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Useful Notes / Sega Genesis
aka: Sega CD

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Welcome to the next level. Or, Welco metot henex tlevel.note 

16 Bit Arcade Graphics.
You can't do this on Nintendo,
16 Bit Sports Action
You can't do this on Nintendo,
Genesis Does What Nintendon't."
North American advertisement showing the system's Tag Line

After failing to make a real dent against the Nintendo Entertainment Systemnote , Sega decided just to top them. If Nintendo was dragging their feet to a 16-bit system (the arcade standard at the time), then Sega would beat them to the punch with a console based on its System 16 arcade board codenamed "Mark V".

Enter the Mega Drive, or as North America calls it, the Sega Genesis.note 

For the most part, it worked. Outside of Japan, anyways. This was helped by some of Nintendo's U.S. policies being ruled as anti-trust violations by some developers supporting Sega due to them becomingnote  a lot more lax note . What really made the Genesis such a major hit in the West was a change in their target audience early in the system's lifecycle. During the Master System era, Sega had targeted the same, younger demographic as Nintendo, and the Genesis initially did the same, as evidenced by the system's initial flagship platformer, Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle, a sequel to the Master System's Killer App, Alex Kidd in Miracle World. However, the game proved a severe critical and commercial failure in many western countries, and what really captured the imagination of gamers was Altered Beast, a quickly-developed but fairly accurate conversion of Sega's arcade game that was included with most of the consoles. A few months later, the system had its first stand-alone hit, Michael Jackson's Moonwalker, which made it increasingly obvious to Sega that they weren't going to get anywhere trying to compete with Nintendo head-on, and that the answer laid in the demographic of teenagers and young adults, above what Nintendo was targeting.


Sega went back to the development team behind the Alex Kidd games and tasked them with coming up with a replacement character who would appeal to this new, older audience, and for the 1991 holiday season they finally managed to come up with the system's true Killer App, known as Sonic the Hedgehog. Its sequel the following year was even more successful, finally cementing Sega as a force to be reckoned with in the console market. So, the Mega Drive was a hit, selling 40 million systems (with miniaturized versions and handhelds still on the market today). There were also the Sega CD and 32X add-ons, but they were commercial failures.

While the Genesis flopped in its home country of Japan, which was already in the middle of its own battle between Nintendo and NEC, Sega of America and Sega of Europe's adept marketing techniques allowed the system to break Nintendo's stranglehold on the western market, redefining the industry landscape for both companies and consumers and giving the Big N its first real competition in the home console business.


Nintendo eventually had its own entry in the 16-bit era in the form of the Super NES. The SNES and Mega Drive/Genesis had a long and fierce console war that is probably the best-remembered of them all.

Either way you look at it, this was the console that made SEGA a household name.

Not to be confused with the band Genesis, the web game, the Genesis Device, or the book in The Bible.



  • Like the Sega Master System, the Mega Drive/Genesis has a master clock speed of 53 MHz, which is divided down to different clock speeds for the various processors and components.
  • The console has a 16/32-Bit Motorola 68000 that runs at 7.68 MHz (varies per region). The 16-bit part was prominently used as a marketing point over the 8-bit NES. Its arithmetic and logic unit is 16 bits wide, but its registers are 32 bits wide. This CPU uses microcode to emulate 32 bit instructions in hardware slower than a full 32 bit processor, but faster than emulating the 32 bit instructions in 16 bit software.
    • Along with the TurboGrafx-16, the consoles brazen marketing of the 16 bit mantra (even proudly displaying it on the first model of the console) started the rather unfortunate misconception that "Bits=Better Graphics/The Power of the Console". While it does have a grain of truth in it, it's also a gross oversimplification of how bits work.
  • Graphics generated by the Video Display Processor (VDP), more advanced than the one in the Sega Master System. The Genesis VDP is clocked at 13 MHz.
    • The system was heavily marketed for its ability to render objects faster than the SNES, a feature for which the Sega marketing division coined the term "Blast Processing". The higher performance allowed the Mega Drive to be able to render 3D polygons even without any special chips, like with Hard Drivin' and Star Cruiser.
    • Like the NES and SNES, the Mega Drive could expand through chips on the carts. One was the Sega Virtua Processor, which functioned like the Super FX chip on the SNES, allowing for more advanced polygonal rendering (it was in fact even more powerful than the Super FX chip). Unfortunately, incorporating it was a lot more expensive than a SNES chip, and only the port of Virtua Racing used it. Ironically, the SVP version of Virtua Racing was supposedly a beta product, with Sega having plans to spin the SVP off into a separate console add-on, if it was successful. That never came to pass because said version of Virtua Racing also happened to be the most expensive cartridge ever released for the Genesis, and the low sales convinced Sega's marketing department that there is no future in the SVP add-on. It didn't stop Sega's R&D from trying again with the 32x however...note 
  • It also has a 2nd CPU, a Zilog Z80 running at 3.58 MHz, used for the Sound chips's CPU and Master System play back.


