Mega drive


Although it was with the Nintendo NES and SNES consoles that the foundations of video games were laid for many players of a certain age, the Mega Drive console (or Genesis as it was known in North America), once represented an alternative for those who did not. they were fans of Mario Bross and Link . In addition, the Mega Drive, which had the advantage of having a fast processor for that time , managed to compete with Nintendo in the United States. It was on October 29, 1988 that the Mega Drive, Sega’s third console and the best-selling in the history of this Japanese manufacturer, was launched in Japan .

What is the Mega Drive?

The Mega Drive or Sega Mega Drive is a fourth generation video game console from the Japanese company Sega . Its launch took place in 1988 in Japan and in 1989, in North America , where it was renamed the Sega Genesis . In 1990, it was released in Europe .

  • History of the Mega Drive
  • Characteristics
  • Technical specifications
  • Ports
  • Mega Drive Models
  • Cartridges
  • Accessories
  • Featured Mega Drive games
  • Curiosities

History of the Mega Drive

The Mega Drive , conceived by the Sega company, had its initial launch in 1988 in Japan and later, in 1989, in the United States . In the latter country, it was popularized as Genesis since the Mega Drive name 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, the Mega Drive became the leader in the Latin American market . Then this changes with the appearance of the Super Nintendo that dethroned the Mega Drive in the mid-90s . However, already at that time, the first fifth-generation consoles began to make their appearance in different markets.


  • It is a fourth generation living room console. It is the first 16-bit living room console.
  • It has an innovative design.
  • It is designed for an adult audience with many varieties such as fighting, sports and speed games.
  • It includes games initially conceived for the old Sega Master System console through an adapter that allows to further enrich the games library of the console.

Technical specifications

  • Processor :
    • PAL model: Motorola 68000 16-bit 7.61 MHz.
    • NTSC model: Motorola 68000 16-bit 7.67 MHz.
  • Video Ram: 64 Kb
  • Sound Ram: 8 Kb
  • ROM: The initial models of Mega Drive 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 RF video output and an RGB video output.
  • Auxiliary connector: this connector was only included in the first model of the Mega Drive.
  • Jack: Stereo headphone connection, included only in the first model.
  • External 9-pin “EXT” port.

Mega Drive Models

  • Model 1:  it is the first model to hit the market. This had a volume control on the top. Also, on the back, the model had a “DE-9” port that was used in computers from the 90s and that allowed the connection of peripherals. At the top, you could see a headphone jack with stereo sound.
  • Model 2:  This model was redesigned in 1993 to make it smaller and lower costs. Unlike the previous model, this one had a stereo audio output without the Jack output. Another modification that the model had was the change of the sound chip that was not favorable since the melodies were of lower quality compared to those of the first model. The Japanese version of this model included a power switch.


The cartridges on the Mega Drive were not the same type for all games. In fact, in the cartridge slot of the console it was possible to insert different kinds of cartridges. 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 avoid that they could be used in western models.

These two types of official cartridges were used by most of the companies. However, it is important to mention the cartridges manufactured by the Electronic Arts company


  • Arcade Power Stick –  This accessory was compatible with all 8-bit and 16-bit Sega console games. Indeed, it was compatible with the Megadrive Models 1 and 2.
  • Master System Converter:  this accessory is an adapter that offered the user the possibility of reading 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 pistol and had compatibility with games like Rambo III and Rescue Mission.
  • Menacer:  This accessory was released to compete with the Super Nintendo Nintendo Superscope. It is a light gun, made up of 3 pieces, which does not need to be plugged in as it has 6 AAA batteries.
  • Control Pad: This  is the official controller for Sega Mega Drive.

Featured Mega Drive games

  • Sonic The Hedgehog (1991): Sonic is a blue hedgehog, the fastest on the face of the Earth, capable of crossing boiling lava, waterfalls and innumerable obstacles. This character with impressive abilities must stop Dr Eggman in his plans to take over the world.
  • Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (1992): This version of the game proposes a new approach to it thanks to the appearance of Sonic’s companion: Tails. The player has the choice to play in two ways: ignore the enemies and the rings and rely solely on speed to clear the 11 levels or explore intensively. The two characters can be played simultaneously cooperatively on the same screen.
  • Ecco the Dolphin (1992): It is an action game that has the originality of putting the player under the command of a dolphin. The story begins 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 in this game was Headdy, a puppet who had the peculiarity of fighting with a detachable head that could be replaced by any other. Headdy had to fight against the evil Dark Demon who wanted to take over all the puppets in the city. Likewise, the Trouble Bruin bear was another enemy that had to be attacked to free the city from its demonic yoke.
  • Alien Soldier (1995): The player embodies a genetically modified alien soldier who decides to destroy the organization that employed him. The objective is then to reach the boss and finish it, which can be achieved through 6 weapons.
  • The Legend of Thor (1995): The player embodies Prince Ali, holder of the golden bracelet with the power to invoke spirits. You 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 take the creatures that he encounters to the other world.


  • Sega , the company that launches the Mega Drive, failed to reserve the legal rights to the Mega Drive name 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.

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