Main Page

Back to Video Game Gallery

Sega Master System

The Sega Master System was a redesign of Sega's Mark III and was introduced in 1986 at a retail price of $200, during the same year that Nintendo was taking the American video game market by storm with its Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).  It was meant to compete with Nintendo's less powerful NES and gain some of its market share.  Unfortunately, because of third-party software restrictions enforced by Nintendo, companies who wrote games for the NES could not write any games whatsoever for other consoles.  This, in addition to poor marketing, meant that the SMS didn't stand much of a chance in the US to topple Nintendo and take over as the king of consoles.

In countries such as the UK though, the SMS became extremely popular.  It's cheaper price along with its higher-end specs made it a better alternative to the NES.  The release of newer games demanding more powerful hardware specs did a lot to show Sega's superiority over the NES and even contributed to Sega's release of the Master System II, which was for the most part a cut-down version of the original.

Games came in two forms with the original Master System: Cartridge and 256k cards.  The credit-card sized game cards were cheaper to buy and contained shorter-coded games.  When the Master System II was later released, the game cards were scrapped and only cartridges were supported.  Approximately 370 games were released for the Master System.

The SMS had a range of accessories such as the light phaser, the 3D glasses and the arcade-style control stick.  There were a few games that supported the 3D glasses like Blade Eagle 3D, Missile Defense 3D and Space Harrier 3D.

Technical Specs:

CPU: 8-bit Z80 (3.58MHz)
RAM: 64K (8Kb)
Colors: 256 (52 on screen)
Resolution: 256x226
Sound: 6-channel mono

To report a mistake or submit new information for inclusion, click here.