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The Sega Genesis, known as the outside North America, is a
16-bit 16-bit microcomputer A microcomputer is a small, relatively inexpensive computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform gener ...
fourth-generation
home video game console A home video game console is a video game console that is designed to be connected to a display device, such as a television, and an external power source as to play video games. Home consoles are generally less powerful and customizable than ...
developed and sold by
Sega is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a sovereign ...

Sega
. The Genesis was Sega's third console and the successor to the
Master System The is a third-generation 8-bit In computer architecture, 8-bit integer (computer science), integers or other data#Uses of data in computing, data units are those that are 8 bits wide (1 octet). Also, 8-bit central processing unit, CP ...
. Sega released it in 1988 in Japan as the Mega Drive, and in 1989 in North America as the Genesis. In 1990, it was distributed as the Mega Drive by
Virgin Mastertronic Mastertronic was originally a publisher and distributor of low-cost computer game software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions and data (computing), data that tell a computer how to work. This is in con ...
in Europe,
Ozisoft Namco Bandai Partners S.A.S. was an amalgamation of several former Atari Atari () is a brand name owned by several entities since its inception in 1972, currently by Atari Interactive, a subsidiary of the French publisher Atari SA. The original ...
in Australasia, and
Tec Toy Tec Toy S.A., trading as Tectoy since late 2007, is a Brazilian toy and electronics company headquartered in São Paulo. It is best known for producing, publishing, and distributing Sega consoles and video games in Brazil. The company was founded ...
in Brazil. In South Korea, it was distributed by
Samsung The Samsung Group (or simply Samsung) ( ko, 삼성) is a South Korean Multinational corporation, multinational manufacturing Conglomerate (company), conglomerate headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul, South Korea. It comprises numerous affil ...

Samsung
as the Super Gam*Boy and later the Super Aladdin Boy. In Russia, it was distributed by Bitman. Designed by an R&D team supervised by Hideki Sato and Masami Ishikawa, the Genesis was adapted from Sega's
System 16 Sega is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a so ...
arcade board, centered on a
Motorola 68000 The Motorola 68000 (sometimes shortened to Motorola 68k or m68k and usually pronounced "sixty-eight-thousand") is a 16/32-bit complex instruction set computer A complex instruction set computer (CISC ) is a computer in which single instructi ...
processor as the
CPU A central processing unit (CPU), also called a central processor, main processor or just processor, is the electronic circuit File:PExdcr01CJC.jpg, 200px, A circuit built on a printed circuit board (PCB). An electronic circuit is composed of ...

CPU
, a
Zilog Z80 The Z80 is an 8-bit In computer architecture In computer engineering, computer architecture is a set of rules and methods that describe the functionality, organization, and implementation of computer systems. Some definitions of archite ...

Zilog Z80
as a sound controller, and a video system supporting hardware sprites,
tiles Tiles are usually thin, square or rectangular coverings manufactured from hard-wearing material such as ceramic A ceramic is any of the various hard, brittle, heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant Corrosion is a Erosion, natural pro ...
, and scrolling. It plays a library of more than 900 games on ROM-based cartridges. Several add-ons were released, including a Power Base Converter to play Master System games. It was released in several different versions, some created by third parties. Sega created two network services to support the Genesis:
Sega Meganet Sega Meganet, also known as the Net Work System, was an online service for the Sega Genesis, Mega Drive in Japan and later Brazil. Utilizing dial-up Internet access, Meganet was Sega's first Internet, online multiplayer, multiplayer gaming service ...
and
Sega Channel The Sega Channel is a discontinued online game An online game is a video game that is either partially or primarily played through the Internet or any other computer network available. Online games are ubiquitous on modern gaming platforms, in ...
. In Japan, the Mega Drive fared poorly against its two main competitors, Nintendo's
Super Famicom The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), commonly shortened to Super NES or Super Nintendo, is a 16-bit 16-bit microcomputers are computers in which 16-bit microprocessors were the norm. A 16-bit register can store 216 different values ...

Super Famicom
and
NEC is a Japanese multinational information technology and electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. It uses active d ...
's
PC Engine The TurboGrafx-16, known as the outside North America, is a fourth-generation home video game console A home video game console is a video game console that is designed to be connected to a display device, such as a television, and an exte ...

PC Engine
, but it achieved considerable success in North America, Brazil, and Europe. Contributing to its success was its library of
arcade game An arcade game or coin-op game is a coin-operated entertainment machine typically installed in public businesses such as restaurants, bars and amusement arcades. Most arcade games are presented as primarily game of skill, games of skill and in ...

arcade game
ports The Porticciolo del Cedas port in Trieste.html"_;"title="Barcola_near_Trieste">Barcola_near_Trieste,_a_small_local_port A_port_is_a_ Barcola_near_Trieste,_a_small_local_port">Trieste.html"_;"title="Barcola_near_Trieste">Barcola_near ...
, the popularity of Sega's ''
Sonic the Hedgehog is a Japanese video game series and media franchise created and owned by Sega. The franchise follows Sonic the Hedgehog (character), Sonic, an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog who battles the evil Doctor Eggman, a mad scientist. The main ''Sonic ...

Sonic the Hedgehog
'' series, several popular sports franchises, and aggressive
youth marketing "Youth Marketing" is a term used in the marketing and advertising industry to describe activities to communicate with young people, typically in the age range of 11 to 35. More specifically, there is the teen marketing, targeting people age 11 to ...
that positioned it as the cool console for adolescents. The North American release in 1991 of the Super Famicom, rebranded as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, triggered a fierce battle for market share in the United States and Europe known as the "
console war In the video game industry, a console war describes the competition between two or more video game console A video game console is an electronic or computer device that outputs a video signal or visual image to display a video game A vid ...
". As this contest drew increasing attention to the video game industry among the general public, the Genesis and several of its highest-profile games attracted significant legal scrutiny on matters involving
reverse engineering Reverse engineering (also known as backwards engineering or back engineering) is a process or method through the application of which one attempts to understand through deductive reasoning Deductive reasoning, also deductive logic, is the process ...

reverse engineering
and video game violence. Controversy surrounding violent games such as ''
Night Trap ''Night Trap'' is a 1992 interactive movie video game developed by Digital Pictures and originally released by Sega for the Sega CD. The game is presented primarily through the use of full-motion video (FMV). In ''Night Trap'', the player take ...
'' and ''
Mortal Kombat ''Mortal Kombat'' is an American media franchise centered on a series of video games, originally developed by Midway Games in 1992. The development of the first game was originally based on an idea that Ed Boon and John Tobias had of making ...
'' led Sega to create the
Videogame Rating CouncilThe Videogame Rating Council (V.R.C.) was introduced by Sega of America in 1993 to rate all video games that were released for sale in the United States and Canada on the Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Genesis, Game Gear, Sega CD, and Sega Pico, P ...
, a predecessor to the
Entertainment Software Rating Board The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is a self-regulatory organization A self-regulatory organization (SRO) is an organization that exercises some degree of regulatory authority over an industry or profession. The regulatory author ...
. 30.75 million first-party Genesis units were sold worldwide. In addition, Tec Toy sold an estimated three million licensed variants in Brazil, Majesco projected it would sell 1.5 million licensed variants of the system in the United States, Bitman sold an unspecified amount in Russia (though outnumbered by counterfeit clones), and smaller numbers were sold by Samsung in South Korea. By the mid-2010s, licensed third-party Genesis rereleases were still being sold by AtGames in North America and Europe. Many games have been re-released in compilations or on online services such as the Nintendo Virtual Console,
Xbox Live Arcade Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) is a digital video game Digital distribution in video games, download service available through the Xbox Games Store, Microsoft's digital distribution network for the Xbox 360. It focuses on smaller downloadable games from bo ...
,
PlayStation Network PlayStation Network (PSN) is a digital media entertainment service provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Launched in November 2006, PSN was originally conceived for the PlayStation video game consoles, but soon extended to encompass smartph ...
, and
Steam Steam is water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the fl ...
. The Genesis was succeeded in 1994 by the
Sega Saturn The is a home video game console A home video game console is a video game console A video game console is an electronic device that output Output may refer to: * The information produced by a computer, see Input/output In comput ...
.


History


Development

In the early 1980s, – then a subsidiary of
Gulf+Western Gulf and Western Industries, Inc., (stylized as Gulf+Western) was an American conglomerate. Gulf and Western's origins date to a manufacturer named the Michigan Bumper Company founded in 1934, although Charles Bluhdorn treated his 1958 takeove ...
– was one of the top five
arcade game An arcade game or coin-op game is a coin-operated entertainment machine typically installed in public businesses such as restaurants, bars and amusement arcades. Most arcade games are presented as primarily game of skill, games of skill and in ...

arcade game
manufacturers active in the United States, as company revenues surpassed $200 million between July 1981 and June 1982. A downturn in the arcade business starting in 1982 seriously hurt the company, leading Gulf+Western to sell its North American arcade manufacturing organization and the licensing rights for its arcade games to
Bally Manufacturing Bally Manufacturing, later renamed Bally Entertainment, was an American company that began as a pinball and slot machine manufacturer, and later expanded into casinos, video games, health clubs, and theme parks. It was acquired by Hilton Hotels ...
. The company retained Sega's North American R&D operation, as well as its Japanese subsidiary, Sega Enterprises, Ltd. With its arcade business in decline, Sega Enterprises, Ltd. president
Hayao Nakayama is a Japanese businessman and was the former President and CEO of Sega Enterprises, Ltd from 1983 to 1999. Early life and career Nakayama was born into a family of doctors, and was expected to pursue medicine as a career. However, Nakayama dec ...
advocated that the company leverage its hardware expertise to move into the home console market in Japan, which was in its infancy at the time. Nakayama received permission to proceed with this project, leading to the release of Sega's first home video game system, the
SG-1000 The is a home video game console A home video game console is a video game console A video game console is an electronic device that output Output may refer to: * The information produced by a computer, see Input/output In computi ...