  • 64 KB of main Random Access Memory and 64 KB of Video RAM (VRAM). The main RAM bus is clocked at 5.26 MHz and the VRAM bus is clocked at 8 MHz.
  • 8 KB of sound RAM. The sound RAM bus is clocked at 3.58 MHz.
  • 8 KB of extra RAM for backwards compatibility with the Sega Master System (although that requires an adapter).
  • Games ranged from 128KB (Columns, Ms. Pac-Man) to 5 MB (Super Street Fighter II). Keep in mind that these were advertised by their bit size, not their byte size, so they would be listed as 1 megabits to 40 megabits. The largest homebrew Genesis game is Pier Solar and the Great Architects, which has an 8 MB (64 megabits) cartridge.


  • Sprites up to 32x32 pixels. As on other systems, multiple sprites were placed side by side to form the large characters in games like Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat.
  • Up to 80 sprites on screen (not including background layer textures which could also appear animated), with a maximum of 20 sprites or 320 sprite pixels per scanline.
  • Two background layers in addition to the sprite layer. Due to the GPU offering very precise control over individual scanlines, however, it was possible to simulate the appearance of many more background layers, something very noticeable in the main Sonic the Hedgehog titles for the system.
  • Could not do scaling and rotating sprites in hardware, but the faster CPU could allow developers to program the effect in software by resizing sprite data.
  • While the main console had no dedicated 3D hardware, it was just barely powerful enough to create real time polygons in-software without the help of add-ons or enhancement chips, as proven by the games Hard Drivin', Res Q and Star Cruiser, among others.


  • 320x224 resolution.
  • 64 colors on screen (divided into four 16-color palettes), 512 total.
    • There is a hack called Fantom Bitmap(*sic*) that allows an astonishing 4096 colors on screen, basically this is achieved through precision-timed DMA writes of only the background color to the color RAM with the RAM increment pointer disabled[1], effectively allowing the software to "stream" the graphics pixel-by-pixel to the screen. However it was really cumbersome to set up as it relied on the precise timing of the Genesis' clock crystal, plus Sega's use of cheaper crystal oscillators as a cost-cutting measure meant that no two Genesis consoles runs precisely at the same speed (nevermind 50Hz PAL region consoles), necessitating a "tuning" process before the game can be played. As a result, it was only used in demos and never in real games.
    • There is another method used in the Overdrive demo that uses a similar method to achieve access to all 512 colors, this is done again by precision timing and blasting a new color palette every scanline.
    • Likewise, few emulators support both features (they were undocumented, and while they were well known of since the early 90s, they were never used in commercial games, as such no emulators supported these modes until recently when accuracy became an important factor in emulators).
  • Video cable support is identical to the first model of the Sega Master System, allowing for RF, composite, and RGB, with support for standard SCART/JP-21 cables in the latter's case as opposed to competitors' usage of proprietary cables.


