Nintendo vs. Sega: The Console Wars w/ Nostalgia Critic – Awesome Video Game Memories

The Nostalgia Critic joins the BGP crew as they talk about one of the most intense console wars in gaming history: Nintendo vs. Sega! From the NES vs. the Genesis to the Dreamcast vs. Gamecube along with even Sony and Microsoft entering the battle, who won the war that raged from the 80’s to the 2000’s?

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Saving the Awesomeverse one game at a time. Original Reviews, Retrospectives, Sketches, and Coverage of your favorite past and present games.


  1. So many memories. I was Super Nintendo all the way but I enjoyed playing Genesis at friends’ house for games like Streets of Rage, Golden Axe, etc.
    Then you had the kids who owned both and were way spoiled, screw those kids 😛

    • Their parents were millionaires for 80’s-90’s standards.

      • Back in the 4th Generation. Mostly everyone around me own both. But in other cases, if you had one or the other, you could play the other at someone’s house.

        In 1993, I got a Genesis. I still had a SNES. I just played and rented games for both.

      • I was one of those who owned both. Got SNES brand new for Christmas in 1991 and Genesis in 1993.

        My folks weren’t wealthy. We barely got by. But the trick was that, I got both consoles within 2 years of each other.

    • That’s really about as far as it went…

      Honestly the “console wars” of the 80s and 90s are really overblown and nothing compared to the console fanaticism of today. Those “console wars” consisted almost entirely of a few hyperbole infused commercials.

      Most kids either had a Super Nintendo if you were into RPGs, and a Genesis if you were more into sports. The arcades created a nuetral ground where all the coolest new gimmicks and tech lived first.

      • Actually, come to think of it, you’re right. Genesis Does what Nintendon’t is way more tame than alot of the stuff that’s going on today. I think that’ll be a great topic for a future video. Thanks!

        – Ryan

        • I think I’m around your age or maybe a little older, and I’ve enjoyed some of your videos on the lesser covered NES games.

          I think we lacked the internet for the anonymous hate and trolling, and we had the neutral ground of the arcade where we talked about all the new games regardless of console, but we had to do it face to face…so less posturing and BS.

          • The schoolground was pretty equivalent to the internet back then. I was “lame” for still liking Nintendo and Mario when the Genesis was the new hotness.

            – Ryan

          • Haha, I must be slightly older than you. I think I was in Jr high when Super Nintendo came out. Nintendo was still pretty much the standard, but no one cared which console you had. Many people just held onto their NES into the early 90s.

          • I was in 3rd Grade when SNES launched in late Summer 1991. Most Children like myself simply tried to talk our “NES dedicated parents” into getting the new console.

            It was $200 in 1991 money. That’s $400 today.

          • I was starting the 5th grade in 1991 a few weeks after the SNES launched in the US. I’m an ’81 baby.

            – Ryan

          • December ’82 baby. Got SNES for Christmas in 1991. I turned 9 2 days later.

  2. Double dose of Nostalgia critic! I didn’t know this channel, i’ll def check it out

  3. My first console was an Atari 2600. Later I bought a PlayStation at a garage sale. I don’t think I got any systems when they were “modern” until PS2, DreamCast, and GameCube.

    • I actually didn’t play an actual Atari until 2002 at a convention. All the older kids would tell me about the Atari days before my generation.

      – Ryan

  4. Little known fact: back in the 1970s, Nintendo owned a chain of “love hotels” (and if that sounds sleazy, you’re on the right track). Sort of adds a whole new meaning to Hotel Mario, huh?

  5. Aside from my thoughts that this video really overplays the effects of the console wars, I have to say Heather does a nice job as narrator. She’s pretty good and with just a little more practice she’ll have that pro-documentary reading inflection down perfect.

  6. I came for the Nostalgia Critic but this was really interesting since I wasn’t born until the late 90’s and don’t remember most of this. I guess I’ve been on the Nintendo side by accident despite mostly having Playstations. I remember getting a Game Boy Color from a secondhand shop sometime in the 2000’s. I loved playing Mario Tennis on it. I also remember having the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. Regarding the Gamecube, I have one but I only have two games for it. Despite all that, I don’t think I’ve ever finished a Nintendo game in my life. Haha.

    • Always great to hear thoughts from the younger generation since the older kids would talk about the Atari generation which was before mine. Definitely play a few Mario or Zelda games. 🙂

      – Ryan

  7. You know I like Nintendo but video games were NOT dead just after the crash and before the NES (Yes I’m that old to remember). Video games Home Consoles? YES, they were dead, however the PC market took off albeit most kids parents couldn’t afford it (Game Eg: Lode Runner (1983), Archon (1983), Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.0 (1982), Zork Trilogy (1981-83), etc.). The Commodore 64 was doing very well at the time with it’s games (Game Eg: Impossible Mission (1984), Ultima III: Exodus (1984), Boulder Dash (1984), Summer Games (1984), etc.). Don’t get me started on the Arcades, but once again most kids couldn’t or wouldn’t be allowed to go because arcade were seen as a place for all sorts of illegal stuff. (Game Eg: Dragon’s Lair (1983), Mario Bros. (1983), Star Wars (1983), etc.) Point is, video games were not dead at that point in time, and I for one am tired of people saying Nintendo Saved video games. It’s not the ChannelAwesomes fault, it’s become conditioning over the years. All Nintendo did was just bring video games back to kids and the parents bought it for the reason why parents do the same things for their kids. It was a cheaper than buying a computer and less dangerous than letting your kids play in an arcade.

