Sega mega drive a brief history
- 12 Jan, 2021
SEGA Mega Drive
The Sega Mega Drive known as the Sega Genesis in North America is a 16 bit video game console regarded as a fourth generation machine. It was developed and sold by Sega and it was their third console released to the market as the successor to the Sega Master system.
It was released in Japan in 1988, North America in 1989 and Europe in 1990. At the time of release Nintendo Had a 95% market share in North America and 92% in Japan from their 8 bit Nes System. So the Genesis/Mega Drive was introduced to assist them gaining a foothold in the market.
Why Genesis in North America?
Sega used the Genesis branding in North America as there was a trade mark dispute with Mega Drive systems Inc who were a computer hardware company. This stopped them universally being able to use the Mega Drive brand worldwide.
The Sega Mega Drive came in 2 models the Model one and two both created by Sega, in recent years things like the Sega Mega Drive Mini have been released by the likes of AT games under licensing from Sega. The original Sega Mega drive console and model 2 both had 2 controller ports as standard, you could add a Multi-Player adapter to allow 4 players and some games like Micro Machines and other J-carts released had 2 controllers ports built in to the cartridge. The new Sega Mega Drive mini consoles hard wireless and wired controllers depending on which version you got, However all came with 2 controllers and a hdmi cable connection for newer tv's. The Hdmi cable came in the box so the consoles were play ready. Both the Original Model 1 and 2 Sega Mega Drive consoles were interchangeable in everything except their power cable. The power cables were both different voltage and amps and also had a different fitting on the end.
Iconic Sega Mega Drive Games
With Over 500 games in the European Pal library alone there are so many legendary games and series available to play with the Sonic the hedgehog series of games, Ecco the dolphin, the castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse, Wonder Boy in monster world, Mega Man the wily wars, World of illusion starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, Street fighter ii special champion edition, Ghouls n Ghosts, Super Fantasy Zone, Dr robotnik's mean bean machine, Earthworm Jim, Streets of rage 2, Gunstar heroes, Story of Thor, Dynamite headdy, Road Rash, Comix Zone, Toejam earl,Space Harrier 2, Golden Axe, Castlevania the new generation, Phantasy star, Shining force, eternal champions, altered beast, light crusader, Thunder Force, Alisia Dragoon, All of these games will have been a part of many players lives trying to complete them before turning off the console. The Sonic the hedgehog series released 7 Sonic games on the Iconic Sega Mega Drive these are Sonic the hedgehog 1-2-3, Spinball, 3d, Sonic compilation, and Sonic + Knuckles, Dr robotnik's Mean bean machine was a sort of side launch puzzle game. Gunstar heroes was also released as part of the classic collection including 3 games(altered beast + flicky). Comix Zone will for ever be a popular platform game with adoring fans still playing it to this day, If you are lucky you may get the bonus CD soundtrack which is well worth a listen. The Shining force series will always be loved by the RPG community. ToeJam Earl games were quite interesting to play with the mix of platform and overhead viewpoints. One of the strangest games was Ecco the Dolphin a platform that was based underwater, It can be quite difficult to navigate and understand.
Sega Mega Drive Console Sales
Within a year of release Sales of the Sega Mega Drive had topped over 1 million units in America alone, Sega managed to take market share from Nintendo. Worldwide The Sega Mega Drive sold around 40 million units compared to Nintendos sales for the SNES of around 50 million units. Whilst Sega May not have beaten Nintendo in overall sales of units their aim was to capture market share, This achievement was met.
There will forever be fans of both companies who will argue that their system of choice is better than the other one. We should just count ourselves lucky that we grew up in a period where we were able to to be a part of the technological advances in the console market. To this day the rivalries are still apparent with Sony and Microsoft fans consistently logging horns over which is better.
Sega Mega Drive Add ons
There 2 main add ons that were released for the Sega Mega Drive, The Sega Mega cd and The Sega 32X consoles. The Sega Mega Cd allowed cd media based video games to be played and the Sega 32X is an expansion that goes into the cartridge slot that allows 32 bit cartridge games to be played. There are just over 90 Pal games available for the Mega CD and 23 released for the Sega 32X in Europe.
Sega Mega Drive Accessories
Accessories for the mega drive include a variety of controllers, There is the model 1 and 2 arcade stick (the model 2 is 6 button) The 6 button controller, Rapid fire controller, Ea released a 4 way adapter sega released 2 types of 4 way controller, 1 that has a single wire and 1 that needed the 2 sockets. The single wire version allows 2 to be connected to a mega drive. Controller extension leads, official and unofficial wireless control pads, A modem, Start tv lead, powerbase converter. Master system converter 2. Tv eye golf set. These are just a handful of the many things available for the console.
Console Box variations
There are around 70 Sega Mega Drive box variations in the United Kingdom alone, The list of these can be seen here at Segaretro.org. Some of the most exciting pieces are the Disney range including Aladdin, Lion King, Toy Story etc. Some of the boxes were printed, Some were sleeves that went over the original console boxes and some were just sticker variants. The laster release sleeve variants and Pirate tv box variants are of the most expensive versions.
Portable Mega Drive systems
There are 3 Portable systems that were created The sega Multi mega(worldwide)/CDX(North America) The Sega Nomad Handheld device with built in screen and the Japanese only release of the Sega Megajet which was used on Japan airlines.
Sega Mega Drive Mini Console
There are different versions of The Sega Mega Drive Mini console ranging from 20 up to 80 games built in to them, all come with 2 control pads and have Hdmi tv connection. These consoles are a good way for people to experience a range of games that were released for for the mega drive mini console without all the cost of buying the original game separately. All of these console were out of the box play ready. Some of the variants had 2 bonus game. Space harrier 2 and monster world iv game were included. some had power cable and some just ran on usb cable. These are still readily available online order from various companies, and you can also collect from local stores.
Generally very little goes wrong, keep the cartridge slot clean and it will work. The socket where the power supply is plugged in can become a little loose and is fixed by a reflow of solder on the connections.
With it being electronic it is advised to store in a dry cool area. Keep a dust cover on it to protect the cartridge slot from any dirt or debris. If your console is boxed again advisable not to store in the attic or other humid areas.
In summary the Sega Mega Drive is a fantastic console with a wide variety of games available across all region with additional add ons and also a good selection of accessories that will keep you busy for hours on end. There are options for people of all ages to play on the console and the controllers are simple to use with minimal buttons so very easy for younger audiences to play. The Games are also very robust so do not damage easily. The plastic clamshell cases that came with the games will keep them protected and organised well for storage. The younger audience would also benefit from the Sega Mega Drive Mini which works out of the box on new tv's, Whilst the game library is limited it will give them a good selection of video game options to play. Many of the original consoles are still in peoples loft collecting dust so there can be bargains to be found on local market places. But with Collectors, players and sellers alike searching for these competition can be fierce. I recently introduced my Children to The Sonic the Hedgehog series and they absolutely loved it. No waiting for updates when switching the console on, Just turn on and get ready to play.