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Variations of the Sega Mega Drive

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During its lifespan, the Sega Mega Drive received several officially licensed variations. While only one major design revision of the console was created during its lifespan, each region has its own peculiarities and unique items, while other variations were exercises in reducing costs (such as the removal of the little-used 9-pin EXT. port) or expanding the capabilities of the Mega Drive. A list of these variations can be found below.

Contents

 [hide] *1 Sega Mega Drive

[edit]Sega Mega Drive

[edit]Japan

[1][2]The first Japanese model of the Sega Mega Drive*Japanese-language settings

  • Headphone jack
  • AUX port marked A/V OUT
  • 9-pin EXT. port
  • RF modulator
  • Has a cartridge lock
  • On the circular molding, in purple is the text "AV Intelligent Terminal High Grade Multipurpose Use". At the bottom of the circle is a purple square section with a red power indicator LED.
  • "Mega Drive" is printed in white on the lower right of the console to the left of the Sega logo.
  • The reset button and start button on the joypad are blue.
  • Model number HAA-2510


[edit]Europe, Australia and New Zealand

[3][4]The original PAL Mega Drive*Video outputs PAL 50 Hz signal.

  • Smaller "16 BIT" logo than Japanese model, as per the Genesis.
  • English-language settings.
  • Unable to play Japanese Mega Drive games due to shape of cartridge slot. However, adapters were sold to play Japanese games in the European model, and by widening the cartridge slot it is possible to play many import games with no additional modifications, especially with the earlier games.
  • Cartridge lock removed.
  • The text "High Definition Graphics · Stereo Sound" located behind cartridge port (only found on earlier models).
  • The reset button and the start button are white.
  • Model number 1600-03 (original model), 1601-03 (second variation without "High Definition Graphics - Stereo Sound" text or EXT port)


[edit]Brazil

  • Converted to display PAL-M (60 Hz) signal
  • English-language settings
  • Unable to play Japanese and European Mega Drive games due to region limitation. However, adapters were sold to play Japanese and European games in the Brazilian model.
  • Cartridge lock removed
  • Toymaker Tec Toy manufactured and distributed the console.
  • The text "High Definition Graphics · Stereo Sound" located behind cartridge port (only found on earlier models).
  • The reset button and the start button are white.

[edit]Asia

[5][6]Asian PAL Mega Drive

This console is a variant of the European Mega Drive and often mistaken for a Japanese Mega Drive as they are almost cosmetically identical.

  • "AV INTELLIGENT TERMINAL HIGH GRADE MULTIPURPOSE USE" printed around circle on some models, omitted on others.
  • Larger "16-Bit" logo used as per Japanese model.
  • Power panel magenta instead of white.
  • "Start" and "Reset" button are blue
  • Identical to European Mega Drive with PAL or NTSC output
  • Used Japanese Mega Drive logo and packaging similar to the Japanese version
  • Games packaged the same as European with the same labeling. However, the cartridges are shaped like Japanese Mega Drive games.
  • Model number: 1601-15 (revision without the EXT port)


[edit]North America (as Sega Genesis)

[7][8]North American Sega Genesis Model 1*AUX port marked A/V OUT

  • Headphone jack with volume slider (adjusts audio volume output to headphones only, not A/V OUT)
  • 9-pin EXT. port on early models
  • Reset and start buttons are gray
  • "SEGA GENESIS" graphic in light gray on top of machine below cartridge slot
  • "HIGH DEFINITION GRAPHICS" along circle above cartridge slot, and "SEGA GENESIS" graphic in two shades of gray, on early models.
  • Model number MK-1601 is made in Japan, newer revisions were made in Taiwan to cut production costs


[edit]South Korea (as Samsung Super Alladin Boy [수퍼알라딘보이])

  • The official Korean release was licensed and marketed by Samsung Electronics,[1] as were the games.
  • Released May 1990

