25 Years of Sega Genesis


The Sega Genesis (or Mega Drive) is 25 years old in Japan as of the day this blog post goes up. It won’t hit that anniversary in North America until next year but I still think it’s proper for us to look back on our own experiences with the console. I can definitely say the Genesis was a pivotal part of my childhood.

After my first memories of playing my brother’s NES, the Genesis was probably my first experience with a “next-gen” leap. Going over to a friend’s house and being exposed to Sonic 2 for the first time was a downright enchanting experience (even though the console was four years old by that point). I think what I remember most was Sonic’s trademark methods of traversal and the game’s audio, which probably sticks with any Sega fan to this day.

That’s actually how I experienced the Genesis for probably most of its life. Throughout the 16-bit era I was a Super NES kid, and come to think of it I was the only SNES owner in my neighborhood. Just about every other house contained a Genesis, and when I hung out with friends, Sonic 2 was basically THE game for a very long time. In fact, that game’s split screen race mode was probably the multiplayer game I played the most until GoldenEye came out.

I didn’t actually own a Genesis until around the mid 90’s, but once I did get one, Sonic 3 became a pretty significant part of my life. I probably built friendships on that game and its co-op as well as multiplayer modes. It also opened the door to me basically growing up on Sonic, which includes the Archie comic which I read to this day.

Yeah in my experience the Genesis was basically a machine for Sonic and Sega’s other first party games. In my experience, most multiplatform games back then were better on the SNES (the glaring exception being the first Mortal Kombat). On the Genesis that left Sonic as well as games like Vectorman and Shinobi. The Mickey Mouse Illusion series is also something I spent a lot of time on.

That brings me to how Sega has just about been the best publisher in recent times when it comes to making its legacy content as available as possible. I’ve actually bought Sega’s Genesis Collections three times, most recently on Steam where I plan to investigate a lot more of that platform including stuff like Phantasy Star and Shining Force.

Really, I’m still in the process of fully discovering the Genesis, both digitally and with the original hardware. Over the last few years I’ve managed to snag copies of some games I missed back in the day like Regenge of Shinobi and Space Harrier II. One lesser-known game I stumbled upon back in the day and found recently was Mystic Defender (had to describe that game on a forum just to remember what it was called). Most recently I found a copy of a game I got really interested in after hearing about it — Ranger X.

I think the best way to describe my experience with the Genesis would be to say it was one of the defining parts of the 90’s for me. When I say 25 years of Genesis, to me it doesn’t even really mean “this platform is 25 years old,” but more like a consistent two decades of actually playing Genesis games.


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