Sega Mega Drive(Review)










General Information

The Mega Drive is a fourth-generation video game console released by Sega in Japan in 1988 and Europe, Australia and other PAL regions 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 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.The Mega Drive is Sega's most successful console, though there is disparity in the number of units sold worldwide.The console and its games continue to be popular among fans, collectors, retro gamers, emulation enthusiasts and the fan translation scene.There are also several indie game developers continuing to produce games for the console. Many games have been re-released in compilations for newer consoles and/or offered for download on various online services, such as Wii Virtual Console, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and Steam.

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. 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.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.During development the hardware was called "Mark V",but Sega CEO Hayao Nakayama officially named it "Mega Drive." The name was said to represent superiority and speed, with the then powerful Motorola 68000 processor in mind.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.

Launch

A typical in-game screen shot of Sonic the Hedgehog, taken from its first level, Green Hill Zone.The Mega Drive was released in Japan on October 29, 1988.[20] Sega announced a North American release date for the system (under the name of Sega Genesis) on January 9, 1989.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.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 on September 15, 1989 with the suggested retail price of $190, $10 less than originally planned.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.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.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.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 in Brazil as well as producing games exclusively for the Brazilian market.On December 5, 2007, Tec Toy released a portable version of Mega Drive with 20 built-in games.In India, distribution of the Mega Drive was handled by Shaw Wallace,while Samsung handled it in Korea. Samsung renamed the console "Super Aladdin Boy", while retaining the Mega Drive logo on the system in addition to their own.

Add-ons

Genesis model 2 with the Sega CD and 32X add-ons attachedMain articles: Mega CD and Sega 32XIn early 1991, Sega announced the Mega-CD, to be released 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, an additional PCM sound chip, and some enhanced graphical capabilities (similar to the SNES's mode 7) compared to the Mega Drive itself,[51] 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 could 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.At June 1994's Consumer Electronics Show, Sega presented the 32X as the "poor man's entry into 'next generation' games."The 32X was originally conceived by Sega of Japan as a fully compatible Mega Drive based console with enhanced color capabilities.Sega of America R&D head Joe Miller convinced Sega of Japan to convert it into an add-on to the existing Genesis. Although this add-on contained two 32-bit CPUs, it failed to attract either developers or consumers as the superior Saturn had already been announced for release the next year. Originally released in November 1994 (after the release of the Sega Saturn in Japan) for US$159, Sega dropped the price to $99 after only a few months and ultimately cleared the remaining inventory at $19.95.[54] Although initial sales were good, thanks mostly to Doom and Star Wars Arcade, Sega was only able to move 665,000 units worldwide by the end of 1994.

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