SG-1000
, in July 1983. While it had sold 160,000 units in Japan, far exceeding Sega's expectations, sales at stores were dominated by
Nintendo is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational consumer electronics and video game company headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. The company was founded in 1889 as by craftsman Fusajiro Yamauchi and originally produced handmade playing ca ...

Nintendo
's
Famicom The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is an 8-bit In computer architecture In computer engineering, computer architecture is a set of rules and methods that describe the functionality, organization, and implementation of computer ...

Famicom
which had been released the same day. Sega estimated that the Famicom outsold the SG-1000 by a 10-to-1 margin. The SG-1000 was replaced by the
Sega Mark III The is a third-generation 8-bit In computer architecture, 8-bit integer (computer science), integers or other data#Uses of data in computing, data units are those that are 8 bits wide (1 octet). Also, 8-bit central processing unit, CP ...
within two years. In the meantime, Gulf+Western began to divest itself of its non-core businesses after the death of company founder
Charles Bluhdorn Charles George Bluhdorn (born Karl Georg Blühdorn; September 20, 1926 – February 20, 1983) was an Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landl ...
, so Nakayama and former Sega CEO David Rosen arranged a management buyout of the Japanese subsidiary in 1984 with financial backing from CSK Corporation, a prominent Japanese software company. Nakayama was then installed as CEO of Sega Enterprises, Ltd. In 1986, Sega redesigned the Mark III for release in North America as the Master System. This was followed by a European release the next year. Although the Master System was a success in Europe, and later in Brazil, it failed to ignite significant interest in the Japanese or North American markets, which, by the mid-to-late 1980s, were both dominated by Nintendo. With Sega continuing to have difficulty penetrating the home market, Sega's console R&D team, led by Masami Ishikawa and supervised by Hideki Sato, began work on a successor to the Master System almost immediately after that console launched. In 1987, Sega faced another threat to its console business when Japanese computer giant
NEC is a Japanese multinational information technology and electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. It uses active d ...
released the
PC Engine The TurboGrafx-16, known as the outside North America, is a fourth-generation home video game console A home video game console is a video game console that is designed to be connected to a display device, such as a television, and an exte ...

PC Engine
amid great publicity. To remain competitive against the two more established consumer electronics companies, Ishikawa and his team decided they needed to incorporate a
16-bit 16-bit microcomputer A microcomputer is a small, relatively inexpensive computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform gener ...
microprocessor into their new system to make an impact in the marketplace and once again turned to Sega's strengths in the arcade industry to adapt the successful
Sega System 16 Sega is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a so ...
arcade board into architecture for a home console. The decision to use a
Motorola 68000 The Motorola 68000 (sometimes shortened to Motorola 68k or m68k and usually pronounced "sixty-eight-thousand") is a 16/32-bit complex instruction set computer A complex instruction set computer (CISC ) is a computer in which single instructi ...
as the system's main CPU was made late in development, while a
Zilog Z80 The Z80 is an 8-bit In computer architecture In computer engineering, computer architecture is a set of rules and methods that describe the functionality, organization, and implementation of computer systems. Some definitions of archite ...

Zilog Z80
was used as a secondary CPU to handle the sound due to fears that the load to the main CPU would be too great if it handled both the visuals and the audio. The 68000 chip was expensive and would have driven the retail price of the console up greatly, but Sega was able to negotiate with a distributor for a tenth of its price on an up-front volume order with the promise of more orders pending the console's future success. The appearance of the Mega Drive was designed by a team led by Mitsushige Shiraiwa that drew inspiration from
audiophile An audiophile is a person who is enthusiastic about high-fidelity High fidelity (often shortened to Hi-Fi or HiFi) is the high-quality sound reproduction, reproduction of sound. It is important to audiophiles and home audio enthusiasts. Ideally ...
equipment and automobiles. Shiraiwa said this more mature look helped to target the Mega Drive to all ages, unlike the Famicom, which was aimed primarily at children. According to Sato, the Japanese design for the Mega Drive was based on the appearance of an audio player, with "16-bit" embossed in a golden metallic veneer to create an impression of power.
Translation
by Shmuplations. ).
The console was announced in the June 1988 issue of Japanese gaming magazine ''Beep!'' as the Mark V, but Sega management wanted a stronger name. After reviewing more than 300 proposals, the company settled on "Mega Drive". In North America, the name was changed to "Genesis". Rosen said he insisted on the name as he disliked "Mega Drive" and wanted to represent "a new beginning" for Sega. Sato said some design elements changed, such as the gold-colored "16-bit" wording, because it was believed that the color would be mistaken for yellow. He believes that the changes in design are representative of the differences in values between Japanese and American culture.


Launch

Sega released the Mega Drive in Japan on October 29, 1988, though the launch was overshadowed by Nintendo's release of ''
Super Mario Bros. 3 ''Super Mario Bros. 3'' is a platform game Platform games (often simplified as platformer or jump 'n' run games) are a video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a ...
'' a week earlier. Positive coverage from magazines ''
Famitsu formerly ''Famicom Tsūshin'', is a line of Japanese video game magazine Video game journalism is a branch of journalism concerned with the reporting and discussion of video games, typically based on a core "reveal–preview–review" cycle. ...
'' and ''Beep!'' helped to establish a following. Within two days of release, the console's initial production run sold out. However, Sega only managed to ship 400,000 units in the first year. In order to increase sales, Sega released various peripherals and games, including an online banking system and
answering machine An answering machine, answerphone or message machine, also known as telephone messaging machine (or TAM) in the UK and some Commonwealth countries The Commonwealth of Nations is a voluntary association of 54 sovereign states. Nearly all o ...
called the Sega Mega Anser. Nevertheless, the Mega Drive was unable to overtake the venerable
Famicom The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is an 8-bit In computer architecture In computer engineering, computer architecture is a set of rules and methods that describe the functionality, organization, and implementation of computer ...

Famicom
and remained a distant third in Japan behind Nintendo's
Super Famicom The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), commonly shortened to Super NES or Super Nintendo, is a 16-bit 16-bit microcomputers are computers in which 16-bit microprocessors were the norm. A 16-bit register can store 216 different values ...

Super Famicom
and NEC's PC Engine throughout the 16-bit era. Sega announced a North American release date for the system on January 9, 1989. At the time, Sega did not possess a North American sales and marketing organization and was distributing its Master System through
Tonka Tonka is an American producer of toy trucks. The company is known for making steel toy models of construction type trucks and machinery. Maisto International, which makes diecast vehicles, acquired the rights to use the Tonka name in a line of ...

Tonka
. Dissatisfied with Tonka's performance, Sega looked for a new partner to market the Genesis in North America and offered the rights to
Atari Corporation Atari Corporation was an American manufacturer of computers and video game consoles. It was founded by Jack Tramiel on May 17, 1984, as Tramel Technology, Ltd., but then took on the Atari name less than two months later when WarnerMedia, ...
, which did not yet have a 16-bit system. David Rosen made the proposal to Atari CEO
Jack Tramiel Jack Tramiel ( ; born Idek Trzmiel; December 13, 1928 – April 8, 2012) was a Polish American businessman and Holocaust survivor, best known for founding Commodore International Commodore International (other names include Commodore I ...

Jack Tramiel
and the president of Atari's Entertainment Electronics Division, Michael Katz. Tramiel declined to acquire the new console, deeming it too expensive, and instead opted to focus on the
Atari ST The Atari ST is a line of home computer Home computers were a class of s that entered the market in 1977 and became common during the 1980s. They were marketed to consumers as affordable and accessible computers that, for the first time, we ...
. Sega decided to launch the console through its own Sega of America subsidiary, which executed a limited launch on August 14, 1989, in
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
and
Los Angeles Los Angeles ( ; xgf, Tovaangar; es, Los Ángeles, , ), commonly referred to by the initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be u ...

