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Mega Drive

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Mega Drive
File:JP MegaDrive Logo.gif

ManufacturerSega
TypeVideo game console
GenerationFourth generation
Retail availabilityJP October 29, 1988
NA August 14, 1989
EU November 30, 1990
Discontinued1995[1]
Units sold39.70 Million[cn 1]
MediaROM cartridge
CPUMotorola 68000
Online servicesSega Meganet, Sega Channel, XBAND
Best-selling gameSonic the Hedgehog 2,
6 million (as of June 2006)[2]
PredecessorSega Master System
SuccessorSega Saturn

The Sega Mega Drive (メガドライブ?) is a fourth-generation video game console released by Sega in Japan in 1988 and Europe in 1990. The console was released in North America in 1989 under the name Sega Genesis, as Sega was unable to secure legal rights to the Mega Drive name in that region. The Mega Drive, heavily marketed as "16-bit" due to its hardware, was Sega's fifth home console and the successor to the Sega Master System, with which it is electronically compatible.

The Mega Drive was the first of its generation to achieve notable market share in Europe and North America. It was a direct competitor of the TurboGrafx-16 (which was released one year earlier in Japan under the name PC Engine, but at about the same time as the Genesis in North America) and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (which was released two years later). The Mega Drive began production in Japan in 1988 and ended with the last new licensed game being released in 2002 in Brazil.[3]

The Mega Drive is estimated to have sold 39.70 Million units worldwide,[cn 1]making it Sega's most successful console. The console and many of its games are still popular today: Some games have been re-released in compilations for newer consoles and/or offered for download on various online services, such as Xbox Live Arcade and Virtual Console. The console is also still popular for fan translations[9] and indie game development.

Contents

History

Although the Sega Master System was a success in Europe, and later also Brazil, it failed to ignite much interest in the North American or Japanese markets, which, by the mid-to-late 1980s, were both dominated by Nintendo's large market shares.[10][11][12] Meanwhile in the arcades, the Sega System 16 had become a success. Hayao Nakayama, Sega's CEO at the time, decided to make its new home system utilize a similar 16-bit architecture.[13] The final design was eventually also used in the Mega-Tech, Mega-Play and System-C arcade machines. Any game made for the Mega Drive hardware could easily be ported to these systems.[14]

The first name Sega considered for its console was the MK-1601, but it ultimately decided to call it the "Mega Drive". The name was said to represent superiority and speed, with the then powerful Motorola 68000 processor in mind.[15] Sega used the name Mega Drive for the Japanese, European, Asian, Australian and Brazilian versions of the console. The North American version went by the name "Genesis" due to a trademark dispute.[16]

Launch

The Mega Drive was released in Japan on October 29, 1988.[17] Sega announced a North American release date for the system (under the name of Sega Genesis) on January 9, 1989.[18] Sega initially attempted to partner with Atari Corporation for distribution of the console in the US, but the two could not agree to terms and Sega decided to do it themselves.[19] Sega was not able to meet the initial release date and US sales began on August 14, 1989 in New York City and Los Angeles. The Genesis was released in the rest of North America later that year.[20]

The Sega Pirate, a popular marketing icon for the console in Europe.

The European release was on November 30, 1990. Following on from the European success of the Sega Master System, the Mega Drive became a very popular console in Europe. Unlike in other regions where the NES had been the dominant platform, the Sega Master System was the most popular console in Europe at the time. In the United Kingdom the most well known of Sega's advertising slogans was "To be this good takes AGES, to be this good takes SEGA". Some of these adverts employed adult humour and innuendo with sentences like "The more you play with it, the harder it gets" displayed with an illustration of the waggling of a joystick.[21] A prominent figure in the European marketing was the "Sega Pirate", a talking one-eyed skull that starred in many TV adverts with a generally edgy and humorous attitude. Since the Mega Drive was already two years old at the release in Europe, the many games available at launch were naturally more in numbers compared to the launches in other regions. The ports of arcade titles like Altered Beast, Golden Axe and Ghouls 'n Ghosts, available in stores at launch, provided a strong image of the console's power to deliver an arcade-like experience.[22] The arrival of Sonic the Hedgehog in 1991 was just as successful as in North America, with the new Sega mascot becoming popular throughout the continent.[22]

In Brazil, the Mega Drive was released by Tec Toy in 1990, only a year after the Brazilian release of the Sega Master System. Tec Toy also ran the Internet service Sega Meganet service in Brazil as well as producing games exclusively for the Brazilian market.[23] On December 5, 2007, Tec Toy released a portable version of Mega Drive with 20 built-in games.[24][25]

In India, distribution of the Mega Drive was handled by Shaw Wallace.

