Frequently Asked Questions

Version 2.0


Written and updated by: Chris Foulger (

This F.A.Q is written from a European (U.K) point of view if anyone

in the U.S or Japan or Hong Kong wants to help me out with regard to

Genesis/Megadrive information I will be more than happy.

Thanks to the following contributors


Jon Dyton (

Jon Legg (

Ron Kiser (

Andy Welburn (

Matthew Nielson

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I. General information

1.1 What is the Sega Megadrive?

1.2 What is the history of the Megadrive?

1.3 What is the difference between Megadrive 1 and 2?

1.4 What are the technical specifications of the Megadrive?

1.5 What are the aesthetic differences between each Megadrive?

1.6 How many different variations of the Megadrive exist?

1.7 What pack-in variations exist?

II. Compatibility

2.1 can you play Japanese or U.S games on a U.K Megadrive?

2.2 Can you play Master System Games on A Megadrive?

2.3 Can you play Game Gear games on a Megadrive?

III. Software

3.1 What games are Available for the Megadrive?

3.2 Who is Sonic the Hedgehog?

3.3 How many sonic games are available for the Megadrive?

3.4 Do any games use extra chips for better graphics?

3.5 In Japanese text mode are there any differences to U.K games?

3.6 What Japanese games had different names in the U.K & U.S?

3.7 What unreleased games were there?

3.8 What games were released in the U.K but not in the U.S?

3.9 what game packaging variations are there?

IV. Accessories

4.1 What accessories are available?

4.2 What multiplayer accessories exist?

4.3 What are J-carts?

4.4 What cheating cartridges are available?

4.5 Were there any unreleased accessories?

V. Upgrades

5.1 What is the Mega CD?

5.2 What are the technical specifications of the Mega CD?

5.3 What is the 32x?

5.4 What are the technical specifications of the 32x?

5.5 Is it possible to play import 32X games on a U.K 32X? 

VI. Trivia


I General Information


1.1 What is the Sega Megadrive?

The Sega Megadrive was the first true 16 bit video game console

and was made by Sega.

1.2 What is the history of the Megadrive?

After the 1984 videogames market crash cartridge based consoles had lost acceptance in the consumer market in favor of cheaper disk and tape based systems such as the Sinclair Spectrum and Commodore 64.

About 1987 things were beginning to change in the marketplace and

consoles were selling again. Master System achieved reasonable sales

of 230,000 units in Europe and the Nintendo N.E.S in America that was

estimated to be installed in one out of three American households.

Sega saw that time was right for a more adventurous console and more

importantly that people were willing to pay for more expensive

Cartridge software.

16 bit machines had already reached home computer users by 1987

through the Commodore Amiga and the Atari ST. A cheap powerful

Instant loading console based on this technology that was more

than capable of replicating the best arcade games of the time

was bound to be a top seller.

The first version of the Megadrive was released in Japan in

October 1988. The four games available Super Thunderblade, Alex Kidd and the Enchanted Castle, Altered Beast and Space Harrier 2 showed how much better the Megadrive could handle arcade conversions compared to the equivalent home computers.

A large profitable grey import market quickly grew up around

the Megadrive and N.E.C's also powerful console the PC Engine

Supplying gamers with these consoles raising awareness of the

Megadrive before the official release.

The Megadrive was renamed Genesis and released in America in

September 1989. sports simulations were very popular in America

especially John Madden and NHL ice hockey that helped sell the machine.

The early launch of the Genesis in America gained a lot of the market

from Nintendo before they could get their 16 bit Super Nintendo on sale.

A European launch followed in November 1990 and caught the Christmas rush.

Virgin Mastertronic distributed the Megadrive in the U.K. The first

U.K shipment of 30 000 units went to the larger chain stores of the time

Comet, Dixons, Rumbelows and Toys R Us and sold steadily for £189.99.

Western third party publishers like Electronic Arts, Disney and later on Acclaim

were eager to sign up to produce games for the Megadrive expanding the

variety of titles available, Showing that the Megadrive could handle

more than just arcade titles, Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse from Disney and Populous from Electronic arts being two such examples.

But is was with the release of Sonic the Hedgehog and a subsequent pack-in that saw sales really take off.

A year later a sequel was created (sonic 2) and Backed by an imaginative

marketing campaign (sonic 2uesday) became the Megadrive's biggest selling title ever. The Megadrive caught the media attention in a really big way and Sega sponsored all kinds of sport, music events and other products, continuing to bring awareness of video gaming to a wider audience and increasing sales.

The successful sales continued and two separate upgrades were produced a CD ROM drive and a 32 bit adapter although due to poor software support they never achieved the same success as the base unit.

