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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.

History[edit]

Development[edit]

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]

Launch[edit]

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]

Legacy[edit]

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]

Technology[edit]

Compute[edit]

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]

Graphics[edit]

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]

Storage[edit]

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

Networking[edit]

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.

1991[edit]

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.

1992[edit]

1993[edit]

1994[edit]

Gallery[edit]

Genesis Model 2[edit]

Genesis 3[edit]

CDX[edit]

Other Consoles[edit]

Controllers[edit]

Accessories[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]

Development[edit]

There is a Wikibook on Genesis Programming.

External Resources[edit]

References[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.