Console wars

The Mega Drive initially competed against the aging 8-bit NES, over which it had superior graphics and sound. Despite this, the Mega Drive was all but ignored in Japan as soon as it was launched. Some positive coverage came out of magazines Famitsu and Beep!, but Sega shipped only 400,000 units in the first year.[16] In order to sell more units, Sega tried some risky moves, including creating an online banking system and answering machine called the Sega Mega Anser[26] and several peripherals and games.[16] The Mega Drive remained a distant third in Japan behind Nintendo's Super Famicom and NEC's PC Engine throughout the 16-bit era.[27]

One of Sega's most famous advertisements in North American media was its slogan "Genesis does what Nintendon't",[28] which showcased the graphics advantage that the Genesis held against the aging NES.

New Sega of America CEO Michael Katz instituted a two-part approach to build sales in that region. The first part involved a marketing campaign to challenge Nintendo head-on and emphasize the more arcade-like experience available on the Genesis, summarized by the slogan "Genesis does what Nintendon't".[29] The second part, since Nintendo owned the console rights to most arcade games of the time, involved creating a library of instantly-recognizable titles by contracting with celebrities and athletes to produce games using their names and likenesses; Pat Riley Basketball, Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf, James 'Buster' Douglas Knockout Boxing, Joe Montana Football, Tommy Lasorda Baseball, Mario Lemieux Hockey, and Michael Jackson's Moonwalker all stemmed from this initiative.[30][31] Nonetheless, it had a hard time overcoming Nintendo's ubiquitous presence in the consumer's home.[32]

Sega CEO Hayao Nakayama, fearing a second market failure soon after the Master System, hired Tom Kalinske to replace Katz in mid-1990. Although Kalinske initially knew little about the video game market, he learned quickly and surrounded himself with industry-savvy advisors. A believer in the razor and blades business model, he developed a four-point plan: cut the price of the console; create a US-based team to develop games targeted at the American market; continue and expand the aggressive advertising campaigns; and replace the bundled game, Altered Beast, with a new title, Sonic the Hedgehog.[32] The Japanese board of directors asked "Are you out of your mind?",[33] but Nakayama approved all four points. Magazines praised Sonic as one of the greatest games yet made, and Sega's console finally took off as customers who had been waiting for the Super NES decided to purchase a Genesis instead.[32] Nintendo's console would debut against an established competitor, while NEC's TurboGrafx-16 was left out and NEC soon pulled out of the market.[34]

Sega began 1992 with a number of advantages: a 55% to 45% market share over the Super NES, a lower price, and a tenfold advantage in number of games.[35] Sega's advertising continued to position the Genesis as the "cooler" console,[35] and at one point in its campaign, it used the term "Blast Processing" to suggest that the processing capabilities of the Genesis were far greater than those of the SNES.[36][37] A Sony focus group found that teenage boys would not admit to owning a Super NES rather than a Genesis.[38] Neither console could maintain a definitive lead in market share for several years.

In Europe, the Mega Drive maintained support through 1998. It outsold all other consoles, including the Sega Saturn, in later years.[17] Brazil also saw success with the Mega Drive, where it held 75% of the market share.[17]

Add-ons

Mega Drive II with 32X and Mega-CD II add-ons

In early 1991, Sega announced the Mega-CD for release in Japan in late 1991 and in North America (as the Sega CD) in 1992. While this add-on did contain a faster CPU, more memory and some enhanced graphics capabilities over the Mega Drive itself, the main focus of the device was to expand the size of games: cartridges of the day typically contained 8 to 16 megabits of data, while a CD-ROM would hold 640 megabytes (5120 megabits). While it became known for several games, including Sonic CD and Night Trap, the expansion only sold 6 million units worldwide.[39]

