Last updated

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, New Zealand, 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.


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.


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]

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]

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]

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]

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
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] 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. The last two SC-3000/SG-1000 cartridge games were The Castle in 1986 and Portrait of Loretta in 1987. 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)

Related Research Articles

Sega CD Add-on for the Sega Genesis video game console

The Sega CD, released as the Mega-CD in most regions outside North America and Brazil, is a CD-ROM accessory for the Sega Genesis designed and produced by Sega as part of the fourth generation of video game consoles. It was released on December 12, 1991 in Japan, October 15, 1992 in North America, and April 2, 1993 in Europe. The Sega CD plays CD-based games and adds hardware functionality such as a faster central processing unit and graphic enhancements. It can also play audio CDs and CD+G discs.

Sega Pico Educational video game console

The Sega Pico, also known as Kids Computer Pico, is an educational video game console by Sega Toys. Marketed as "edutainment", the main focus of the Pico was educational video games for children between 3 and 7 years old. The Pico was released in June 1993 in Japan and November 1994 in North America and Europe, later reaching China. It was succeeded by the Advanced Pico Beena, which was released in Japan in 2005. Though the Pico was sold continuously in Japan through the release of the Beena, in North America and Europe the Pico was less successful and was discontinued in early 1998, later being re-released by Majesco Entertainment. Releases for the Pico were focused on education for children and included titles supported by licensed franchised animated characters, including Sega's own Sonic the Hedgehog series. Overall, Sega claims sales of 3.4 million Pico consoles and 11.2 million game cartridges, and over 350,000 Beena consoles and 800,000 cartridges.

Sega Saturn Video game console

The Sega Saturn is a 32-bit fifth-generation home video game console developed by Sega and released on November 22, 1994 in Japan, May 11, 1995 in North America, and July 8, 1995 in Europe. The successor to the successful Sega Genesis, the Saturn has a dual-CPU architecture and eight processors. Its games are in CD-ROM format, and its game library contains several arcade ports as well as original games.

A video game console is a computer device that outputs a video signal or visual image to display a video game that one or more people can play.

Master System Video game console

The Sega Master System (SMS) is a third-generation 8-bit home video game console manufactured by Sega. It was originally a remodeled export version of the Sega Mark III, the third iteration of the SG-1000 series of consoles, which was released in Japan in 1985 and featured enhanced graphical capabilities over its predecessors. The Master System launched in North America in 1986, followed by Europe in 1987, and Brazil in 1989. A Japanese version of the Master System was also launched in 1987, which features a few enhancements over the export models : a built-in FM audio chip, a rapid-fire switch, and a dedicated port for the 3D glasses. A cost-reduced model known as the Master System II was released in 1990 in North America and Europe.

A regional lockout is a class of digital rights management preventing the use of a certain product or service, such as multimedia or a hardware device, outside a certain region or territory. A regional lockout may be enforced through physical means, through technological means such as detecting the user's IP address or using an identifying code, or through unintentional means introduced by devices only supporting certain regional technologies.

Sega Meganet, also known as the Net Work System, was an online service for the Mega Drive in Japan and later Brazil. Utilizing dial-up Internet access, Meganet was Sega's first online multiplayer gaming service, and functioned on a pay to play basis. The system functioned through the use of a peripheral called the Mega Modem and offered several unique titles that could be downloaded, and a few could be played competitively with friends. In addition, it shared technology and equipment with more serious services such as the Mega Anser, used for banking purposes. Though the system was announced for North America under the rebranded name "Tele-Genesis", it was never released for that region. Ultimately, the Meganet service would be short-lived, lasting approximately a year before it was discontinued, but would serve as a precursor to the Sega Channel and XBAND services, as well as a predecessor to online gaming services for video game consoles. Retrospective feedback praises the attempt by Sega to introduce online gaming, but criticizes the service for its logistical issues and lack of titles.