  • Yamaha YM2612 (OPN2)
    • Six concurrent FM channels (voices).
    • Four operators per channel.
    • Two interval timers.
    • Stereo sound.
    • Sixth FM channel can switched to PCM mode.
  • Texas Instruments SN76489
    • 4 Analog generators.
    • 3 squares one noise.
    • modded for stereo sound (the chip's standers can only do Mono)
  • Because there was no hardware timer to help the Z80 that controlled the audio hardware keep time, it could generate clean PCM audio without music, clean music, or a mix of music and distorted PCM sound.

Addons and peripherals

Power Base Converter: An add-on which allowed the Mega Drive to play Sega Master System games, either of the cartridge or the card variety, and included support for the SMS's SegaScope 3D glasses. This was initially marketed for the first model Mega Drive, but a small quantity was made for the redesigned, compact Mega Drive (but only in Europe). Also, it can not play SG-1000 games (or Master System games that use the system's video modes like F-16 Fighting Falcon) or use its Japan only FM chip (the YM2413, which was also used on the MSX under the name MSX Music and was cloned by Konami as the VRC7 chip for the Famicom in Japan) unless the unit is modded. It also won't work with a 32X unless it is modded.
Sega CD: A CD-based add-on which would allow the Mega Drive to take advantage of a higher-capacity storage medium, enabling features such as Full Motion Video and Red Book CD sound. Unfortunately, the Mega Drive's own processing power wasn't quite enough to take advantage of these features to the fullest. Commonly believed to be a flop, the add-on actually sold well enough to be incorporated into some models of the console (the JVC Wondermega/X'Eye the CDX/Multi-Mega), though it never found the sort of popularity that the PC Engine's CD add-on did in Japan. Since the system remained bound by the Mega Drive's palette limitations (except for the few CD games that also supported the 32X add-on), live-action footage often turned into "the most horrifying, blurry, reduced-color-palette mess imaginable" (to quote Digital Pictures co-founder Ken Melville).



  • The sprites have identical specs to those of the main Genesis console, but can now do sprite scaling and Mode 7 effects.
  • Like the main console, the Sega CD has limited support for real time 3D, such as the main fighter and enemies in Silpheed (with the backgrounds being pre-rendered full-motion videos) Stellar Fire and the port of Starblade.


  • A 2nd 68000 chip running at 12.5 MHz, the main 68000 chip becomes the sound chips's CPU.


  • 512 KB of main RAM and 256 KB of video RAM.
  • 64 KB of sound RAM.
  • 16 KB of CD drive cache.
  • 8 KB of back up RAM, with memory cartridges going at 128 KB


  • Same as the Mega Drive but has a extra chip the can do scaling and rotation effects like the Super NES's Mode-7 chip (the Super NES has 2 PPUs, 1 for modes 0 to 6, and the other for mode 7) with the DPS1 chip and playing FMV video.


  • Because of the additional memory of the discs, Sega CD games play can play pre-recorded CD quality music for the main games. The drive also doubles as a standard CD player. Discs are multi-partitioned, with track 1 carrying game data and track 2 onwards carrying Red Book CD audio.
  • Ricoh RF5C164 note  16 bit 8 channel PCM chip running at 32 KHz (44.1 KHz for CD-DA), also it's own CPU running at 12 MHz.
  • On Model 2 Genesis machines, the console can receive audio from the Sega CD internally and output the audio mixed. However, on Model 1 machines, a passthrough cable must be used to connect the Genesis' headphones jack to the Sega CD, and audio from then on must be received from the Sega CD instead of the Genesis.note 

Sega 32X: Originally conceived as the Neptune, a cartridge-based 32-bit system to go with Sega's later CD-based system, the Sega Saturn, the add-on boasted two 32-bit processors and primitive 3D graphics capabilities, and was marketed as an opportunity for consumers to get a head start on the 32-bit generation. Unfortunately, both consumers and developers knew that the superior Saturn was just around the corner (even though Sega themselves believed the 32X and Saturn could co-exist, with casual gamers gravitating towards the cheaper 32X while the Saturn was reserved for the hardcore crowd), and titles for the add-on were few and far between. Some previous Sega CD games were also re-released on the 32X to take advantage of the system's improved processing, those games require both the 32X and Sega CD accessories to be present to be playable.