At June 1994's Consumer Electronics Show, Sega presented the 32X as the "poor man's entry into 'next generation' games."[40] Although some blame Sega of America for developing this failure,[39] the 32X was originally conceived as an entirely new console by Sega of Japan.[41] Sega of America R&D head Joe Miller convinced Sega of Japan to strengthen the console and convert it into an add-on to the existing Genesis, but they would not make it a competitor to the forthcoming Sega Saturn. Although this add-on contained two 32-bit CPU chips and a 3D graphics processor, it failed to attract either developers or consumers as the superior Saturn had already been announced for release the next year. Originally released at US$159, Sega dropped the price to $99 in only a few months and ultimately cleared the remaining inventory at $19.95;[41] at least 600,000 units were sold.[42]

32-bit era and beyond

By the end of 1995, Sega was supporting five different consoles and two add-ons: Saturn, Genesis, Game Gear, Pico, Sega CD, 32X and Master System in PAL and some South American (predominantly Brazilian) markets. As the Saturn was leading Sony's PlayStation in Japan while the Mega Drive was never successful there, Sega of Japan CEO Hayao Nakayama chose to discontinue the Mega Drive. While this made perfect sense for the Japanese market, it was disastrous in North America: the market for Genesis games was much larger than for the Saturn, but Sega was left without the inventory or software to meet demand. In comparison, Nintendo concentrated on the 16-bit market and reported the most lucrative holiday season in the industry.[1] It also undercut the Sega of America executives; CEO Tom Kalinske, who oversaw the rise of the Genesis in 1991, grew uninterested in the business and resigned in mid 1996.[43]

In 1997, Sega licensed the Mega Drive to Majesco so that it could re-release the console.[44] Majesco began re-selling millions of formerly unsold cartridges at a budget price together with the second model of the Genesis, until it later released a third version of it. The last commercially licensed release in North America was Frogger, released in 1998.[45]

The Mega Drive was supported until 1997 in Europe, when Sega announced it was dropping support for it.[17] It was discontinued along with its predecessor, the long-lived Sega Master System, to allow Sega to concentrate on its newer console, the Saturn. The Mega Drive's add-ons, the Mega CD and 32X, were also both discontinued at this point, having been the same general failures they were in the other regions.[39]

On May 22, 2006, Super Fighter Team released Beggar Prince, a game translated from a 1996 Chinese original. It is the first commercial Mega Drive game release since 1998 in the North American market. It was also released worldwide.[46]

At September 1, 2008, a group of homebrew enthusiasts[47][48] released a demo of their upcoming game Pier Solar and the Great Architects. It is the first commercial role-playing game specifically developed for the console since 1996.[49]

On December 3, 2008, Super Fighter Team released Legend of Wukong, a game translated from a 1996 Chinese original. It is the second commercial Mega Drive game release since 1998 in the North American market. It was also released worldwide.[50]

Emulation

Available emulators include Gens and Kega Fusion, among others.[51]

In 2004, there came a trend toward plug-and-play TV games, and Radica Games released licensed, self-contained versions of the Mega Drive in both North America (as the Play TV Legends Sega Genesis)[52] and Europe (as the Mega Drive 6-in-1 Plug 'n' Play), which contain six popular games in a small control box, with a permanently connected control pad. It does not have a cartridge slot, and thus is a dedicated console.[53]

The GameTap subscription gaming service includes a Mega Drive emulator, and has several dozen licensed Mega Drive games in its catalog.[54] The Console Classix subscription gaming service also includes an emulator, and has several hundred Mega Drive games in its catalog.[55]

A number of Mega Drive games have been released on compilation discs. These include Sonic Mega Collection and Sonic Gems Collection for PS2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube; Sega Genesis Collection for PS2 and PSP; and most recently Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (the latter supporting Achievements/Trophies for various actions across all games and graphic smoothing). Some versions do feature slight emulation issues, such as sound problems on Sega Genesis Collection. However, the more recent compilations have save states which work exactly like the save states on computer emulators in that they will save the exact point and conditions that the game was in when a player saved it. The usage of these states do not disqualify a player from acquiring a trophy or achievement in Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection, as it's a supported game feature.

During his keynote speech at the 2006 Game Developers Conference, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata announced that Sega will make a number of Genesis/Mega Drive titles available to download on the Wii's Virtual Console.[56] These games are now available along with other systems' titles under the Wii's Virtual Console.[56] The 16-bit Sega selections available on the Virtual Console at launch in North America were Altered Beast and Sonic the Hedgehog as well as in addition to those two, Ecco the Dolphin and Golden Axe in Europe. There are also selected Mega Drive titles on the Xbox 360 such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic 2.

