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SG-1000 Logo.svg
Manufacturer Sega
Type Home video game console
Generation Third generation
Release dateSG-1000
  • JP: July 15, 1983
SG-1000 II
  • JP: July 31, 1984
  • JP: July 1984
SG-1000 II
  • JP: October 1985
Units sold160,000
Media ROM cartridge, cassette tape, Sega My Card
CPU Zilog Z80 @ 3.58 MHz
Memory1 KB RAM
Display256 × 192 resolution, 16 colors, 32 on-screen sprites
Graphics Texas Instruments TMS9928A
Sound Texas Instruments SN76489
Successor Master System

The SG-1000 [lower-alpha 1] is a home video game console manufactured by Sega and released in Japan, Australia, and other regions. It was Sega's first entry into the home video game hardware business. Introduced in 1983, the SG-1000 was released on the same day that Nintendo released the Family Computer in Japan. The SG-1000 was released in several forms, including the SC-3000 computer and the redesigned SG-1000 II [lower-alpha 2] released in 1984. A third iteration of the console, the Sega Mark III, was released in 1985. It provided a custom video display processor over previous iterations and served as the basis for the Master System in 1986, Sega's first internationally-released console.

A home video game console, or simply home console, is a video game device that is primarily used for home gamers, as opposed to in arcades or some other commercial establishment. Home consoles are one type of video game consoles, in contrast to the handheld game consoles which are smaller and portable, allowing people to carry them and play them at any time or place, along with microconsoles and dedicated consoles.

Sega Japanese video game developer and publisher and subsidiary of Sega Sammy Holdings

Sega Games Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational video game developer and publisher headquartered in Tokyo. Its international branches, Sega of America and Sega Europe, are respectively headquartered in Irvine, California and London. Sega's arcade division, once part of Sega Corporation, has existed as Sega Interactive Co., Ltd. since 2015. Both companies are subsidiaries of Sega Holdings Co., Ltd., which is in turn a part of Sega Sammy Holdings.

Nintendo Japanese video game company

Nintendo Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational consumer electronics and video game company headquartered in Kyoto. Nintendo is one of the world's largest video game companies by market capitalization, creating some of the best-known and top-selling video game franchises, such as Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokémon.


Developed in response to a downturn in arcades in 1982, the SG-1000 was created on the advice of Hayao Nakayama, president of Sega Enterprises, Ltd. Shortly after the release, Sega Enterprises was sold to CSK Corporation, which was followed by the release of the SG-1000 II. The SC-3000 and the SG-1000 line both support a library of 76 ROM cartridge games and 29 Sega My Card games, all of which are fully compatible with the Mark III and the Japanese version of the Master System.

Hayao Nakayama is a Japanese businessman and was the former President and CEO of Sega Enterprises, Ltd from 1983 to 1999.

SCSK Corporation is a Japanese company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. It offers Information Technology services and produces computer software. CSK is best known as the company that acquired Sega in 1984 and was its parent company until it sold its stock in Sega to Sammy in 2004. Through the transference of shares, Sega Sammy Holdings was established.

ROM cartridge removable enclosure containing read-only memory devices

A ROM cartridge, usually referred to simply as a cartridge or cart, is a removable memory card containing ROM designed to be connected to a consumer electronics device such as a home computer, video game console or, to a lesser extent, electronic musical instruments. ROM cartridges can be used to load software such as video games or other application programs.


SG-1000 Sega-SG-1000-Console-FL.jpg
SC-3000 Sega SC-3000 wb.jpg
SG-1000 II Sega-SG-1000-MkII-Console-FL.jpg
SG-1000 II
Sega Mark III Sega-Sg-1000-MkIII-Console-FL.jpg
Sega Mark III
SG-1000 II
Sega Mark III