Los Angeles
. The Genesis was released in the rest of North America later that year. The European version of the Mega Drive was released in September 1990, at a price of , i.e. . The release was handled by
Virgin Mastertronic Mastertronic was originally a publisher and distributor of low-cost computer game software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions and data (computing), data that tell a computer how to work. This is in con ...
, which was later purchased by Sega in 1991 and became Sega of Europe. Games like '' Space Harrier II'', ''
Ghouls 'n Ghosts is a side-scrolling platform game developed by Capcom and released as an arcade game in 1988, and subsequently porting, ported to a number of other platforms. It is the sequel to ''Ghosts 'n Goblins (video game), Ghosts 'n Goblins'' and the second ...
'', ''
Golden Axe is a series of side-scrolling beat 'em up Beat 'em up (also known as brawler) is a Video game genres, video game genre featuring hand-to-hand combat between the protagonist and an improbably large number of opponents. Traditional beat 'em u ...
'', '' Super Thunder Blade'', and ''
The Revenge of Shinobi ''The Revenge of Shinobi'', released in Japan as , is a video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, computer keyboard, keybo ...
'' were available in stores at launch. The console was also bundled with ''
Altered Beast ''Altered Beast'' is a 1988 beat 'em up arcade game An arcade game or coin-op game is a coin-operated entertainment machine typically installed in public businesses such as restaurants, bars and amusement arcades. Most arcade games are pr ...
''. The Mega Drive and its first batch of games were shown at the 1990 European Computer Entertainment Show (ECES) in
Earl's Court Earl's Court is a district of Kensington in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) is an Inner London borough The London boroughs are the 32 districts of England, local author ...
. Between July and August 1990, Virgin initially placed their order for 20,000 Mega Drive units. However, the company increased the order by 10,000 units when advanced orders had exceeded expectations, and another 10,000 units was later added following the console's success at the ECES event. The projected number of units to be sold between September and December 1990 had eventually increased to 40,000 units in the United Kingdom alone. Other companies assisted in distributing the console to various countries worldwide.
Ozisoft Namco Bandai Partners S.A.S. was an amalgamation of several former Atari Atari () is a brand name owned by several entities since its inception in 1972, currently by Atari Interactive, a subsidiary of the French publisher Atari SA. The original ...
handled the Mega Drive's launch and marketing in Australia, as it had done before with the Master System. In Brazil, the Mega Drive was released by
Tectoy #REDIRECT Tectoy Tec Toy S.A., trading as Tectoy since late 2007, is a Brazilian toy and electronics company headquartered in São Paulo São Paulo (, ; Portuguese for 'Saint Paul') is a municipality in the Southeast Region of Brazil ...
in 1990, only a year after the Brazilian release of the Master System. Tectoy produced games exclusively for the Brazilian market, and brought the
Sega Meganet Sega Meganet, also known as the Net Work System, was an online service for the Sega Genesis, Mega Drive in Japan and later Brazil. Utilizing dial-up Internet access, Meganet was Sega's first Internet, online multiplayer, multiplayer gaming service ...
online service there in 1995.
Samsung The Samsung Group (or simply Samsung) ( ko, 삼성) is a South Korean Multinational corporation, multinational manufacturing Conglomerate (company), conglomerate headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul, South Korea. It comprises numerous affil ...

Samsung
handled sales and distribution in
Korea Korea is a region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (environmental ...

Korea
, where it was named Super Gam*Boy and retained the Mega Drive logo alongside the Samsung name. It was later renamed Super Aladdin Boy. In India, Sega entered a distribution deal with Shaw Wallace in April 1994 in order to circumvent an 80% import tariff, with each unit selling for INR₹18,000. In Russia, Sega officially licensed the console to local distributor Bitman in 1995. That year, the video game console market generated between and in Russia, with Sega accounting for half of all console sales in the country. However, only about 35% of the sales were official Sega units distributed by Bitman, while the rest were unofficial counterfeit clones.


North American sales and marketing

For the North American market, former Atari Corporation Entertainment Electronics Division president and new Sega of America CEO Michael Katz instituted a two-part approach to build sales. The first part involved a marketing campaign to challenge Nintendo head-on and emphasize the more arcade-like experience available on the Genesis, with slogans including "Genesis does what Nintendon't". Since Nintendo owned the console rights to most arcade games of the time, the second part involved creating a library of recognizable games which used the names and likenesses of celebrities and athletes, such as '' Pat Riley Basketball'', '' Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf'', '' James 'Buster' Douglas Knockout Boxing'', ''
Joe Montana Football ''Joe Montana Football'' is an American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular American f ...
'', ''
Tommy Lasorda Baseball ''Tommy Lasorda Baseball'' is a baseball game released for the Sega Mega-Tech arcade system and later as one of the six launch titles for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis console in the North American region. Summary Tommy Lasorda Thomas Charles ...
'', ''Mario Lemieux Hockey'', and ''
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker ''Michael Jackson's Moonwalker'' is the name of several video games based on the 1988 Michael Jackson film ''Moonwalker''. U.S. Gold published various games for home computers, released in 1989, while Sega developed two similarly themed beat 'em up ...
''. Nonetheless, Sega struggled to overcome Nintendo's presence in consumers' homes. Tasked by Nakayama to sell one million units within the first year, Katz and Sega of America sold only 500,000. At the Winter
Consumer Electronics Show CES (formerly an initialism for Consumer Electronics Show) is an annual trade show A trade fair (trade show, trade exhibition, or trade exposition) is an exhibition organized so that companies A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal e ...
(Winter CES) in January 1990, the Sega Genesis demonstrated a strong line-up of games which received a positive reception for approaching arcade-quality graphics and gameplay as well as for providing non-arcade experiences such as ''
Phantasy Star II ''Phantasy Star II'' (Japanese: ファンタシースターII 還らざる時の終わりに, "Phantasy Star II: At the End of the Restoration") is a science fantasy role-playing video game developed and published by Sega for the Sega Genesis. It ...
''. In mid-1990, Nakayama hired
Tom Kalinske Thomas Kalinske (born July 17, 1944) is an American businessman, best known as having worked for Mattel from 1972 to 1987, where he was credited with reviving the Barbie and Hot Wheels brands, launching Masters of the Universe, then being promoted ...
to replace Katz as CEO of Sega of America. Although Kalinske knew little about the video game market, he surrounded himself with industry-savvy advisors. A believer in the
razor and blades model The razor and blades business model is a business model in which one item is sold at a low price (or given away for free) in order to increase sales of a complementary good, such as consumable supplies. For example, inkjet printers require ink ...
, he developed a four-point plan: cut the price of the console, create an American team to develop games targeted at the American market, expand the aggressive advertising campaigns, and replace the bundled game ''Altered Beast'' with a new game, ''
Sonic the Hedgehog is a Japanese video game series and media franchise created and owned by Sega. The franchise follows Sonic the Hedgehog (character), Sonic, an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog who battles the evil Doctor Eggman, a mad scientist. The main ''Sonic ...
''. The Japanese board of directors initially disapproved of the plan, but all four points were approved by Nakayama, who told Kalinske, "I hired you to make the decisions for Europe and the Americas, so go ahead and do it." Critics praised ''Sonic'' as one of the greatest games yet made, and Genesis sales increased as customers who had been waiting for the release of the international version of Nintendo's Super Famicom, the
Super Nintendo Entertainment System The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), commonly shortened to Super NES or Super Nintendo, is a 16-bit 16-bit microcomputer A microcomputer is a small, relatively inexpensive computer A computer is a machine that can be progr ...

Super Nintendo Entertainment System
(SNES), decided to purchase a Genesis instead. The SNES debuted against an established competitor, while NEC's
TurboGrafx-16 The TurboGrafx-16, known as the outside North America, is a fourth-generation home video game console A home video game console is a video game console that is designed to be connected to a display device, such as a television, and an e ...

TurboGrafx-16
failed to gain traction, and NEC soon pulled out of the market. In large part due to the popularity of ''Sonic the Hedgehog'', the Genesis outsold the SNES in the United States nearly two to one during the 1991 holiday season. Sega controlled 65% of the
16-bit 16-bit microcomputers are computers in which 16-bit microprocessors were the norm. A 16-bit register can store 216 different values. The range (computer programming), range of integer values that can be stored in 16 bits depends on the Integer ( ...
console Console may to: Computing and video games * Video game console, a specific device for playing video games ** Handheld game console, a specific lightweight and portable device for playing video games * System console, a physical device to operat ...
market in January 1992, the first time Nintendo had not been the console leader since 1985. The Genesis outsold the SNES for four consecutive Christmas seasons due to its two-year lead, lower price point, and larger game library compared to the SNES at its release. Sega had ten games for every game on SNES, and while the SNES had an exclusive version of ''
Final Fight ''Final Fight'' is a series of beat 'em up video games by Capcom, which began with the arcade game, arcade release of ''Final Fight (video game), Final Fight'' in 1989. Set in the fictional Metro City, the games focus on a group of heroic vigil ...
'', one of Sega's internal development teams created '' Streets of Rage'', which had bigger levels, tougher enemies, and a well-regarded soundtrack.
ASCII Entertainment ASCII ( ), abbreviated from American Standard Code for Information Interchange, is a character encoding In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the stud ...
reported in early 1993 that Genesis had 250 games versus 75 for the SNES, but limited shelf space meant that stores typically offered 100 Genesis and 50 SNES games. The NES was still the leader, with 300 games and 100 on shelves. Sega's advertising positioned the Genesis as the cooler console, and coined the term ''blast processing'', an obscure and unused graphics programming method, to suggest that its processing capabilities were far greater than those of the SNES. A
Sony , commonly known as Sony and stylized as SONY, is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from mult ...

