#1. Super Nintendo vs. Sega Genesis
Coming off a decidedly lopsided "war" against the original Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega took their lumps from backing the overmatched but gutsy Sega Master System. Thanks to the power of the NES's Holy Trinity -- Mario, Zelda and Metroid -- Sega's first console didn't even come close to beating Nintendo in sales. It was like trying to knock out Mike Tyson with a whiffle bat. Still, Sega took strength from its growing fan base and came back with Nintendo's first real threat: the Sega Genesis.
With initial sales in Japan turning up nothing, Sega USA used the success of Sonic the Hedgehog, along with an ad campaign that got more ridiculously campy as time went on, to start turning up the heat on Nintendo. Fans started digging trenches and hurling slogans at each other, while TV commercials told the public that Sega's Genesis could do "What Nintendon't". It was magical, and the war went on and on.
Nintendo, on the other hand, merely touted the merits of their own system, letting smash-hit titles like Super Mario World, Chrono Trigger and The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past do the work for them. (It also helped that they had a magazine dedicated to their cause.) While SNES units continued to fly off the shelves with every blockbuster game, Sega was throwing in freebees for people to pick up their own machine. In the end, the 16-bit era had divided gamers for the first definitive time, with Nintendo fans and Sega servants on opposite sides of the fence.
The Victors: Probably the video game industry, with combined sales of roughly 80 Million Freaking Consoles between both systems.
The Casualties: Arcades, which saw a lot of their quarter munchers suddenly saving mountains of pocket change for $50 games.
The Fallout: Super Nintendo pulled ahead in the war, besting Sega by a sizeable amount of units sold and dollars earned. Try as they might, Sega never got remotely close to challenging Nintendo's dominance again, and their consoles didn't sustain much impact after the Sega Genesis faded from shelves. Now Sonic's barely keeping things together, running from console to console, while Mario's still sitting pretty on the top of the Nintendo empire.
This story, "5 Biggest Game Console Battles" was originally published by GamePro.