    • I actually do want to make a video series about arcade history, especially the sleaziness of them in the 70’s-early 80’s since we do go to a 70’s-80’s arcade a few miles away from our place to film some videos there and the owners are mostly 70’s kids.

      – Ryan

    • As an old school PC gamer who had older siblings with an Atari myself, don’t get too hung up on trying to quantify or disprove the “Nintendo saved gaming” meme.

      It’s just that for several years after the Atari sunk, retailers saw home gaming consoles as poison. Nintendo marketed their console as a “toy” (hence R.O.B. and the Zapper), and along with stricter software quality control showed retailers video games could be quite profitable again.


      – would someone else have eventually come in and made affordable home gaming a thing again? – certainly!

      – were arcades and early home computers capable of running some great games? – certainly!

      However, Nintendo did something specific at a certain time that changed the market, and it influences the way we view and play video games even today.

      • Yes, it was called being a business. Console gaming companies before that time were a joke. With most of them will tell you that it was. Mostly because it was a new medium, and it was going to fast to figure out what to do with it. I’ll give the NES props though. They on the other hand had the foresight and set great standards that are felt today. I won’t deny that Nintendo wasn’t great. I just don’t like the whole ‘Nintendo Single Handedly brought video gaming back from the dead after years of nothing.’ Dismissing some great gaming in those Only 2 years.

        • I think the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes. More accurately, Nintendo -revived- a dead home console industry and made it mainstream. Computers were still a very niche market in 1984.

    • There are several factors in play here:

      First, in the early 80s, video games were a huge fad. What I mean by that is, it wasn’t just that there were video games out there, but rather that people were largely impressed with the novelty of them. Space Invaders, Pac Man, Donkey Kong – these games didn’t just give players something to do; they captured people’s imagination.

      The Atari Crash of 83 wasn’t so much a death of video gaming of that era, but rather a drastic, long-term decline of video gaming. The novelty of the medium had worn off, and the glut of video games on the market – along with the drastically varying quality of them – simply led people to lose interest in them.

      During the time, video gaming wasn’t dead, per se, but it definitely wasn’t the force to be reckoned with that it had been prior to 1983.

      Yes, you do see computer gaming and even other mainstream video games existing during this time period. What you don’t see, however, is people rushing to the stores to buy the latest consoles, or the latest cartridges, or hovering around the arcades to play the latest cabinet adventures. They’re there, but you definitely don’t see the same level of enthusiasm for them.

      And it’s not until the release of the Nintendo Entertainment Center that you really see console gaming take off again. Sure, Sega, Atari, and other companies made and released consoles during 1984-86, but none of them had the level of success that the Atari 2600 had previously seen, or that the NES would enjoy in the years to come.

  8. Got a Dreamcast, love it. One of my fav all time consoles. Powerstone, Shenmue, VF, Crazy Taxi, KOF, Soul Calibur, Jet Set Radio, DOA, MVC, SFIII, Virtua Tennis were only some of the awesome games it has. i hated sonic adventure. Sega’s mistake was they didn’t advertise enough. They shot themselves in the foot by underestimating their own console. It had heaps of potential.

    Had to many consoles to list, although i did stick with Sega mostly through my childhood and only had the original gameboy for Nintendo. My mates had Nes – Snes so i just played theirs. I never had a sega vs Nintendo mentality. I just had what games i enjoyed and played them.
    I stopped buying consoles after PS3. Just play PC games mostly now.

  9. I’m from Europe so I think the console wars never really hit our area. I never owned a nes, I got snes as our first, and last, console and most of my friends had snes too. I remember playing nes at a friends place at some point but it seemed clunky. Probably because I had already played cool games on my brothers pc.

    Basically only mostly good games got released here so I played all the good stuff on snes; donkey kong countries, link to the past, super metroid, super castlevania, killer instinct, illusion of gaia, flashback etc.

    But all in all, I was more into strategy games and rpg’s so I just became a pc gamer and let the peasants play with their silly console wars.

    • I am actually interested in researching video game history in Europe, especially since the Genesis kept it’s original Mega Drive name there and the NES wasn’t as prominent there as it was here.

