The first “official” console I owned, Sega Mega Drive (Sega Genesis in the U.S.) is a 16-bit console released in 1988 in Japan, 1989 in U.S. and in 1990 in Europe and Australia.
Sega’s attempt to end Nintendo’s domination, Mega Drive’s black color and the violence existent in some of its titles distinguished it from its direct competitor.
Mega Drive was Sega’s best selling console, achieving 35.5 Million consoles sold worldwide. Still today, third party licensed consoles compatible with Mega Drive’s games are being produced.
How I got it
If I had to chose my favorite console of all times, I would easily chose Mega Drive. I got it when I was 8 years old (Christmas of 1992). It was packed with Sonic The Hedgehog, and a stuffed Sonic which was my roommate for almost 18 years (poor animal, he saw things… if you know what I mean).
Back in the days where you could not “get” games from P2P, you only had the option to either buy them or borrow them (there were some shops with rental games, but only one appeared in my city, and didn’t last long). I borrowed a few, and ended up buying about 40 for this console alone.
Although I got a Game Gear later, Mega Drive was (of course) my “main” console. In fact, even after I got Sega Saturn, I sometimes still connected the “first love” for a quick spin. Eventually I took it to my grandparents’ house, where it remained for years as my “holidays’ console”, reviving the classics every time I went there for a weekend. Now, ‘she’ (my consoles are females, like the boats) is back in the place she really deserves in my collection, as an old veteran, showing the younger consoles, technological generation over technological generation, a thing or two about gaming.
Condition and Description
Considering its use and age, the main unit is well preserved. The controller needs a substitution, and the power supply adaptor is not the original. I “burned” it from long hours playing.
Nintendo ruled the 8 bit era of home game systems. Trying to end this domain, and motivated by the Sega System 16’s success, Sega decided to create a home system based on this arcade’s machine’s 16-bit architecture.
The console hit the Japanese market in late 1988, named Mega Drive to represent its superiority (Mega) and speed (Drive). In 1989 it was released in the American market, named Genesis, for Sega could not guarantee a patent on ‘Mega Drive’ name on the American market. In 1990, it was released in the European and Australian market, with its original name.
Supported by a big list of third-party developers, and with little competition in 16-bit consoles’ market in the first two years, Mega Drive quickly became the dominant platform on this segment. This rise was also potentiated by a list of good games with different genres, without the (in my opinion) excessive worries Nintendo had about violence, and gore, and adult contents (Mortal Kombat without blood, not even with a code to unlock it, really?). The decision to launch Sonic The Hedgehog as the bundled game was also proven correct, and turned a lot of NES players to the Mega Drive’s army, quitting the wait for SNES.
Either to compete with other consoles appearing in the market or to increase Mega Drive’s lifespan Sega released Mega CD and Sega 32X. Both of these add-ons were proven a failure, but (if nothing more) worked as a bridge to the later appearance of Sega Saturn.
This console’s production ended in 1995. By the end of its lifespan, Mega Drive sold about 35.5 Million consoles worldwide.
Up to this day, is fairly easy to find some new third-party licensed consoles compatible with Mega Drive cartridges, or with built-in (in memory) games. These (some of them pretty cool) consoles prove that Mega Drive remained in the heart of gamers all over the world. And fairly, I might add.
CPU –Motorola 68000 running at 7.67MHz NTSC/7.61MHz PAL
Memory – 64KB Main RAM (repeated over the upper 2MB of address space), 64K video RAM, 8K work RAM (Z80). Cartridge (4MB)
Video – Different resolutions, from 256X224 to 320X480, according to region and version. 512 colors.
Audio – Yamaha CPU with 10 channels.
Communication – With Sega Mega Model, the player could connect to Sega Meganet (Japan only). With a Sega Channel adaptor, the console could be connected to Sega Channel (not in all countries).
Data – Built-in on cartridges.
Input – Mega Drive controllers, Menacer Light Gun, Sega Mouse, BatterUP baseball bat, TeeVGolf golf tee, Sega Activator.