Sony
focus group found that teenage boys would not admit to owning an SNES rather than a Genesis. With the Genesis often outselling the SNES at a ratio of 2:1, Nintendo and Sega focused heavily on
impression management Impression management is a conscious or subconscious In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling a ...
of the market, even going to the point of deception; Nintendo claimed it had sold more consoles in 1991 than it actually had, and forecasted it would sell 6 million consoles by the end of 1992, while its actual U.S. install base at the end of 1992 was only just more than 4 million units. Due to these tactics, it was difficult to ascertain a clear leader in market share for several years at a time, with Nintendo's dollar share of the U.S. 16-bit market dipping down from 60% at the end of 1992 to 37% at the end of 1993, Sega claiming 55% of all 16-bit hardware sales during 1994, and ''
Donkey Kong Country ''Donkey Kong Country'' is a 1994 platform game Platform games (often simplified as platformer or jump 'n' run games) are a video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device su ...
'' helping the SNES to outsell the Genesis from 1995 through 1997. According to a 2004 study of NPD sales data, the Genesis maintained its lead over the Super NES in the American 16-bit console market. However, according to a 2014
Wedbush Securities Wedbush Securities Inc. is a privately held investment firm An investment company is a financial institution principally engaged in investing in security (finance), securities. These companies in the United States are regulated by the U.S. Secur ...
report based on revised NPD sales data, the SNES outsold the Sega Genesis in the U.S. market by units.


Electronic Arts

To compete with Nintendo, Sega was more open to new types of games, but still tightly controlled the approval process for third-party games and charged high prices for cartridge manufacturing. American third-party publisher
Electronic Arts Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) is an American video game company headquartered in Redwood City, California, Redwood City, California. It is the second-largest List of video game companies, gaming company in the Americas and Europe by revenue and m ...
(EA) sought a better deal, but had met resistance from Sega. They decided to
reverse-engineer Reverse engineering (also known as backwards engineering or back engineering) is a process or method through the application of which one attempts to understand through deductive reasoning Deductive reasoning, also deductive logic, is the process ...
the Genesis, using a clean-room method similar to the method
Phoenix Technologies Phoenix Technologies Ltd is an American company that designs, develops and supports core system software for personal computers and other computing devices. The company's products commonly referred to as BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) or firmw ...

Phoenix Technologies
had used to reverse-engineer the
IBM Personal Computer The IBM Personal Computer (model 5150, commonly known as the IBM PC) is the first computer released in the IBM PC model line and the basis for the IBM PC compatible IBM PC compatible computers are similar to the original IBM PC The IBM ...
BIOS In computing, BIOS (, ); an acronym for Basic Input/Output System and also known as the System BIOS, ROM BIOS or PC BIOS) is firmware used to perform Computer hardware, hardware initialization during the booting process (power-on startup), and t ...

BIOS
around 1984. The process began in 1989, led by Steve Hayes and Jim Nitchals. They created a controlled room in EA headquarters nicknamed "Chernobyl", to which only one person was allowed access, Mike Schwartz. Schwartz reviewed Sega's copyrighted development manuals and tools, studied the Genesis hardware and games, and wrote original documentation that summarized his findings. The process took him about a month. His work was reviewed by EA's lawyers before being disseminated to Hayes and Nitchals to verify its originality, and subsequently to the rest of the developers to let them build games. After a few months, EA began developing for the Genesis in earnest. EA founder
Trip Hawkins William Murray Hawkins III is an American entrepreneur and founder of Electronic Arts, The 3DO Company, and Digital Chocolate. Career A fan of the Strat-O-Matic Football pen and paper games, Hawkins started his first business as a teenager trying ...
confronted Nakayama the day before the 1990
Consumer Electronics Show CES (formerly an initialism for Consumer Electronics Show) is an annual trade show A trade fair (trade show, trade exhibition, or trade exposition) is an exhibition organized so that companies A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal e ...
(CES), informing him that EA had the ability to run its own licensing program if Sega refused to meet its demands. Sega relented, and the next day EA's upcoming Genesis games were showcased at CES. EA signed what Hawkins described as "a very unusual and much more enlightened license agreement" with Sega in June 1990: "Among other things, we had the right to make as many titles as we wanted. We could approve our own titles ... the royalty rates were a lot more reasonable. We also had more direct control over manufacturing." After the deal was in place, EA chief creative officer
Bing Gordon William "Bing" Gordon is a video game executive and technology venture capital Venture capital (VC) is a form of private equity Private equity (PE) typically refers to investment funds, generally organized as limited partnerships, that bu ...

Bing Gordon
learned that "we hadn't figured out all the workarounds" and "Sega still had the ability to lock us out ... It just would have been a public relations fiasco." EA released its first Genesis games, ''
Populous Populous or populus may refer to: *Populous (series), ''Populous'' (series), video game series **Populous (video game), ''Populous'' (video game), first video game of the series *Populous (company), an architectural firm *''Populus'', a genus of pla ...
'' and '' Budokan: The Martial Spirit'', within the month. The first Genesis version of EA's ''
John Madden Football ''Madden NFL'' (known as ''John Madden Football'' until 1993) is an American football video game series developed by EA Tiburon for EA Sports. It is named after Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and commentator John Madden, and it has sold more tha ...
'' arrived before the end of 1990, and became what Gordon called a "
killer app In marketing terminology, a killer application (commonly shortened to killer app) is any computer program A computer program is a collection of instructions that can be executed by a computer to perform a specific task. A computer program is ...
". Taking advantage of the licensing agreement, Gordon and EA's vice president of marketing services Nancy Fong created a visual identifier for EA's Genesis cartridges: a yellow tab molded into the cartridge casing.


Sonic the Hedgehog

Sega held a company-wide contest to create a mascot character to compete with Nintendo's ''Mario'' series. The winning submission was a blue hedgehog with red shoes,
Sonic Sonic or Sonics may refer to: Companies *Sonic Drive-In, an American drive-in fast-food restaurant chain *Sonic (ISP), an Internet provider and CLEC, serving more than 100 California communities *Sonic Foundry, a computer software company which ...
, created by
Naoto Ohshima (born February 26, 1964) is a Japanese artist and video game designer best known for designing the Sonic the Hedgehog is a Japanese video game series and media franchise created and owned by Sega. The franchise follows Sonic the Hedgehog ( ...
, spawning one of the best-selling video game franchises in history. The gameplay of ''
Sonic the Hedgehog is a Japanese video game series and media franchise created and owned by Sega. The franchise follows Sonic the Hedgehog (character), Sonic, an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog who battles the evil Doctor Eggman, a mad scientist. The main ''Sonic ...
'' originated with a
tech demo A technology demonstration (or tech demo), also known as demonstrator model, is a prototype A prototype is an early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process. It is a term used in a variety of contexts, includin ...
created by
Yuji Naka is a Japanese video game programmer, video game designer, designer, and video game producer, producer who was the former head of Sonic Team, where he was the lead programmer of the original ''Sonic the Hedgehog'' series of games on the Sega Mega D ...
, who had developed a prototype platform game that involved a fast-moving character rolling in a ball through a long winding tube. This concept was developed with Ohshima's character design and levels conceived by designer
Hirokazu Yasuhara (also credited as Carol Yas) is a Japanese video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, computer keyboard, keyboard, or motion ...
. Although Katz and Sega of America's marketing experts disliked ''Sonic'', certain that it would not catch on with American children, Kalinske's strategy to place ''Sonic the Hedgehog'' as the pack-in game paid off. ''Sonic the Hedgehog'' greatly increased the popularity of the Genesis in North America, and the bundle is credited with helping Sega gain 65% of the market share against Nintendo. Similarly in Europe, Sega had captured a 65% share of the European console market, where the Mega Drive maintained its lead over the SNES through 1994.