The Megadrive was the early 90's most successful console and gained a huge library of arcade conversions, sports and original titles. The machines early Success lay in its accurate conversions of popular arcade games. Later on in its life innovative marketing wide range of great software and a £99.99 price point for the Megadrive played a part in its

Success. The last games released were at the end of 1997 in Europe and late 1998 in America.

1.3 What is the difference between Megadrive 1 and 2?

In an effort to increase the sales and reduce manufacturing costs the

Megadrive was redesigned in 1993 and this was known as the Megadrive 2.

The technical specifications remained the same but the casing and some

features were changed as follows:

* Headphone jack removed

* A/V port changed to a custom multi out port that now provides stereo sound to T.Vís (previously only Mono was outputted on Megadrive 1 as the headphone port was used for stereo sound.)

* RF out port removed

* Auto switching RF lead included

* Power lead port made smaller and a different AC adapter used

* Push button power switch

Japanese Megadrive 2

There are also a few slight differences to the Japanese Megadrive 2 as listed below, although the size and shape remain identical the western version of the Megadrive 2.

* Slide switch remained

* Japanese Version had red colored flaps on the cartridge port

* no power LED

*The text "high grade multi purpose intelligent terminal" embossed just behind the cartridge port

*Packaged with a 6 button pad as standard

1.4 What are the technical specifications of the Megadrive?

C.P.U Motorola M68000 16 bit processor

running at 7.67Mhz

Sound C.P.U Z80a running at 3.58 MHz

Main sound chip Yamaha YM2612 6 channel FM

Additional sound chip 4 channel PSG

Palette 512

Onscreen colours 64

Maximum onscreen sprites 80

Resolution 320 x 224

Outputs separate R.F aerial and R.G.B outputs (AUX connector - Megadrive 1 only),

stereo headphone jack (original model only)

9 pin EXT port (Early original model only)

Expansion port on the bottom right hand side for Mega CD

2 nine pin joypad connectors on the front of the machine.

1.4 What are the aesthetic differences between each version of Megadrive?

Aesthetics for the Megadrive 1 width 28.5 cm height 5 cm length 22.5 cm the original Japanese Megadrive had a Gloss black finish. There was large logo in gold "16 BIT" On the circular molding on the top of the Megadrive also around this circle was printed the text "multi purpose intelligent terminal". At the bottom of the circle is a square section in purple. To the left side of the console are the cooling vents. "Sega Megadrive" is printed in white on the lower right of the console. The reset button on the machine is blue as is the start button on the joypad.

For the American Genesis the "16 BIT" logo was slightly smaller. Text in white was printed around the circular molding and reads "High Definition Graphics" A large Genesis logo was printed in front of the cartridge port. The reset button and start button on the joypad are both now white.

The European Megadrive had the text "high grade multi purpose intelligent terminal" printed around the circle and the smaller "16 BIT" logo was used. "Sega Megadrive" was printed in the same place as the Japanese machine. The Reset button and start button are white.

There is also an Asian Megadrive had no text printed around the circle and the larger "16 BIT" logo was used. "Sega Megadrive" was printed in the same place as the Japanese machine. The Reset button and start button are blue. This is often mistaken for a Japanese Megadrive

But internally is identical to the U.K Megadrive and has a PAL output.

1.5 What different variations of the Megadrive exist?

Original Japanese version (Megadrive 1) featuring headphone jack and AUX

port with Japanese language settings and a cartridge lock.

American version was identical but renamed Genesis and had English language Settings. The cartridge lock was removed.

European version similar to the Genesis version but converted to display

PAL 50HZ signal and English language settings.

Slight changes to the Megadrive 1 removed EXT port and added the message

"produced by or under license from Sega Enterprises" to the boot ROM.

1993 totally redesigned Megadrive 2 more square shaped design removed the headphone jack and only one custom multi output for sound and picture (See 1.3).

Wondermega was a combined Megadrive and Mega CD by J.V.C that had improved sound capabilities, MIDI connections, a karaoke function, 2 inputs for microphones and SVHS connector.

Originally came packed with a four game CD called Game Garden that featured the Megadrive game Flicky, a quiz game and Pyramid a puzzle game. The Game Garden disc is also compatible with CDG (CD and Graphics)

Enabled CD players. A later pack in Japan was a platform game Wonderdog by Core. The Wondermega also included a built in sound to graphics program that showed graphics that moved when a music CD was inserted.

The enhanced audio capabilities of the Wondermega were its main selling point. Additional peripherals included a cartridge "Wonder MIDI" that let you create music and connect to MIDI compatible devices another add on was a music keyboard "Piano Player" that allowed you with the additional software to learn to play the keyboard and create music.

The Wondermega was also redesigned and the machine was given a softer more curved look and some of the extra features and connectors were removed and the joypads were remodeled infra red joypads.

Renamed Xeye when launched America and did not get a European release.

Multimega was a Portable Megadrive and Mega CD combined and was aimed at

a more affluent market. The launch price for the Multimega was a staggering £350.00. Although it had no built-in screen it could double as a portable CD player and was powered by 2 AA batteries that only had enough power to run the CD payer. To play Megadrive and Mega CD games the Multimega had to be plugged into the mains.

The portable CD control buttons are on the front of the console (play, stop, Etc.) and a backlit L.C.D displayed the track number. An extra line out port was provided for connection to stereo equipment.

The Multimega was known as the CDX in America.

Nomad was a fully portable Megadrive with a built in 3-Inch colour L.C.D screen that could also be connected to a television using the same scart or RF lead as the Megadrive 2.

There was a second joypad port on the bottom of the machine for two player games.

The Nomad played normal Megadrive cartridges so it had the same wide

range of software as the Megadrive. The Nomad had 6 fire buttons for use on 6 button games. The Nomad was powered by 6 AA batteries that you fitted to a case that clipped to the back of the unit. A rechargeable battery pack and AC adapter were also available.

The Nomad was released in America in late 1996 for $149.99 but did not receive a European release.

Megatech was an arcade machine that featured 10 interchangeable Megadrive games in a juke box style arcade cabinet. This was first released about 1989 fitted with the best Megadrive games available at the time, like Thunderforce II, Altered Beast, Tetris, Last Battle, Space Harrier 2 and Golden Axe. The games could be changed at any time and later titles available included sonic. The games were identical to the Megadrive versions, even the game cheats worked!

The games for this cabinet were supplied on a Japanese shaped Megadrive cart although they are slightly heavier. The labels on the games were silver and red and only had Megatech and the name of the game printed on them. These carts were not compatible with a standard Megadrive due to the extra information that was stored on them to run the second monitor,a different length edge connector, number of pins, pinouts, and spacing.

A second smaller 9-inch monitor was built into the top of the cabinet

and displayed instructions for each of the games. But you paid to play for a timed period as the time ran out the playing screen

would flash green to inform you that extra credits would needed be inserted to continue playing.

Megajet was a handheld Megadrive that could be rented for use on Japan airlines flights. There was no built in screen as you plugged the unit into the L.C.D television that folded out from the armrest.

The cartridges plugged into the top of the Megajet and it had 6 fire buttons for compatibility with games like Street Fighter 2. There was a second joypad port on the bottom of the Megajet for 2 player games.

A selection of four games were available to hire for the flight including Super Monaco GP 2 and Sonic, although you could use your own games if desired. The Megajet was also available in limited quantities at Japanese retail outlets. And was marketed as a portable Megadrive.

Laseractive this was a laser disc player from Pioneer that could take plug in modules and one of these could play Megadrive and Mega CD games. It could also display Megadrive graphics over Streamed video from compatible Laser discs.

The format was known as Mega LD and only a few games were released on this format. 3D glasses were also produced for the Laseractive for use on compatible disks. Other modules could play PC Engine games and karaoke.

Mega PC a PC made by Amstrad that could play normal Megadrive games and PC games.

This was launched in Japan as the Terra drive but I believe that it was a different company cooperating with Sega. Released in the U.K in 1993

redesigned and changed casing colour from dark grey to cream. The specs

were 386sx running at 25Mhz, 1 MEG RAM and a 40 MEG hard disc IBM compatible. Mega PC could also be connected to a Mega CD. An updated version was later released called the Mega Plus with improved specs 486, 33Mhz with 4 Meg RAM.

MSX Two of the AX series of machines that were only ever released in the Arab countries by a company called Universal were capable of playing standard Megadrive cartridges. The AX330 MSX had a cartridge port on the top of the machine and had 4 built in MSX programís Calendar, painting, Arabic writing and English writing. The other MSX machine the AX990 came packaged with 50 programís but I would think that they are likely to be either MSX programís or an unofficial Megadrive multi cart.

1.6 What pack-in variations exist?

Megadrive 1 packs have included the following games at some time

Altered Beast plus one joypad (original pack-in £189.99)

Megadrive 1 altered beast, one joypad, Moonwalker plus Moonwalker video (special offer pack-in)

Megadrive 1 Sonic the Hedgehog plus one joypad

Megadrive 1 World Cup Italia 90 plus one joypad

Megadrive 2 packs-ins have included:

Street Fighter 2, virtua racing, Sonic 3, The lion king, Aladdin, EA Double Headder (John Madden, NHL ice hockey) ,Sonic 1,Sonic 2 and Sonic collection.

Megagames one (columns, world cup Italia 90, super hang on)sonic & Streets of rage, sonic 2,

Megagames 6 packs there were three different versions of these which were on 6 game multi game cartridges.

Variation 1 (Revenge of Shinobi, golden axe, streets of rage, columns,

world cup Italia 90, super hang on)

vol.2 (World Cup Italia 90, Alien Storm, Super Thunderblade, Columns, Super Monaco GP, Super Hang on)

vol.2 variation 2(Revenge of Shinobi, golden axe, streets of rage, columns, sega soccer, sonic)As of November 1999 this pack is still available from the catalogue shopping store Argos.

Another limited edition value pack in set was Megagames 3 (Alien Storm, Monaco GP and Super Thunderblade) Ecco the Dolphin and European Club Soccer.




2.1 can you play Japanese or U.S games on a U.K Megadrive?

Originally the Japanese games did not fit a European Megadrive because the cartridges were a slightly wider and a different shape to the European games. This was easy to overcome by either using a converter cartridge that simply extended the Megadriveís cartridge connector and then you just plugged the Japanese game on top.

Or the other way you could overcome this was by cutting two notches out from the side of the cartridge port so the Japanese game would fit.

Early Genesis games had no protection at all and could played without a converter or any modification. July 1992 saw extra protection being added to a lot of the games by means of a software program that checked the language setting on the machine and what signal the Megadrive is outputting (N.T.S.C 60Hz Japan & America P.A.L 50Hz Europe). If the game was being played in the wrong territory a message usually appeared telling you that the game was incompatible. Again this was not too hard to overcome new converter cartridges could be brought similar to the Japanese converters but on the back of the cartridge there were a set of dip switches and if you set them in the right order the import came would play. The settings were often shown on a sticker attached to the front of the cartridge. The second method requires an internal conversion to be made to your Megadrive and two switches need to be added to change the settings of the Machine. One switch toggles between Japanese and English text the other toggles between 50Hz & 60Hz display.

The Megadrive could then be set to a European, American or Japanese hardware configuration.

2.2 Can you play Master System Games on A Megadrive?

Yes but you will need a Powerbase Converter this sits on top of the Megadrive and plugs into the cartridge port and allows you to play

the Master System cartridges and cards and the pause button was on the front. You can use light gun and 3D glasses games and any other master system accessories. A new version was released in Europe that was compatible with the Megadrive 2 but the card port was removed so you could no longer play card games or 3d glasses games. A third party Master System converter called the Mega Master and was distributed by Fire and Datel in the U.K this looked like the Megadrive 2 converter but could not play card games the pause button was a toggle switch on the side.

2.3 Can you play Game Gear games on a Megadrive?

Unfortunately not, although a converter was talked about in some magazines and referred to as the Mega Game Gear there was no official announcement was made.


III. Software


3.1 What games are Available for the Megadrive

There is not enough space in this F.A.Q to list them all but there is possibly more than 900 games including variants released during the 10 year life span of the Megadrive. The most popular games were the sonic series, streets of rage series, Fifa soccer series, John madden American football series, Street fighter II special champion edition and the Mortal Kombat series.

3.2 Who is Sonic the Hedgehog?

Sonic was and still is Segaís mascot character. After witnessing the success of Nintendo's character Mario and the success of his games Sega realized that they needed a strong character and game to help push Megadrive sales. Development started in April 1990 they looked at their previous mascot character for the Master System Alex Kidd, but he did not have a real mass market appeal, and was too similar to Mario.

They decided to make a new Character by holding an internal design competition at Sega Japan. There were 100 competition entries out of which 4 finalists were chosen. The 4 designs were a wolf, a bulldog, a fat man (who was developed into Dr. Robotnic) and a blue hedgehog created by artist Maoto Oshima. He came up with the character by crossing Felix the cat with Mickey Mouse and the developing the character further. The Sonic game was finally released in July 1991 and was a staggering success.

Several more Sonic games were made across all the Sega machines including 2 arcade games (Sonic the arcade game & Sonic Fighters).

3.3 How many Sonic games are available for the Megadrive?

The games are, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic 2, Sonic 3, Sonic and Knuckles, Sonic spinball, Sonic collection (sonic 1,2 and DR Robotnicís mean bean machine on one cartridge) and Sonic 3D also known as Sonic Blast in America.

Also on available on Mega CD Sonic the Hedgehog CD and on 32x Knuckles Chaotix featured sonic characters but not Sonic.

Sonic made cameo appearances in a few games as follows Soiell, Art Alive, Wacky Worlds, Ultimate Soccer, Joe Montanna football and was on the loading screen on some Sega released Mega CD games. DR. Robotnicís mean bean machine was a puzzle game with sonicís main enemy DR. Robonic taking the lead role.

3.4 Do any games use extra chips for better graphics?

Like the Super Nintendo there is a Megadrive game that uses extra chips to improve graphic performance.

Virtua Racing from Sega uses the Sega Virtua Processor created in conjunction with Hitachi.

The specifications of the SVP are as follows:-

Chip Command Type: DSP, 1 command, 1 clock

Speed / Instruction per second: 23MHz (23 mips)

ROM: I-ram (instruction RAM) 2048 bytes

Polygons per second 300-500 (16 colours) with 4 interrupts

RAM: D-RAM (optional installation)

Sound expansion: 2 channels PWM (pulse wave Modulation)

Data BUS bandwidth: internal / external 16 bits

3.5 In Japanese text mode are there any differences to U.K games?

Yes quite a few Megadrive games include bilingual text options some that I am aware of are as follows:

Mystic Defender / title reads Kujuki 2(Spellcaster 2)also the intro changes from a page of text telling the story to an animated Cinema

featuring the games characters.

Legend of Ju Ju/ title reads Toki

Ghouls and Ghosts /title reads Daimakumaira, restart points in the game are different.

Revenge of Shinobi /title reads Super Shinobi

Truxton / title reads Tatsujin

Streets of rage 1 & 2 /title reads Bare knuckle

Mercs /title reads Commando II in Japanese text

Super Fantasy Zone / cinemas are in Japanese text

Cyberball / Modem option is added to the select screen (not selectable)

Also if you use a Powerbase converter there are some Master System games that show Japanese text or different titles screens when played through a Megadrive with Japanese settings.

3.6 What Japanese games had different names in the U.K & U.S?

Lots of games were reprogrammed for western releases to satisfy the growing demand for new software. These changes were often more obvious then the bilingual text options that were already built into some games

(see 3.5). Sega and particularly Renovation who specialized in converting games for release in the west converted the most games in this way. So far the games that I know of that have different names to the Japanese releases are:-

Axis FZ Ė Final Zone

Devils Crush - Dragons Fury

Super Masters Ė Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf

Volfied - Ultimate Qix

Final Blow - Buster Douglas Boxing

Shiten Myooh - Shadow Blasters

Runark - Growl

Assault Suit Leinos Ė Target Earth

Magical Hat Adventure - Decap attack

Soko Ban - Boxxle

Wani Wani World - Berlin wall

Junkers High - Outrun 2019

Puyo puyo - DR Robotnicís Mean Bean Machine

3.7 What unreleased games were there?

Due to the fact that the Megadrive was released in three main territories there are some games that were announced for a western release but never appeared. Even between the America and Europe some games were not released (see 3.8) for example X-perts and Vectorman 2 were due for a European release but never arrived although they were released in America.

These are the games that to the best of my knowledge were announced but

never released in any area.

Wacky Races

Chaos Engine 2

Last Survivor (AKA Battle Isle)

Fireteam Rogue - Interplay

monster hunter (Menacer game)- Sega

Power Drift - Sega

zero Tolerance 2


Dino racer

Stephen Segal,

House of Fun (a license from the band Madness)


Shadow of Yserbius

Interplanetary Lizards

Smaartvark (A.K.A Arnie the Ardvark),

Elite (Megadrive version also contained 32X code)

Kartoon Kombat

Mall rats (based on the film).

Four Sega VR games

Outlaw Racing

Iron Hammer

Nuclear Rush

Matrix Runner

all of which were 16 MEG cartridges.

3.8 What games were released in the U.K but not in the U.S?

This section is under construction and more titles will be added, so far I know of the following PAL only titles. Some of these were also released in Japan.

Super Fantasy Zone, Alien Soldier, Megaman the Willey Wars, Wrestle War, Jimmy Whites Whirlwind Snooker, Micro machines Military, Brian Lara Cricket, Brian Lara Cricket 96.

3.9 what game packaging variations are there?

Often due to the various different shaped cartridges made by the many companies releasing games for the Megadrive this lead to a wide variety of different cases for the games. One small thing to note about Japanese import games is that they have no have no tags on the top to hang the games from shop racking.

A few of the Sunsoft games were sold in mini boxes that were half the size of the standard boxes, The lager companies produced their own dedicated cases and carts Taito capcom and Namcot all had there name printed inside the box and on the back of the carts. Card boxes were used for later releases in the US and Accolade games were released in card boxes that the top lifted off like a box of chocolates. Virtua Racing needed a special box due to a much larger cartridge although the size for the case was not changes only the cartridge holder on the inside of the case.


IV. Accessories


4.1 What accessories are available?

Menacer Sega's own light gun the biggest light gun ever created for a home system.

The Menacer was made up of three interchangeable sections, the main section could be used as a pistol and to this a stock could be added for extra support and the third section was with twin sights that clipped on to the top.

The Menacer was powered by 6 AAA batteries and was not connected by a wire to the Megadrive but by an Infra-red beam that relayed signals to a receiver box that sat on top of the television. The Menacer was advertised as the most accurate light gun ever. The Menacer retailed for £60.00 and came packaged with a 6 game cartridge that was mostly target shooting games. The best game was based on the Megadrive game Toejam & Earl which the player fired tomatoes at enemies from the Toejam & Earl game.

Only three other games were Menacer compatible T2 the arcade game, Bodycount and Corpse Killer on Mega CD (there is also a 32x CD version of Corpse Killer)

Arcade power stick this was Sega's own large sturdy three-button arcade style joystick and was available at launch. There was adjustable speed rapid fire for each button. The Japanese version and a micro-switched joystick but the U.K and U.S versions used rubber contacts.

Analogue control pad this was called the AX-1E controller and was a black, circular shaped pad. There was an analogue sick and an analogue throttle control as well as 4 independent fire buttons and a start button.

This controller was compatible with Afterburner II, F1 Hero and Galaxy Force II. This pad was only released in Japan.

Infra red control pads sold as a complete set that included a receiver box and two three button controllers. These were sold as a dual format peripheral due to the compatibility between Megadrive and Master System controllers.

6 button joypad Sega made a 6 button joypad for use on games like Mortal Kombat and Street fighter II that required more than the 3 buttons that the standard Megadrive joypad had.

Features included a rolling base to the D pad and 6 buttons there

is a mode button on the top right of the pad that if held down when turning on the Megadrive the pad would set to a three button mode. This was needed for games that were incompatible in 6 button mode I.E Forgotten Worlds, Alien3, Golden Axe 2 and Decapattack.

The mode button could also be used as a extra fire button or a select button. The Japanese version of the 6 button pad was slightly smaller with a shorter lead and a purple start button.

Arcade Power Stick II a joystick similar design to the Arcade Power Stick except with 6 buttons and a mode button.

CD ROM drive (see 5.1)

32 bit adapter (5.3)

Interactor One of the more unusual Sega add ons was this controller that was a sort of virtual reality controller. The Interactor had eight sides and was placed flat on the floor. Infra red beams were projected up from each of the sides.

The player stood in the middle and broke the beams at different hights and combinations to produce the moves on screen. compatible mostly with

fighting games. only released in America.

Mega modem before Sega TV and Edge 16 modems was the Mega Modem that was only released in Japan in 1991. This plugged into the EXT port at the back of the original Megadrive. A Sega game net was set up to use the system but was not a success. The Mega modem was due for release in America under the name "Tele-Genesis Modem". Three games were launched with the Mega modem Cyberball by Tengen and the two other games were a version of Mar Jong and a Baseball game. One of the later released compatible titles was Advanced world war simulator and all the instruction books for these games included the Mega modem manual in the back section.

Batter Up a baseball controller for use on baseball games that are popular in America. Made by Sports Sciences and was only available in America.

TV Golf a Golf controller for use on EA golf games like the PGA series the controller was shaped like a golf club. A second unit plugged into the control port one and was placed on the floor in-front of the player. A very expensive item that sold for about £100. This was also produced by sports sciences.

Master System converter (see 2.3)

Various converters to play imported games made by third party manufacturers

2 button mouse made by Sega primarily for use on role playing games,

This mouse was a standard shaped mouse with red buttons the left mouse button had identifying lines on it. The most interesting feature is that this mouse can double as a trackball by turning it upside down, pushing the ball acted as another fire button.

Mega mouse A 3 button mouse was also released this had an extra button but could not be used as a trackball and was only released in America.

2 different modems for use in America. Edge 16, X band

Sega TV Cable games adapter was created in cooperation with Time Warner and Sega. The adapter was a similar shape to the Master System converter 2 except it was a bit larger and had a cable TV connector on the side of the unit. You paid monthly fee like a standard cable/satellite channel and selected games were provided to play for a limited time. Playable previews of Games due for release were also made available on the Sega TV channel. The idea being to promote more sales of the game on release. Games could not be saved on the adapter so if you liked a game you could go and buy it. Sega TV was only available in a few areas of the U.K that had cable TV although not all areas that had cable were given the option of Sega TV. The service was eventually stopped late 1997 after a run of a couple of years.

Hyperscore this was a plug through cartridge for recording high scores that could then be displayed on Teletext. The game Cartridges were plugged into the top of the Hyper score and then the high scores were saved into it. Next there was a phone number you could call and upload your score by means of a speaker on the front of the Hyperscore similar to a tone dialer. All the game scores were then put into a national league and the highest score won a prize. Scores could be checked by going to the Hyperscore Teletext page. The Hyperscore was made and marketed by Hasbro.

Multi game selector For Genesis this was an adapter that plugged into the cartridge port and had spaces for ten different games. The idea was similar to a juke box so you could select to play different games easily by just pushing a button. This was a third party peripheral that was only released in America.

Justifier this was Konami's own gun for use on their titles. This was a more standard looking light gun shaped like a revolver. For two player games the second gun plugged into the bottom of the player one gun. the player one gun was pale blue player two's was pink. Compatible games were Lethal Enforcers 1 and 2 (also the Mega CD versions) Snatcher and Corpse Killer on Mega CD (there is also a 32x version of Corpse Killer)

The Justifier was not compatible with Menacer software.

Sega Powerstrip The complete Sega Megadrive set up required four power supplies Megadrive, Mega CD, 32x and a television as the adapters were quite large often normal extra plug extension sockets would not fit. Sega released their own extension unit colored blue with red sega text printed along the top. This provided 5 plug sockets. Only available in America.

Miracle keyboard For Genesis this was a complete music keyboard add on for learning to play the keyboard. A separate game cartridge plugged into the Megadrive and contained several practice programs and games to help you learn to play. This was a third party peripheral that was only released in America. Cost of this peripheral was over $200 due to the size of the keyboard.

4.2 What multi taps exist?

There are two official multi tap adapters available one from Electronic Arts and one from Sega, and one third party multi tap adapter made by Gamester.

The E.A tap was a small adapter that plugged into both the joypad ports and the four ports were on the front.

The Sega multi 4-player adapter plugged into the player 2 joypad port. A lead extended from the port to a small box that had four ports and a sliding selector switch on the top. The selector switch had five settings 1 to 4 and Multi if you were playing a 2 player game you could choose which port to use and multi selected the four player mode

five players could be used as a controller could be plugged into port one.

Colour stickers were provided with the adapter that could be attached to each of the pads to identify each players controller.

One obvious advantage of the sega adapter was that two adapters could be used for eight player games like the Japanese released J League Soccer.

Unfortunately they were incompatible with each other Electronic arts

Four score only worked with E.A games and the Sega multi player adapter only worked with the sega games. The Gamester adapter provided the ideal solution to this situation by being compatible with both multi tap standards. Later released games were programmed to work with both Sega and E.A adapters.

4.3 What are J-carts?

J-Carts were made by Codemasters and these were cartridges with two joypad ports built in. The idea being that if you brought the game you could enjoy multi player games without the need for an additional multi tap. This was especially useful because as there were already two incompatible multi tapís available.

4.4 What are J-carts were made?

Only Codemasters made J-carts the titles are as follows:-

Pete Sampras tennis

Pete Sampras tennis 96

Micromachines 2

Micromachines 96

Micromachines Military

Super Skidmarks

At a later time some of these titles were produced on standard cartridge for a lower price

4.5 what cheating cartridges are available?

Action Replay made and distributed by U.K company Datel who also make various console peripherals. They also made a second version the Pro Action Replay 2 that had a built in code finder. The Action Replay could be used to play Japanese import games and if the correct codes were found import games with programmed protection could be played.

Game Genie by Codemasters distributed in the U.K by toy manufacturer Hornby. The Game Genie had a disadvantage over the Pro Action Replay and that was due to the fact that the codes had to be provided by Hornby although you could create your own codes it was very difficult.

4.6 Were there any unreleased accessories? 

Yes there were these are the unreleased accessories that I am aware of.

Virtual reality headset that was shown with four games (see 3.6)at the 1993 C.E.S show in Chicago U.S.A. Sega VR (The official name) was due to go on sale in America in December 1993.

Graphics tablet was announced when the Megadrive was launched it was delayed and eventually cancelled. It is possible that development was changed over to the Sega Pico (an educational graphics tablet).

Keyboard and 3.5 in disk drive were cancelled due to the poor performance of the Mega Modem in Japan.

Neptune a 32x and Megadrive combined similar in shape to a Megadrive 2.

Only one non-working prototype of this is known to exist, which is only a case mock up for display purposes and does not contain any working electronics.

Analogue steering wheel designed by AM2 for use on Virtua Racing was also shown prior to the release of the game but was never released due to the expense of the wheel. It was later modifications were made the base of the wheel was changed and then launched as the Saturn Arcade Racer.

Modular Cartridge containing the Sega Virtua processor as more games that used the SVP chip were planned this would have reduced the cost of these games by containing the SVP on the modular cartridge. The games would then plug in on top containing the game data for the chip. This would have saved paying for a new expensive SVP chip each time a new game came out by using this add on.


V. Upgrades


5.1 What is the Mega CD?

The Mega CD is a CD ROM drive that plugs into the expansion port on the side of the Megadrive and allows specially written CD software to be played on the Megadrive. The Mega CD could also play normal music CDs both 5 and 3 inch discs and could play CD+G discs. The Mega CD also improved the graphics and sound of the Megadrive. There are 2 versions of the Mega CD that are technically the same but with different casings.

The Mega CD 1 Sat underneath the Megadrive 1 and featured a motorized

front loading CD drive. The Mega CD 2 was released at the same time as the Megadrive 2 and attached to the side of either version of the Megadrive and had a top loading CD drive.

5.2 What are the technical specifications of the Mega CD?

Main C.P.U Motorola 68000 running at 12.5Mhz in parallel with the

Megadriveís C.P.U

Graphics processor Custom ASIC chip that could handle scaling and rotation.

CD Drive Single speed CD ROM with a 150 Kbytes a second data transfer rate

CD Buffer 128 K bit CD ROM data cache memory

Sound Stereo P.C.M 6 channel

16 Bit D/A converter

Save memory 64 K bit back up RAM (back up RAM cartridge is also available)

Outputs stereo phono sockets

The Mega CD did not improve the colours on the Megadrive although it did allow the Megadrive to display film footage F.M.V.

5.3 What is the 32x?

The 32x is a 32 bit upgrade unit that plugged into the cartridge port of

the Megadrive. The 32x improved the graphic and audio capabilities of both the Megadrive and Mega CD. Extra graphic abilities included the ability to display graphics layered over standard Megadrive graphics for example on the 32x version of Mortal Kombat II the backgrounds were made by the Megadrive whilst the sprites were handled by the 32x.

The 32x could also display 50 000 texture-mapped polygons a second

and hardware scaling and rotation.

5.4 What are the technical specifications of the 32x?

C.P.U Two Hitachi SH2 32BIT RISC running at 23Mhz / 40 MIPS

Co processor A new 32x VDP works with the Megadriveís 68000 and Z80

Palette 32,768 simultaneous colours

Memory 4 MBIT RAM in addition to the Megadrive and Mega CD

sound Digital stereo PCM, programmable sample rates, audio mixing

with Megadrive sound.

5.5 Is it possible to play import 32X games on a U.K 32X?

It is not possible to play Japanese or American imports on a U.K 32X due to the poor sales of the 32X no converters were produced. If you have a switched (50/60hz) Megadrive though an American 32X will work. This is the only way to play import 32X games.


VI. Trivia


* DR Robotnicís Mean Bean Machine was originally a Japanese game called Puyo Puyo from Compile. The puzzle section remains the same but the cinemas feature DR. Robotnic trying to take over Sonics world. This was done to make the game more appealing to the western audiences.

* Zero Tolerance is a Doom style corridor shooter that has the ability

to link up 2 Megadriveís and 2 televisions like the link mode seen in some Playstation games. The link lead was received through a mail in voucher that was packaged with the game. The link lead plugged into each of the second joypad ports and was similar to a joypad extension lead.

* The main bad enemy character in Sonic the Hedgehog Dr. Robotnic is known as Dr. Eggman in Japan.

* There are 2 versions of Klax available for the Megadrive one is made by Namcot for Japanese release. The second version was made by Tengen for the western release. In my opinion the Tengen version is the better.

* Some of the best music ever produced for the Megadrive as heard in The

Revenge of Shinobi and streets of rage was created by a top Japanese musician Yuzo Koshiro he actually had a Megadrive sound chip built into his recording studio. Music CDs could also be brought in Japan with his

Megadrive music re-mixed.

* Joe Montanna American Football II was the first game ever to feature a full running commentary as heard in a lot of sport CD games today. This was revolutionary advance in game sound and was even featured on a U.K science and technology program (Tomorrows World). There was also a Sportstalk baseball released in the US.

* Sega's Sonic license was taken into new territory with a Sonic fruit machine this licensed gambling machine was released through Deith Leisure a subsidiary of Sega Europe who also run Sega's arcade machine business in the U.K.

* Virtua racing caused an interesting problem for some people with cordless phones, the frequency of the SVP chip was picked up by the phones and they would ring.

* The rarest Megadrive game ever released was the original Phantasy Star. There were only ever 1000 of these ever made and it was only sold in Japan. The game was a straight port of the Master System version with no improvements as it ran on the Megadriveís internal Master System chip.



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