In the early 1980s, Sega Enterprises, Inc., then a subsidiary of Gulf and Western, was one of the top five arcade game manufacturers active in the United States, as company revenues rose to $214 million. [1] A downturn in the arcade business starting in 1982 seriously hurt the company, leading Gulf and Western to sell its North American arcade manufacturing organization and the licensing rights for its arcade games to Bally Manufacturing. [2] [3] The company retained Sega's North American R&D operation, as well as its Japanese subsidiary, Sega Enterprises, Ltd. With its arcade business in decline, Sega Enterprises, Ltd. president Hayao Nakayama advocated that the company leverage its hardware expertise to move into the home console market in Japan, which was in its infancy at the time. [4] Nakayama received permission to proceed. [5] The first model to be developed was the SC-3000, a computer with a built-in keyboard, but when Sega learned of Nintendo's plans to release a games-only console, they began developing the SG-1000 alongside the SC-3000. [6] To keep costs down while ensuring sufficient longevity, Sega opted to create the platform from popular off-the-shelf components. [6]

Bally Manufacturing Former American corporation

Bally Manufacturing, later renamed Bally Entertainment, was an American company that began as a pinball and slot machine manufacturer, and later expanded into casinos, video games, health clubs, and theme parks. It was acquired by Hilton Hotels in 1996. Its brand name is still used by several businesses previously linked to Bally Manufacturing, most notably Bally Technologies.

Research and development general term for activities in connection with corporate or governmental innovation

Research and development, known in Europe as research and technological development (RTD), refers to innovative activities undertaken by corporations or governments in developing new services or products, or improving existing services or products. Research and development constitutes the first stage of development of a potential new service or the production process.

The SG-1000 was first released in Japan on July 15, 1983, at JP¥15,000. [7] It was released on the same day as Nintendo launched the Family Computer (Famicom) in Japan. [5] [8] It was released simultaneously with the SC-3000, [5] [7] [9] also known as the Sega Personal Computer SC-3000, [10] as well as the upgraded SC-3000H. [11] Though Sega themselves only released the SG-1000 in Japan, rebranded versions were released in several other markets worldwide. Released at nearly the same time as the Japanese version, the SG-1000 was released in Australia through John Sands Electronics [5] and in New Zealand by Grandstand Leisure. [6] The console also saw a release in Italy and Spain, [12] but was not released in the larger video game markets of the United States, United Kingdom, or Germany. [8] Despite this, an unauthorized clone system known as the Telegames Personal Arcade was produced and made available in the United States and Taiwan, and is able to play SG-1000 and ColecoVision games. [5] An additional release of the SG-1000 in Taiwan was done by Aaronix. [6] The console enjoyed a brief period of popularity in Taiwan before the market was taken over by cheaper Famicom clones. [13]

Japanese yen Official currency of Japan

The yen is the official currency of Japan. It is the third most traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the United States dollar and the euro. It is also widely used as a reserve currency after the U.S. dollar, the euro, and the pound sterling.

Nintendo Entertainment System 8-bit home video game console released by Nintendo in 1983

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is an 8-bit home video game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It is a remodeled export version of the company's Family Computer (FC) platform in Japan, commonly known as the Famicom, which was launched on July 15, 1983. The NES was launched in the test markets of New York City and Los Angeles in 1985, with a full launch in the rest of North America and parts of Europe in 1986, followed by Australia and other European countries in 1987. Brazil saw only unlicensed clones until the official local release in 1993. In South Korea, it was packaged as the Hyundai Comboy and distributed by Hyundai Electronics which is now SK Hynix; the Comboy was released in 1989.

John Sands is an Australian printing company and former distributor of games and computer hardware that is now a wholly owned subsidiary of American Greetings.

Due in part to the SG-1000's steadier stream of releases (21 SG-1000 games by the end of 1983, as compared to only 9 Famicom games), and in part to a recall on Famicom units necessitated by a faulty circuit, the SG-1000 chalked up 160,000 units in sales in 1983, far exceeding Sega's projection of 50,000 units. [6] Former Sega consumer hardware development head Hideki Sato stated that because Sega had not predicted the SG-1000 would sell so well, the company became more enamored with developing video game consoles. [14] Despite this, the three launch games, all of which were ported from Sega's VIC dual-arcade board, lacked the name recognition of Famicom launch games Donkey Kong , Donkey Kong Jr. , and Popeye . [6]

<i>Donkey Kong</i> (video game) 1981 computer game

Donkey Kong is an arcade game released by Nintendo in 1981. An early example of the platform game genre, the gameplay focuses on maneuvering the main character across a series of platforms while dodging and jumping over obstacles. In the game, Mario must rescue a damsel in distress named Pauline, from a giant ape named Donkey Kong. The hero and ape later became two of Nintendo's most popular and recognizable characters. Donkey Kong is one of the most important games from the golden age of arcade video games as well as one of the most popular arcade games of all time.