  • 2 Hitachi SH-2 chips, just like the Sega Saturn, but unlike the Saturn, the chip are a bit slower and are running at 23 MHz. each.


  • 256 KB of main RAM and 256 KB (128 KB X 2) of video RAM.
  • 256 KB of sound RAM


  • 2 frame buffers with 2 layers (sprites and backgrounds) each (4 in total) and can be set up as just backgrounds or a large amount of sprites or ect.
  • 32,768 Colors, no on screen limits.
  • 50,000 sprites with their blocks going up to 512 X 512; Polygons like the Saturn are done with sprites, if all 4 layers are sprite layers, it can go up to 200,000 sprites. This gives the 32X the most advanced 3D capabilities of any home gaming system released prior to the Saturn, surpassing even the Atari Jaguar and 3DO, albeit with those systems being more capable 2D-wise.
  • Stuff like Scaling, Rotation and 3D Engines are done with software with said software running on the second SH-2 chip.
  • Screen resolution however is still the same as the Mega Drive.
  • Most noticeably, however, is that the hardware has no internal access to the Genesis' video hardware output, instead it has a compositor chip that genlocks an s-video input signal and then draws it's 3D on top of that, much like how early Voodoo 3D accelerator cards work on the PC. Consequently, the add-on requires a connection to the S-Video out port of the Genesis, and as a side effect, may degrade the video output of the Genesis a bit due to the additional cabling.


  • 2 10-bit PWM Channels.
    • Sega's apparent intention was for programmers to perform software mixing of music on one of the SH-2 chips, and use the PWM channels to play back the music, much like the Game Boy Advance several years later. While a few games attempted this (Kolibri in particular), the vast majority of games just used the Genesis's existing audio hardware for music, and the 32X's additional channels for sound effects.
  • Like Display above, the 32X could not access the output of the PSG and OPN2 chips of the Genesis internally. Consequently, one must connect the audio-out RCA jacks of a Genesis 2 (or the stereo headphones jack of the original Genesis, or the audio out of the Sega CD if one is also being used) to the device for mixing the audio from the Genesis with the output of the 32x.

In short, the Mega Drive could at least come close to the SNES in total power, and could match it with extra chips. The only major limitations that the system faced no matter what was its limited color output and smaller sprite size.

Notable Games/Series:

    open/close all folders 

    Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Games A-D 

    Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Games E-H 

    Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Games I-L 

    Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Games M-P 

    Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Games Q-T 

    Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Games U-Z 

    Sega CD Games 

    Sega 32 X Games 

Tropes Related To The System And Its Add-Ons:

