Those of you who read the first two parts of this series may notice I changed the title. I realized while preparing this piece that urban more accurately described what I meant than hip hop. The title change doesn’t alter any of my previous thoughts, it just describes them better. So…..yeah.
This time around, I would like to discuss libraries. As I think about the most memorable games (for me) from the SNES and Genesis, it’s clear to see who had the games that would appeal more to an urban market. This doesn’t mean that the hood didn’t rock with Nintendo. It just means Sega made more games “for the hood” as compared to the big N. Let’s take a look.
Sonic vs Mario
First of all. Let’s start with this.
That is the difference between being cool, and trying to be cool. My god that Mario song is atrocious. Anyway, I spoke on this comparison in part 1, but let’s dig deeper. We have to begin with the soundtracks. While Mario undoubtedly had memorable themes, Sonic’s soundtrack set the tone for every Genesis game to follow. It was just FUNKY. Casino Night Zone? Ice Cap Zone? Man look. I’ll put the Sonic 1-3 soundtracks against any franchise ever. I mean, it’s rumored Michael freaking Jackson worked on the Sonic 3 soundtrack. How much more urban does it get?
There’s also the little matter of style. You see, one of these two had it. One didn’t. Remember this quote from White Men Can’t Jump?
A white man wants to win first, look good second. A black man wants to look good first, win second.
It applies here, sorta. Mario wanted to save the princess. That’s noble and sweet. Sonic wanted to save his animal friends. Also noble and sweet. Sonic also wanted to look good doing it, and style on Dr. Robotnik and his cronies at all times. There’s the difference.
Streets of Rage vs Final Fight
These games are eerily similar save for a few key differences as far as this topic goes. Difference 1? Once again it’s the soundtrack. Streets of Rage had that bop from the character select screen to the ending. I mean, you dont remember these opening notes? As soon as you heard this, it was ON.
Final Fight had music that didn’t really match what was happening onscreen. It was weird. What is this garbage?
Difference 2? Streets of Rage had a black main character in all 3 games (Axel, and then Skate in the sequels.) Do you know how huge that was back then? Or even now? Final Fight? Nah. I don’t even think we need to go further.
Eternal Champions vs Killer Instinct
Killer Instinct is the better game here without a doubt. But Eternal Champions pushed the envelope in the same manner Mortal Kombat did. Some may say it went even farther. There was a fatality for every stage, and some of the characters back stories were downright creepy. Like, CREEPY.
Michael Jackson Moonwalker vs any SNES game ever
Genesis may have had Michael Jackson on Sonic 3. But they DEFINITELY had Michael Jackson on Moonwalker. The biggest star in the world was on the Sega Genesis at the height of his powers. Let’s move on. You’re not really topping that.
Shinobi Trilogy vs Ninja Gaiden Trilogy
Come on man. Shinobi made you want to BE a ninja. Ninja Gaiden made you want to break your controller.
Comix Zone vs ?????
Exactly. Because there was nothing like Comix Zone on SNES. Suck it.
NBA Jam vs NBA Jam
Man, some people will debate me on this. But both version were in my house, and the Genesis version was just BETTER. My mom got me the SNES version to keep me away from my stepdad’s Genesis. And it didn’t work. His version just seemed so much cooler and snazzy. This one could just be revisionist history. But the next one isn’t.
ABACABB vs Mortal Kombat
Blood code. Game over. There’s no way to deny how superior Mortal Kombat was on the Sega Genesis. That code changed EVERYTHING. No debate to be had.
Aladdin vs Aladdin
Let’s see. Do I want to be the Aladdin that throws apples and bounces on people’s heads?
Or the Aladdin that throws apples and actually uses a damn sword?
Easy freaking choice.
I could keep comparing, but you get the point. I haven’t even mentioned games like Vectorman, Toe Jam & Earl, Holyfield Real Deal Boxing, Decap Attack, Cool Spot, and DJ BOY!
I could run down these comparisons all day, but I feel like Sega really wanted to make gaming mature and edgy with the Genesis. I think their library speaks to that, and it went a long way towards showing gamers it wasn’t Nintendo or nothing.