The Sega Genesis, or Sega Mega Drive in Europe and Japan (メガドライブ, Mega Doraibu) is a video game system that was released by Sega, and it was the main competitor of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Various games released on the Genesis were later ported to Nintendo systems.


The Sega Genesis was the second Sega console released. It first launched in Japan on October 29, 1988, followed by in North America on August 14, 1989. It finally launched in the PAL region on November 30, 1990 with the help of Virgin Mastertronic (who were later bought in 1991 and turned into Sega of Europe). The Brazillian launch was handled by Tec Toy. Sega was determined to seize a piece of the gaming console pie from Nintendo, and they soon released a cutting edge console superior to the NES in every way. With the slogan, Genesis does what Nintendon't, Sega aggressively attacked Nintendo in a variety of marketing campaigns, and soon gained the upper hand, overthrowing the NES. It was bundled with Altered Beast at launch. 

In Japan, the Mega Drive failed to grab traction due to launching the same week as Super Mario Bros. 3. However, thanks to positive press coverage from Famitsu to start a following and in addition to a variety of games, it created a variety of peripherals to boost the console's usability like an answering machine. Even this was unable to overcome the Famicom in Japan.

SNES vs. Genesis[]

The Super Nintendo was more powerful than the Genesis, so Sega stepped up their marketing campaign. Soon, they created a mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog, and soon the Genesis surged forward. It ended up overtaking Nintendo, and put Sega on top for the first and only time, outselling Nintendo systems for 4 holiday seasons in a row. However, once the SNES gathered more sales and the 5th gen came about, Sega took the Genesis off the shelves to make more room for the Saturn, but the SNES was still in stores. Combined with the Donkey Kong Country series, the SNES began to overtake the Genesis. With this, the SNES outsold the Genesis in America overall according to a revised NPD study. The Genesis sold a grand total of 20 million consoles in North America.[1] In Japan, the console was much less successful. It ended up at a distant 3rd of the 16-bit consoles behind both the Super Famicom and PC Engine and selling only 4.3 million units. [1] By the end of the Genesis's lifetime, sales approached 30 million. However, that count is not including the Majesco Model 3 Genesis and the ATGames throw-back model.  Peripherals like the 32X and Sega CD had previously been released as an attempt to extend the life span of the Genesis.

Legacy on Nintendo consoles[]

After Sega had stopped producing consoles, they started releasing games on other systems, including the Game Boy Advance. Many of the games that was released included games that had previously released on the Genesis.

Virtual Console[]

One of the initial consoles on the Wii Virtual Console was the Sega Genesis. On the launch of the Wii, two games from the Genesis were immediately available: Altered Beast and Sonic the Hedgehog. Several more have been released in the weeks following. Additionally, collections of some of the Genesis titles were made for later Nintendo systems such as the Sega 3D Classics Archives on Nintendo 3DS and Sega AGES on Nintendo Switch. Most of the titles released on Virtual Console were compiled on Sega Genesis Classics for the Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo Switch Online[]

Sega Genesis games will appear as part of the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack, which let's member have access to a collection of 14 titles at launch.

Genesis titles currently available on Nintendo platforms[]

External Links[]


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