Console Wars: SNES vs Genesis


Ah, the console wars of the 1990’s it was a time when most people only had one and whichever side you were on you believed it was the best. Either you were a Super NES fan or Sega Genesis fan and both companies took advantage of this, but Sega really played to their fanboi audience.

Remember this commercial:


Blast processing, it was a marketing term to make you believe the Genesis was completely superior to the SNES, but what SNES fans noticed was graphics. Often Genesis fans talked about how fast games seemed and said Sonic could not run on and SNES. However, we know that the Genesis only had a palette of 512 colors while the SNES had over 32 thousand. Not only that, but the SNES could show you 256 different colors on one screen while the Genesis could only show you 62. The result was the sprites and backgrounds did run faster on the Genesis because they were less detailed, but were much clearer and detailed on the SNES.

Mortal Kombat

As far as sound the SNES won again and again we can use Mortal Kombat as an example. The sounds in the SNES port were much better than the Genesis and the reason is simple. The Genesis had a Yamaha sound chip and a Texas Instruments PSG, with 8K of sound memory between them. The SNES had a custom designed Sony sound chip and Sony DSP, with 64K of sound memory giving it the clear advantage. The result was clearer sounds with more audible tones available to be heard.

Now when it comes to controllers that is more players choice, many Genesis fanbois said the size of the controller were made for men and the SNES for little boys and girls, but most gamers will tell you the SNES was a better pad and Sega original game pad was a ripoff of the Nintendo design.


The most important contest was in the games department. Now don’t get me wrong, Sega had a ton of great games and even ports like Mortal Kombat that looked better on the SNES were more fun on the Genesis. However, talking classics SNES wins hands down which is why they seem to keep remaking those classics over and over.

Oh and BTW there was a bootleg port of all the Sonic games for the SNES and they ran just fine, so much for blast processing.

Ok maybe this isn’t the best example.

So which side were you on?

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J.A. Laraque

J.A. Laraque is a freelance writer and novelist. His passion for writing mixed with a comedic style and intelligent commentary has brought him success in his various endeavors. Whatever the subject, J.A. has an opinion on it and will present it in writing with an insight and flair that is both refreshing and informative.

4 thoughts on “Console Wars: SNES vs Genesis

  • You sound like 10 year old from the 90’s. Both consoles are amazing pieces of gaming history that have their own sets of strengths and weaknesses. The only fanboy here is you.

  • There is no doubt both consoles were amazing there should be no question about that. However, you can look at two great teams in sports and still compare them.

    Also, speaking of the 90’s that is what this article is based on, the console wars of the 90’s and it is written in that style, thanks for noticing.

    You can point out the pro’s of one console over the other and still respect both. The blast processing claim from Sega was a gimmick and proven as so. The same goes for specific game comparisons. Some games were just better in graphics and sound and even gameplay on the SNES. I does not mean the Genesis was bad or that it did not have great games of its own, many that were better or not available on the SNES.

    You need to understand the definition of fanboy and not just toss it out because there is criticism or comparisons of two products.

  • First of all the strawman Genesis fans aren’t really necessary in making this comparison, are they?

    Also if you’re going to talk about pros and cons I don’t understand why you handwave the one thing the Genesis has over the SNES. “Blast Processing” was a stupid marketing term but they weren’t just blowing smoke. The Motorola 68000 was faster. The game speed and smooth scrolling even while under duress in Genesis games has nothing to do the color palette limitations which are the fault of the Genesis VDP, unless you think the SNES had a better processor than the Neo Geo as well which also uses it and graphically blows both consoles out of the water.

    Nintendo had their reasons for using the processor they chose and they did make up for it with hardware things like Mode 7. Good programmers were able to do effects like that on the Genesis in software (see games like Batman and Robin or Gunstar Heroes), The Genesis could also do flat shaded 3D polygons unassisted, albeit badly, while the SNES required in-cart co-processors (The FX chips, which were actually more powerful than the processor in the SNES itself),

    The worst part of the article however is that you you posted a video of a bootleg ROM hack of the Speedy Gonzalez game and you call it a port of Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s not even close to the same game.

    Honestly consoles are at their best not with multi-platform games, but at games that tailor to the strengths of each. It’s the reason why there’s so many great fast action games on the Genesis like shoot’em ups and so many beautiful and great sounding RPGs on the SNES.

    While I won’t outright call you a fanboy, you’re definitely biased, at least in the context of this article.

  • As a programmer, I never understood the argument “Oh, Genesis has a faster CPU so it can scroll graphics faster than the SNES, so no smooth Sonic is possible on SNES”.
    I mean,. those consoles, while I don’t know the hardware well, must surely have hardware scrolling and hardware sprites capabilities in them. So it’s just a matter of writing a byte or two to a single pointer for starting address of background layers, or X,Y position of sprites. Minimal CPU needed. Would be the same CPU whether you hardware scrolled 1 pixel to the right or 20 pixels to the right (ok, maybe you have to fill the graphics that are yet to appear with the CPU, I don’t know).

    But I believe there were some pretty fast scrolling games on SNES there to counteract this. Ok, Nintendo prefered the cuddly cutey games, like mario or even mario kart, so Genesis game would like frantic and hardcore, mario games would look for kids, but both consoles could easily pull fast scrolling games with lot’s of sprites.

    The Genesis, even without Mode 7 or SuperFX, achieved some rotating/zooming effects I guess in combining the much faster 68000 with hardware tricks, and there are even wolfenstein 3d engines and advanced 3d on the CPU, something that SNES struggled without a SuperFX chip. So, yeah the 68000 did gave some advantage in some other aspects (which the SNES counteracted with aditional chip on the cartidges) but Sonic is not a good example imho.

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