  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The reason for the Big Word Shout, plus a passive-aggressive marketing push in North America was to appeal to the teenage gaming market, while Japan had aimed for a more subtle ad campaign.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Sega Nomad. While it's a near-fully functioning portable version of the Genesis, it suffered from a truly horrific battery life (six AA's, from which you'd be lucky to get two hours of playtime), lacked a "Reset" button (which made certain games such as X-Men impossible to complete, as they required pressing the button at certain points), and was incompatible with the CD and 32X add-ons. Not to mention if you shake it too much while playing, your game will freeze. And you can pretty much forget about playing on Sonic & Knuckles' lock-on cartridge without a mishap at some point.
    • Somewhat averted, though. An official chargeable battery pack was made for the handheld, and it's also compatible with the same AC adapter as the Sega Genesis model-2 and Game Gear. It was also quite a powerful handheld for its time, featuring a backlit screen, and the ability to connect with a TV to function as a traditional Genesis. The concept of having a screen on your controller while also playing on the television would ironically become the main gimmick of Nintendo's Wii U more than a decade later, and the idea of a unit that could function as both a portable and home console would become the gimmick of the Nintendo Switch.
  • Bigger Is Better:
    • Sega brazenly championed the 16-bit aspect of their console as a marketing point over the 8-bit NES. After Nintendo upgraded to their own 16-bit console, Sega decided it was time for a change of pace and instead championed the "Blast Processing" aspect of their console, a reference to the fact that the Genesis had a faster processor than the SNES.
    • Sega loved to champion the size of their game cartridges by their Megabit size to get an edge over Nintendo, with their port of Strider being championed as one of the biggest games of its day due to the fact that it was the first Genesis game to use an 8 Megabit cartridge. Sega even planned Sonic the Hedgehog 3 to be a then-staggering 34 Megabit cartridge, but when it turned out that it would've been far too expensive for them to manufacture (along with the game being rushed down the pipeline due to a tie-in deal with McDonald's), they were forced to split the game in half as Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, with the latter having a specialized Lock-On Technology cartridge that allowed the games to be combined into the original full length Sonic 3.
  • Big Word Shout: "SEGA!" in the ads. This would also appear in a handful of the consoles games, such as their Sonic titles and even their Jurassic Park tie-in game.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • While Sega was much more lenient with what content could be included in their games, they did draw the line at outright nudity. When the computer game Stormlord was ported to the Genesis, Sega forced Razor Soft to give the fairies clothing (in the original game, they were nude). Oddly enough, Mystic Defender, an early game for the console, had a very brief bit of female nudity at the end.
    • With the brief adoption of their Video Game Rating Council system in 1993, Sega did start bringing the axe down on certain content. Rise of the Dragon and Snatcher had some mature images edited despite both games getting an MA-17 rating from them.
  • Country Switch: It was found that many early region-free games actually does this. Depending on the game, changes may be as subtle as removing or adding a trade mark symbol to a complete overhaul (for example, Mystic Defender revealing itself to actually be a Peacock King game and reverting certain elements to its uncensored state).
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Sega aimed their console more towards the older game crowd, and was much less strict with censorship than Nintendo was with their games (and not to mention a contrast from Sega's more genial Master System). As if to drive home that they weren't bluffing, instead of a colorful, kid friendly platformer like Alex Kidd being the consoles advance man, the systems first pack-in game, Altered Beast, is a arcade beat-em-up, featuring gore, violence and nightmarish content that would never have been allowed on the NES. This would be followed up with games like Techno Cop (which showed blood spraying from enemies and victims you shot, including children) and hyper gory horror games like Splatterhouse 2 & 3—for wary parents, they included a meager Parental Advisory warning on those certain games. Their port of Mortal Kombat also kept the arcades beloved blood and gore intact (albiet you needed a cheat code to turn them on), unlike the heavily censored SNES port. Ironically, Sega briefly started their own rating system, the Video Game Rating Council, to combat bad PR from the fallout of games they released like the uncensored port of Mortal Kombat and Night Trap (amusingly, the Mortal Kombat port got an MA-13 rating from them due to the gore needing a code to unlock, while the Sega CD version, which had the gore uncensored off the bat and needed a code to turn the gore off, got an MA-17 rating instead). It was quickly phased out in 1994 in lieu of adopting the ESRB rating system.
