The conclusion to the James Rolfe SNES vs. Genesis royal rumble

Earlier this week we shared a video from James Rolfe of Cinemassacre in which James, also known as the guy who plays the Angry Video Game Nerd, shared his memories of the days when the SNES took on the SEGA Genesis. At the end of the first part, James promised to return with a deciding battle between the two 16-bit consoles, and that deciding video has arrived. James makes it clear that this is HIS OPINION, and while we won’t spoil the ending James doesn’t exactly declare a winner though anybody with basic math skills can add up each round and find the results. So check it out and once you’re done share your thoughts in the comments below.


28 responses to “The conclusion to the James Rolfe SNES vs. Genesis royal rumble

  1. My thoughts: I knew from as soon as I saw the link to the first video that the SNES would win. James is obviously a Nintendo Nerd (in fact, that was his initial AVGN name). To be fair, as a SEGA fan I agree with James when coming at the comparison from a Nintendo fan perspective.

    Console design: Genesis. As James said, it’s just a better design. SNES is good and all, but cannot touch the Genesis.

    Controllers: Genesis. I agree that the SNES pad is better than the first Genesis pad, but considering the Genesis six button pad was readily available and any game fan had to get a second controller alongside their boxed console to begin with, the six button should not be denied because it wasn’t included with the console. The battle was never about “what was included with the console”. Since I like the Genesis six button over the SNES, Genesis wins.

    Game boxes: Genesis. James is right, plastic > cardboard.

    Backwards compatibility: Genesis. Sorry James, but SNES wins with an unofficial add-on while Genesis loses the controller round because the six button wasn’t included with the original console? Bullshit. Genesis had the Power Base Converter, it was official and awesome. At least SEGA officially sanctioned BC, whereas you had to go to third party for SNES BC support. As for Game Boy support, it’s cool and all, but portable games on a TV screen always look poor in my opinion.

    Graphics: SNES. Of course, they had a two year jump on the Genesis. 😛 HOWEVER, I’d say SEGA CD and 32X do make the Genesis a contender, and screw the haters. The SEGA CD at the very least offered up some amazing games.

    Sound: Tie. Sure, SNES can tout better technical shit, but I just love that Genesis sound. SNES sounds great too, but in its own way.

    Games: Genesis. Why? I’m a SEGA fan. I like their games more than Nintendo games. They appeal to me more. This is where I agree with James in that it all comes down to your personal interests and opinions. There is no way to prove that Mario’s SNES titles are better than the entire Sonic Genesis saga, or that Zelda is better than Phantasy Star and Shining Force (not to mention all the SEGA CD RPGs), though as you can see I wrote that with a SEGA fan slant.

    Winner: Depends on who you are. For me: Genesis. For James: SNES.

    • SMT Xero says:

      Thats what i hated most about his video. counting a unofficial third party add-on for the snes, but not counting official add-ons for the genesis.

    • pcwzrd13 says:

      Completely agree about the backwards compatibility. It doesn’t make sense that James would count a rare third-party add-on for bc on the SNES and not count the official six button Genesis controller for the controller round. Other than that it was a pretty fair comparison.

  2. Centrale says:

    Well, it’s no secret which console I prefer. But just to chew the fat — something about the SNES sound has always seemed a bit too soft to me. Maybe it’s just the games I’ve seen. But does it have any real soundtrack burners like Revenge of Shinobi, Streets of Rage series, MUSHA, Thunder Force series? SNES music sounds like grandmother is quietly playing the farfisa in the next room.

    • Yeah, I’d say soft and smooth for sure when it comes to the SNES sound. Sure it helps for the more orchestral stuff, but I always felt that anything with a “heavy” feel was on the Genesis. Like, any of the Streets of Rage or Sonic stuff would just sound too light on the SNES.

  3. Dubba814 says:

    Not to argue or anything, but I would totally say SEGA Genesis. I am a complete SEGA freak. 😛

  4. CrazyTails says:

    Saw this yesterday, and I agree with centrale about the sound. I think some of the 3rd party games made horrible use of the genesis soundchip, but when used well it could produce in my opinion a much better sound than snes. I love the final fantasy series music just as much as the next person, but those and a few other games are just it on the snes imo. The genesis had games like sonic, streets of rage, shinobi, soleil(crusader of centy), gunstar heroes and many more that just sounded amazing.

    From a general pov, the genesis defenitly wins this.

  5. Andy C says:

    We all knew the winner before the competition began. However, he was ridiculously selective over the Sega content shown. For example, when he compared Sega and Nintendo’s beat ’em ups, he would only show footage of the FIRST Streets of Rage game. Clearly that game was not the best of the bunch (and not even the best in it’s own series!) but I suppose this was foreshadowed in part 1 (with the selective choosing of SNES footage in 90s Sega ads).

    • I think this is just a case of Nintendo fans not being fully knowledgeable of the Genesis library, and vise versa.

