A new decade saw Nintendo catch up to SEGA – in Japan, anyway – while arcade technology continued to take leaps, and a new device allowed players to “hack” the code of their console games to cheat their behinds off…

Super Famicom

While SEGA had already released their 16-bit Mega Drive, Nintendo finally caught up in the bit wars, and really delivered with the cleverly-named Super Famicom for the Japanese market. Launching with two key titles in Super Mario World and frenetic futuristic racer F-Zero, it may have looked quite nondescript, but it packed a lot of power. Once again, Australia was stuck waiting a couple of years before getting hands on the same machine, slightly renamed as the Super Nintendo.

Game Genie

While up until now most “cheating” at console video games was more skilfully working out patterns (or finding out about a hidden test code), actual cheating arrived in the form of the NES Game Genie “Video Game Enhancer” from Codemasters. While similar functionally to devices such as the Action Replay, which had released years earlier for home computers, this allowed players to “hack” into their Nintendo games, patching the code to deliver infinite lives, extra ammo and other significant assists.

Pit Fighter

Once again Atari were leaders in arcade technology when they introduced their new three-player brawler Pit-Fighter. While arguably nothing special in the gameplay department, it was the first such game to include digitised, real-world people playing the fighters, with a fair stab at decently animating them. It gave Midway ideas, and two years later their game-changing Mortal Kombat did it all rather better.