    • Even their advertisements were a big contrast from Nintendo's; they took the attitude of the 90s "in your face" punk culture and cranked it up to a very abrasive level, often including raunchy humor and adult in-jokes that staunchly contrasted Nintendo's more wholesome image, and they weren't above making mean spirited snipes at the competition.
    • Lighter and Softer: For extra irony, their biggest breadwinners ended up being their most family friendly titles (albeit with a light streak of 'tude), namely the first two Sonic the Hedgehog video games and the Disney's Aladdin video game, which were all the highest selling games for the console. Castle of Illusion was another early hit for the system that completely contrasted the console's edgier image. And to hit this trope home, Sega even released a Barney video game. For the records, there were no Barney games for other consoles.
  • Derivative Differentiation: After Sega tried to directly match Nintendo with the Sega Master System (to great success in Europe and South America, but falling flat in Japan and North America), they decided to go in the opposite direction and become Nintendo's antithesis. Even their headlining mascot, Sonic, was a unique contrast from the Mario series in art and gameplay, and also a contrast to Sega's own Alex Kidd, who was eventually abandoned by the company. Unsurprisingly, it worked.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The Mega Drive was more well known for its variety of big-name sports titles and arcade ports before Sonic the Hedgehog gave the console a face in 1991.
  • Embedded Precursor: The systems hardware was specifically designed to be backward compatible with the 8-bit Sega Master System, so Sega included the hardware of a fully-functional Master System inside the original Genesis model, with the only lockout being the difference in cartridges—Sega released an adapter called the Power Base Converter that allowed Master System games to be played on a Sega Genesis to compensate for this. Unfortunately, it was incompatible with the model 2 Genesis, and while Sega did release an updated Power Base Converter that fit snugly onto a model 2 Genesis, it was only given a limited release in Europe. (Said update also lacked compatibility with the Sega Cards, and therefore no SegaScope 3D support.)
  • Fandom Rivalry: Bringing up the Console Wars between SNES and Genesis can cause a lot of drama even today.
  • Fan Nickname: A Mega Drive/Genesis with every possible add-on (Power Base Converter, Sega CD, a 32X, a lock-on Sonic & Knuckles cartridge with Sonic 2 or 3 hooked in, the cleaning cartridge, and possibly if you're feeling incredibly bold a Game Genie (as seen here) has been called the "Tower of Babel". Other names include the "Tower of Power" or the "Doom Tower".
  • Follow the Leader: For a brief time, Sega took the lead from Nintendo in the console wars, and their console prompted many trends in the game industry, including their infamously abrasive ad campaigns, cartoon animal mascots with 'tude, and aiming games at the older crowd. Surprisingly, even Nintendo got on the bandwagon, in spite of eventually getting the lead over the Genesis in the end.
    • Ironically, Sega themselves would end up aping the SNES; once the roaring success of Donkey Kong Country and the SNES Super FX chip came to light, this prompted Sega to create games such as Sonic 3D Blast and the Vectorman series, plus their Virtua Racing port, complete with the Sega Virtua Processor, their own take on the Super FX chip. Also, the Sega CD came about because Sega heard rumors of Nintendo's deals with Sony to make their own CD add-on, and because NEC's TurboGrafx-16 had just released its own CD attachment, prompting Sega to jump the gun and push out the attachment as a countermeasure. See, aside from the Sega-Nintendo rivalry, there was also a Sega-NEC corporate rivalry going on inside both Sega and NECnote . The CD add-on also allowed the Genesis to perform otherwise impossible features similar to the SNES, such as Mode 7 effects and sprite rotation.
    • While Sega had authorized AtGames to develop Genesis plug'n'plays many years earlier, the success of the NES Classic spurred Sega to focus even moreso on the mini-console market than usual. When the Sega Genesis Flashback 2017 model failed to impress audiences, and customers started learning more of AtGames' shaky past with the Genesis plug'n'play idea, Sega instead teamed up with developer M2 for the Sega Genesis Mini.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The commercials (including the one for Sonic the Hedgehog) featuring Denita Stokes, the president of "Humans Against Genesis".
