Useful Notes: Other Sega Systems
"HEY! You still don't have a Sega CD?"The follow is a list of gaming platforms produced by Sega that don't have their own pages. These include:
— Angry Black Guy, 1994 TV spot
Consoles:SG-1000: Sega's very first home game console and a precursor to the Sega Mark III. It was launched in Japan on July 15, 1983, the very same day Nintendo launched the Famicom. While never released in North America, the SG-1000 was available in certain markets within Europe, Oceania and South Africa through licensing deals with local companies. The original console came with a hardwired joystick controller with two shoulder buttons similar to the one bundled with the Atari 5200, plus a port for an additional controller. The SC-3000, an alternate version that was marketed as a home computer, had an integrated keyboard (sold separately as a peripheral for the SG-1000) with two controller ports instead. The SG-1000 II redesign, released on July 1984, featured two Famicom-style joypads that could be placed on the sides of the console when not in use, but were also detachable (making them easily replaceable if they ever got damaged). Specs wise, the SG-1000 and its derivatives were essentially identical to the ColecoVision and the MSX, as they were constructed from common shelf parts (namely the Z80 and TMS9918 processors), resulting in easy software portability between them. In fact, one clone console, the DINA 2-in-1, had compatibility with both, SG-1000 and ColecoVision cartridges. Sega CD and 32X: Described in further detail on the page for the Sega Genesis, these attempts to get in on the ground floor of technologies properly defined by the other Fifth Generation consoles fell flat due to the Genesis itself not having the processing power to realize their full potential (more precisely, only the 32X was an attempt to provide a transitional add-on for Genesis owners into the Fifth Generation; the Sega CD was originally released in 1991 for Japan, 1992 in America, and 1993 in Europe as a way to take the system's specs closer to the Super NES, while competing with the PC Engine's own CD-ROM add-on). Plus, the 32X was released on December 3, 1994 in Japan, barely a week after the Saturn's November 22 launch, although it reached the US first. The arrival of PlayStation (which also launched on December 3rd in Japan), as well as Sega Saturn itself, nailed this add-on as well as Sega Genesis itself. Pico: An early childhood learning system like you'd find in the homes of parents too traumatized by the original batch of video gaming Moral Guardians to purchase a "legitimate" gaming system (think of it as the Leap Frog of its day, except not portable). Cartridges were book-shaped and could be turned page-by-page to advance the on-screen action, while interactive action was controlled with a "magic" pen and buttons. Debuted in 1993 and died out in America and Europe by 1997, but apparently still has Japanese "Storyware" published for it alongside its successor, the Advanced Pico Beena (created 2005, Japan-only). Yamaha Mixt Book Player Copera: A Japan-only variant of the Sega Pico manufactured by Yamaha, it reinstated the OPN2 FM synth into the Pico to allow for better quality music while still retaining the uPD PCM CODEC for speech and sound samples (the Pico is based on MegaDrive hardware, but omitted the OPN2 synth to cut costs and added the uPD PCM CODEC to allow for superior speech and sound effects). Advanced Pico Beena is the Japan-only successor to the Sega Pico mentioned above, but is a Pico In Name Only. Little is known about the console outside of Japan except that it did away with the Sega Pico's Sega Genesis-derived internals for a completely new platform based around the 32-bit ARM architecture and thus is said to have superior graphics and sound capabilities to the Pico. It also has a SD card slot, from which software can be run from. It is thought to be incompatible with older Pico titles as the shape of the storyware books has changed. Mega Jet: The Mega Jet was originally a semi-portable, Game Gear-sized Mega Drive controller/cartridge slot hybrid for use with backseat monitors on Japan Airlines flights. A domestic model for general consumers was released in Japan in 1994. Genesis Nomad: After the Mega Jet's release, Sega gave American consumers the Nomad, which at first glance might be written off as a Game Gear that takes Genesis cartridges. While the Game Gear's infamously-short battery life was magnified on the Nomad (six AA batteries now only provided 30 minutes of playtime), the Nomad's main draw was that it not only functioned as a portable system, but had the A/V ports and second controller port necessary to operate as a console (Player 1 used the Nomad's buttons, Player 2 used the port). But even the possibility of lugging a complete console around in your pocket couldn't stop the Nomad from sinking — a launch price of $180 and lack of compatibility with the Sega CD, 32X, and Power Base Converter left it without sizable support.
