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Sega Mega Drive & Sega Genesis

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Japanese Mega Drive with controller.
European Mega Drive with controller.
Sega Genesis with controller.
A Sega Genesis with a 32X and Sega CD attached.



Sega approached Atari about bringing the MegaDrive to the American market, but was after negotiations broke down Sega decided to launch the console in the United States on their own.[1]


In October of 1988 the Sega Mega Drive was released in Japan at a cost of 21,000 yen.[2]

The Sega Genesis was launched in North America in 1989.[3]Notably, future president Donald Trump attended the 1989 Genesis launch in Manhattan.[4]

The Mega Drive saw a European release in 1990.[2]

The Sega CD was released in 1992.[5]

The Sega 32x was released in November 1994 for $160.[5]


The Sega Genesis was discontinued in 1997 outside of Brazil, where Sega partner Tectoy was still selling 150,000 consoles annually as of 2016.[6] In 2016 Tectoy began taking preorders for a 2017 revision of the console for the Brazilian market at a cost of 399 Brazilian real.[7][8]

29 million Sega Genesis consoles were sold.[9]

In 2010 Mega Drive gaming was still popular in Egypt.[10]



The Genesis is powered by a primary 16-bit Motorola 68000 processor clocked at 7.6 megahertz.[11] A secondary 8-bit Z80 coprocessor was clocked at 3.5 megahertz.[11]

The Genesis has 64 kilobytes of RAM dedicated to the primary processor, and 8 kilobytes dedicated to the Z80 coprocessor.[12][11]

Some games used cartridge based chips to allow for 3D graphics.[13]

The Sega Genesis was initially considered easier for developers to use then the competing SNES due to it's straightforward design instead of reliance on support hardware.[14]


The Genesis uses a custom chip called the Video Display Processor (VDP) clocked at 13 megahertz for rendering graphics.[11] The VDP has 64 kilobytes of RAM, 128 bytes of color RAM, and 80 bytes of vertical scroll RAM.[15][11] The Genesis could render 80 sprites and 64 simultaneous colors from 512 total colors.[16]

Blast Processing was technically a feature supported by the Genesis VDP, though it was simply a technique used to generate images with more colors and was never widely used on official Genesis games.[17][18][19]


Genesis cartridges typically maxed out at 4MB, though a few 5MB cartridges exist.[20]


The Sega Channel was an expensive service that allowed games to be temporarily downloaded over a cable connection.[21]

The third party X-Band service allowed some games to be played online.[22]

Notable Games[edit]

Mega Drive games being sold in a retro games store in 2016.


Zero Wing[edit]

A reference to Zero Wing on the side of a highway in 2004.

Originally released as an arcade game in 1989.[23]

The Japanese version of Zero Wing notably had 35 different endings.[24]

The poor English translation of Zero Wing sparked the early 2000's internet meme "All your base are belong to us".[25]

Read more about Zero Wing and All your base are belong to us on Wikipedia.





Genesis Model 2[edit]

Genesis 3[edit]


Other Consoles[edit]



Power Base Converter[edit]

Sega CD Model 1[edit]

Sega CD Model 2[edit]

Sega CD Model 2 Mark 1 internals[edit]

Sega CD Model 2 Mark 2 internals[edit]

Sega CD Joining plates[edit]

Sega 32X[edit]

Sega 32X internals[edit]

Genesis Model II Internals[edit]

JVC Sega XEYE Motherboard[edit]


There is a Wikibook on Genesis Programming.

External Resources[edit]