Master System compatibility

Sega Power Base Converter

One of the key design features of the console is its backwards compatibility with Sega's previous console, the Sega Master System. The 16-bit design is based upon the 8-bit design, albeit enhanced and extended in many areas. In order to achieve backwards compatibility, the Master System's central processor and sound chip (the Zilog Z80[15] and SN76489 respectively) are included as coprocessors in the Mega Drive, and the Mega Drive's Video Display Processor (VDP) is capable of the Master System's VDP mode 4, though it cannot run in modes 0, 1, 2, or 3 (so the Mega Drive is not compatible with SG-1000 software or Master System software which uses these modes).

As the cartridge slot is of a different shape, Sega released the Power Base Converter, a separate device that sits between a Master System cartridge and the Mega Drive's cartridge slot. The Power Base Converter does not contain any Master System components, instead functioning as a pass-through device, and consisting almost entirely of passive circuitry. The converter contains a top slot for cartridge-based games along with a front slot for card-based games, as well as the 3-D glasses adapter. When a Master System game is inserted, the system puts the Z80 in control, leaving the Mega Drive's main 68000 processor idle.[15]

In Japan the device is known as the "Mega Adapter". The Sega Mega Adapter is built for the Japanese Mega Drive cartridge slot, so it does not fit into the Genesis cartridge slot, like Japanese Mega Drive cartridges. It also has the Master System cartridge slot changed to Sega Mark III/Japanese Master System pinout. Because of the Genesis VDP limitations listed before, does not run SG-1000 or SG-3000 games, and My Card games built for them. The Mega Adapter ultimately does not have the "FM sound unit" that enhances the sound of some Japanese games of the Sega Mark III/Japanese Master System. The PAL variant is called the "Master System Converter" in mainland Europe.[57]

The Power Base Converter is not fully compatible with the redesigned Mega Drive 2. A second version, the "Master System Converter II", was released to address this problem. This second version adapter was produced in a far smaller quantity and only released in Europe.[15]

The only game which does not work with this device is F-16 Fighting Falcon.[58] (It is actually the compatibility mode of the Mega Drive/Genesis, and not the Power Base Converter itself, that is responsible for this.)

Some Master System games (such as Shanghai) are incompatible with the Mega Drive control pad, so a Master System control pad must be used instead. As it has the same connection port, the Master System pad can be plugged directly into the Mega Drive controller ports without any kind of adaptor.

Peripherals

Original three button joypad with later six button version

The standard Mega Drive controller features three main buttons and a "start" button usually used for pausing mid-game. The controller itself has a distinctive rounded shape.[59] Sega later released a six-button version in 1993 along with the release of Street Fighter 2; this pad is slightly smaller and features three more face buttons, similar to the design of buttons on arcade fighting games.[59]

The Mega-CD became available in 1991, 1992 and 1993 in Japan, North America, and Europe respectively.[60][61] It plugs into the side of the Mega Drive and sits underneath the console (later models of the Mega CD sit alongside the console) and provides access to CD games as well as allowing the user to play music CDs.[15]

The Sega 32X allows the user to play technically superior 32-bit games on the Mega Drive. It was released in 1994 in Japan (after the release of the Sega Saturn in that region) and North America and 1995 in Europe. The 32X plugs into the Mega Drive's cartridge slot and the game cartridges are then plugged into the 32X.[15]

Sega Mouse and Sega Mega Mouse

A number of other peripherals for the Mega Drive were released that add extra functionality. The Menacer Light Gun was developed in response to the Super Scope for the SNES and is only compatible with the Menacer 6-game cartridge and a few other games.[62] The Mega Mouse was released for the Mega Drive in the Japanese and European markets,[63] as well as a North American version called the Sega Mouse. A foam-covered bat called the BatterUP and the TeeVGolf golf club were both released for the Mega Drive and SNES and provide support for similar games.[63][64] One of the most unsuccessful peripherals released was the Sega Activator, an octagonal device that lays flat on the floor and reads a gamer's physical movements as he/she would trigger infrared laser beams that translate the movement to react on screen. The controller was ranked the third worst video game controller ever made by IGN editor Craig Harris.[65][66] As well the official Mega Drive peripherals, the console is also compatible with Sega Master System accessories through use of the Power Base Converter.[17][67]

