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The 1990s were a seismic shift for video games, as Sega’s Genesis console took the world by storm right from the start. Unlike Nintendo’s NES and SNES hardware, the Genesis was cool system. It had a steady stream of quality titles and digitally sampled audio made for great soundtracks, even if some of its hardware was inferior to Nintendo’s SNES. With the infamous “Genesis does what Nintendont” ad campaign, Genesis established itself as a bold new brand for game developers to release their games on.
And what a choice of games there was! From Sonic the Hedgehog’s dominance in mainstream culture to blisters you’d be proud to show off after a weekend of action with Contra: Hard Corps, Genesis had something for everyone. Here’s a look at the 15 best Sega Genesis games that defined the era of fast processing and 16-bit quality. Our favorites 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.