Trademark Security System and ''Sega v. Accolade''

After the release of the Genesis in 1989, video game publisher
Accolade The accolade (also known as dubbing or adoubement) ( la, benedictio militis) was the central act in the rite of passage Ceremony, ceremonies conferring knighthood in the Middle Ages. From about 1852, the term accolade was used much more general ...
began exploring options to release some of their
PC game A personal computer game, also known as a PC game or computer game, is a type of video game#REDIRECT Video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game con ...
s on the console. At the time, Sega had a licensing deal in place for third-party developers that increased the costs to the developer. According to Accolade co-founder Alan Miller, "One pays them between $10 and $15 per cartridge on top of the real hardware manufacturing costs, so it about doubles the cost of goods to the independent publisher." To get around licensing, Accolade chose to seek an alternative way to bring their games to the Genesis. It did so by purchasing one in order to decompile the
executable code In computing, executable code, an executable file, or an executable program, sometimes simply referred to as an executable or binary, causes a computer "to perform indicated tasks according to encoded instruction (computer science), instructions" ...
of three Genesis games. Such information was used to program their new Genesis cartridges in a way that would allow them to disable the security lockouts on the Genesis that prevented unlicensed games from being played., 977 F.2d 1510 (9th Cir. 1992) This strategy was used successfully to bring '' Ishido: The Way of Stones'' to the Genesis in 1990. To do so, Accolade had copied Sega's copyrighted game code multiple times in order to reverse engineer the software of Sega's licensed Genesis games. As a result of piracy in some countries and unlicensed development issues, Sega incorporated a technical protection mechanism into a new edition of the Genesis released in 1990, referred to as the Genesis III. This new variation of the Genesis included a code known as the Trademark Security System (TMSS), which, when a game cartridge was inserted, would check for the presence of the
string String or strings may refer to: *String (structure), a long flexible structure made from threads twisted together, which is used to tie, bind, or hang other objects Arts, entertainment, and media Films * Strings (1991 film), ''Strings'' (1991 fil ...
"SEGA" at a particular point in the memory contained in the cartridge. If the string was present, the console would run the game, and would briefly display the message: "" This system had a twofold effect: it added extra protection against unlicensed developers and software piracy and forced the Sega trademark to display when the game was powered up, making a lawsuit for trademark infringement possible if unlicensed software were to be developed. Accolade learned of this development at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show in January 1991, where Sega showed the new Genesis III and demonstrated it screening and rejecting an ''Ishido'' game cartridge. With more games planned for the following year, Accolade successfully identified the TMSS file. It later added this file to the games '' HardBall!'', ''
Star Control ''Star Control: Famous Battles of the Ur-Quan Conflict, Volume IV'' or just simply ''Star Control'' is a science fiction video game developed by Toys for Bob and published by Accolade (company), Accolade in 1990. It was originally released for Amig ...
'', ''Mike Ditka Power Football'', and ''
Turrican ''Turrican'' is a 1990 video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, computer keyboard, keyboard, or motion sensing device to g ...
''. In response to the creation of these unlicensed games, Sega filed suit against Accolade in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of California The United States District Court for the Northern District of California (in case citations, N.D. Cal.) is the United States federal courts, federal United States district court whose jurisdiction comprises following counties of California: Ala ...
, on charges of trademark infringement,
unfair competition Unfair may refer to: * The negative form of the adjective ''fair A fair (archaic: faire or fayre) is a gathering of people for a variety of entertainment or commercial activities. It is normally of the essence of a fair that it is temporary wit ...
, and copyright infringement. In response, Accolade filed a counterclaim for falsifying the source of its games by displaying the Sega trademark when the game was powered up. Although the district court initially ruled for Sega and issued an injunction preventing Accolade from continuing to reverse engineer the Genesis, Accolade appealed the verdict to the
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (in case citation Case citation is a system used by legal professionals to identify past court case A legal case is in a general sense a dispute between opposing parties which may be ...
. As a result of the appeal, the Ninth Circuit overturned the district court's verdict and ruled that Accolade's decompilation of the Sega software constituted fair use. The court's written opinion followed on October 20, 1992, and noted that the use of the software was non-exploitative, although commercial. Further, the court found that the trademark infringement, being required by the TMSS for a Genesis game to run on the system, had been inadvertently triggered by a fair use act and was the fault of Sega for having caused false labeling. Ultimately, Sega and Accolade settled the case on April 30, 1993. As a part of this settlement, Accolade became an official licensee of Sega, and later developed and released '' Barkley Shut Up and Jam!'' while under license. The terms of the licensing, including whether or not any special arrangements or discounts were made to Accolade, were not released to the public. The financial terms of the settlement were also not disclosed, although both companies agreed to pay their own legal costs.


Congressional hearings on video game violence

In 1993, the American media began to focus on the mature content of certain video games. Games such as ''
Night Trap ''Night Trap'' is a 1992 interactive movie video game developed by Digital Pictures and originally released by Sega for the Sega CD. The game is presented primarily through the use of full-motion video (FMV). In ''Night Trap'', the player take ...
'' for the Sega CD, an video game accessory, add-on, received unprecedented scrutiny. Issues about ''Night Trap'' were brought up in the United Kingdom, with former Sega of Europe development director Mike Brogan noting that "''Night Trap'' got Sega an awful lot of publicity ... it was also cited in Parliament of the United Kingdom, UK Parliament for being British Board of Film Classification#Video games, classified as '15' due to its use of real actors." This came at a time when Sega was capitalizing on its image as an edgy company with attitude, and this only reinforced that image. By far the year's most controversial game was Midway Games, Midway's Mortal Kombat (1992 video game), ''Mortal Kombat'', ported to the Genesis and SNES by Acclaim Entertainment. In response to public outcry over the game's graphic violence, Nintendo decided to replace the blood in the game with "sweat" and the arcade's gruesome "fatalities" with less violent finishing moves. Sega took a different approach, instituting America's first video game ratings system, the
Videogame Rating CouncilThe Videogame Rating Council (V.R.C.) was introduced by Sega of America in 1993 to rate all video games that were released for sale in the United States and Canada on the Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Genesis, Game Gear, Sega CD, and Sega Pico, P ...
(VRC), for all its current systems. Ratings ranged from the family-friendly GA rating to the more mature rating of MA-13, and the adults-only rating of MA-17. With the rating system in place, Sega released its version of ''Mortal Kombat'', appearing to have removed all the blood and sweat effects and toning down the finishing moves even more than in the SNES version. However, all the arcade's blood and uncensored finishing moves could be enabled by entering a "Blood Code". This technicality allowed Sega to release the game with a relatively low MA-13 rating. Meanwhile, the tamer SNES version shipped without a rating. The Genesis version of ''Mortal Kombat'' was well-received by gaming press, as well as fans, outselling the SNES version three- or four-to-one, while Nintendo was criticized for censoring the SNES version. Executive vice president of Nintendo of America Howard Lincoln was quick to point out at the hearings that ''Night Trap'' had no such rating, saying to Senator Joe Lieberman: In response, Sega of America vice president Bill White showed a videotape of violent video games on the SNES and stressed the importance of rating video games. At the end of the hearing, Lieberman called for another hearing in February 1994 to check on progress toward a rating system for video game violence. As a result of the 103rd United States Congress, congressional hearings, ''Night Trap'' started to generate more sales and released ports to the Personal computer, PC, 32X, Sega 32X, and 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, 3DO. According to Digital Pictures founder Tom Zito, "You know, I sold 50,000 units of ''Night Trap'' a week after those hearings." Although experiencing increased sales, Sega decided to recall ''Night Trap'' and re-release it with revisions in 1994 due to the congressional hearings. After the close of these hearings, video game manufacturers came together to establish the rating system that Lieberman had called for. Initially, Sega proposed the universal adoption of its system, but after objections by Nintendo and others, Sega took a role in forming a new one. This became the
Entertainment Software Rating Board The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is a self-regulatory organization A self-regulatory organization (SRO) is an organization that exercises some degree of regulatory authority over an industry or profession. The regulatory author ...
, an independent organization that received praise from Lieberman. With this new rating system in place for the 1994 holiday season, Nintendo decided its censorship policies were no longer needed, and the SNES port of ''Mortal Kombat II'' was released uncensored.


32-bit era and beyond

Sega released two add-ons to increase the Genesis capabilities: a CD peripheral, the Sega CD (Mega-CD outside North America and Brazil), and a 32-bit peripheral, the Sega 32X. Worldwide, Sega sold 2.24 million Sega CD units See lines 6 and 18 for units sold in Japan and other regions, respectively. and 800,000 32X units. Following the launch of the next-generation 32-bit Sony PlayStation (console), PlayStation and
Sega Saturn The is a home video game console A home video game console is a video game console A video game console is an electronic device that output Output may refer to: * The information produced by a computer, see Input/output In comput ...
, sales of 16-bit hardware and software continued to account for 64% of the video game market in 1995. Sega underestimated the continued popularity of the Genesis and did not have the inventory to meet demand. Sega captured 43% of the dollar share of the U.S. video game market and claimed to have sold more than two million Genesis units in 1995, while Genesis software such as ''Vectorman'' remained successful, but Kalinske estimated that "we could have sold another 300,000 Genesis systems in the November/December timeframe". Nakayama's decision to focus on the Saturn, based on the systems' relative performance in Japan, has been cited as the major contributing factor in this miscalculation. By contrast, Nintendo concentrated on the 16-bit home console market, as well as its successful handheld video game console, handheld, the Game Boy, and took in 42% of the video game market dollar share without launching a 32-bit console. Following tensions with Sega Enterprises, Ltd. over its focus on the Saturn, Kalinske, who oversaw the rise of the Genesis in 1991, grew uninterested in the business and resigned in mid-1996. Sega sold 30.75 million Genesis units worldwide. Of these, 3.58 million were sold in Japan, and sales in Europe and the U.S. are roughly estimated at 8 million and 18–18.5 million as of June 1997 (at which time Sega was no longer manufacturing the system) respectively. In 1998, Sega licensed the Genesis to Majesco Entertainment to rerelease it in North America. Majesco began reselling millions of unsold cartridges at a budget price, together with 150,000 units of the second model of the Genesis. It released the Genesis 3, projecting to sell 1.5 million units of the console by the end of 1998. Tectoy continues to sell variants of the original hardware (including emulated variants) and has sold an estimated 3 million units in Brazil .