Both Electronic Arts (EA) and Sega released multitaps for the system to allow more than the standard two players to play at once.[68] Initially, EA's version, the 4-Play, and Sega's adapter, the Team Player, only supported each publisher's own titles. Later games were created to work on both adapters. Codemasters also developed the J-Cart system, providing two extra ports with no extra hardware, although the technology came late in the console's life and was only featured on a few games.[69]

Technical specifications

Processor:Motorola 68000 16/32-bit processor running at 7.67 MHz
Co-processor (Sound Controller):Zilog Z80 8-bit at 3.58 MHz
Memory:64K work RAM (68000), 64K video RAM, 8K work RAM (Z80)

Later hardware had an internal 1Kx8 ROM for the license display screen.

Display Palette:512 colors (3:3:3 RGB)
Onscreen colors:64 (normal) or 183 (shadow/highlight mode)
Maximum onscreen sprites:80 (320-pixel wide displays) or 64 (256-pixel wide displays)
Resolution:256×224, 256×448, 320×224, 320×448, (PAL and NTSC)

256×240, 320×240, 256×480, 320×480 (PAL only),256×192 (SMS games only)

Sound:Yamaha YM2612 5 channel FM and 1 channel FM/PCM, Texas Instruments SN76489 4 channel PSG (Programmable Sound Generator)
Mega Drive Mainboard (PAL)

CPU

The Mega Drive's CPU is a 16/32-bit Motorola 68000.[70] The maximum addressable memory is 16 megabytes from the ROM ($00000000-00400000), to the RAM($00FF0000-00FFFFFF). The 68000 runs at 7.61 MHz in PAL consoles, 7.67 MHz in NTSC consoles.[59] The Mega Drive also includes a Zilog Z80, which serves as the console's primary sound controller and also provides complete Master System compatibility with only a passive adapter. The Mega Drive has 64 KB of RAM.[15]

Mega Drive II Mainboard (PAL)

Video

The Mega Drive has a dedicated VDP (Video Display Processor) for background graphic and sprite control. This is an improved version of the Sega Master System VDP, which in turn is derived from the Texas Instruments TMS9918. Images can be output at 256 pixels (32 tiles) or 320 pixels (40 tiles) across and 224 scanlines (28 tiles) or 240 scanlines (30 tiles) down.The 240-line resolutions are only used on 50 Hz (i.e. PAL) displays, as the extra lines end up in the overscan of a 60 Hz (NTSC) signal.

NTSC games use the 224-line resolution to free up more vertical blanking time to send more updates to the VDP.Colors are chosen from a total of 512 possible colors, 3 bits per RGB; some games used a small amount of flicker to simulate more colors. Graphics consist of up to 80 sprites on screen and three background planes (Window, ScrollA, ScrollB), two of which (ScrollA and Window) share the same screen space. Palettes are stored in color RAM (CRAM) and consist of 16 colors each for a total of 64 colors.[68][71]

Early Sega Genesis Model #1 with "High Definition Graphics" logo

Audio

There are two primary sound chips which can both be controlled by the Z80 or the M68000; the Yamaha YM2612 Frequency Modulation (FM) chip and the Texas Instruments SN76489 Programmable Sound Generator (PSG) chip.[17] The FM sound synthesis IC resembles the Yamaha YM2151 (used in Sega's coin-op machines) and the chips used in Yamaha's synthesizers. There are 8 kilobytes of dedicated sound RAM available to the Z80.[71] The Yamaha uses six FM channels with four operators each, and its clock speed is the same as that of the main CPU. Stereo sound is output only through the headphone jack on model 1 systems and through AV out on model 2 systems along with mono signal.[15] Changes in the mixing circuit resulted in later revisions of the hardware producing more distorted sound output than earlier models.[72]

Music sample
Comparison of model 2 and model 1
File:SegaMegaDrive AudioComparision.ogg

Memory

There are 2 KB of Boot ROM, which is also known as the "Trademark Security System" (TMSS). When the console is started, it checks the game for certain code given to licensed developers. Unlicensed games without the code are thus locked out, but if a game is properly licensed, the ROM will display "Produced by or under license from Sega Enterprises Ltd."[73]. Also, as a hardware-feature, with later versions of the Trademark Security System "SEGA" must be written into an area of I/O memory ($A14000) in order to turn on the VDP. The TMSS was the subject of the legal case Sega v. Accolade.

