Saga Master System


Known as the  Sega Mark IV during its development, the  Sega Master System  is a cartridge- based video game console manufactured by Sega . It is a rebrand of the Sega Mark III intended for western markets, which in turn was a successor to the SG-1000 and SG-1000 II. In South Korea , it was distributed by Samsung and was known as Gam Boy and later Aladdin Boy . It was the first Sega console to achieve wide distribution outside of Japan , and it went head-to-head with Nintendo Entertainment.System around the world. Sega was unsuccessful in dethroning Nintendo in the key markets of Japan and North America . However, the significant sales that it was able to make in the European continent and in South America managed to see how the console sold very quickly and were supported until the mid-1990s in Europe and until today in Brazil, receiving a great video game library  in those regions. It is the second most successful Sega video game console of all time, with an estimated 20 million units sold worldwide , mainly in Brazil and Europe.

What is the Master System?

Master System is a video game console  that had hardware superior to Nintendo, but with a smaller number of games , which meant that its sales were not as great as its rival.

  • History of the Master System
  • Characteristics of the Master System
  • Models
  • Featured Games of the Master System
  • Curiosities

History of the Master System

Sega was under great pressure from the moment they entered the home console market in Japan . While the SG-1000 and SG-1000 II were profitable for Sega, as they had managed to exceed their initial expectations, Sega released the much-improved Sega Mark III in hopes of gaining a larger share of the market. However, Sega could not sell what they expected. In 1985 , Nintendo had an estimated 90% of the market, and a Famicom cultureit had sprung up in Japan, something all new entrants would have a hard time challenging. In a last ditch effort, Sega redesigned the system, giving rise to the  Sega Master System . This console featured a more advanced Yamaha YM2413 FM synthesis sound chip , which was not used in Western consoles. It performed somewhat better than the Sega Mark III, but faced stiff competition from newer systems, particularly NEC’s PC Engine , which was released two weeks later, on October 30, 1987. By 1986, Sega had sold approximately 1 million Mark III consoles in Japan. By early 1988, around 800,000 consoles had been soldMaster System in Japan against 6 million Famicoms . At the beginning of the life of the Master System, Sega managed to sell the rights of the United States to Tonka . Sega thought the toy company could market the system better than they could, but they were sorely mistaken. In 1989, Sega took control of the rights again, but it was too late. In 1990, after the launch of the Genesis / Mega Drive , Sega released a redesigned console, the Master System II , in the United States and throughout Europe to try to lower production costs and attract new users.


Characteristics of the Master System

Among its main characteristics we can mention:

  • The portable Sega Game Gear is backwards compatible with the Master System and can run your games through an adapter .
  • You can only define 64 colors .
  • It was a black console.
  • It was in stark contrast to the Nintendo, which was white.
  • The original master system AV connector was removed from the Master System II along with the card slot to save on manufacturing costs.
  • The pause button that is mounted on the console itself and not on the remote so it is very difficult to access it quickly.
  • The pause button and the reset button are identical , so you can easily hit reset instead of pause if you’re not careful.


After a period of decline and the rise of the recently released Sega Mega Drive , Sega built the Sega Master System II for foreign markets. In Brazil, the system is known as the Master System III Compact , and in South Korea it was released twice, first as Super Gam Boy II and later as Aladdin Boy .

Featured Games of the Master System

Games for the Master System could be found in two formats : ROM cartridges are capable of storing up to 4 Mbit of game code, while Sega cards can store up to 256 kbit. Games made for the system include Psycho Fox, Golvellius, and Phantasy Star , which became a successful franchise for Sega and is considered one of the benchmark RPGs. The Master System also hosted games featuring Sega’s main character at the time, Alex Kidd , including Alex Kidd in Miracle World and Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap. , which gained recognition as “a genuine milestone in video game design ” due to its innovative combination of platform games with role-playing elements. Built-in titles are common on Master system hardware, including Snail Maze and Hang-On , as well as Alex Kidd in Miracle World and Sonic the Hedgehog .


  • It was released as a direct competitor to the Nintendo Entertainment System.
  • Designed by the same in-house Sega team .
  • For the console ‘s North American launch , Sega redesigned and rebranded the Mark III under the name ” Master System, ” which was very similar to Nintendo’s version of the Famicom on the Nintendo entertainment system.

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