[edit]Sega Mega Drive 2

[edit]Japan

[9][10]Japanese Sega Mega Drive II*New square shape

  • No headphone jack[2]
  • One custom multi-output for picture and sound (9-pin mini-DIN connector rather than the 8-pin DIN connector on the original model[2])
  • Purple colored flaps on cartridge port[2]
  • The text "High Grade Multi Purpose Intelligent Terminal" located behind cartridge port.
  • Packaged with six-button controller.[2]
  • No power LED[2]
  • Slide power switch


[edit]Europe, Australia and New Zealand

[11][12]Sega Mega Drive II, PAL version.*New square shape

  • No headphone jack
  • A/V port switched to one custom multi-output for picture and sound (previously, only mono sound was used, as the stereo sound came through the headphone jack)
  • Push-button power switch
  • Smaller power connector and different AC adapter used
  • RF modulator removed
  • Has a red power LED between the power and reset buttons
  • Auto-switching RF lead included
  • Model number MK-1631-50


[edit]North America (as Sega Genesis 2)

[13][14]Sega Genesis (second model)

Note: This model was not officially named "Genesis 2".

  • New square shape
  • No headphone jack
  • One custom multi-output for picture and sound
  • Has a red power LED between the power and reset buttons
  • "Genesis" logo printed in the area above the cartridge slot
  • Model number MK-1631


[edit]South Korea (as Samsung Super Aladdin Boy II [수퍼알라딘보이 II])

  • Officially licensed Korean version of Sega Mega Drive 2
  • Licensed and distributed by Samsung Electronics

[edit]Sega Mega Drive 3

[edit]North America (as Sega Genesis 3)

[15][16]Sega Genesis 3, with three button controller

Announced in 1997 as a "budget" version, the Genesis 3 was manufactured by Majesco. In order to cut costs, the expansion port and a few connections on the cartridge slot were omitted, which made the Genesis 3 incompatible with the Sega CD, Sega 32X, Power Base Converter and Virtua Racing. Also, due to a correction of a bug in the memory controller, some games which exploited this bug are also incompatible, namely Disney's Gargoyles. It was released in 1998 as the "Genesis 3" in USA and South America. It originally retailed for $50 and was later lowered as far down as $19.99. The smaller size and weight of the unit proved problematic in certain situations, as a single controller proved heavy enough to drag the system with it if left hanging.

  • Smaller square shape
  • No expansion port
  • No headphone jack
  • No power LED, but there is a red mark underneath the power switch, which becomes visible when the Genesis 3 is turned on
  • One multi-output for picture and sound. It has the necessary pin outs to be able to use the Genesis 2 Stereo A/V cable [1]; though an apparent revision of the Genesis 3 was manufactured that is incompatible with stereo sound, despite also having the pinouts
  • Does not support Sega CD, Sega 32X or Power Base Converter
  • "Sega Genesis 3" below cartridge slot
  • Model number MK-1461
  • Does not support Game Genie device
  • In addition, Japanese Mega Drive cartridges (which do not contain an internal region lockout) can be played without a converter or modification, as the cartridge slot, which is the same shape as the original Japanese console, allows for these cartridges to be inserted freely.

[edit]Brazil

Note: This model looks like the North American Sega Genesis 2 (lots of different versions with different built-in games).

The other release is Mega Drive 3 with 86 games. Released by TecToy in Brazil, it features a new design, no cartridge slot and 86 games built-in. The controllers are oval-shaped, with only 3 buttons. Comes with a plastic stand so it can be placed on an upright position. This console is most likely not based on the original Sega hardware, as it also features six games by Electronic Arts originally released for mobile phones: FIFA 08, Need for Speed: ProStreet, The Sims 2 and SimCity.