      I’ve seen in a number of Nintendo fan comments, that they’ll list off a pathetic list of Genesis games and then a huge SNES list. Of course, I’m sure SEGA fans would do the same thing in reverse.

      Point is, both consoles had very strong games in every genre (except sports, I’d think. Genesis had a LOT of sports titles). Problem is, some fans are either ignorant to this fact (which I can’t blame them) or refuse to agree that both SNES and Genesis had very strong libraries.

    • FinalFan says:

      I thought exactly the same, since SoR 3 was my very first MegaDrive game, and it’s obvious the first one got old (same goes about the gameplay) but the 2nd and 3rd are OMG !!
      No need to look further for other games with those 🙂
      Even if Final Fight looks better for the graphics.

  6. Amrith says:

    “Graphics” includes colors pattern but the guy just forgot all specs that make Megadrive superior in other fields : animation, speed scrolling, number of sprites…

  7. Bareknuckle4 says:

    How can you compare (at least two different) scrolling beat em ups against SOR1 Final Fight released in 1993 and only then they added two player.. The SOR trilogy improves immensely especially the animation, and speed. SOR3 is a very fast game and not at all “clunky”

    FX Chip…. Virtua Racing.

    No scrolling or Rotation? He answered his own question with Contra Hard Corps.

    Sound.. Ok so MD games suffered from scratchy voices but you listen to any Arcade conversion and MD music is so much closer to the original. Plus we had real bass not winey low key synths.

    I could go on and on like most of us here.

    I wont lie im a huge SEGA fan boy, but this people should at least be fair with there SEGA bashing. Half the MD games he showed were at the beginning of its life cycle yet he showed Killer Instinct and StarFox.

    Not mentioning SOR, Shinobi music is criminal and should be punished in a SEGA arcade by a public hanging.

  8. Sharky says:

    If you are a self confessed Nintendo Nerd, no matter if you’re no longer the fanboy you were as a child or you are those childhood experiences will be the nostalgia flue that’ll still make you biased today. No matter if you want to be or not.

    No mention of Shining Force? Phantasy Star 4? Wonderboy? What about the Treasure style shooters? Alien Soldier and Gun Star Heroes?

    He didn’t even mention the D-pad on the controller section.


  9. JuMeSyn says:

    Some points:

    1 – The backwards compatibility thing was just something to give SNES some more points. How can you compare an unnoficial support for playing Nintendo games with an official support?

    2 – The controllers part is “fanboy’ed” as well. Okay, I’ll give it, SNES controller looks great. But if he used an unnoficial support for playing backwards compatible NES, why did he neglect the 6 buttons for Genesis? Also, why did he compare the 2D beat’em’ups? We all know that the beat’em’ups work better with Sega Genesis controllers. Actually, Sega Genesis and Sega Saturn controllers are the best for playing 2D beat’em’ups. That’s not an opinion, that’s a fact!

    Then, the 6 button Genesis controller just kills it over the SNES regular D-PAD, because of its simplicity. SNES would have benefited from an analog and/or a more futuristic design (like Dreamcast, for example).

    3 – The games. Okay, I’ll have to give it, SNES really wins here. Just by having Chrono Trigger and Super Metroid, you have to win. However, James looked like he didn’t know the Genesis library as well as the SNES library. For starters, he didn’t talk about Shining Force 2. Then, talked about Sonic 2, and completely neglected Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles. Phantasy Star IV was also neglected. Vectorman, Comix Zone, Space Harrier 2, Gunstar Heroes, Ecco, to name a few, as well. It all depends of what the gamer wants.

    And Zelda: A Link to the Past is one of the most overrated games in history. It’s great, but the hype over it is awful.

    Well, but anyway, SEGA fanboys will always say Genesis is better, and Nintendo fanboys will always say SNES wins. I defend SEGA in many things (not a SEGA fanboy, though, just a lover), and I have to say that I give the edge to SNES by a point. Very close call, though. But Chrono Trigger echoing in my head, just makes me say SNES really takes it.

    However, that controller is awful, James. Just awful. Looks like a NES controler on acids.

  10. I enjoyed the videos. I know James is partial to Nintendo and that’s fine. He made plenty of good points with most I agree with.

    I think with all of the Genesis’ hardware shortcomings, it still held its own well against the newer SNES. The game programmers back then were the real miracle workers.

  11. mylifewithsega says:

    Okay, here’s my perspective….

    Console design: GENESIS – From the fat and sleek Model 1 with the built-in headphone jack and volume control, all the way to Model 3. Black is much more appealing to the eye and more neutral than grey and purple. On top of that, I think the addition of the headphone jack was an act of genius….okay, maybe not genius; just smart.

    Controller: GENESIS – I’d still take the 3-button over the SNES controller, because it rests more comfortably in my big grasp and the D-pad is infinitely superior for it’s greater range of movement. The 6-button is flawless, in my opinion.

    Boxes: GENESIS – Yeah, clamshells over boxes. Easy fight.

    Backwards compatibility: GENESIS – The Power Base was a fantastic piece of hardware. It’s better than the Model 2 SMS because it actually has the Sega Card slot. Third-party bullshit DOESN’T count in my book.

