The Sega Genesis (known as Sega Mega Drive outside of North America) is the third console manufactured by Sega. It was released in 1988 in Japan and 1989 for North America. It competed against the Nintendo Entertainment System and later the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in the legendary console wars between Nintendo and Sega and was discontinued in 1997.
Why It Does What Nintendon't
- Though the Super Nintendo was virtually superior to the Mega Drive in almost every way, the Mega Drive had a faster processor, the Motorola 68000 (which was also used in the Neo Geo AES), allowing for faster games such as the original Sonic trilogy. The term "blast processing" came from this.
- The sound chip was very capable, similar to the Sega 16-bit arcade games. With accordingly named DAC, which are drums and cymbals, and PSG, which are chiptune synths.
- It had a larger number of arcade games, sports games and shoot'em ups than the Super Nintendo.
- The Sonic the Hedgehog franchise started on the Mega Drive/Genesis.
- It spawned a combo console, the CDX, that plays both Genesis and the Sega CD games.
- Unlike the Super Nintendo which targated younger audiences, the Mega Drive directly targeted older audiences which helped gain more appeal and even boosted sponsorship of Sports Games.
- Sega didn't add any strict rules to their system unlike Nintendo so this system had lots of third-party support, even including a few companies that usually work with Nintendo, such as Capcom and Konami, resulting in the console being blessed with their franchises such as Mega Man, Street Fighter, Castlevania and Contra, in the form of Mega Man: The Wily Wars, three versions of Street Fighter II, Castlevania: Bloodlines, and Contra: Hard Corps perspectively.
- More than 900 games were released for the system, with 125 of them never leaving Japan (including Puyo Puyo).
- The boxes that housed the games were actually plastic cases that snapped shut and held the game in place, similar to a VHS case. This style of container is still being used today, though they are smaller due to optical discs (such as CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray). It also makes finding Mega Drive games in the original packaging much easier and cheaper than finding a boxed Super Nintendo game.
- The controller is comfortable to hold and has an amazing D-pad.
- You can plug an Atari 2600 controller and it'll work, but most games won't be usable since its missing Genesis controller buttons.
- It transforms into Megatron from Transformers!
- With the Power Base Converter, you can play most of the Sega Master System games on your Sega Mega Drive and requires no power supply or any other wires.
- As such, the Sega Mega Drive is the only console in the fourth generation of video game consoles to have the ability to do backwards compatibility with its predecessor.
- Some third-party companies made their own versions of the system.
- The JVC X'Eye, also known as the Wondermega in Japan, is a combo unit of the Mega Drive and Mega CD and can even play region free Mega Drive games and supports CD+G karaoke discs, and has a headphone jack and can take any composite cables to hook it up to your TV but the S-Video port is removed. Unfortunately, the Power Base Converter which allows you to play Sega Master System games on your Sega Mega Drive doesn't fit. However, the Sega 32X works and you can play 32X cartridge games and even Mega CD 32X games.
- The Genesis 3 is a re-released version of the Sega Mega Drive published by Majesco Entertainment, it is a smaller and lighter Sega Mega Drive making it more portable and had some fixes from the original models, though this comes at the cost of compatibility with the Sega CD and 32X peripherals.
- It has WAY too many add-ons, adapters, attachments, first-party and third-party models, and plug-n'-play clones.
- Sega had a horrible way to advertise the console, compromised by constantly mocking the competitor (mostly Nintendo) by calling it terrible or "for losers only" while the Mega Drive's feature were highly exaggerated.
- Many Western-developed games had bad music because most Western developers used the GEMS sound driver. Not that it was much worse than SMPS, but it was easier to use.
- "Blast processing" isn't a real feature but a marketing gimmick to show off that the Mega Drive has a faster processor than the Super Nintendo.
- Besides the D-pad and start button, the first model controller only has three trigger buttons, which isn't enough for some of the games in its library, especially fighting games. A second model controller with 6 buttons was later released though.
- The Genesis 3 mentioned above is smaller and lighter, making it a more portable system, but it doesn't work with the Sega 32X or Power Base Converter add-ons without modding and doesn't have an expansion port so the Sega CD isn't compatible. Game Genie won't work on the Genesis 3 either since the memory control bug was fixed; some games won't work on the Genesis 3 because they utilized the bug.
- The Sega CDX which is a Genesis with the Sega CD built in had many reports of its CD laser failing to read the disc.
- Although the JVC X'Eye does have advantages and benefits over the Sega Mega Drive with a Sega CD and the Sega CDX, the console's price was $500 when it costed only $320 to purchase a Sega Mega Drive and Sega CD separately.
- The shutdown Sega Channel service could play a selection of Sega Mega Drive/Genesis games and demos, and give players access to cheat codes, but the fee per month was $15. Some games were also Sega Channel exclusives, most notably Alien Soldier, Pulseman, Golden Axe III and Mega Man: The Wily Wars.
- If you turned off the system, the Sega Channel downloads would be erased, this is especially egregious because Mega Man: The Wily Wars has a save feature.
- The Power Base Converter requires some games to be played with Master System or SG-1000 controllers due to different input protocols between these controllers and the Genesis controllers. And as both on SG-1000 and Master System, the Pause button is located in the unit instead rather than being supported by the Start button on Genesis controller. Furthermore, it lacks the ability of playing SG-1000 games or F-16 Fighting Falcon due to the lack of legacy video modes on the system.
- In other hand, one Master System game, Phantasy Star, received an limited release on the system, being just the original game repackaged into a Genesis cartridge in Japan. Although this happened in 1994 from Sega, unlicensed third-party studios in Southeast Asia converted Master System games into Genesis cartridges before, such as Zemina with Super Boy 4 in 1992.
Despite losing to the Super Nintendo in the console wars near the end and being significantly less popular in Japan, the Sega Genesis is still considered one of the best gaming consoles ever created and still has its fans among retro gamers and game collectors. It is also the most successful Sega console.
In Asia (minus Japan), South America, Europe and Oceania this console was the most popular 16-bit console, which means, Sega Mega Drive has bigger geographical reach than SNES. Bootleg Mega Drive consoles were performing better, than bootleg Famicom ones, albeit being less common there.
The controller can connect to an Atari 2600 and it'll work, same with the Master System's one.