<i>Donkey Kong Jr.</i> 1982 video game

Donkey Kong Jr. is a 1982 platform video game by Nintendo. It is the sequel to Donkey Kong, which featured Mario as the hero and Junior's father as the villain; the roles are reversed here. It first appeared in arcades, and, over the course of the 1980s, was released for a variety of home platforms. The game's title is written out as Donkey Kong Junior in the North American arcade version and various ports to non-Nintendo systems.

<i>Popeye</i> (video game) 1982 arcade video game

Popeye is a 1982 arcade platform game developed and released by Nintendo based on the Popeye characters licensed from King Features Syndicate strips and animated shorts. Unlike most platform games, the player cannot jump; the only button is "punch." The game was licensed by Atari, Inc. for exclusive release in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and featured in an Atari-designed and manufactured cabinet. Some sources claim that Ikegami Tsushinki also did design work on Popeye.

Shortly after launch, Gulf and Western began to divest itself of its non-core businesses after the death of company founder Charles Bluhdorn, [15] so Nakayama and former Sega CEO David Rosen arranged a management buyout of the Japanese subsidiary in 1984 with financial backing from CSK Corporation, a prominent Japanese software company. Nakayama was then installed as CEO of the new Sega Enterprises, Ltd. [16] Following the buyout, Sega released another console, the SG-1000 II, on July 31, 1984 [9] [12] at JP¥15,000. [17] The SG-1000 II replaced the hardwired joystick with two detachable joypads. [5] Sato disliked the original cartridges, saying they looked like "small black tombstones" when inserted in the console, and later remarked that his proudest achievement of the SG-1000 era was replacing them with the "cheerier", pocket-sized Sega My Cards. [6] Sega also employed popular owarai comedy duo Tunnels to provide celebrity endorsement for the console. [6]

Charles George Bluhdorn was an Austrian-born American industrialist.


Owarai (お笑い) is a broad word used to describe Japanese comedy as seen on television. The word owarai is the honorific form of the word warai, meaning "a laugh" or "a smile". Owarai is most common on Japanese variety shows and the comedians are referred to as owaraigeinin or owarai tarento. Presently Japan is considered to be in an "owarai boom", and many minor talents have been finding sudden fame after a gag or skit became popular.

The Tunnels are an owarai duo with a long history composed of Tokyo-born Takaaki Ishibashi and Noritake Kinashi. Both of them attended Teikyō High School (帝京高等学校) where Ishibashi, the taller of the two, participated in baseball, and Kinashi participated in soccer.

By 1984, the Famicom's success began to outpace the SG-1000. The Famicom had more advanced hardware, allowing it to perform smoother scrolling and more colorful sprites, and Nintendo boosted its games library by courting third-party developers, whereas Sega was less than eager to collaborate with the same companies they were competing with in arcades. [6] The SG-1000 was also coming up against game consoles from companies including Tomy and Bandai. [5] This would result in the release of the Sega Mark III in Japan in 1985, which later became the Master System worldwide. [12] The last cartridge released was Portrait of Loretta on February 18, 1987. [18] In 2006, the GameTap subscription gaming service added an emulator of the SG-1000, and several playable titles. [19]

Technical specifications

TMS9928A video display processor, as used in the SG-1000 TMS9928A 01.jpg
TMS9928A video display processor, as used in the SG-1000

The SG-1000 is powered by an 8-bit Zilog Z80 central processing unit running at 3.58  MHz for the SG-1000 and SG-1000 II, [20] [21] and at 4 MHz for the SC-3000. [22] Its video processor is a Texas Instruments TMS9928A, capable of displaying up to 16 colors, and its sound processor is a Texas Instruments SN76489. All three chips were also used in the ColecoVision. [5] The system includes 8  kbit (1  KB) of random access memory (RAM) [20] The controller is hardwired to the system in the original model, and detachable in the SG-1000 II. Video and audio output are supplied through an RF switch. [5] Power is supplied through a 9 V DC connector connected to an AC adapter. [20] [21] [22]