Technical specifications

The main microprocessor is a 16/32-bit
Motorola 68000 The Motorola 68000 (sometimes shortened to Motorola 68k or m68k and usually pronounced "sixty-eight-thousand") is a 16/32-bit complex instruction set computer A complex instruction set computer (CISC ) is a computer in which single instructi ...
CPU A central processing unit (CPU), also called a central processor, main processor or just processor, is the electronic circuit File:PExdcr01CJC.jpg, 200px, A circuit built on a printed circuit board (PCB). An electronic circuit is composed of ...

CPU
clocked at 7.6 Hertz, MHz. An 8-bit
Zilog Z80 The Z80 is an 8-bit In computer architecture In computer engineering, computer architecture is a set of rules and methods that describe the functionality, organization, and implementation of computer systems. Some definitions of archite ...

Zilog Z80
processor controls the sound hardware and provides backward compatibility with the Master System. The Genesis has 64 kilobyte, kB of random access memory, RAM, 64 kB of video RAM and 8 kB of audio RAM. It can display up to 61 colors at once from a Palette (computing), palette of 512. The games are in ROM cartridge format and inserted in the top. The Genesis produces sound using a Texas Instruments SN76489 programmable sound generator, PSG, integrated with the Video Display Controller, Video Display Processor (VDP), and a Yamaha YM2612 Frequency modulation, FM synthesizer chip. The Z80 processor is primarily used to control both sound chips to produce stereo music and sound effects. Most revisions of the original Genesis contain a discrete YM2612 and a separate YM7101 VDP; in a later revision, the chips were integrated into a single custom Application-specific integrated circuit, ASIC (FC1004). The back of the model 1 console provides a radio frequency output port (designed for use with antenna and cable systems) and a specialized 8-pin DIN port, which both provide video and audio output. Both outputs produce Monophony, monophonic sound; a Phone connector (audio), headphone jack on the front of the console produces stereo sound. On the model 2, the DIN port, radio frequency output port, and headphone jack are replaced by a 9-pin mini-DIN port on the back for composite video, RGBS, RGB and stereo sound, and the standard RF switch. Earlier model 1 consoles have a 9-pin extension port. An edge connector on the bottom right of the console can be connected to a peripheral.


Peripherals

The standard controller features a rounded shape, a directional pad, three main buttons, and a "start" button. In 1993, Sega released a slightly smaller pad with three additional face buttons, similar to the design of buttons on some popular arcade fighting games such as ''Street Fighter II''. Sega also released a wireless revision of the six-button controller, the Remote Arcade Pad. The system is backward compatible with the Master System. The first peripheral released, the Power Base Converter (Master System Converter in Europe), allows Master System games to be played. It's designed for the Model 1. It will work with the Model 2, but the shell does block the power and ac ports, so the converter will either to have its shell modified or a pass thru adaptor needs to be used. The converter doesn't work with the Model 3 or the Nomad A second model, the Master System Converter 2, was released only in Europe for use with the Mega Drive II. It will still work with NTSC and PAL Model 1 and 2 consoles, though the Model 3 and Nomad still don't work with it. Other peripherals were released to add functionality. The Menacer is a wireless, infrared light gun peripheral used with compatible games. Other third parties created light gun peripherals for the Genesis, such as the American Laser Games Pistol and the Konami Justifier. Released for art creation software, the Sega Mega Mouse features three buttons and is only compatible with a few games, such as ''Eye of the Beholder (video game), Eye of the Beholder''. A foam-covered bat called the BatterUP and the TeeVGolf golf club were released for both the Genesis and SNES. In November 1993, Sega released the Sega Activator, an octagonal device that lies flat on the floor and was designed to translate the player's physical movements into game inputs; it was first shown at the January 1993
Consumer Electronics Show CES (formerly an initialism for Consumer Electronics Show) is an annual trade show A trade fair (trade show, trade exhibition, or trade exposition) is an exhibition organized so that companies A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal e ...
(CES), where it was demonstrated with ''Streets of Rage 2''. Several high-profile games, including ''Mortal Kombat'' and ''Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition'', were adapted to support the peripheral. The device was a commercial failure, due mainly to its inaccuracy and its high price point. IGN editor Craig Harris ranked the Sega Activator the third worst video game controller ever made. Both EA and Sega released multitaps to allow more than the standard two players to play at once. Initially, EA's version, the 4 Way Play, and Sega's adapter, the Team Player, only supported each publisher's games. In response to complaints about this, Sega publicly stated, "We have been working hard to resolve this problem since we learned of it", and that a new Team Player which would work with all multitap games for the console would be released shortly. Later games were created to work on both the 4 Way Play and Team Player. Codemasters also developed the J-Cart system, providing two extra ports on the cartridge itself, although the technology came late in the console's life and is only featured on a few games. Sega planned to release a Racing wheel, steering wheel peripheral in 1994, and the Genesis version of ''Virtua Racing'' was advertised as being "steering wheel compatible", but the peripheral was cancelled.


Network services

In its first foray into Online console gaming, online gaming, Sega created
Sega Meganet Sega Meganet, also known as the Net Work System, was an online service for the Sega Genesis, Mega Drive in Japan and later Brazil. Utilizing dial-up Internet access, Meganet was Sega's first Internet, online multiplayer, multiplayer gaming service ...
, which debuted in Japan on November 3, 1990. Operating through a cartridge and a peripheral called the "Mega Modem", this allowed Mega Drive players to play a total of seventeen games online. A North American version, dubbed "Tele-Genesis", was announced at the Winter
Consumer Electronics Show CES (formerly an initialism for Consumer Electronics Show) is an annual trade show A trade fair (trade show, trade exhibition, or trade exposition) is an exhibition organized so that companies A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal e ...
(Winter CES) in January 1990 but never released, though a version was operated in Brazil starting in 1995. Another phone-based system, the Mega Anser, turned the Japanese Mega Drive into an online banking terminal. In 1994, Sega started the
Sega Channel The Sega Channel is a discontinued online game An online game is a video game that is either partially or primarily played through the Internet or any other computer network available. Online games are ubiquitous on modern gaming platforms, in ...
, a game distribution system using cable television services Time Warner Cable and Tele-Communications Inc., TCI. Using a special peripheral, Genesis players could download a game from a library of fifty each month and demos for upcoming releases. Games were downloaded to internal memory and deleted when the console was powered off. The Sega Channel reached 250,000 subscribers at its peak and ran until July 31, 1998, well past the release of the Sega Saturn. In an effort to compete with Sega, third-party developer Catapult Entertainment created the XBAND, a peripheral which allowed Genesis players to engage in online competitive gaming. Using telephone services to share data, XBAND was initially offered in five U.S. cities in November 1994. The following year, the service was extended to the SNES, and Catapult teamed up with Blockbuster Video to market the service, but as interest in the service waned, it was discontinued in April 1997.


Library

The Genesis library was initially modest, but eventually grew to contain games to appeal to all types of players. The initial pack-in game was ''
Altered Beast ''Altered Beast'' is a 1988 beat 'em up arcade game An arcade game or coin-op game is a coin-operated entertainment machine typically installed in public businesses such as restaurants, bars and amusement arcades. Most arcade games are pr ...
'', which was later replaced with ''
Sonic the Hedgehog is a Japanese video game series and media franchise created and owned by Sega. The franchise follows Sonic the Hedgehog (character), Sonic, an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog who battles the evil Doctor Eggman, a mad scientist. The main ''Sonic ...
'' in 1991. Top sellers included ''Sonic the Hedgehog'', its sequel ''Sonic the Hedgehog 2'', and ''Disney's Aladdin (Virgin Games video game), Disney's Aladdin''. During development for the console, Sega Enterprises focused on developing action games, while Sega of America was tasked with developing sports games. A large part of the appeal of the Genesis library during the console's lifetime was the arcade game, arcade-based experience of its games, as well as more difficult entries such as ''Ecco the Dolphin'', and sports games such as ''
Joe Montana Football ''Joe Montana Football'' is an American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular American f ...
''. Compared to its competition, Sega advertised to an older audience by hosting more mature games, including the uncensored version of ''
Mortal Kombat ''Mortal Kombat'' is an American media franchise centered on a series of video games, originally developed by Midway Games in 1992. The development of the first game was originally based on an idea that Ed Boon and John Tobias had of making ...
''. Notably, the arcade hit ''Street Fighter II'' by Capcom initially skipped the Genesis, instead only being released on the SNES. However, as the Genesis continued to grow in popularity, Capcom eventually ported a version of ''Street Fighter II'' to the system known as ''Street Fighter II: Champion Edition'', that would go on to sell over a million copies. One of the biggest third-party companies to support the Genesis early on was Electronic Arts.
Trip Hawkins William Murray Hawkins III is an American entrepreneur and founder of Electronic Arts, The 3DO Company, and Digital Chocolate. Career A fan of the Strat-O-Matic Football pen and paper games, Hawkins started his first business as a teenager trying ...
, founder and then president of EA, believed the faster drawing speed of the Genesis made it more suitable for sport games than the SNES, and credits EA's success on the Genesis for helping catapult the EA Sports brand. Another third-party blockbuster for the system was the port of the original ''Mortal Kombat''. Although the arcade game was released on the SNES and Genesis simultaneously, the two ports were not identical. The SNES version looked closer to the arcade game, but the Genesis version allowed players to bypass censorship, helping make it more popular. In 1997, Sega of America claimed the Genesis had a software attach rate of 16 games sold per console, double that of the SNES.