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The Mega Drive was never a huge success in Japan compared to the PC Engine and the Super Famicom, but it was ridiculously popular in the rest of the world, especially North America and Europe. In fact, the Mega Drive outsold the SNES in countries like the United States and United Kingdom, thanks to being released two years before the SNES, promoting it as a more "edgy and cool" system, and the critical and commercial success of the Sonic the Hedgehog games. In fact, the only reason the SNES was able to outsell the Mega Drive in North America during the dying days of the 16-bit era was thanks to the release of Donkey Kong Country.
    • The trope is especially prominent in Russia, where Mega Drive was (and in many cases still is, at least for those who aren't interested in gaming industry) one and only 16-bit console. It's explainable by the fact that the Russian video game market in the nineties was mainly based on bootlegging and piracy, and since the SNES was nearly impossible to clone at that time, it was much easier and cheaper for various video game stores to import countless unlicensed Mega Drive clones and cartridges. As a result, before the rise of the internet not many people in Russia even knew about the SNES existing.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: One of the 32X commercials had a Mega Drive laying on a bed as the 32X came down. "All right, baby..."
    • "Can we see that again?"
    • Sega absolutely loves this trope. Quoting an ad for the Genesis in the UK, whose headline is The more you play with it, the harder it gets:note 
  • Late Export for You: The Mega Drive was first released in Japan in 1988, but wouldn't reach American and worldwide shores until 1989 and 1990, respectively.
  • Logo Joke: Quite a few of them.
  • Mascot with Attitude: Their Sonic the Hedgehog games jumpstarted an entire trend of this type of character in video games. Sonic isn't the only example on the Genesis either, since he had many shameless imitators, such as Awesome Possum, Aero the Acro-Bat and Bubsy.
  • Meaningful Name: The North American name came about from being not only the genesis of the 16-bit era in home consoles (at least in America), but also for the fact that Sega was determined to establish themselves as a major player in America— the genesis of their success.
  • Moe Anthropomorphism:
    • From the Neptunia franchise, Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory introduces the Ultra Dimension's Planeptune CPU Pururut/Plutia a.k.a. Iris Heart. Pururut is a cute girl who speaks very slowly, is very lazy, but is a very nice girl... with a hidden sadistic side. Whenever she transforms into her goddess form Iris Heart, she becomes an open Dominatrix who punishes foes and allies alike (the latter only when they disagree with her) and is The Dreaded, but with a Hidden Heart of Gold. Iris Heart's harsh and violent personality might be inspired by Sega's violent treatment towards Nintendo in the mid-90s.
    • The Meganekko Mega Drive is one of the Sega Hard Girls, a group of girls based on Sega consoles and handhelds. A Cute Bookworm with her trademark 16-Bit Book that contains information of anything regarding the console and its games. Her relatively unpopular archetype references her namesake console's more middling success in Japan compared to everywhere else.
    • Mega Drive has also an "American" counterpart, the Cowgirl SEGA Genesis, a girl who has studied in America and became a fangirl of said country. She's Mega Drive's cousin.
  • Online Games: The Genesis originally had an internet modem designed for it called the Sega Meganet, although it was rather short lived. Sega tried it again with the Sega Channel in the mid 90s with modest success. There were also plans for an online multiplayer peripheral called the Edge 16, which was designed with fighting games like Ballz in mind, but it was ultimately left unreleased.
  • One Game for the Price of Two: Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, although this wasn't Sega's original plan for them. As mentioned earlier, they were both meant to be one massive game, but the prohibitive expense of making a 34 Megabit cartridge combined with a strict deadline forced them to split the game in half. Sonic & Knuckles game out just months after the release of Sonic 3, in the form of a unique Lock-On Technology cartridge (basically a cart with its own cartridge slot on top) that allowed both games to be combined into the real and true Sonic 3, with the added bonus of allowing Knuckles the Echidna to be played in Sonic 2, and unlocking a bonus minigame (called "Blue Sphere") if Sonic 1 or any other Genesis cartridge was locked on to Sonic & Knuckles.
