Although the NES put console gaming firmly on the map back in the 80's, it's perhaps the SEGA Genesis that was more responsible for taking home gaming to that "arcade quality" level so sought after twenty years ago.
SEGA was killing it in the later 80's, thanks in large part to its own intellectual property (IP). IP's such as Altered Beast, After Burner and Space Harrier II were arcade gems that ported to the 16-bit Genesis in a formidable fashion. Said formidability definitely had its hand in the demise of the U.S. arcade
There was another "arcade killer," lurking about the Genesis, and it too was a product of SEGA's System 16 architecture. It was called Golden Axe- a barbarian/medieval arcade/Genesis title good enough to make gamers finally let go of Atari's Gauntlet.