Sega Virtua Processor

The Super NES can have List of Super NES enhancement chips, enhancement chips inside each cartridge to produce more advanced graphics; for example, the launch game ''Pilotwings'' (1990) contains a digital signal processor. Later, the Super FX chip was designed to offload complex rendering tasks from the main CPU. It was first used in ''Star Fox (1993 video game), Star Fox'' (1993) for real-time 3D polygons, and ''Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island'' (1995) demonstrates rotation, scaling, and stretching of individual sprites and manipulates large areas of the screen. Sega had produced such effects on its arcade platforms, and adapted some to the home console by developing the Sega Virtua Processor (SVP). Based on a digital signal processor core by Samsung Electronics, this chip enables the Genesis to render polygons in real time and provides an "Axis Transformation" unit that handles scaling and rotation. ''Virtua Racing'' (1992) is the only game released with this chip and the only Genesis cartridge with any enhancement chip, running at a significantly higher and more stable frame rate than filled polygon games on the SNES. The chip drastically increased the cost of the cartridge, and at , ''Virtua Racing'' is the most expensive Genesis cartridge ever produced. Two other games, ''Virtua Fighter (arcade game), Virtua Fighter'' and ''Daytona USA (arcade game), Daytona USA'', were planned for the SVP chip, but were instead moved into the Saturn's launch line-up. Sega planned to sell the SVP chip as a separate upgrade module for the Genesis, but it was canceled, in order to focus its efforts on more powerful 32X add-on.


Add-ons

In addition to accessories such as the Power Base Converter, the Genesis supports two add-ons that each support their own game libraries. The first is the Sega CD (known as the Mega-CD in all regions except for North America), a compact disc-based peripheral that can play its library of games in CD-ROM format. The second is the Sega 32X, a 32-bit peripheral which uses ROM cartridges and serves as a pass-through for Genesis games. Sega produced a custom power strip to fit the peripherals' large AC adapters. Both add-ons were officially discontinued in 1996.


Sega CD

By 1991, compact discs had gained in popularity as a data storage device for music and software. PCs and video game companies had started to make use of this technology. NEC had been the first to include CD technology in a game console with the release of the TurboGrafx-CD add-on, and Nintendo was making plans to develop Super NES CD-ROM, its own CD peripheral as well. Seeing the opportunity to gain an advantage over its rivals, Sega partnered with JVC to develop a CD-ROM add-on for the Genesis. Sega launched the Mega-CD in Japan on December 1, 1991, initially retailing at Japanese yen, JP¥49,800. The CD add-on was launched in North America on October 15, 1992, as the Sega CD, with a retail price of United States dollar, US$299; it was released in Europe as the Mega-CD in 1993. In addition to greatly expanding the potential size of its games, this add-on unit upgraded the graphics and sound capabilities by adding a second, more powerful processor, more system memory, and hardware-based scaling (geometry), scaling and rotation similar to that found in Sega's arcade games. It provided battery-backed storage RAM to allow games to save high scores, configuration data, and game progress. Shortly after its launch in North America, Sega began shipping the Sega CD with the pack-in game ''Sewer Shark'', a full motion video (FMV) game developed by Digital Pictures, a company that became an important partner for Sega. Touting the benefits of the CD's comparatively vast storage space, Sega and its third-party developers produced List of Sega CD games, a number of games for the add-on that include digital video in their gameplay or as bonus content, as well as re-releasing several cartridge-based games with high-fidelity audio tracks. In 1993, Sega released the Sega CD 2, a smaller and lighter version of the add-on designed for the Genesis II, at a reduced price compared to the original. A limited number of games were later developed that use both the Sega CD and the Sega 32X add-ons. The Mega-CD sold only 100,000 units during its first year in Japan, falling well below expectations. Although many consumers blamed its high launch price, it also suffered from a tiny software library; only two games were available at launch. This was due in part to the long delay before Sega made its software development kit available to third-party developers. Sales were higher in North America and Europe, although the novelty of FMV and CD-enhanced games quickly wore off, as many later games were met with lukewarm or negative reviews. In 1995, Sega announced a shift in focus to its new console, the Saturn, and discontinued advertising for Genesis hardware. The Sega CD sold 2.24 million units worldwide.


Sega 32X

With the release of the Saturn scheduled for 1995, Sega began developing a stopgap to bridge the gap between the Genesis and Saturn and serve as a less expensive entry into the History of video game consoles (fifth generation), 32-bit era. At the Consumer Electronics Show, Winter Consumer Electronics Show in January 1994, Sega of America research and development head Joe Miller took a phone call from Nakayama, in which Nakayama stressed the importance of a quick response to the Atari Jaguar. One idea came from a concept from Sega Enterprises, "Project Jupiter," a new standalone console. Project Jupiter was initially planned as a new version of the Genesis, with an upgraded color palette and a lower cost than the Saturn, and limited 3D computer graphics, 3D capabilities thanks to integration of ideas from the development of the Sega Virtua Processor chip. Miller suggested an alternative strategy, citing concerns with releasing a new console with no previous design specifications within six to nine months. At the suggestion from Miller and his team, Sega designed the 32X as a peripheral for the existing Genesis, expanding its power with two 32-bit SuperH-2 processors. The SH-2 had been developed in 1993 as a joint venture between Sega and Japanese electronics company Hitachi. At the end of the Consumer Electronics show, with the basic design of the 32X in place, Sega Enterprises invited Sega of America to assist in development of the new add-on. Although the new unit was a stronger console than originally proposed, it was not compatible with Saturn games. Before the 32X could be launched, the release date of the Saturn was announced for November 1994 in Japan, coinciding with the 32X's target launch date in North America. Sega of America now was faced with trying to market the 32X with the Saturn's Japan release occurring simultaneously. Their answer was to call the 32X a "transitional device" between the Genesis and the Saturn. This was justified by Sega's statement that both platforms would run at the same time and that the 32X would be aimed at players who could not afford the more expensive Saturn. The 32X was released in November 1994, in time for the holiday season. Demand among retailers was high, and Sega could not keep up orders for the system. More than 1,000,000 orders had been placed for 32X units, but Sega had only managed to ship 600,000 units by January 1995. Launching at about the same price as a Genesis console, the price of the 32X was less than half of what the Saturn's price would be at launch. Though positioning the console as an inexpensive entry into 32-bit gaming, Sega had a difficult time convincing third-party developers to create games for the new system. After an early run on the peripheral, news soon spread to the public of the upcoming release of the Sega Saturn, which would not support the 32X's games. The Saturn was released on May 11, 1995, four months earlier than its originally intended release date of September 2, 1995. The Saturn, in turn, caused developers to further shy away from the console and created doubt about List of Sega 32X games, the library for the 32X, even with Sega's assurances that there would be a large number of games developed for the system. In early 1996, Sega conceded that it had promised too much out of the 32X and decided to stop producing the system in order to focus on the Saturn. Prices for the 32X dropped to $99 and cleared out of stores at $19.95.


Variations

More than a dozen licensed variations of the Genesis/Mega Drive have been released. In addition to models made by Sega, alternate models were made by other companies, such as Majesco Entertainment, AtGames, JVC, Pioneer Corporation, Amstrad, and Aiwa. A number of Counterfeit consumer goods, bootleg clones were created during its lifespan.


First-party models

In 1993, Sega introduced a smaller, lighter version of the console, known as the Mega Drive II in Japan, Europe, and Australia and sold as Genesis (without the Sega prefix) in North America. This version omits the headphone jack, replaces the A/V-Out connector with a smaller version that supports stereo sound, and provides a simpler, less expensive mainboard that requires less power. Sega released a combined, semi-portable Genesis/Sega CD unit, the Genesis CDX (marketed as the Multi-Mega in Europe). This unit retailed at $399.95 in the US; this was roughly $100 more than the individual Genesis and Sega CD units put together, as the Sega CD had been reduced to $229 half a year before. The CDX was bundled with ''Sonic CD'', ''Sega Classics Arcade Collection'', and the Sega CD version of ''Ecco the Dolphin''. The CDX features a small Liquid crystal display, LCD screen that, when the unit is used to play audio CDs, displays the current track being played. With this feature and the system's lightweight build (weighing two pounds), Sega marketed it in part as a portable CD player. Late in the 16-bit era, Sega released a Handheld game console, handheld version of the Genesis, the Genesis Nomad. Its design was based on the Mega Jet, a Mega Drive portable unit featured on airplane flights in Japan. As the only successor to the Game Gear, the Nomad operates on 6 AA battery, AA batteries, displaying its graphics on a 3.25-inch (8.25-mm) LCD screen. The Nomad supports the entire Genesis library, but cannot be used with the Sega 32X, the Sega CD, or the Power Base Converter. Exclusive to the Japanese market was the Sega TeraDrive, TeraDrive, a Mega Drive combined with an IBM PC compatible computer. Sega also produced three List of Sega arcade system boards, arcade system boards based on the Mega Drive: the System C-2, the Sega Mega-Tech, MegaTech, and the MegaPlay, which support approximately 80 games combined.