[edit]Sega Firecore

[edit]North America

[17][18]Sega Firecore, with one 6-button Firecore controller

Announced in 2008 as the "Firebox" and "Sega Genesis 4" and released in 2009 as the "Firecore", a remodeled "Sega Genesis" console that featured built-in games. The Genesis Firecore was manufactured by ATGames. The system doesn't have an expansion port, which makes the Firecore incompatible with theSega CD, and is also incompatible with Sega 32X, Power Base Converter and Virtua Racing. It's been reported unable to properly emulate the in-game music when playing from the original game cartridges of titles such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2.[3]

  • Smaller than the Genesis 3
  • No expansion port
  • No headphone port
  • Power LED, unlike the Genesis 3
  • Mono A/V output
  • Does not support Sega CD, Sega 32X or Power Base Converter
  • "Sega Genesis" above cartridge slot, and a red sticker that says "Firecore" in the corner
  • Has a NTSC/PAL switch
  • First licensed Sega Genesis/Mega Drive to have no region lockout
  • Larger cartridge slot to accommodate all Sega Genesis/Mega Drive cartridges
  • Cartridge slot is not keyed; the user must make sure the cartridge is inserted correctly (label towards the front)
  • 20 Built-in Games:
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle, Alien Storm, Altered Beast, Arrow Flash, Columns III, Crack Down, Decap Attack, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, Ecco the Dolphin, Ecco Jr., ESWAT,Flicky, Gain Ground, Golden Axe, Jewel Master, Kid Chameleon, Shadow Dancer, Shinobi III, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic Spinball

[edit]Europe (as Blaze Mega Drive)

In Europe, a version of the Firecore is marketed by Blaze and is simply called the Sega Mega Drive.

The main difference between the two versions is that Blaze Mega Drive comes with 15 built-in games, rather than the Firecore's 20:[4][5] It retains the sound emulation issues of the Sega Firecore.

Alex Kidd, Alien Storm, Altered Beast, Arrow Flash, Bonanza Bros., Columns, Crack Down, Decap Attack, ESWAT, Fatal Labyrinth, Flicky, Gain Ground, Golden Axe, Shadow Dancer and Sonic & Knuckles.

[edit]Tectoy Mega Drive 4

Released in Brazil only, this new version announced by TecToy in August 2009 has a totally revamped design: this new console is white and gray, the controllers have six differently colored buttons and comes with a new guitar controller. Although this system has a SD card slot allowing the owner to play MP3 as well as roms on the device, it has no cartridge slot. It does, however, have 87 built-in games in its memory, including Sonic 3, Golden Axe, Altered Beast and The Sims. It also includes the new game Guitar Idol (a Guitar Hero clone), meant to be played with the guitar controller.

[edit]Sega Mega Drive Handheld

The Sega Mega Drive Handheld is a portable videogame system containing 20 built-in Sega Mega Drive games. It has been manufactured and distributed since late 2007 by various companies, most commonly by Blaze Europe,[6] TecToy for the Brazilian market[7] & AtGames.[8]

The 20 built-in games are fully licensed by Sega, and comprise of:

Some versions include Shinobi III and Ristar, instead of Revenge of Shinobi and Sonic Spinball.

The games are accessed from a series of four menu screens. All games are provided in their basic state, with no additional enhancements or benefits. There is no functionality for two or more players, even though some of the games still include their multi-player options.

The physical specifications of the Mega Drive Handheld include: a back-lit colour screen, headphone jack, AV out jack, mono speaker, and volume wheel. The unit is powered by three AAA batteries. A composite AV cable is provided to optionally connect the device to a television.

The Mega Drive Handheld has been reviewed favourably,[9] particularly in comparison to the technical problems of the Sega Nomad, a previous handheld console that played Mega Drive games. Most negative criticism concerns the selection of built-in games, which is deemed lacklustre.[10] Another major downside is the inability to save games (all save data is cleared upon reset), which makes playing RPGs (e.g. Shining Force) near impossible.

A variant of this is sometimes sold in German discounters as Millennium Mega Drive Portable.[11]

A special "Limited Streets of Rage Edition" of the system was released in early 2011. As well as the 15 main games, this edition also included Streets of Rage, Streets of Rage 3 and Virtua Fighter.