Several peripherals exist for the SG-1000 series. Available at ¥13,800 at its time of release, the SK-1100 keyboard connects through the expansion slot and is compatible with all models. [23] Multiple controllers were created, including the SJ-200 joystick attached to the SG-1000, and the SJ-150 joypad, made for use with the SG-1000 II. A racing wheel known as the SH-400 was made for use with games such as Monaco GP . [24] The C-1000 Card Catcher, sold at ¥1,000, allowing players to play Sega My Card titles. [25] Additional accessories existed solely for use with the SC-3000, including the SR-1000 cassette deck, [26] the SP-400 4-color plotter printer, [27] and the SF-7000 expansion device which adds a floppy disk drive and additional memory. [28]

Game library

Monaco GP cartridge SG1000 cartridge.jpg
Monaco GP cartridge
The Othello Multivision console Tvgame.jpg
The Othello Multivision console
Girl's Garden, developed by Yuji Naka Girl'sGardenLet'sMarryHim.PNG
Girl's Garden , developed by Yuji Naka

Sega's software library for the SG-1000 and SC-3000 comprises 42 game cartridges and 29 Sega My Card releases that required the Card Catcher add-on. There were also 26 educational and programming cartridges for the SC-3000 that could only be played on the SG-1000 with the SK-1100 keyboard peripheral. [18] 8 game cartridges were also produced by third-party company Tsukuda Original, which were marketed primarily for their Othello Multivision clone console, but were fully compatible with the SC-3000 and SG-1000. Titles for the system include Flicky , Congo Bongo , Sega-Galaga , and Girl's Garden , the first video game programmed by Sonic the Hedgehog developer Yuji Naka. The library included licensed titles, such as Golgo 13 . Packaging and game manuals came with both Japanese and English text until 1984, when manuals were switched to Japanese only and the size of the cartridge box was reduced. [5] Hideki Sato stated that Sega lacked adequate staff to develop games for the console at the time. [14]

SC-3000/SG-1000 games were continued to be produced after the launch of the Mark III in 1985, with these later games advertising compatibility with the Mark III as a selling point. The last two SC-3000/SG-1000 cartridge games were The Castle in 1986 and Portrait of Loretta in 1987. These two games were sold in gold boxes similar to Mark III/Master System cartridges in Japan, with the latter even being released under the "Gold Cartridge" branding. The final Sega My Card game for the SC-3000/SG-1000 was The Black Onyx , also in 1987. [29]


The SG-1000 made little impact on the video game industry, but has been recognized for being Sega's first video game console. Retro Gamer writer Damien McFerran said it was an "abject failure", but called it and the SG-1000 II "the Japanese forefathers of the Master System". [12] Writing for Wired, Chris Kohler criticized the poor response of the controller's joystick and the lack of an RCA output. He said the release timing hurt its success; "[al]though its graphics were of better quality than most consoles on the market, it had the bad luck to be released in the same month as Nintendo's world-changing Famicom, which had killer apps like Donkey Kong and could run circles around Sega's hardware." [5] Of its legacy, Kohler said, "Few have heard of it, even fewer have played it, and the games weren't that great anyway." [5] By contrast, Luke Plunkett of Kotaku recognized that "while all this makes it sound like the SG-1000 was a bit of a misfire, it was still important in the development of Sega's home console business." [8]

Hideki Sato reflected positively on the innovations in the development of the SG-1000, but admitted that the console had limitations because of how new the market was and that Sega was inexperienced in developing for a video game console at the time. According to Sato, "The problem was, while we knew how to make arcade games, we didn’t really know anything about console development. In fact, the very idea of a “consumer” market for video games was unheard of then: back then it was just a 'new business' idea." [14]

See also


  1. Japanese:エスジー・セン Hepburn:Esu Jī Sen ?
  2. SG-1000 II(エスジー・セン・ツーEsu Jī Sen Tsū)

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