Back before everyone had smartphones, social media, and the internet, we had to rely on commercials and magazine ads for all our gaming information. As those were the main sources of people getting their gaming news, they often formed their opinions from that. With that in mind, when Sega launched an all-out offensive on Nintendo in the 90s, lines were drawn in the fanbases. Back then, console war conversations weren’t too dissimilar to what you hear now. That can be linked to a commercial with a catchy tune and a little clever word play. “Genesis Does What Nintendon’t” fully exemplifies the console war mindset for all the wrong reasons.
I constantly grow tired of seeing people belittle others because of their chosen console. Hearing how one group of gamers is better because they get to play God of War while the other side scoffs at them because they have Halo is an exercise in futility that holds us back from having deeper, more meaningful conversations about these topics. Instead of exploring why Kratos and Master Chief’s reworks are better or worse, the masses are overly concerned with putting others down. These are exhausting exchanges that are kind of disheartening to still see communities have today. It’s kind of crazy to think it all started with a commercial.
Sega’s marketing around the Genesis is truly one of the most successful campaigns the gaming industry has ever seen in terms of capturing the average gamer’s attention. While it had the Master System, the company’s true foothold was in arcade gaming at the time. It wasn’t until Sega launched this marketing attack saying it was better than Nintendo that people started to look at it as an actual competitor in the home console space. Sonic wasn’t even on the scene yet, but people saw that Sega meant business. It just had to throw out some insults at Nintendo’s “pathetic” SNES and use a made up marketing term like “blast processing,” and the console wars were off to a roaring start.
If you were a Sega fan during this time, you probably felt a level of superiority over Nintendo players. That company made games for babies. Your chosen plastic box let you play arcade games at home, a big deal at the time. The Sega Genesis wasn’t only better, it made you cooler and smarter than Nintendo fans. Sound familiar?
Sega may not be in the home console market anymore, but the console war mindset it helped fabricate in the 90s lives on today; most notably between PlayStation and Xbox fanboys. Every now and then, you’ll see the two companies say some rather tame things about the opposition, but their rivalry is not nearly as hostile as Sega vs. Nintendo. Meanwhile, all you need to do is go to your nearest internet comment section or X thread to see that fans want the “Genesis Does What Nintendon’t” mindset to live on.
Of course, the internet will always be a place that houses some of the most vile people imaginable. That said, I find it so backward that people can feel so attached to a company that only sees you as a walking bag of money. That isn’t to say you can’t be proud of your purchases or to show your fanship to these brands, but don’t let it become your whole personality. It is absolutely okay to be proud of the ecosystem you are in, but don’t condemn others for not being in it. At the end of the day, we love our gaming hobby because of the experiences and memories we have from it. This is a business that has always looked to exploit gamers’ wallets at every turn. Even when a company can put out a commercial with a catchy song and clever wordplay, all it cares about is getting as much money out of you as possible. Let the companies fight it out with game development. The better one side does to make truly great exclusives should only push the other side to focus down and give all of us better experiences.