[edit]Retro Gen Portable

Another portable version, this Sega-approved Mega Drive based handheld was released at the end of 2009. It will not come pre-loaded with 20 games like the Firecore, but features the ability to run regular Mega Drive cartridges on the go, as well as licensed games stored in a SD card connected to a special cartridge. The console is powered by a USB-rechargeable battery, and has an AV output. The handheld lacks proper sound emulation in games such as Sonic 3 or Sonic & Knuckles.[12]

[edit]Sega Mega Drive derived hardware

[edit]The Wondermega/X'eye

[20][21]The Wondermega Logo[22][23]Wondermega RG M2[24][25]JVC X'eye

Wondermega (named X'eye in North America) - A combined Mega Drive and Mega-CD sold by Victor (known as JVC outside Japan)[13] - Never released in Europe

  • Improved sound capabilities[14]
  • MIDI port[14]
  • 2 microphone inputs[14]
  • S-video out[14] (only in Wondermega, not in later X'eyes)
  • Packaged with a CD called Game Garden that had Flicky and Pyramid. The CD player is compatible with CD-Gs.
  • Another release came with Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, Prize Fighter, and a Karaoke CD+G demo CD.
  • Later Japanese pack had a platform game called Wonder Dog by Core Design.
  • Supported the "Wonder CD" peripheral that allowed one to create music and connect to MIDI-enabled devices.
  • Supported a music keyboard called the "Piano Player" that allowed users to create music and learn to use the keyboard.
  • Later given a redesign with a softer, more curved look. Some of the extra features were removed and the joypads were remodeled infrared joypads.[citation needed]


[edit]Sega Multi-Mega/CDX

[26][27]Sega CDX (1994)
Main article: Sega Multi-Mega

Sega Multi-Mega (named the Sega CDX in North America) - An integrated Mega Drive/Genesis and Mega-CD/Sega CD console with the capability of also functioning as a portable CD player, aimed at the more affluent market. The British release sold at £350, the North America release sold at $400.

  • No built-in screen.
  • Could function as a portable CD player. CD control buttons are on the front of the console. A back-lit LCD displayed the track number. An extra line out port was provided for stereo equipment.
  • Powered by 2 AA batteries when operated as a portable CD player. The unit must be powered by an AC adapter to play video games.


[edit]The Mega-Tech and Mega Play

Main articles: Sega Mega-Tech and Sega Mega-Play

The Sega Mega-Tech was an arcade machine that featured eight interchangeable Mega Drive or Master System games in an arcade cabinet, similar to Nintendo's PlayChoice-10.

  • First released in 1989 with titles such as Thunder Force II, Altered Beast, Tetris, Last Battle, Space Harrier II, and Golden Axe.
  • Games could be changed at any time, and more titles, such as Sonic the Hedgehog, were made available. The games were identical to their non-arcade counterparts, and all cheat codes were functional.
  • Games were supplied by a Japanese-shaped Mega Drive cartridge, although slightly heavier. The labels were silver and red and only had "Mega-Tech" printed on them. These cartridges are not compatible with a regular Mega Drive/Genesis due to the extra information on them stored to run the second monitor, and differences in the length of the edge connector, number of pins, pinouts, and spacing.
  • A second, smaller nine-inch monitor is located at the top of the cabinet. It displayed instructions for each of the games and also a game listing, allowing the user to swap between games at any time using a button on the control panel.
  • The user pays to play for a certain length of time. When time was starting to run out, the screen flashed green to notify the user that additional credits are needed should he or she want to play more of that game.

The Sega Mega-Play was another arcade system like the Mega-Tech, but this only had four cartridge slots and could not play Master System games. Cartridges were shaped like those for the Japanese Mega Drive, but incompatible with consumer Mega Drive or Mega-Tech systems.