Third-party models

Working with Sega Enterprises, JVC released the Wondermega on April 1, 1992, in Japan. The system was later redesigned by JVC and released as the X'Eye in North America in September 1994. Designed by JVC to be a Genesis and Sega CD combination with high quality audio, the Wondermega's high price ($500 at launch) kept it out of the hands of average consumers. The same was true of the Pioneer LaserActive, which requires an add-on known as the Mega-LD pack, developed by Sega, in order to play Genesis and Sega CD games. Although the LaserActive was lined up to compete with the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, the combined price of the system and the Mega-LD pack made it a prohibitively expensive option for Sega players. Aiwa released the CSD-GM1, a combination Genesis/Sega CD unit built into a boombox. Several companies added the Mega Drive to personal computers, mimicking the design of Sega's TeraDrive; these include the MSX models AX-330 and AX-990, distributed in Kuwait and Yemen, and the Amstrad Mega PC, distributed in Europe and Australia. After the Genesis was discontinued, Majesco Entertainment released the Genesis 3 as a budget version in 1998. A similar thing happened in Portugal, where Ecofilmes, Sega's distributor in the country, obtained a license to sell the Mega Game II. This version was more akin to the second first-party model, being noteworthy the inclusion of six-button controllers and a switch to alternate between different game regions, enabling this version to play all games without the need for any device or modification to bypass region locking. In 2009, AtGames began producing two new variations: the Firecore, which can play original Genesis cartridges as well as preloaded games, and a handheld console preloaded with 20 Genesis games. Companies such as Radica Games have released various compilations of Genesis and Mega Drive games in "Handheld TV game, plug-and-play" packages resembling the system's controller.


Re-releases and emulation

A number of Genesis and Mega Drive Video game console emulator, emulators have been produced, including GenEM, KGen, Genecyst, VGen, Gens, and Kega Fusion. The GameTap subscription gaming service included a Genesis emulator and had several dozen licensed Genesis games in its catalog. The Console Classix subscription gaming service includes an emulator and has several hundred Genesis games in its catalog. Compilations of Genesis games have been released for other consoles. These include ''Sonic Mega Collection'' and ''Sonic Gems Collection'' for PlayStation 2, PS2, Xbox (console), Xbox, and Nintendo GameCube; ''Sega Genesis Collection'' for PS2 and PlayStation Portable, PSP; and ''Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection'' (known as the ''Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection'' in PAL territories) for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. During his keynote speech at the 2006 Game Developers Conference, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata announced that Sega would make a number of Genesis/Mega Drive games available to download on the Wii's Virtual Console. There are select Genesis games available on the Xbox 360 through
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, such as ''Sonic the Hedgehog'' and ''Sonic 2'', as well as games available via the
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and
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.


Later releases

On May 22, 2006, North American company Super Fighter Team released ''Beggar Prince'', a game translated from a 1996 China, Chinese original. It was released worldwide and was the first commercial Genesis game release in North America since 1998. Super Fighter Team would later go on to release two more games for the system, ''Legend of Wukong'' and ''Blue Almanac, Star Odyssey''. In December 2010, WaterMelon, an American company, released ''Pier Solar and the Great Architects'', the first commercial role-playing video game specifically developed for the console since 1996, and was the biggest 16-bit game ever produced for the console at the time at 64 megabit, Mb (roughly 8 Megabytes). ''Pier Solar'' is the only cartridge-based game which can optionally use the Sega CD to play an enhanced soundtrack and sound effects disc. In 2013, independent programmer Future Driver, inspired by the Disney film ''Wreck-It Ralph'', developed ''Fix-It Felix Jr.'' for the Genesis. In 2017, American company Mega Cat Games released Coffee Crisis, a Beat 'em up, for the Sega Genesis. On December 5, 2007, Tectoy released a portable version of the Genesis/Mega Drive with twenty built-in games. Another version called "Mega Drive Guitar Idol" comes with two six-button joypads and a guitar controller with five fret buttons. The ''Guitar Idol'' game contains a mix of Brazilian and international songs. The console has 87 built-in games, including some from Electronic Arts based on the Mobile game, mobile phone versions. It was announced that Tectoy had developed a new Genesis console that not only looks almost identical to the original model of the Genesis, but also has a traditional cartridge slot and SD card reader, which was released in June 2017. In 2009, Chinese company AtGames produced a Genesis/Mega Drive-compatible console, the Firecore. It features a top-loading cartridge slot and includes two controllers similar to the six-button controller for the original Genesis. The console has 15 games built-in and is region-free, allowing cartridge games to run regardless of their region. AtGames produced a handheld version of the console. Both machines have been released in Europe by distributing company Blaze Europe. In 2018, Sega announced a microconsole, the Genesis/Mega Drive Mini. The console includes 40 games, including ''Gunstar Heroes'' and ''Castlevania: Bloodlines'', with different games for different regions and a save-anywhere function. '' Streets of Rage'' composer Yuzo Koshiro provided the menu music. The console was released on September 19, 2019. Crowdfunded Sega Mega Drive games have been released in recent years, with ''Tanglewood (2018 video game), Tanglewood'', a puzzle platformer being released on August 14, 2018, and ''Xeno Crisis'' released on October 28th, 2019. Both games were created by indie-game developers using actual Sega development hardware to ensure compatibility with the Mega Drive. On December 16, 2020, ''Paprium'', WaterMelon's follow up game to Pier Solar, was released after nearly a decade in development.


Reception

Reviewing the Genesis in 1995, ''Game Players'' noted that its rivalry with the Super NES was skewed by genre, with the Genesis having superior sports games and the Super NES superior Role-playing video game, RPGs. Commenting that the Genesis hardware was aging and the new software drying up, they recommended consumers buy a next-generation system or a Genesis Nomad instead, but also advised those who already owned a Genesis to not sell it. In a 1997 year-end review, a team of five ''Electronic Gaming Monthly'' editors gave the Genesis scores of 4.5, 5.0, 4.0, 4.5, and 7.5 - for all five editors, the lowest score they gave to any of the five consoles reviewed in the issue. While their chief criticisms were the lack of upcoming game releases and dated hardware, they also concurred that the Genesis was clearly inferior to the Super NES in terms of graphics capabilities, sound chip, and games library. John Ricciardi, in particular, considered the Genesis overrated, saying he had consistently found more enjoyment in both the Super NES and
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TurboGrafx-16
, while Dan Hsu and Crispin Boyer recommended it based on its selection of classic titles and the high value-for-money of the six pack-in games Sega was offering at the time.


Legacy

The Genesis has often ranked among the best video game consoles. In 2009, IGN named it the fifth best video game console, citing its edge in sports games and better home version of ''Mortal Kombat'', and lauding "what some consider to be the greatest controller ever created: the six button". In 2007, GameTrailers named the Genesis as the sixth best console of all time in their list of top ten consoles that "left their mark on the history of gaming", noting its great games and solid controller, and writing of the "glory days" of ''Sonic the Hedgehog''. In January 2008, technology columnist Don Reisinger proclaimed that the Genesis "created the industry's best console war to date", citing ''Sonic the Hedgehog'', superior sports games, and backward compatibility with the Sega Master System. In 2008, GamingExcellence ranked it sixth of the 10 best consoles, declaring, "one can truly see the Genesis for the gaming milestone it was." At the same time, GameDaily rated it ninth of ten for its memorable games. In 2014, USgamer's Jeremy Parish wrote, "If the Second generation of video game consoles, Atari generation introduced video games as a short-lived '70s fad ... and the Third generation of video game consoles, NES generation established it into an enduring obsession for the young, Sega's Genesis began pushing the medium toward something resembling its contemporary form", expounding that the system served as "the key incubator for modern sports franchises", made "consoles truly international" by providing Western third-parties previously put at a disadvantage by Nintendo's restrictive licensing policies with a more profitable alternative, created "an online subscription service" that foreshadowed "PlayStation Plus more than 15 years early" with the Sega Channel, and "played a key role in ensuring the vitality and future of the games industry by breaking Nintendo's near-monopolistic hold on the U.S. and awakening the U.K. to the merits of television gaming". For his part, Kalinske highlighted Sega's role in developing games for an older demographic and pioneering "the concept of the 'street date with the simultaneous North American and European release of ''Sonic the Hedgehog 2''. John Sczepaniak of ''Retro Gamer'' noted, "It was a system where the allure was born not only of the hardware and games, but the magazines, playground arguments, climate, and politics of the time." Sega of America's marketing campaign for the Genesis was widely emulated, influencing marketing in the subsequent generation of consoles.


See also

* List of best-selling Sega Genesis games * Neo Geo (system), Neo Geo * Philips CD-i


Notes


References


External links

{{Authority control Sega Genesis, Fourth-generation video game consoles Home video game consoles Products introduced in 1988 Products introduced in 1989 Products introduced in 1990 Products and services discontinued in 1997 Products and services discontinued in 1999