SEGA Genesis Classic Edition
Yeah, SEGA already sells Genesis mini consoles, but they're terrible. The NES Classic Edition, however, is wonderful. Ergo, SEGA and Nintendo should team up and put together a Genesis Classic Edition and give their greatest games the proper treatment. Maybe get M2 involved. Yeah, that would be amazing.
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Alex Kidd never really turned out to be the beloved mascot SEGA hoped to turn him into, but he's a part of the company's history... and this game is decent enough, we suppose.
Though exclusive to Japan back in the day, this insane boss rush game requires no real Japanese reading comprehension, just the ability to deal with an endless stream of devastating boss battles.
This forgotten Castlevania game has close ties to Portrait of Ruin and the original Dracula novel — plus it offers two playable heroes, great music, and a globe-spanning journey.
A crucial link between Tetris and Bejeweled, this early match-three puzzler is a little too complicated for its own good but can still offer plenty of entertainment.
Contra: Hard Corps
With over-the-top combat scenarios that make Contra III for Super NES look subdued, this brilliant run-and-gun shooter has to be played to be believed.
Ecco the Dolphin
Hug a whale, save the earth, etc. This could be the hippiest of ’90s eco-conscious games, with its quest to help a dolphin save the oceans, but despite its peacenik ways it's also insanely difficult.
This fascinating shooter worked a little better in its arcade incarnation, but in hindsight it plays almost like a rough draft of the MOBA genre — definitely a game ahead of its time.
Ghouls ’N Ghosts
Capcom made up for the lousy NES rendition of Ghosts ’N Goblins by putting together an absolutely stunning take on its sequel for Genesis.
More than 20 years later, this incredible, varied, and technically advanced co-op shooter still stands as the definitive case of, "Wow, the Genesis can do that!?"
The cult classic British shooter turned in a fine showing for its SEGA Genesis outing, and it deserves to be preserved.
Monster World IV
While it took nearly 20 years to receive a proper official localization, this late-era Genesis platformer deserves to be part of the platform's canon thanks to its gorgeous visuals and breezy exploratory gameplay.
An excellent spin-off of Compile's classic Aleste series, this top-down shooter featured as much intense action as the console's hardware could reasonably accommodate.
Out of This World
Eric Chahi's atmospheric adventure set the standard for cinematic gaming. Deliberate in pacing, devious in design, it plays out like a great silent movie.
One of the all-time racing greats, with a poppy soundtrack that will make you feel like you're dashing down the highway in a convertible, an ocean breeze in your face.
While never localized, this incredibly cute over-the-shoulder shoot-em-up doesn't need English text to be comprehensible — or to impress with its technical accomplishments.
Phantasy Star II
While this RPG hasn't aged quite as well as some of its contemporaries, it stood as a revolutionary landmark back in the day with its innovative cut scenes and vivid sci-fi setting.
Phantasy Star IV
The solo Phantasy Star franchise found its ultimate expression here, in one of the finest RPGs ever produced for this or any 16-bit console.
Add grappling mechanics to Sonic the Hedgehog and you pretty much have Ristar: An intense, intricate, and entertaining platform action game.
Rocket Knight Adventures
The debut of Konami's obligatory marsupial mascot Sparkster, this plays exactly as you'd expect a Sonic analogue by the creator of Contra III to play: Fast, intense, and filled with technical marvels.
Rolling Thunder 3
The Genesis-exclusive finale to Namco's arcade spy-shooter, Rolling Thunder slows the pace a bit to add greater depth and complexity... but the slick Shinobi-like action remains.
It's tough to pick a single choice for "best Shinobi game ever," but Shadow Dancer certainly deserves a nomination. Besides all its cool ninja action, it also gives you a loyal dog as a companion. Amazing!
Shining Force II
This game helped define tactical RPGs with its chess-like gameplay and energetic up-close combat clashes, and it's still challenging even now.
Shining in the Darkness
One of the lesser-remembered entries in the Shining series, this first-person dungeon crawler definitely feels like a product of its era in some ways, but it still holds plenty of appeal for fans of the format.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Yeah, you know this guy. How could you not include Sonic on a best-of-Genesis compilation?
SEGA followed up the revolutionary first Sonic game with this meatier, more technically impressive sequel that introduced sidekick Tails and allowed a second player to join in for split-screen action.
Many Sonic fans consider this the pinnacle of the series, but in our opinion it's not really great until you add in...
Sonic & Knuckles
...the actual second half of the game, which introduced a new hero and a new way to play Sonic. Obviously, to do this right, SEGA and Nintendo would need to include the lock-on option for Sonic 2/3 & Knuckles!
Streets of Rage
How good can a game be when it's just about walking to the right and punching goons? Well, the answer is: Really good, when you're talking about Streets of Rage.
Capcom's classic arcade smash saw a lot of home ports. This one, programmed internally by SEGA staff, was by far the best of them.
Toe Jam & Earl
Before most people had ever heard the term "roguelike," Toe Jam & Earl was there to teach them about the dynamic, randomized insanity of the genre. In the process, it laid down a foundation for a swarm of indie games that would arrive 20 years later.