      – Ryan

  10. When I was a kid my parents didn’t allow me to have video games at all. However, my Grandpa was a huge technophile and loved gizmos and gadgets for the simple fact that they were cool. So during the early years of the Console Wars, my grandpa bought both the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genisis for “me”. So once a month when I would spend a weekend at my grandparents he and I would play games with one another and sometimes there would be a new game, or a new attachment, or something. Then after that weekend, I wouId have to go back home to no console what so ever. Then one year I was going on a road trip with my cousins and my parents broke down and bought me a Gameboy. Then the next year I got a N64, and so on. But to this day I still have those games and consoles that my grandpa bought us to play. Some of my happiest memories of that time.

  11. Yeah, was always more of a Nintendo kid. My only real experiences with the Genesis were the brief times I’d play at a friend’s house who happened to have one. In recent years I’ve grown to appreciate more what Sega had to offer tho, via emulation and the wii virtual console. Streets of rage, Shinobi, Gunstar Heroes, all fantastic games.

    • Yeah, I definitely urge fans to check out alot of the Sega classics like Shinobi and Gunstar Heroes which I’ll be doing reviews of both in the future.

      – Ryan

  12. This is a well put together video. I like Doug’s framing, I like the narration, I like the slapstick. This all worked for me.

    • Thank you sir! Doug’s always awesome to work with and he even improvised alot of great lines in addition to the original script I gave him.

      – Ryan

  13. I loved the team-up this week with Awesome Video Games.

  14. I’m a PlayStation guy, but I still love Nintendo, even if it’s for what they were more so than what they are now. Heck, when I went to Japan I took a picture in front of the old Nintendo Trading Card Company headquarters as it’s the oldest videogame landmark that predates videogames by almost a century. I also happen to own a CoroCoro manga magazine featuring quite a few Nintendo based stories. I can’t quite read it yet, but that’s kind of neat IMHO.

    My beef with Nintendo is that lately they seem to not know what they’re doing, so I hope the Switch will be a different story. They used to be a cutting edge console developer who was a leader in the industry and was on the same wavelength as gamers, which isn’t so much the case anymore. That said, I wish them all the best with their new system and hope they will stick around even if they’re not quite my kind of game company anymore.

  15. The idea that Microsoft’s Xbox blew Nintendo’s GameCube out of the water isn’t true. They were neck and neck. It’s just that Sony’s PlayStation 2 totally dominated.

    Then Nintendo stages its comeback with the Wii, by tapping into a new market. It was the runaway winner. But it hasn’t been able to get anywhere close since then.

    Though they do still dominate the handheld market, which they’ve never lost. And everyone else seems to have given up.

    • Nintendo Wii sold very very well that is true, but true his it dominated only the console markets, when it came to the games they did not sell well. Many of those who brought we where casual gamers (not meant as an offense or anything just a fact) and those who played for more than a month or two with the gimmick that was motion control, mostly just played Wii Sport and did not buy more games…
      So yeah they sold lot of Wii, but they still kinda lost that generation because they could not sell much games outside of a core group of Nintendo fans…
      And I really don’t mind it as an offense, I did have a Wii and I was one of those who owned only a few games and played a short time and then let it gathers dust, would still be just doing that if I did not loan it to a family with really young kids

  16. I have high hopes for this video

  17. Captain Chaotica

    Hmm. The first console I bought for myself was an NES, but later on I got a Genesis because a Sonic 2 display at Media Play was so fun, and I wanted to keep playing. As a Sonic fan, I then followed him/his universe to obscure places–including, yes, a 32-X, which I bought online used and then bought myself a Dreamcast in around November 1999, rather than wait to see if I could get it as a present for Christmas, because I had a job I HATED and _really_ needed something to cheer me up.
    (I still have said Dreamcast, I’ve never had to replace it, and it still works. :))

    Through all of that, though, my only “participation” in the great console wars was that, as members of the original Sonic Team left and the games started going downhill in quality, was…sadness, that the good days of this whole shebang were coming to a close and that Sega might fold up entirely. Though they didn’t, I’m still kinda sad that they’re not their own console-making company anymore.
    Still, “Sonic and Mario Team Up at the London Olympics” is a LOT nicer of an outcome than I would’ve expected back in, say, 2002.

    One specific Sega memory I have was that both Media Play and the Toys R Us near me had Dreamcast displays in 1999, and _both times_ I came anywhere near one to play the Sonic Adventure demo, I’d end up with people watching fascinatedly over my shoulder (possibly for humour value since I completely sucked, but hey). The one I played in Toys R Us got like 15 people watching and that was on a SUNDAY! In _Utah_!
    I kept expecting the people working there to kick me off of it ‘cos I played for a good amount of time…it didn’t occur to me until AFTERwards that they were probably letting me stay there because I was providing free advertising! 😛

  18. Personally I started as a Nintendo girl back with the NES and Snes day.. but I kinda left the console war after that and joined the PC Master Race back around 95 just wanting to play games like Fallout and Baldur’s Gate on my PC

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