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The 1990s were a seismic shift for video games, as Sega’s Genesis console took the world by storm just as it was starting. In contrast to Nintendo’s NES and SNES hardware, the Genesis was the cool system. It had a consistent stream of quality titles and its digitally-sampled audio made for sublime soundtracks, even if some of its hardware components were inferior to Nintendo’s SNES. Backed by the infamous ‘Genesis does what Nintendont’ advertising campaign, the Genesis cemented itself as a bold new brand for game developers to release their titles on.
And what a selection of games there was! From Sonic the Hedgehog’s domination of mainstream culture to the finger-blisters you’d proudly show after enduring a weekend of action with Contra: Hard Corps, the Genesis had something for everyone. Here’s a look at the 15 best Sega Genesis games that defined the era of blast-processing and 16-bit goodness. Our picks are listed in alphabetical order.
If you’re feeling nostalgic after reading this list, many of these games are available in the Sega Genesis Classics collection.