1983 has seen many sequels and prequels in video games and several new titles such as Mario Bros., Pole Position II and Spy Hunter.

In the history of computer and video games, the third generation began on July 15, 1983, with the Japanese release of two systems: the Nintendo Family Computer and the Sega SG-1000. When the Famicom was released outside of Japan it was remodelled and marketed as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). This generation marked the end of the North American video game crash, and a shift in the dominance of home video game manufacturers from the United States to Japan. Handheld consoles were not a major part of this generation, although the Game & Watch line from Nintendo had started in 1980 and the Milton Bradley Microvision came out in 1979 though both are considered second generation hardware.

1985 saw many sequels and prequels in video games and several new titles such as Gradius, Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt.

Sega Genesis Fourth-generation home video game console and fourth developed by Sega

The Sega Genesis, known as the Mega Drive outside North America, is a 16-bit home video game console developed and sold by Sega. The Genesis is Sega's third console and the successor to the Master System. Sega released it as the Mega Drive in Japan in 1988, and later as the Genesis in North America in 1989. In 1990, it was distributed as the Mega Drive by Virgin Mastertronic in Europe, Ozisoft in Australasia, and Tec Toy in Brazil. In South Korea, it was distributed by Samsung as the Super Gam*Boy and later the Super Aladdin Boy.

Dina (video game console)

The Dina, also known in Taiwan as the Chuang Zao Zhe 50, is a video game console originally manufactured by Bit Corporation, later sold in the United States by Telegames as the Telegames Personal Arcade. It is a clone of both the ColecoVision and Sega SG-1000 consoles, with one cartridge slot for each platform, and came bundled with the game Meteoric Shower, which was built into the system. Telegames never advertised its compatibility with the SG-1000.

Nintendo Entertainment System Home video game console developed by Nintendo

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is an 8-bit third-generation home video game console produced, released, and marketed by Nintendo. It is a remodelled 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 a test market of New York City on October 18, 1985, followed by Los Angeles as a second test market in February 1986, followed by Chicago and San Francisco, then other top 12 American markets, followed by a full launch across North America and some countries in Europe in September 1986, followed by Australia and other countries in Europe in 1987. Brazil saw only unlicensed clones until the official local release in 1993. The console's South Korean release was packaged as the Hyundai Comboy and distributed by Hyundai Electronics.

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

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.

The Sega Card, known in Japan as Sega My Card, is a memory card format used as game storage for the SG-1000/SC-3000 and the Mark III/Master System. Produced from 1983 to 1987 by Mitsubishi Plastics, the cards are plugged into onboard cardslots or into compatible adapters. Several versions of the format were created, including a rewritable one that allows new titles to be downloaded to a card. While substantially cheaper to produce than cartridges, the storage limitations of the format resulted in Sega exclusively distributing games on cartridges. Despite the failure of the Sega Card, NEC found more success with its own memory card format, the HuCard, which was primary storage medium for its PC Engine game console.

Sega Japanese video game developer and publisher

Sega Games Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational video game developer and publisher headquartered in Shinagawa, 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. From 1983 until 2001, Sega also developed and sold video game consoles.

Analogue, Inc. is an American company with offices in USA and Hong Kong that designs, develops and sells video game hardware. Its hardware products include the Analogue Pocket, Analogue Mega Sg, Analogue Super Nt, Analogue Nt mini, Analogue Nt. Analogue has offices in USA and Hong Kong.

History of Sega The history of Sega, a Japanese video game company and subsidiary of [[Sega Sammy Holdings]]

The history of Sega, a Japanese multinational video game developer and publisher, has roots back to Standard Games in 1940 and Service Games of Japan in the 1950s. The formation of the company known today as Sega is traced back to the founding of Nihon Goraku Bussan, which became known as Sega Enterprises, Ltd. following acquisition of Rosen Enterprises in 1965. Originally an importer of coin-operated games to Japan and manufacturer of slot machines and jukeboxes, Sega began developing its own arcade games in 1966 with Periscope, which became a surprise success and led to more arcade machine development. In 1969 Gulf and Western Industries bought Sega, which continued its arcade game business through the 1970s.


