Being a gamer for most of my life and being in the industry for over half my life I’ve been close to many gaming platforms, I’ve seen it almost all for the last 30 plus years and over those years I have opinions and thoughts across the platforms, they can often be regarded and Consoles Wars and put into generations. This one is one of the earliest console battles I can remember and features the first Nintendo home console and Sega’s Master System.
Let’s go Retro
For me, this was the earliest and oldest console generation I can remember, some of my friends had Amigas, Commodores Atari’s but a cousin had an NES and I had a Sega Master System! which for me was one of my favourite and earliest memories at Christmas time with presents, I did have the opportunity to replay and recollect the games and equipment later in the years when I dabbled in Retro gaming as part of my job.
The one thing that struck me was ease of the device, they were fairly light and plastic feel, the NES was a touch lighter but it was the ear of simplicity compared t now but don’t get me wrong this was cutting edge at the time, the alternatives of Amiga etc were fiddly and more PC like of that era, these were both plug and play essentially, with. essentially an Ariel and power cable and you’re done. Even the Accessories were fairly simple with controllers, light gun and arcade stick style controllers, but with the games, they didn’t need to be elaborate.
The NES (Nintendo console) was released originally under a different name in Japan in 1983, obviously, with it being a Japanese company it had a previous life therebefore the main release and known side of it from 1985, where over the next couple of years it was released across the world, yes in those days consoles were released in different territories over years not a couple of months or one week as they are now. It came with the future iconic controller idea with Dpad, A and B with a light gun called NES Zapper that you could get separately until they created a bundle with Duck Hunt. the console was generally a bug grey rectangle with a two-tone grey and a flap to lift and put the cartridge in it, like most early consoles and game a quick blow over the cartridge would remove the dust that sometimes stopped it from working, but the tech part of it was a big advancement for the age, the console had an 8bit processor but with cartridges, it helped the consoles Ram and memory buy having them on the game cartridge also.
Games, well let’s be honest who doesn’t know Nintendo games and those franchises that started on here or around this time are still around now and regarding some of the biggest in the world, Mario, Donkey Kong, Legend of Zelda, and their strategy by this point to have their game only on their console was new and different, though Mario had been on another platform and Donkey Kong popularity came from the Arcades first, even its release the names of the game were pretty straight forward and you know what you were getting when you bought it, Tennis, Wild Gunman, Ice hockey, Golf, Duck hunt which to be honest were one of the more recognisable titles of that generation, they’re all still so popular that the games are collectable and worth a lot of money in mint condition, Nintendo have even brought out console colours and game collections for multiple console generations in the future to pay homage to back in this day.
Sega Master System
As For Sega they had a tradition of updating their consoles back in the day something that now the modern-day consoles have done to them quite often, but back in this era to see it done was unusual, especially as consoles were new, I had the Master System 2 which was the third version of the Master system and even this was one of two! but to be fair to Sega you cant argue that the aesthetic got much better as it went on and the Master System 2 looked great, very modern and futuristic with a slider on the top to put the games in, lets be honest it was miles nicer that the NES let alone the poorly looking previous ones, it also came with a Pad that had the Dpad and two buttons, this was the common idea back in the day but carried forward for a long while (more to come), much like the NES being a Japanese company the release also spanned from 1983 to 87, with the versions and territory released, but unlike Nintendo, Sega had a few problems with all of this, in Japan it fell behind NES and never caught it or got close even with the several versions of the system, in Europe it did much better and was much more of name and success, thus why i played it, in America Nintendo were dominating but also Sega had multiple problems over there with companies,Toys, Business politics etc which kept stuttering there limited success, but it also had a 8 bt processor and the catridges woudl also help with the work, but something really unique with the Master System 2 version is the games that came with it.
The Master System will never be known about their games like Nintendo did but there were some gems, Sonic is world-renowned, but other games like Wonderboy, Outrun, Alex the Kidd, Streets of Rage were all memorable, so much so that Alex the Kidd was a built in-game that was unheard of at the time and arguably since this then changed to Sonic near the end of its life as Sonic had risen to its popularity. They also had a light gun for a shooting game but Segae were hurt by the lack of Nintendo games with their new philosophy from 1983 onward of keeping the games on their consoles and that’s it, Sega had to start from scratch and look at new IP and games.
Overall my Favourite?
With all this being said what was the best? what was my favourite? both have aged well but NES is the more recognisable of the 2 in the gaming world, the Master system 2, in particular, looks smart, the other models not so much, however, the NES look has been redone in Logo, and other Nintendo consoles. Power and specs were both fairly similar, and because of the times they had the same ideas to stay competitive with each though it felt like Sega were facing the uphill battle of the two, while Nintendo did very well and set the stage for the future you can argue that the Master System was all about establishing the future of the Sega consoles and games, whereas Nintendo had it, their game selection already was solid and the NES did excellent in bringing Games out they would stay around for years, as I mentioned earlier Zelda and Mario launched to become world-famous, with the games for me it kicks it over the edge of being the best of the two, there’s no doubt in these early years the gaming war between Sega and Nintendo was on and it would continue for the next few years, Sonic did well to help establish but Mario was the winner in this occasion.