When one thinks of classic commercials, there are few that were as effective and iconic as SEGA’s gauntlet-throwing “Genesis does what Nintendon’t” ad. The SEGA Genesis was the new kid on the block at the time, trying its hardest to take down the reigning champ of home entertainment, the Nintendo Entertainment System. At the time, Nintendo was still riding the wave of Super Mario Bros. 3‘s success, and appeared to be untouchable. Luckily for SEGA, having new hardware meant that it had some very flashy images to show off in these quick TV spots.
The “16-bit arcade graphics” shown off in the commercial blew away anything seen on the NES to that point, and the animations looked super smooth when compared to those found in Nintendo’s biggest hit titles like Super Mario Bros. 3. The ad drove many people to go running for the SEGA Genesis, and, for a while, made SEGA look like the only thing that could stop Nintendo in its quest to dominate the home gaming market. Unfortunately for SEGA, the Super Nintendo, which came out two years later, made the Genesis look just as archaic as it had made the NES look in 1989. Following the Genesis, SEGA struggled to find that same type of success with subsequent platforms, but outside of the short-lived Dreamcast in the last 90s, that sensation proved elusive.
Check out the full ad from the glory days of SEGA’s console making years below.