Sega Mega Drive

Released in 1988, the Sega Mega Drive, also known as the Genesis in the US, succeeded the Sega Master System console. This system also represented Sega’s move into the 16-bit era.

System Overview

The Mega Drive’s technology was derived from Sega’s own ‘System 16’ arcade board. It utilises the proven Motorola 68000 CPU, backed up by a secondary Zilog Z80.

Sega’s Mega Drive also represents the first platform that a Sonic the Hedgehog game appeared on. Sonic inevitably became Sega’s mascot and formed part of a bundle with the Mega Drive that became a strong system seller.

Competing directly with Nintendo’s SNES, the system was hugely popular worldwide. Although selling less across the world than Nintendo, the Mega Drive sold c. 30 million units vs. the SNES selling 49 million. The system as expected based on the Master System’s performance, outsold the SNES in Europe but was still behind in the US and Japan.

The Mega Drive had two add-on systems/peripherals in an attempt to extend its life. The Mega CD/Sega CD released in 1991 and the 32X in 1994. Both did not perform that well, especially the 32X which is considered the beginning of Sega’s downfall from producing hardware.

Their Mega CD however performed modestly but was still not really considered an overall success. Sega was part of the pioneering few who were embracing CD-ROM technology for consoles. Perhaps they paid the price for jumping on board too early. The real nails in the coffin though were still to come after the Mega CD with the 32X and Sega Saturn.

Sega ceased retailing the Mega Drive in 1997, licenced variations continued with other international sellers. Sega’s successor, the Sega Saturn launched in 1994.

Sega Mega Drive
The Sega Mega Drive

WHERE TO BUY THE Sega Mega Drive

How to Emulate this system?

Sega Mega Drive emulation is reasonably well catered for, we recommend taking a look at RetroArch if you are seeking an all in one solution. RetroArch emulates a large number of systems including the Sega Mega Drive. RetroArch is a front end that utilises emulator ‘cores’, it is reasonably easy to use and has lots of good supporting documentation on how to use it. RetroArch is available across a number of platforms including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Raspberry Pi and many consoles. Take a look at our quick start guide for RetroArch which can get you up and running in 5 minutes.

Check out RetroArch here

Also, check out the other Sega Mega Drive emulators we enjoy using:

Emulator Description Platform
KEGA Fusion KEGA Fusion is hands down the best stand alone emulator for Windows, Mac & Linux. It emulates SG-1000, Master System, Game Gear, Mega Drive, Mega CD & 32X games. Windows / Mac / Linux

Raspberry Pi Sega Mega Drive Emulator

The Raspberry Pi is a compact single board computer which has become very popular for emulating retro computers and consoles. You can buy the Pi very cheaply and has a whole community supporting and building accessories and applications that are compatible with.

Significantly, for Retro Gaming enthusiasts, the Raspberry Pi offers fantastic all round emulation of many systems. It offers the ability to play Sega Mega Drive games on HDTVs via HDMI or older CRT TVs via composite outputs. Combining the Raspberry Pi with Retropie, you have a device capable of emulating anything from the Atari 2600 to the Sony PlayStation.

Check out the different Raspberry Pi packages you can pick up on Amazon using the button below.

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