The history of video game console competitions reads much like that of New York’s crime families — you see powerful leaders making bold, risky moves to snuff out their rivals and fierce, tribal alliances that breed clashes between vocal factions.
GamePro brings the past to life by selecting its five greatest console wars, disregarding the in-progress donnybrook between the Xbox 360, Wii and PlayStation 3, which is destined to crack such future lists.
The choice for No. 1 was easy: the early-1990s clash between the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. GamePro’s McKinley Noble writes:
With initial sales in Japan turning up nothing, Sega USA used the success of Sonic the Hedgehog, along with an ad campaign that got more ridiculously campy as time went on, to start turning up the heat on Nintendo. Fans started digging trenches and hurling slogans at each other, while TV commercials told the public that Sega’s Genesis could do “What Nintendon’t”. It was magical, and the war went on and on.
The story hardly scratches the surface of the Nintendo-Sega battle for youth gamer mindshare, including Sega’s ridiculous “blast processing” ads. So effective were the respective marketing machines, daring you to choose a side and stick to it with ferocity, that it seemed almost sacrilegious to own or profess fandom of both. The ingrained fanboy bias grew up with a generation that refused to put away its childish things and continues to drive up the average gamer age.
As a lifelong Nintendo fanboy, only recently have I managed to separate myself from my taught, ignorant prejudices to respect the greatness of the Genesis classics. But I still hate Sonic the Hedgehog, Mario’s spastic rival for the same unquantifiable reason I despise the Dallas Cowboys, and always will.
What about you, Consumerists? Which way did you swing — Nintendo or Sega?
The 5 Greatest Console Wars [GamePro]