Mashup Consoles:Sega made a variety of deals with other companies to add Genesis functionality to their products or to have Genesis components manufactured on the cheap by a third party. Most were incompatible with the Sega CD and 32X unless they were built into them already.
- SD-G5: An upgrade module for Pioneer's SEED family of television monitors, which used a module expansion system similar to the later LaserActive player. Because of its lack of expansion port it cannot use the SK-1100 keyboard, rendering all SC-3000 software incompatible.
- Wondermega (X'eye in North America): Combination Genesis / Sega CD built by JVC which supported its own suite of add-ons and featured better sound capability. Never released in Europe.
- Multi-Mega (Genesis CDX): A last-ditch effort to keep Sega CD support alive, this miniaturized Genesis / Sega CD hybrid could also function as a portable CD player, but was locked out of playing games while running on battery power. Adding on to that, it was incompatible with the 32X accessory unless modifications were made to the console and/or accessory due to the accessory obstructing the CD-ROM drive when inserted.
- Aiwa Mega-CD: A particularly rare variant of the above even in its exclusive market of Japan, this consisted of an Aiwa CD radio (which doubled as the Sega CD drive and audio output) with an extra deck on the bottom to handle the rest of the Mega Drive components. Unlike Sega's own CD deck, this used a connector cord to join the two rather than build the connection into their physical joining point.
- TeraDrive: A 286 IBM that had a Mega Drive built in. Containing a VGA connector for its own monitor and RCA jacks for TV hookup, the TeraDrive was notorious for being able to use the Mega Drive and PC bits simultaneously — and have components from the two draw from each other's memory.
- Amstrad Mega PC: Slightly more powerful than a TeraDrive (it used an IBM-compatible 386 processor for its PC bits), but only had VGA output and was prohibitively expensive.
- PAC-S1 (PAC-S10 in the US): An add-on module for Pioneer's LaserActive player that allowed users to play Genesis and Sega CD software in addition to standard LaserDiscs, including exclusive Mega LD games. A total of four upgrade modules were produced for the LaserActive, including an NEC module that allowed it to play TurboGrafx-16 cards and CDs.
Internet Services:A variety of cable TV-based internet connections proliferated during the days of the Genesis and Saturn, and well into the life of the Sega Dreamcast.
- Sega MegaNet: The first online hookup for Japanese Mega Drives began service in 1991, but folded after lackluster sales and a canceled American release as the "Tele-Genesis". Somehow gained a Short Run In Brazil in 1995.
- Sega Channel: A joint venture with Time Warner Cable and TCI (now Charter and Comcast, respectively), this service started in 1994 for English-speaking Genesis / Mega Drive owners and used an adapter in the cartridge slot rather than the rear expansion port used by MegaNet (most American and European redesigns of the console's exterior omitted said port but kept the circuit board connections). Most famous for being the only way American Genesis owners got to play titles such as Mega Man: The Wily Wars, Golden Axe III, Pulseman and Alien Soldier.
- SegaNet / Sega NetLink: An attempted online service for the Sega Saturn that failed due to high cost and lack of in-game support (only five games supported it, at least two of which are re-releases of games that originally preceded the NetLink, and all are uncommon at best and extremely rare at worst). Notable for allowing users to choose their ISP and being built on the XBAND modem technology that once governed third-party online play for the Genesis and Super NES. Also notable in that, unlike the Japanese equivalent that depended on now-defunct XBAND infrastructure, the NetLink uses a direct-dial system; if you can call someone on a home phone line, you can play with that someone to this very day. The Sega Pluto was to have been a Saturn model incorporating a NetLink modem; only two prototypes are known to exist.
- Dreamarena: Bundled with European Dreamcasts, this service absorbed what was left of SegaNet's resources and took advantage of that system's built-in modem to provide free online play. Formally discontinued in 2003, but its DreamKey browser's latest updates allow users to input their own ISP data to continue supporting the Dreamcast's online functions.