Sega Master System
The Sega Master System is a console made by Sega and released in September 1986 in the U.S. as a competitor to the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was initially released in 1985 as the Sega Mark III in Japan, itself an enhanced version of the earlier SG-1000. In 1990, the Sega Master System II was released for PAL regions.
Why It Rocks
- Though the NES was more successful in terms of market share, the Master System had superior hardware than that of the NES, allowing for a brighter color palette and more detailed sprites.
- Some games were stored in cards which consumed less space, similar to the TurboGrafx-16.
- While it didn't have such a big library of games, it included several successful titles such as Phantasy Star, Psycho Fox, Wonder Boy in Monster Land and Alex Kidd in Miracle World.
- Though it was discontinued quickly in the U.S., it was very popular in Brazil and Europe. Regarding Brazil, Master System consoles and games were produced, published and distributed by Brazilian company Tectoy. It was also popular in Korea where it was sold by Samsung.
- The Master System also included accessories such as a light gun and 3D glasses.
- Because of its popularity in Brazil, the Master System is the longest-lived game console, lasting for more than 30 years, it's even still being made today in Brazil.
- The Master System even sells around 150 thousand units per year in Brazil, a level that can be comparable to the modern systems such as PlayStation 4.
- The controller is the easiest to use.
- Many of the consoles actually come with a built-in game, usually Alex Kidd in Miracle World on earlier models, and the first Sonic The Hedgehog on later models.
- The console is very reliable, much more so than the Western-model NES was.
- The Pause button is located on the actual console, which can be inconvenient to use.
- Weak sound chip (SN76489 only has square waves and a noise channel, no triangle wave and DPCM, compared to NES' 2a03), which gave the system audio capabilities nearer those of the Intellivison or Colecovision rather than the NES. Latter models in Japan had an improved sound chip (YM2413) that was almost as good as that of the Sega Genesis, but it was never released in the west. Fortunately, there are some unofficial hacks that used the YM2413 sound chip, most notably the Sonic the Hedgehog one.
In 2008 Tectoy produced a model of the console, called Sega Master System III, exclusively for the Brazilian market. It relies on built-in games and therefore has no cartridge slot.