    Graphics: TIE – This is a mixed bag for me. Some games look better on the Genesis while others look better on SNES (i.e. The Adventures of Batman & Robin looks better on SNES in my opinion, yet Outlander looks atrocious when compared to the Genesis version) However, I feel those graphics come at a cost; speed. The more shit on screen, the more it lags. Super Castlevania IV hits some serious slowdown as you progress, yet Castlevania: Bloodlines, or Bio Hazard, or Contra: Hard Corps, or Mazin Saga Mutant Fighter will maintain a consistantly smooth frame rate. That “blast” processing is a tremendous benefit.

    Sound: TIE – Personally, I prefer the Genesis sound, but I feel they both have their strengths and weaknesses. The SNES is better at pulling off more orchestral arrangements, yes, but I like that edgy synth sound only the Genesis provides.

    Games: GENESIS – This goes beyond personal preference here. First, I always felt Sega made a greater attempt to serve all gamers – young or old – where it’s obvious that Nintendo was much more interested in appealing to children. Second, better arcade ports. Sunset Riders looks and plays much better on the Genesis, as does Mortal Kombat, Samurai Showdown, etc….

    Which brings me to my third point; censorship. Mortal Kombat’s bloody fatalities were left intact, and Conrad Hart (Flashback: The Quest for Identity) actually goes to a FUCKING BAR! Not cafe; a BAR! Why the fuck would they censor that?! Why did they have to change the name of Death Tower to Cyber Tower?! You can release Killer Instinct, but Death Tower didn’t sit well with you?! FUCK YOU!

    *takes deep breath*

    Sega wins. I’m done.

  12. Kevin-N says:

    He say’s that the Snes has better graphics with the FX chip and Sega needed the 32 x or Mega cd. What about the Sega virtua processor that was used with Virtua racing ?? That game runs without any add on.

  13. Orta says:

    Who cares James likes the SNES more. It’s not like we didn’t know that already. Sonic 2 made him buy a Mega Drive. The Nintendo kid bought the Sega because of a character specifically created to go head-to-head with Mario in the marketplace. That’s a win by knockout.

    In any case, I think it’s remarkable that the MD, initially released in 1988, was able to fight back the SNES well into its lifespan and actually beating it here in Europe.

    Sometimes I just wonder why didn’t Sega add special chips to its games (SVP or cheaper alternatives), akin to what happens with a *lot* of games on the SNES, thus extending the system’s capabilities. It’d have been a better alternative. Apart from the SVP only Codemasters did something awesome which was add actual controller ports to the cart. I remember having some great 8-player Micro Machines sessions thanks to that.

    • JuMeSyn says:

      MD didn’t surface in 1988, but in 1991 :p

    • Plant says:

      It surfaced in 1988 in Japan. And in 1989 in North America, according to Wikipedia. (couldn’t think of a better source to look it up quickly)

    • JuMeSyn says:

      Well, that’s news to me.
      After some checking, I also discovered why I was mistaken. I’m from Europe, and Genesis here (Mega Drive) was only released in 1990. But I actually though it was 1991, oh well.


  14. Samurai-Don says:

    Is it bad that I actually like both Mega Drive and SNES?

    I mean I like the Nintendo games but I love the Sega games as well.

  15. Samwise says:

    Lyin’ is cool, no 3D games on SEGA folks, add-ons only count for Nintendo even when not official.

    • mylifewithsega says:


      There are 3D games on Genesis, such as Hard Drivin’, Steel Talons and Virtua Racing. If the unoffical shit counts, then Sega wins out thanks to it’s plethora of official licensed peripherals like the Power Base, Sega CD and 32X.

      Winning! Sega got the tiger blood. LOL!

  16. SkyBlue says:

    I would say the SNES controller is better despite the 6 button Mega Driv controller….BUT the SNES controller gave me blisters when playing fighting games whilst the Mega Drive one never gave me this problem.

    Graphics wise, I think that’s a tie. Depending on what you wanted to envision in the games, they both look stunning.

    Music wise, it depends on what you grew up on. Europe, at the time got into Techno and Electronic Basses, so the Mega Drive captured that at the right time I felt, whilst the SNES held their ground in America due to the American taste of a lack of Techno/Dance in the music charts, and I guess the Electronic Bass fad from the 80’s died out pretty quickly.

    Case wise I would definitely say that SEGA set the standard on that front.

    Games wise, it really does depend on taste, but looking back the SNES had a much more varied library and a better quality…but that isn’t due to SEGA’s lack of quality, but more of the Third Parties giving the Mega Drive a few spin offs of their franchises at the time. However, I would say that the European output on the Mega Drive was MUCH better (Devs who worked on Amiga games ported their stuff to the Mega Drive rather then Nintendo’s console).

    Overall, I would say that SEGA made more effort for their fanbase/audience then Nintendo whilst Nintendo’s third parties won the day with the SNES.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *