Released in 1985 in Japan, then the rest of the world over the next few years, the Sega Master System is Sega’s first majorly successful console.
Originally released as the Sega Mark III in Japan, the systems case was redesigned and renamed as the Sega Master System in 1986 and pushed around the world. The Mark III is able to play its own Mark III cartridges as well as the newer system cartridges and game cards.
- CPU: Zilog Z80A
- RAM: 8KB RAM / 16KB VRAM
- Sound: Yamaha PSG SN76489
- 1986 (US)
- 1987 (EU / JP)
A direct competitor to the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Master System fought a long battle with Nintendo. Ultimately the system failed to beat the NES in the US and Japan. The system did, however, perform very well in Europe and Brazil. Sega’s system, in particular, is hugely popular in Brazil, even to the present day. Many Master System clones were produced by Tectoy in Brazil which have sold strongly across the decades.
Selling an estimated 13 million units, the Master System is estimated to have sold c. 13 million units. Comparing this to the 62 million NES units, it might be perceived as a failure, but for Sega, it was just the beginning of bigger things.
The Master System, in theory, is still available in regions such as Brazil, but the system typically stopped retailing in the mid-90s. The system was succeeded by the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis in 1988.
Best Sega Master System Emulator
Check out our recommendations for the best Sega Master System emulator on PC, Mac, Linux & Android.
Best Sega Master System Games
Are you looking for the Best Sega Master System Games? Then look no further as we present to you, a list of our favourite Master System Games! Check our article below.
22 OF THE BEST SEGA MASTER SYSTEM GAMES | HOW TO RETRO
A lifelong avid gamer and computing enthusiast, Matt has decades of Retro Gaming experience. Now over 40 years old, Matt now even considers himself retro, but fortunately, nobody has developed a Matt emulator (not yet at least!).