Flashback: SEGA Genesis

Updated: January 13, 2009, 8:42 AM ET
By Jay Corbin |

[+] EnlargeSega"NBA Jam" was a popular SEGA game for NBA fans.

We're all accustomed to today's powerful gaming systems, but we can't forget from where home consoles evolved.

In 1989, George H.W. Bush was the president, LL Cool J dropped his third album, "Walking with a Panther," Ken Griffey Jr. was still "The Kid." And SEGA released its 16-bit Genesis.

Bundled with Altered Beast, the Genesis hit the shelves at the whopping price of $249. What made the Genesis so hot wasn't its diesel 16-bit engine but the fact that it was the first home console to play the Madden series.

For a while,SEGA's only competition was the Super Nintendo, and the competition was close between the two until "Mortal Kombat" dropped. You could get "Mortal Kombat" for both systems, but SEGA's version was much better.

SEGA went on to release the classic "Sonic The Hedgehog" franchise and had a solid run up until 1994, when Sony released the PlayStation late in the year.

Ever since running into Sony's juggernaut, SEGA has been a non-factor when it comes to consoles. But it still makes noise with software like "The Incredible Hulk," "Golden Axe" and "Sonic Unleashed."

Jay Corbin is the lifestyle editor of ESPN RISE.