Although it was with the Nintendo NES and SNES systems that the basis of video games was laid for many players of a certain age, the Mega Drive (or Genesis as it was known in North America) represented at one time, an alternative for those who were not fans of Mario Bross and Link. In addition, the Mega Drive, which had the advantage of a fast processor at the time, was able to compete with Nintendo in the United States. It was on October 29, 1988 that the Mega Drive was launched in Japan, Sega's third console and the best-selling in the history of this Japanese manufacturer.
Dreamcast, Master System, Sega Saturn
What is the Mega Drive?
The Mega Drive or Sega Mega Drive is a fourth generation video game console from the Japanese company Sega. It was launched in 1988 in Japan and in 1989 in North America, where it was renamed Sega Genesis. In 1990, it was launched in Europe.
History of Mega Drive
The Mega Drive, conceived by Sega company, had its initial launch in 1988 in Japan and later, in 1989, in the United States. In United States, it was popularized as Genesis because the name Mega Drive had already been registered.
When this console was launched, Nintendo owned with the NES, 92% of the Japanese market and 95% of the North American market for video game consoles. However, Sega managed to position the Mega Drive in the United States and Europe. Even in 1992 and 1993, Mega Drive became the leader in the Latin American market. Then, with the emergence of Super Nintendo that dethroned Mega Drive in the mid-90s, this changed. However, already at that time they began to make their appearance in different markets, the first fifth-generation consoles.
- It’s a fourth-generation living room console. This is the first 16-bit lounge console.
- It has an innovative design.
- It is designed for an adult audience with many varieties of games such as fighting, sport and speed.
- It includes games initially conceived for the old Sega Master System console through an adapter that allows to enrich even more the games library of the console.
- PAL Model: Motorola 68000 16-bit 7.61 MHz.
- NTSC Model: Motorola 68000 from 16 bits to 7.67 MHz.
- Video Ram: 64 Kb
- Sound Ram: 8 Kb
- ROM: The initial Mega Drive models did not have this technical specification but later a 2kb boot ROM was included for the following models.
- Sound channels: 6 FM channels for the main sound chip and 4 channels for the additional sound chip.
- Resolution: 320X224
- Color Palette: 512
- Video The console has two separate video outputs, an antenna R.F. video output and an RGB video output.
- Auxiliary Connector: This connector was only included in the first model of the Mega Drive.
- Jack: Connection for stereo headphones, included only in the first model.
- External 9-pin “EXT” port.
Mega Drive models
- Model 1: This is the first model to be launched on the market. It had a volume control at the top. Also, in the back of the model had a port “DE-9” that used to be used in computers of the 90’s and that allowed the connection of peripherals. At the top, you could see a jack headphone output with stereo sound.
- Model 2: This model was redesigned in 1993 to make it smaller and reduce costs. Unlike the previous model, this one had a stereo audio output without Jack output. Another modification that the model had was the change of the sound chip that was not favorable because the melodies were of lower quality compared to those of the first model. The Japanese version of this model included a switch for the power.
The Mega Drive cartridges weren’t the same type for all the games. In fact, it was possible to insert different kinds of cartridges into the cartridge slot of the console. The traditional standard cartridge used for most console games consisted of a version of the Master System. On the other hand, the cartridges marketed in the Japanese market were slightly different in order to prevent them from being used in Western models.
These two types of official cartridges were used by most companies. However, it is important to mention the cartridges manufactured by the company Electronic Arts.
- Arcade Power Stick: this accessory was compatible with all 8 bit and 16 bit Sega console games. In fact, it was compatible with models 1 and 2 of the MegaDrive.
- Master System Converter: this accessory is an adapter that offered the user the ability to read 8-bit games on the Mega Drive console.
- Action Chair: this accessory consisted of a chair that replaced the movements of the joystick with the movements of the player’s body.
- Light Phaser: this accessory was like a gun and was compatible with games such as Rambo III and Rescue Mission.
- Menacer: This accessory was released to compete with the Super Nintendo Super scope. This is a light gun, consisting of 3 pieces, which does not need to be plugged in as it carries 6 AAA batteries.
- Control Pad: This is the official controller of Sega Mega Drive.
Mega Drive featured games
- Sonic The Hedgehog (1991): Sonic is a blue hero, the fastest on Earth, capable of crossing boiling lava, waterfalls and countless obstacles. This character with impressive abilities must stop Dr Eggman in his plans to dominate the world.
- Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (1992): This version of the game proposes a new approach to the game thanks to the appearance of Sonic: Tails’ companion. The player has the choice to play in two ways: ignore enemies and rings and have only the speed to pass 11 levels or explore intensely. The two characters can be played simultaneously in cooperative mode on the same screen.
- Ecco the Dolphin (1992): It is an action game that has the originality of putting the player under the orders of a dolphin. The story debuts when Ecco witnesses the disappearance of the entire ecosystem that has been erased by a mysterious storm. There are 25 levels in which, the player must explore the abysses and solve the numerous enigmas.
- Dynamite Headdy (1994): The main character of this game was Headdy, a puppet that had the peculiarity of fighting with a detachable head that could replace any other. Headdy had to fight against the evil Dark Demon who wanted to take over all the puppets in the city. Likewise, the bear Trouble Bruin was another enemy that had to attack to free the city from its demonic yoke.
- Alien Soldier (1995): The player embodies a genetically modified extraterrestrial soldier who decides to wipe out the organization that employed him. The goal is then to reach the boss and finish him, which can be achieved through 6 weapons.
- Thor’s Legend (1995): The player plays the role of Prince Ali, possessor of the gold bracelet with the power to invoke the spirits. One must fight against the owner of the silver bracelet who, for his part, sows chaos and destruction. To do this, the player must travel the lands of his reign and learn to master the different powers of his bracelet to bring the creatures he finds on his way to the other world.
- Sega, the company that launched Mega Drive, failed to reserve the legal rights to the name Mega Drive in the United States. It is for this reason that in the American continent, with the exception of Brazil, the name Sega Genesis is used to refer to the console.
- The console knows a real success with the arrival of the Game “Sonic The Hedgehog” that had worldwide 4.34 million sales.
Written by Gabriela Briceño V.