The Sega Master System may have played second fiddle to the NES back in the 80s in much of the world, but in much of Europe and Brazil, the Sega Master System was the console of choice to millions.
There are some excellent dedicated Sega Master System emulators available as well as excellent support with some RetroArch cores, so finding the best Sega Master System emulator shouldn’t be any problem with our guide below.
1. Best Sega Master System Emulators For PC, Mac & Linux
Without a doubt, Gearsystem is the best Sega Master System emulator available for PC, Mac & Linux. Gearsystem prides itself on being a very accurate, cross-platform Master System / Game Gear & SG-1000 emulator available across a number of systems.
It is also one of the few Sega Master System emulators that are still receiving development and updates. It is an open-source project and continues to receive care and attention thanks to its fans who act as sponsors and backers.
Gearsystem supports everything you’ll likely ever need when it comes to the Sega Master System including varying cartridge types (such as Sega, Codemasters, and Korean variances), accurate Z80 core and behaviours, and full debugging facilities that allow you to hack away and access all tiles, sprites, backgrounds & palettes.
Gearsystem Features Include:
- Accurate Z80 Core Emulation
- Supports a wide range of cartridges including ROM, ROM & RAM, Sega, Codemasters, Korean, MSX
- Auto Region Detection
- Battery Power RAM saves support
- Save states
- ZIP file ROM support
- Action Replay & Game Genie support
- Full debugging mode
- Emulates the Sega Master System, Mark III, Game Gear, & SG-1000
- Available for PC, Mac & Linux
Before you download, also check out a list of the best Master System games to get some inspiration on what to play!
2. Best Sega Master System Emulators For Android
MD.emu is primarily a Sega Mega Drive emulator, it is also, without a doubt, one of the best Sega Master System emulators for Android. MD.emu is an open-source project based on a number of other emulator projects such as Genesis Plus, Gens, Picodrive & Mednafen.
As mentioned above, MD.emu offers not just Mega Drive & Master System emulation, you can also play Sega Mega CD & Mark III games too.
MD.emu has been available now for a number of years and is still receiving updates. Whilst it is a paid app, it is certainly worth it if you want a really solid emulator that covers all the earlier Sega systems.
MD.emu Features Include:
- Supports Sega Mega Drive, Master System, Mega CD & SG-1000 emulation
- Will boot .bin, .smd, .gen and .sms file formats directly or archived in ZIP, RAR and 7Z file types
- 6 button controller & multitap support
- Light gun support
- Cheat code support
- On-screen controls
- Bluetooth/USB controller support
Alternatively, if you are looking for a free Sega Master System emulator, we can also recommend GENPlusDroid – Similar to MD.emu in that it is primarily a Mega Drive / Genesis emulator, but also will emulate Sega Master System games really well.
Whilst the Sega Master System was not a huge success in the US, it was at least on par with the NES in Europe and way more popular in Brazil. It was the perfect entry point to many of Sega’s franchises, especially arcade game conversions.
The Sega Game Gear is also an interesting subject for emulation when looking at the Master System. The Game Gear is essentially a miniaturised Master System, it has a great library of games that are on par in terms of quality with the Master System, check these out for yourself with our best Sega Game Gear emulator guide.
Of course, the Sega Master System was followed up by the supreme Sega Mega Drive / Genesis. So why not live the dream of your younger self and indulge in some classic 16-bit Sega games with the best Sega Mega Drive / Genesis emulators.
Finally, we have plenty more emulator recommendations that can all be found in our comprehensive emulator guide.
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!).