[edit]The Mega Jet and Sega Nomad

[28][29]Sega Genesis NomadMain article: Sega Nomad

The original technology behind the Sega Nomad traces back to the Mega Jet, which was a semi-portable version of the Mega Drive that was used for in-flight entertainment by Japan Airlines. The device lacked its own screen, but could play Mega Drive cartridges when hooked up to a small monitor used on Japan Airlines flights. The unit featured a directional pad on the left side and six buttons on the right, similar to the layout of a game controller.

A consumer version of Mega Jet was released by Sega of Japan on March 10, 1994 at the cost of US$123. It was essentially the same as the unit that was used on JAL flights, meaning that it still lacked a screen and could not be powered on without an AC adapter. A mono DIN plug cord was added and the necessary AC adapter was included with the unit. No other additions or improvements were made. Sega followed it up in October 1995 with the Genesis Nomad for the American market, essentially a Mega Jet featuring a 3.25 inch color LCD screen, and a battery pack attached to the rear of the system, holding six AA batteries, making it completely portable, as opposed to simply being a small Mega Drive system. In addition to its other improvements over the Mega Jet, an A/V output plug was added to the top of the unit, allowing owners to play games on a television screen with a separate A/V cable. One particularly interesting feature was the ability for one player to play using a connected TV while another watched on the Nomad. The directional pad on the unit controlled all one-player games, and a port on the bottom allowed a second controller to be plugged in for two-player games. This meant that the Nomad could be a fully functional home system as well as a completely portable handheld solution with a pre-existing library of games available for it.

While the Nomad won praise for its screen resolution and features, there were some problems. The 32X and Mega-CD were not compatible with the unit, and Sega's Power Base Converter, used to play Sega Master System games on the Mega Drive/Genesis, was also incompatible. Battery life was a major problem as well: six AA batteries could be exhausted in about 2 hours.

On paper, the Nomad was the perfect color portable. It had a full color, backlit display, and supported an estimated 600 titles already on the shelves in addition to being a functional home system. But despite the price falling from $179 to $79.99, rendering moot any complaints of overpricing, the handheld did not garner enough support to continue.

[edit]Pioneer LaserActive with Mega Drive module

Main article: Pioneer LaserActive[30][31]Pioneer LaserActive CLD-A100 / Sega PAC-S1 / NEC PAC-N1

LaserActive was the name given to Pioneer's CLD-A100 LaserDisc player.[15] The player was both a Laserdisc and CD player right out of the box, while the addition of add-on modules manufactured by Sega and NEC could make the unit function as a gaming system as well.[15] Sega's PAC-S1 module, released at a price of ¥39,000[citation needed], allowed users to play Mega Drive, Mega-CD and specially created Mega LD games through the player.[15] The Mega LD games were briefly thought to be the next evolution in gaming, mainly because the massive storage capacity of the Laserdiscs they were printed on meant that games could be multiple times larger than before and include broadcast quality full-motion video and surround sound, features that have become commonplace on modern DVD-ROM based systems.

An NEC module, PAC-N1, gave the unit the capability to play TurboGrafx-16 games. The addition of either module also made the unit compatible with either Sega or NEC brand control pads.[15] A later module was released for the unit by Pioneer, allowing it to function as a full-feature Karaoke machine.[15]

Pioneer later engineered 3D glasses for the system (Kit GOL-1);[15] the glasses required an adapter to be attached before they could function with the player, but each adapter could support a pair of the goggles, allowing 2 users to play in 3D simultaneously.

[edit]The TeraDrive

Main article: Sega TeraDrive[32][33]TeraDrive, a hybrid 80286 personal computer with embedded Mega Drive hardware.

The TeraDrive was an 80286 PC manufactured by IBM with an integrated Mega Drive. The system was released in Japan only. Three models were available, ranging from ¥148,000 to ¥248,000; only the top-of-the-line model was supplied with a hard disk. A special monitor (sold separately) was available, which could display both 15 kHz RGB video signals from the Mega Drive hardware and the 31 kHz VGA output of the PC hardware, both from the VGA connector. The system also contained composite NTSC video and stereo RCA jacks for connection to a TV. Additionally, Mega Drive games could be played at the same time as the PC section is being used, and it was possible for the Mega Drive and PC hardware to interact with each other, as shown with the Puzzle Construction program. It was also possible for Mega Drive software to be run from the PC's RAM.