There are also 64 KB of Main RAM. The Main RAM is part of the M68000 address space. Also present is 64 KB of Video RAM,[17] which cannot be accessed directly by CPU and must be read and written via the VDP (Video Display Processor). The Z80 has 8 kilobytes of RAM mapped into the M68000's address space that is intended to be used for program RAM. The Z80 can also access 32 kilobytes of the M68000s memory using bank-switching which is intended to be provided as a sound bank.

Inputs and outputs

Two DE-9M (9-pin male D-connectors) on the front of the console are the controller input ports.[68] The EXT input port is a DE-9F (9-pin female D-connector) that was used with the Meganet modem peripheral, released only in Japan.[68] It exists on all first-model Japanese Mega Drive units, and on early American Genesis and PAL (European, Australasian and Asian) Mega Drive units. The power input is a positive tip barrel connector that requires 9-10 volts DC, at about 0.85-1.2 A, depending on the model. There is also an Expansion input port which is an Edge connector on the bottom right hand side of the console. It is used almost exclusively for connection for the Sega CD, though it was also used for the Sega Genesis 6 Cart Demo Unit (DS-16) in stores. This port is not present on the Genesis 3 model.[15]

An A/V output, which consists of a DIN connector with composite video, RGB video, and audio outputs, is present on the system.[15] The Mega Drive and the first model Genesis have an 8-pin DIN socket (same as Sega Master System) which supports mono audio only, but the Mega Drive 2, Multimega, and other models have a 9-pin mini-DIN connector with both mono and stereo audio.[15] Stereo audio for the Mega Drive and the first model Genesis were supplied by the headphone jack, which is not present on later models.[15] The Video output is an RCA jack that connects to TV A/V input. It exists on original model European and Asian Mega Drive and North American Genesis only; other models must use an external RF modulator.[15]

Variations

The Wondermega incorporates the Mega Drive and Mega-CD in one unit (JVC Model Depicted)

The Mega Drive quite possibly received more officially licensed variations than any other console. While only one major design revision of the console was created during its lifespan, each region has its own peculiarities and unique items, while other variations were exercises in reducing costs (such as the removal of the little-used 9-pin EXT. port) or expanding the capabilities of the Mega Drive.[15]

The Model MK-1631 (Mega Drive/Genesis 2) has a Z80 CPU,[74] and because it is used for sound production by many games, it is a necessary component,[15] however, depending on the board revision, the system has either a Zilog Z84C00 or a Custom Sega 315-5676 or similar.

Sega also released a combined, semi-portable Mega Drive/Mega CD unit called the Sega Multi-Mega or CDX.

Amstrad, in 1993, released a product called the "Mega PC", which was in effect a personal computer with a Mega Drive occupying one of its expansion slots. The graphics and sound were shared between the PC and Mega Drive components, and the system included a monitor and custom hardware to "switch" between the PC's floppy drive and the console's input ports. The first model was based on the Intel 80386 CPU running at 25 MHz, while a second model based on a 486 was also released. Both systems fared poorly in the market, due mainly to high cost and poor performance compared to other IBM-compatible PCs at the time. However, the Mega PC has since become popular among collectors.[citation needed]

Majesco's Sega Genesis 3 (single-chip and dual-chip versions) retains the Mode 4 support but has the Master System compatibility removed from the bus controller logic.[17] This renders the Power Base Converter or any other adapter useless. 68000 software can still enable and use Mode 4, however.[15]

AT Games' Sega Firecore does not support the Power Base Converter, Sega CD or 32X. But does allow for the first time ever, use of all region games on one system; Making it not only a updated Sega Genesis but also a Sega Mega Drive.

The most interesting third-party version of the Mega Drive hardware was the Victor Wondermega. In addition to having all the functionality of a Mega Drive and Mega CD, it could also connect to MIDI devices to synthesize music. This model of the Wondermega included a unique motorized CD tray lid. Sega released their own version of the Wondermega with slight changes to the case design. Otherwise, it is functionally identical. JVC released a second model of the Wondermega in Japan that included a smaller footprint, a different case design and wireless controller capability. Excluded was the motorized CD tray lid (this model would be stripped down and released as the X'Eye in North America.)

