Sega Master System

Released in 1985 in Japan, and then the rest of the world over the next few years, the Sega Master System was Sega’s first majorly successful console.

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About The Sega Master System

Originally released as the Sega Mark III in Japan, the system 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)
Sega Master System
The Sega Master System

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.