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13News Now Vault: The video game console war of 1991

It was Nintendo versus SEGA in the 16-bit video game console war.

NORFOLK, Va. — Few things can spark a craze at Christmas like the release of a brand-new video game console.

One holiday decades ago featured not one, but two heavy hitters.

“In the early 80s the Atari 2600 was big, but the market crashed in the United States,” said 13News Now Digital Special Projects Producer and video game fanatic Chris Collette. “So for a couple of years, there wasn’t a home video game market in the U.S.”

Boy, did that change by 1991.

It was the first big video game console war following the release of two different systems from two major companies: Nintendo's Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega's Genesis.

“While the Genesis came out in '89, [in 1991] they had released Sonic the Hedgehog and used it as their Super Mario killer,” said Collette.

It may have been a war, but by the end of 1991, there were two winners.

Both SEGA and Nintendo crushed sales expectations, and the battle let everyone know video game consoles were not a fad: they were here to stay.

“The 16-bit era with the SNES and the Genesis was the pinnacle of video games,” said Collette.

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