Etymologically, TeraDrive is a portmanteau of "Tera-", which denotes 1012 (1 000 000 000 000), and "Mega Drive".

[edit]Amstrad Mega PC

Main article: Amstrad Mega PC

The Mega PC was a system produced by Amstrad under license from Sega with Mega Drive and IBM-compatible PC functionality in one. The Mega PC was similar in concept to the Teradrive, but was an unrelated project.

  • The PC section used an Intel i386SX running at 25 MHz. It had 1 MB of RAM and a 40 MB hard disk drive.
  • Released in Europe and Australia around 1992–1993
  • Cream-colored, with a sliding cover on the front to change between Mega Drive and PC modes.
  • The output from the Mega Drive section was only available through the VGA connector, to the supplied dual-sync (15 kHz/31 kHz) monitor.
  • Though the PC section is always running when the system is switched on, Mega Drive software cannot be used at the same time as PC software, due to the system having only one video output.
  • Could also be used with a Mega-CD with the use of a special connector only available from Amstrad.
  • Most of the Mega Drive hardware is contained on an 8-bit ISA card, with AdLib-compatible sound on the same board.
  • The Mega Plus was an updated version of the Mega PC. It used an Intel i486 at 33 MHz and 4 MB of RAM.
  • The Mega PC can technically play most Import titles without an adaptor, Japanese and American alike.

[edit]Aiwa Mega-CD

Probably the most unusual of any incarnation of the Mega Drive was a variant that was built around an Aiwa CD player. The unit was made up of two components - an Aiwa bookshelf-size CD radio and a dock which added the Mega Drive connections (excepting sound, which the main radio unit handled.) Oddly, Sega and Aiwa chose not to place the interface between the two on the sides that would connect, but instead opted to use a connection cable on the back. This variant of the Mega Drive is one of the rarest made, and only saw limited release into the Japanese market.

[edit]Radica Games' Legends Sega Genesis

The Sega Genesis/Mega Drive was brought back to life by the USA company Radica Games Limited under its Play TV collection. It consists of a classic Genesis joypad with a video cable ready for plugging into a television to play a variety of games. Some models actually condense the Genesis/Mega Drive system onto a single chip, allowing a cartridge slot to be added. As of March 2006, there are at least seven versions of the gadget:

[edit]Miscellaneous

  • Some MSX machines released only in Middle Eastern countries by a company named Universal, which along with MSX software could also (allegedly) play Mega Drive games.[citation needed]

[edit]Unauthorized clones

  • An unauthorized Mega Drive clone called the Super Creation was sold in certain Asian markets in the early and mid 90s. The clone looks like a first-generation Japanese Mega Drive except that it lacks the Sega branding on the lower right corner of the device. It also has the expansion port, the stereo headphones jack, and joystick connectors that are compatible with official Mega Drive accessories. The clone also designed to accept cartridges from all regions and is pre-modified to bypass refresh rate checks automatically, as the PAL version of the machine is reported to run both Japanese and American NTSC software out of the box.
  • The Scorpion 16 (Scorpion XVI) was an unauthorized games console based on the original Japanese version of the Mega Drive. It had the capability of playing any Mega Drive/Genesis game from around the world by using the switch box located at the right side of the console allowing the user to choose either NTSC or PAL. Some versions have been known to have built-in games which could be removed and replaced with another game, although this required the user to break open the game cartridge. Although not officially licensed by Sega, they still managed to make it to UK high street stores.
  • Yobo Games produces several systems advertised as being able to play Genesis cartridges, one of them (the Yobo FC 3 Plus) is also made to play NES and Super NES cartridges as well.

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