The War Between Nintendo and Sega
The War Between Nintendo and Sega is the best known console war known among many gamers. The war began when Sega announced its newest console at the time, the Sega Genesis and showed off how superior it was towards the Nintendo Entertainment System.
Initially Sega had the Sega Master System, which despite having better hardware than the NES, was nowhere near as popular and Nintendo still owned most of the video game market share. Sega developed the 16-bit Sega Genesis to counter Nintendo. Contrary to popular belief, the Genesis was NOT meant to compete with the Super Nintendo, but rather the original NES.
Because the NES was still very active with no signs of a new Nintendo console in sight, Sega marketed the Genesis as far superior to the NES by emphasizing the 16-bits compared to the NES's 8-bits. This created the infamous "Genesis Does What Nintendon't" quote. Sega would continue to use this tactic of an aggressive anti-Nintendo campaign for the rest of the war. Almost every commercial and ad for Sega attacked Nintendo in one form or another. While this tactic was successful in making Sega look cool, it also alienated many Nintendo fans from giving Sega a try as they felt Sega was constantly bullying Nintendo.
Knowing that the Super Mario Bros franchise was a major selling point for Nintendo, Sega created Sonic the Hedgehog specifically to compete with Mario, which started one of the most well known mascot rivalries in the whole history of gaming.
Nintendo produced the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in response to Sega's repeated jabs at them, the console's hardware was superior to the Genesis in almost every way, though the Motorola 68000 processor in the Genesis was superior over the Super Nintendo which created the term "blast processing". It should be noted however that "blast processing" isn't a real function or accessory, just an exaggeration of the Genesis' power. Another advantage the Genesis had was that it had much more mature games such as the uncensored Mortal Kombat and the two sequels to Splatterhouse, whereas Super Nintendo censored Mortal Kombat and had more family friendly games.
However, the Super Nintendo still had superior hardware and could make better games and gained many classics like Super Mario World, Final Fantasy VI (at the time, it was called the third game due to several Final Fantasy games not released in the U.S. until years later) and Chrono Trigger. The FX Chip in the Super Nintendo allowed the console and games to improve their own capabilities and allowed for some basic 3D technology.
This made Sega create two add-ons for the Sega Genesis to improve it's performance, the Sega CD and the Sega 32X. While these add-ons allowed for better games, they did not sell very well. Due to the massive popularity of Sega and Nintendo, other consoles released during that time like the TurboGrafx-16 were often completely ignored.
In the handheld console department, Nintendo's Game Boy was proving to be extremely popular, but many criticized it for having a colorless screen with no backlight. Sega responded to the Game Boy with their own handheld the Game Gear. Sega specifically designed the Game Gear with a colored backlit screen to get an advantage over the Game Boy, with the commercials once again mocking Nintendo. However, the Game Gear's colored screen ended up backfiring, as the console required 6 AA batteries and drained them very quickly, while the Game Boy only took 4 AAs and took very long to drain them. The Game Gear was also too bulky while the Game Boy was more portable, and the Game Boy had better third-party support. In the end the Game Boy far outmatched the Game Gear despite the colorless screen.
Many of the games released for both the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis often times had different qualities and even different developers and publishers. One instance were the Aladdin games for the systems. Both games were completely different with the SNES version being done by Capcom and the Genesis version being done by Virgin games.
Ever since the console war started, it created competition for the gaming market. As a result, Sega and Nintendo were motivated to bring something great, exciting, unique, surprising, and fresh to the gaming market. The tactic of having console exclusive games proved to be very prominent through future generations.
It is generally agreed that Nintendo won the war because of the fact that the SNES, the Game Boy, the Nintendo 64 and the GameCube sold more units worldwide than their Sega equivalents and because Sega eventually dropped from the console market.