Wether you were a Nintendo or Sega kid back in the day, there’s no disputing the cultural impact the Sega Genesis had on gamers and kids growing up in the ’90s. While in retrospect it’s arguable that Nintendo had a better offering of classic titles in the 16-bit era, the Genesis still has some non-Sonic gems that are totally worth playing today, and with the release of the Sega Genesis Mini next month, it will be easier than ever to check some of these titles out. In celebration of the Genesis turning 30, I decided to ask some of the staff what their most memorable Genesis titles were and why.
The Sega Genesis is home to a ton of great RPG games. Perhaps the best of the bunch is arguably the pinnacle of the Phantasy Star series, Phantasy Star IV. Blending a strong mix of sci-fi and fantasy, with gorgeous graphics and a compelling narrative spanning several timelines, Phantasy Star IV is the total package for RPG enthusiasts, and easily one of the best games on the Genesis.
Rampart is a little puzzle game where you get randomized Tetris-styled pieces that you use to build a fort, then place cannons in it so you can shoot boats. It’s not overly complicated, but I remember it being super interesting for the time and getting hella addicted to it for a while. There’s a ton of little strategies to help you survive waves of enemies, and it manages to blend a few different ideas in a really unique way. It’s a shame that “Rampart” is now synonymous with failed Woody Harrelson movies and the bizarre AMAs that go with them.
Comix Zone is by far the most ’90s not licensed game to ever hit a video game console. It’s also one of the most unique beat-’em-up platformers from the era as well. The art style, soundtrack, and overall presentation are very much reminiscent of Image Comics and ’90s rock culture. And since the Genesis was always the console for the troublemaker kids, Comix Zone was a definite fit on Sega’s console. It plays well, and the packed in CD isn’t half bad. It’s a time capsule to a edgier ’90s, and if a game ever deserved a reboot, it’s this one.
I don’t remember much from when I was a child, but Contra: Hard Corps is one of my fondest memories from the Sega Genesis. It’s such a difficult game, and yet my brother and I were always determined to beat it. Being a little kid and terrible at games, I usually watched him make it further than me each time. But hey, that’s the plus of the Sega Genesis Classics bundle. We finally beat it.
I had a second-hand genesis like a decade and maybe a half ago, but they lost the right prerequisite cords. So my most memorable game on the platform is looking at the art on the boxes and being sad I didn’t get to play more video games.
I had a genesis when growing up and I have many fond memories of games on it, but the games on the Genesis that stuck with me the most are Shining Force 1 and Shining Force 2. While Sonic 2 and 3 had excellent platforming and style, the Shining Force games presented a whole world and had a rich, varied cast of characters with a simple combat system that had enough depth to dig into. The world is rich, textured and full of detail that is both directly told and hinted at only around, while characters become prized companions.
If you’re interested in playing any of these games, then you’re in luck, because the Sega Genesis Mini is due for release next month. We got the chance to play with it pre-release, and you can find my written impressions here.
What are your favorite games on the Genesis? Are you excited for the Sega Genesis Mini? Let us know in the comments below!