This feature was originally published on Nov. 17, 2016.
When the Sega Genesis launched in 1988, it was a 16-bit visual feast, with a bright color palette that juxtaposed sharply with the Nintendo Entertainment System’s 8-bit graphics. In response, Nintendo released its own 16-bit console, the Super Nintendo, in 1990. This kicked off the “Console Wars,” which pitted the two most high-profile video game companies against one another in a bid for the same audience.
With its electric-blue hedgehog and aggressive marketing to teenage boys, Sega positioned itself as the youthful, cooler alternative to Nintendo’s stodgy traditionalism. And, at least in the United States, the plan worked, with the Sega Genesis outselling the SNES at a rate of two to one for several years.
Of course, we know how the story ends. A series of bad business decisions forced Sega to stop making consoles in 2001 after the Dreamcast lost millions of dollars. And we now live in a bizarro world where the best way to play Genesis games is on the Nintendo Switch, via its online subscription service.
Let’s go back to a time before all that. Here are the 100 best Sega Genesis video games—the RPGs, shooters, beat ‘em ups, and arcade ports with style and substance to spare.