The Pioneer LaserActive was a LaserDisc player with a built-in bay on the front panel for an add-on electronic module. One optional module offered was a Sega Genesis/Sega CD unit which enabled the unit to play Genesis and Sega CD games. The cartridge slot and two controller ports were on the module, while Sega CD discs were accepted in the main disc unit. The module bay was a little bit smaller than the size of a single-DIN car stereo head unit, but deeper. The LaserActive+Sega Genesis module combination also supported games in the unique Mega LD format, which stored 540 MB of game data and 60 minutes of CD-quality audio and full-motion video on LaserDisc media; Mega LD games were essentially Mega CD/Sega CD games using Mega Drive/Genesis graphics that could be overlaid on full-motion video backgrounds, and that could be potentially more complex than Mega CD games thanks to the increased media storage capacity. Not many LaserActive systems were sold, as the price of the main unit was about $970 and the Sega Genesis-compatible module cost about $600, for a total of $1570, at introduction in late 1993.

A late incarnation, in the form of a portable device is the Sega Mega Drive Handheld from Blaze International.

In July 2008 the Mega Drive Twin Pad Player by the Chinese Sega licensee AT Games went on sale. It is a 32-bit ARM CPU based hardware emulating a Mega Drive. It has 20 built in games, the same as those included to the aforementioned handheld. The unit comes with two 6-button controllers, a PAL/NTSC switch, composite video and mono sound. Additional "RedKid cartridges" have been announced but not yet released. Whilst it claims to be able to play all original Mega Drive but source have confirmed that several games do not play without sprite issues, sound distortion and multiple other issues. And some games fail to play at all due to the later region lockout chips.[75]

Revival

China

In 2008 Chinese company ATGames produced a new Mega Drive compatible console. It features a top-loading cartridge slot and includes two controllers similar to the six-button controller for the original Mega Drive. The console has 15 games built-in, and is region-free, allowing cartridge games to run regardless of their region of origin. However since the system uses emulation[citation needed] rather than original hardware components it suffers from compatibility issues with some original games. ATGames also produces a handheld version of the console.[76] Both machines have been released in Europe by distributing company Blaze.[77]

The built-in games for the Blaze Mega Drive are as follows: Alex Kidd, Alien Storm, Altered Beast, Arrow Flash, Bonanza Bros., Columns, Crack Down, Decap Attack, ESWAT Cyber Police, Fatal Labyrinth, Flicky, Gain Ground, Golden Axe, Shadow Dancer, Sonic & Knuckles.[78][79]

Brazil

The Mega Drive never ceased production in Brazil, though Tec Toy's current models emulate the original hardware. The latest version, called "Mega Drive Guitar Idol", comes with two six-button joypads and a guitar controller with five fret buttons. The Guitar Idol game contains a mix of Brazilian and international songs.[80] The console has 87 built-in games, including some new ones from Electronic Arts: FIFA 2008, Need for Speed Pro Street, The Sims 2 and Sim City.[81]

See also

Sega portal

Content notes

  1. ^ a b Units Sold 39.70 Million[4]
    NA 20 Million[5]
    JP 4.30 Million[6]
    EU 6.90 Million[6]
    Other: 3.50 Million (Other Asia, AU, etc.)[6]
    Tec Toy: 2 Million South America (as of August 31, 2005)[7]
    Majesco: 2 Million[7]
    Sega Nomad: 1 Million[8]

References

  1. ^ a b Kent, Steven L. (2001). The Ultimate History of Video Games: The Story Behind the Craze that Touched our Lives and Changed the World. Roseville, California: Prima Publishing. pp. 508, 531. ISBN 0-7615-3643-4. 
  2. ^ Boutros, Daniel (2006-08-04). "Sonic the Hedgehog 2". A Detailed Cross-Examination of Yesterday and Today's Best-Selling Platform Games. Gamasutra. http://gamasutra.com/features/20060804/boutros_05.shtml. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  3. ^ "Guardiana, the Mega Drive Kingdom :: Game Informations :: Mega Drive :: Show do Milhão:". Guardiana. http://www.guardiana.net/MDG-Database/Mega%20Drive/Show%20do%20Milh%C3%A3o/. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
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