  • Product Facelift
    • The Mega Drive went through the most redesigns of any video game console in history barring the competing PC Engine—first, there's the original model, which also has a link port (meant for the cancelled Meganet) in the very, very earliest models, the more famous, streamlined Model 2 Genesis, the Genesis CDX (Multi-Mega in Europe) which was a clever (but expensive) hybrid of the Genesis and Sega CD, the JVC X'Eye/Wondermega which was similar in concept to the CDX and also had enhanced sound capability (and a $500 price tag to match), the Model 3 Genesis from Majesco (released only in North America), which was as big as the controller, and then there's the Mega Jet and Genesis Nomad, both of which are portable Genesis consoles. There is even a licensed version of the Mega Drive, first released in Europe, the AtGames Sega Mega Drive 20-in-1 Game Console, which contains 20 games built into the console and has Region Coding fully unlocked, is even smaller than the Model 3 Genesis, and has unofficially been dubbed the "Model 4 Genesis". This version made it to the United States shortly thereafter, and comes packed with 80 games.
    • There were two different types of Mega Drive controllers. The first is the standard three button control pad, and the second is a six button control pad (known as the Fighting Pad 6B in Japan and the Six-Button Arcade Pad in North America) made specifically for fighting games such as the Street Fighter II series. The Arcade Pad later got a redesign by Majesco released in conjunction with the Genesis 3 console (same button layout, but with gumball joysticks and turbo options). Other peripherals include the Menacer light gun (Sega's answer to Nintendo's Super Scope) and the Activator motion sensor pad (which did not work as well as it was advertised).
  • Put on a Bus: In the early days of the Genesis, Sega initially tried to keep Alex Kidd as their unofficial mascot like they did in the Master System days, but when Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle flopped with critics and retail and Sonic the Hedgehog turned out to be their real breadwinner, Sega wisely retired the Alex Kidd series from their game lineup, with the kid now delegated to making very sporadic cameo appearances in later Sega works.
  • Scary Black Man: One of the Sega CD commercials had one.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: The Mega Drive was to be the first console to receive a VR headset accessory. [3]. Sega's lawyers put a kibosh on the plan after it was found that the beta testers were getting motion sickness due to the console not being powerful enough and was lagging.
  • Sigil Spam: Sonic the Hedgehog made a lot of cameo appearances in the consoles games. He even appears in the Sega CD and Sega Channel boot up. He was their mascot, and they wanted you to know it.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": In Europe (particularly within the U.K.), Mega Drive is sometimes spelled as one word (Megadrive) rather than two.
  • Spin-Off: The Sega Pico contained pretty much the same main components as the Genesis/Mega Drive save for replacing the OPN2 synthesizer with a uPD PCM DAC. A later Yamaha-made spinoff of the Pico reinstated the OPN2 synthesizer.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: Some of the later games for the system.
  • Tag Line: The console had several;
    • "Welcome To The Next Level" (sometimes stylized as Welco metot henex tlevel when the lines were stacked vertically).
    • "Genesis Does What Nintendon't."
    • The "SEGA!" chime and the Sega scream. The former is easily the most famous of Sega's classic taglines.
    • "To be this good takes AGES, To be this good takes SEGA."
  • Take That!: The Genesis's ad campaign in America took hearty pot-shots at Nintendo, whether it was comparing Genesis Blast Processing (represented as a drag race car) to a broken down ice cream truck with Super Mario Kart playing on it, or having an ad comparing Nintendo to a bloodsucking mosquito because they charged 10$ more for certain games on the SNES. Heck, their original slogan was "Genesis does what Nintendon't!" They even took snipes at the 3DO in one of their 32X ads.
  • Video Game Long-Runners: It was launched in 1988, and it wasn't formally discontinued until 1998. But, there are still versions of the console on sale today (and impressively, many of these clones are made under official license from Sega), and there were actually a few new unlicensed games released for it in the last decade, the most recent of which came out in 2012.
  • World of Ham: Pretty much anyone who appears in Sega's commercials.
  • "X" Makes Anything Cool: The Sega CDX, and the Sega 32X.


Alternative Title(s): Sega Mega Drive, Sega CD, Mega Drive


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