about games, not money). The XBOX, ironically enough owes a lot to Sega. Also utilizing a built-in modem, USB compatablilty, and an honest-to-goodness operating system to support it's superior processing power, I have to wonder if somewhere in the XBOX department there isn't a dissected Dreamcast being studied by Microsoft engineers. Nintendo would later release the Gamecube, which was admittedly geared to a younger audience. And a little homosexual. I mean, seriously. The console, controllers, and GUI look like they were created on an un-aired "Surprise by Design" for G4 during E3. It was launched with... yeah. Mario. It has... yeah. Another noting-to-do-with-Link Zelda title. It has... yeah. Another Smash Brothers. It has... more colors than the XBOX. It has.... wait a minute. YEAH! A NEW METROID! OOOHHH..... a great remake of Resident Evil! I guess Capcom Made up with Ninendo? Probaly had something to do with the fact that the former Nintendo Final Boss quit, and a new boss called the shots. Hey, a Final Fantasy on a Nintendo system? Bad. Seems Nintendo might survive this war, after all.
Something about playing a Sega game on the XBOX, or the PS2 , or even the Gamecube makes me smile. Here was a company that didn't break rules, it wrote rules with Nintendo. It would seem that now it's "Sega died but Nintenwon't." But, without Sega, where would we be? There would never have been any true competition, and Nintendo would be our only solution for our home gaming needs. Titles like Halo, Resident Evil, DooM3, the Legacy of Kain series, Fatal Frame, Grand Theft Auto, Silent Hill and a lot of others might never had been made were it not for Sega always being there to remind Nintendo that it's a sissy. Now, Sony and Microsoft have that honor.
Here's the Jerry Springer-esque final thought:
Arguing over Sega vs Nintendo is pointless. Those arguements are the reasons such consoles as the Turbo Grafx 16 never got noticed in America. I mean, seriously. If you've never played Splatterhouse (the first one), Devil's Crush or the TG16 Fantasy Zone, you are missing out. The age-old Sega vs Nintendo debate is as idiotic as the timeless Chevy vs Ford debate. I was a mechanic for a long time and I can tell you this: they're both peices of crap. And the bottom line is: Games are games. Play them or don't, but if you choose not to, make that choice based on the games, not the console. People on both sides missed good titles because they felt that the "other system" had no good games because they only played Revolution X or Zero Wing.
For those wondering, I own:
NES, SNES, N64, Gamecube, Genesis with the Sega CD and 32X, Dreamcast, Plastation2, XBOX, Turbo Grafx 16