  1. Brandt, Richard; Gross, Neil (February 1994). "Sega!". Businessweek. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  2. Pollack, Andrew (October 24, 1982). "What's New In Video Games; Taking the Zing Out of the Arcade Boom". New York Times. Archived from the original on December 19, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
  3. "The Bottom Line". Miami Herald   via  NewsBank (subscription required). August 27, 1983. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  4. Battelle, John (December 1993). "The Next Level: Sega's Plans for World Domination". Wired . Condé Nast Publications. Archived from the original on May 2, 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Kohler, Chris (October 2009). "Playing the SG-1000, Sega's First Game Machine". Wired Magazine's online site. Archived from the original on January 1, 2014. Retrieved October 5, 2009.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Marley, Scott (December 2016). "SG-1000". Retro Gamer . No. 163. Future Publishing. pp. 56–61.
  7. 1 2 "SG-1000" (in Japanese). Sega Corporation. Archived from the original on July 16, 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  8. 1 2 3 Plunkett, Luke (January 19, 2017). "The Story of Sega's First Console, Which Was Not The Master System". Kotaku. Gizmodo Media Group. Archived from the original on March 6, 2017. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  9. 1 2 Gamer's High! Futabasha Super Mook (in Japanese). Futabasha. 2015. p. 54. ISBN   978-4-575-45554-0.
  10. "SC-3000" (in Japanese). Sega Corporation. Archived from the original on July 16, 2014. Retrieved February 15, 2013.
  11. "SC-3000H" (in Japanese). Sega Corporation. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 15, 2013.
  12. 1 2 3 4 McFerran, Damien. "Retroinspection: Master System". Retro Gamer . Imagine Publishing (44): 48–53.
  13. Marley, Scott (December 2016). "The Rare Jewels from Taiwan...". Retro Gamer . No. 163. Future Publishing. p. 61.
  14. 1 2 3 Sato, Hideki (November 1998). "The History of Sega Console Hardware". Famitsu (in Japanese). ASCII Corporation . Retrieved March 5, 2019 via Shmuplations.
  15. "G&W Wins Cheers $1 Billion Spinoff Set". Miami Herald   via  NewsBank (subscription required). August 16, 1983. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  16. Kent, Steven L. (2001). "The Birth of Sega". The Ultimate History of Video Games: The Story Behind the Craze that Touched our Lives and Changed the World. Roseville, California: Prima Publishing. p. 343. ISBN   0-7615-3643-4.
  17. "SG-1000 II" (in Japanese). Sega Corporation. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved February 15, 2013.
  18. 1 2 "SG-1000" (in Japanese). Sega Corporation. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  19. "GameTap Celebrates Sonic's 15th Anniversary With Rare Content From Import-Only Console, Lock-On Genesis Games, And New TV-On-The-Web Programming". GamesIndustry International. Gamer Network. June 23, 2006. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  20. 1 2 3 "SG-1000 Technical specifications" (in Japanese). Sega Corporation. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  21. 1 2 "SG-1000 II Technical specifications" (in Japanese). Sega Corporation. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  22. 1 2 "SC-3000 Technical specifications" (in Japanese). Sega Corporation. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  23. "SK-1100" (in Japanese). Sega Corporation. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  24. "SG-1000 controllers" (in Japanese). Sega Corporation. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  25. "Card catcher" (in Japanese). Sega Corporation. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  26. "SR-1000" (in Japanese). Sega Corporation. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  27. "SP-400" (in Japanese). Sega Corporation. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  28. "SF-7000" (in Japanese). Sega Corporation. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  29. "ソフトウェア一覧 - SC-3000 - セガハード大百科 - セガ" (in Japanese). Sega . Retrieved July 28, 2019.