  1. "Feature: Remember When Atari Turned Down Nintendo And Sega?". Nintendo Life. 3 February 2020. https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2020/02/feature_remember_when_atari_turned_down_nintendo_and_sega. Retrieved 23 October 2020. 
  2. a b "HISTORY SEGA 60th Anniversary" (in en). https://60th.sega.com/en/history/. Retrieved 18 November 2020. 
  3. "The Launch of the Sega Genesis (1989)". 12 December 2016. http://www.cgquarterly.com/2016/12/12/the-launch-of-the-sega-genesis-1989/. Retrieved 14 November 2020. 
  4. "The time President Donald Trump attended the SEGA Genesis launch in 1989". http://segabits.com/blog/2018/03/26/the-time-president-donald-trump-attended-the-sega-genesis-launch-in-1989/. Retrieved 14 November 2020. 
  5. a b Forsythe, Dana (19 June 2019). "Sega's 32X was one of video gaming's biggest disasters" (in en). https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/segas-32x-was-one-of-video-gamings-biggest-disasters. Retrieved 14 November 2020. 
  6. "Sega's Genesis (known outside of North America as the Mega Drive) to re-enter production". https://www.techspot.com/news/66951-sega-genesis-known-outside-north-america-mega-drive.html. Retrieved 14 November 2020. 
  7. Hall, Charlie (9 November 2016). "Temper your enthusiasm for the new Sega Genesis" (in en). https://www.polygon.com/2016/11/9/13564880/sega-genesis-brazil-replica-hdmi. Retrieved 14 November 2020. 
  8. "TecToy unveils its new limited edition SEGA Genesis | SEGA Nerds". http://www.seganerds.com/2016/10/31/tectoy-unveils-its-new-limited-edition-sega-genesis/. Retrieved 14 November 2020. 
  9. "Genesis vs. SNES: By the Numbers - IGN" (in en). https://www.ign.com/articles/2009/03/20/genesis-vs-snes-by-the-numbers. Retrieved 13 November 2020. 
  10. "Videogames of Egypt". http://blog.hardcoregaming101.net/2010/03/videogames-of-egypt.html. Retrieved 8 November 2020. 
  11. a b c d e "Mega Drive Architecture A Practical Analysis" (in en). 18 May 2019. https://www.copetti.org/projects/consoles/mega-drive-genesis/. Retrieved 7 November 2020. 
  12. "Winning The Console Wars – An In-Depth Architectural Study". Hackaday. 6 November 2015. https://hackaday.com/2015/11/06/winning-the-console-wars-an-in-depth-architectural-study/. Retrieved 28 October 2020. 
  13. "The Great Polygon Mystery". http://www.gamezero.com/team-0/articles/features/polygon.html. Retrieved 21 November 2020. 
  14. "It's no SNES". http://www.gamezero.com/team-0/articles/features/no_snes/. Retrieved 21 November 2020. 
  15. "First steps with the Sega MegaDrive VDP Marc's Realm". https://darkdust.net/writings/megadrive/firststeps. Retrieved 7 November 2020. 
  16. "WAR! - Nintendo Vs. Sega". http://www.gamezero.com/team-0/articles/features/war/. Retrieved 21 November 2020. 
  17. Linneman, John (31 March 2019). "Sega's legendary Blast Processing was real - but what did it actually do?" (in en). https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2019-blast-processing-retro-analysis. Retrieved 7 November 2020. 
  18. Life, Nintendo (20 November 2015). "The Man Responsible For Sega's Blast Processing Gimmick Is Sorry For Creating "That Ghastly Phrase"". https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2015/11/the_man_responsible_for_segas_blast_processing_gimmick_is_sorry_for_creating_that_ghastly_phrase. Retrieved 7 November 2020. 
  19. Life, Nintendo (4 May 2020). "Sega's Blast Processing? We Did It On The SNES First, Says Former Sculptured Software Dev". https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2020/05/segas_blast_processing_we_did_it_on_the_snes_first_says_former_sculptured_software_dev. Retrieved 7 November 2020. 
  20. "A Brief and Abbreviated History of Gaming Storage – Techbytes". https://blogs.umass.edu/Techbytes/2014/02/10/history-of-gaming-storage/. Retrieved 18 October 2020. 
  21. "The Sega Channel Blew My Ten-Year-Old Mind" (in en-us). Kotaku. https://kotaku.com/the-sega-channel-blew-my-ten-year-old-mind-1792825606. Retrieved 27 October 2020. 
  22. "X-BANDing". http://www.gamezero.com/team-0/articles/features/x-banding/. Retrieved 21 November 2020. 
  23. "“Gameography” in “Metagaming” on Manifold @uminnpress". https://manifold.umn.edu/read/metagaming/section/961c02b1-ddaa-4e79-9194-6018a4585562. Retrieved 27 October 2020. 
  24. "The "All Your Base" Game Had 32 Secret Japanese Endings" (in en-us). https://kotaku.com/the-all-your-base-game-had-32-secret-japanese-endings-1788642574. Retrieved 27 October 2020. 
  25. "25 years later, 'All Your Base Are Belong to Us' holds up". 4 June 2016. https://www.dailydot.com/unclick/all-your-base-are-belong-to-us-25th-anniversary/. Retrieved 27 October 2020.