Sega CD

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Sega CD / Mega-CD
Sega CD Logo.svg Japanese Mega-CD Logo.png
Sega-CD-Model1-Set.jpg
Sega-CD-Model2-Set.jpg
Top: Original Sega CD (bottom) attached to a Model 1 Genesis.
Bottom: Model 2 Sega CD (on right) attached to a Model 2 Genesis.
Other variations are pictured under Variations below
Also known asMega-CD (most regions outside North America and Brazil)
Manufacturer Sega
Type Video game console add-on
Generation Fourth generation
Release date
  • JP: December 12, 1991
  • NA: October 15, 1992
  • UK: April 2, 1993
  • EU: 1993
Lifespan1991-1996
Introductory price JP¥49,800
US$299
GB£270
Discontinued1996
Units sold2.24 million
Media CD-ROM, CD+G
CPU Motorola 68000 @ 12.5 MHz
Storage64 kbit internal RAM
SoundRicoh RF5C164
Best-selling game Sonic CD , 1.5 million [1] [2]
Related articles 32X

The Sega CD, released as the Mega-CD [lower-alpha 1] in most regions outside North America and Brazil, is a CD-ROM accessory for the Sega Genesis video game console 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 lets the user play 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.

CD-ROM pre-pressed compact disc containing computer data

A CD-ROM is a pre-pressed optical compact disc that contains data. Computers can read—but not write to or erase—CD-ROMs, i.e. it is a type of read-only memory.

A video game accessory is a distinct piece of hardware that is required to use a video game console, or one that enriches the video game's play experience. Essentially, video game accessories are everything except the console itself, such as controllers, memory, power adapters (AC), and audio/visual cables. Most video game consoles come with the accessories required to play games out of the box : one A/V cable, one AC cable, and a controller. Memory is usually the most required accessory outside of these, as game data cannot be saved to compact discs. The companies that manufacture video game consoles also make these accessories for replacement purposes as well as improving the overall experience. There is an entire industry of companies that create accessories for consoles as well, called third-party companies. The prices are often lower than those made by the maker of the console (first-party). This is usually achieved by avoiding licensing or using cheaper materials. For the mobile systems like the PlayStation Portable and Game Boy iterations, there are many accessories to make them more usable in mobile environments, such as mobile chargers, lighting to improve visibility, and cases to both protect and help organize the collection of system peripherals to. Newer accessories include many home-made things like mod chips to bypass manufacturing protection or homemade software.

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

The Sega Genesis, known as the Mega Drive in regions 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.

Contents

The main benefit of CD technology was greater storage, which allowed for games to be nearly 320 times larger than Genesis cartridges. This benefit manifested as full motion video (FMV) games such as the controversial Night Trap , which became a focus of the 1993 Congressional hearings on issues of video game violence and ratings. Sega of Japan partnered with JVC to design the Sega CD and refused to consult with Sega of America until the project was complete. Sega of America assembled parts from various "dummy" units to obtain a working prototype. It was redesigned several times by Sega and licensed third-party developers.

A full motion video (FMV) is a video game narration technique that relies upon pre-recorded video files to display action in the game. While many games feature FMVs as a way to present information during cutscenes, games that are primarily presented through FMVs are referred to as full-motion video games or interactive movies.

<i>Night Trap</i> 1992 video game

Night Trap is an interactive movie video game developed by Digital Pictures and originally released by Sega for the Sega CD in 1992. The game is presented primarily through the use of full motion video (FMV). In Night Trap, the player takes the role of a special agent tasked to watch over teenage girls visiting a house which, unbeknownst to them, is full of danger. The player watches live surveillance footage of the house and triggers traps to capture anyone seen endangering the girls. The player can freely switch their view between different cameras to keep watch over the girls and eavesdrop on conversations to follow the story and listen for clues.

United States Congress Legislature of the United States

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, and consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election, though vacancies in the Senate may be filled by a gubernatorial appointment. Congress has 535 voting members: 435 representatives and 100 senators. The House of Representatives has six non-voting members representing Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia in addition to its 435 voting members. Although they cannot vote in the full house, these members can address the house, sit and vote in congressional committees, and introduce legislation.

While the Sega CD became known for several well received games such as Sonic CD and Lunar: Eternal Blue , its game library contained a large number of Genesis ports and poorly received FMV games. 2.24 million Sega CD units were sold by March 1996, after which Sega discontinued the system to focus on the Sega Saturn. Retrospective reception is mixed, with praise for individual games and additional functions, but criticism for its lack of deep games, high price, and support from Sega.

<i>Sonic CD</i> 1993 video game

Sonic the Hedgehog CD, commonly referred to as Sonic CD, is a 1993 platform game for the Sega CD. The story follows Sonic the Hedgehog as he attempts to save an extraterrestrial body, Little Planet, from Doctor Robotnik. As a Sonic the Hedgehog series platformer, Sonic runs and jumps through several themed levels while collecting rings and defeating robots. Sonic CD is distinguished from other Sonic games by its time travel feature, a key aspect to the story and gameplay. By traveling through time, players can access different versions of stages featuring alternate layouts, music, and graphics based on the time period.

<i>Lunar: Eternal Blue</i> 1994 RPG video game

Lunar: Eternal Blue is a role-playing video game developed by Game Arts and Studio Alex for the Sega CD as the sequel to Lunar: The Silver Star. The game was originally released in December 1994 in Japan, and later in North America in September 1995 by Working Designs. Eternal Blue expanded the story and gameplay of its predecessor, and made more use of the Sega CD's hardware, including more detailed graphics, longer, more elaborate animated cutscenes, and more extensive use of voice acting. Critics were mostly pleased with the title, giving particular merit to the game's English translation and further expansion of the role-playing game genre in CD format.

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.

History

Background

Released in 1988, the Genesis (known as the Mega Drive in Europe and Japan) was Sega's entry into the fourth generation of video game consoles. [3] In mid-1990, Sega CEO Hayao Nakayama hired Tom Kalinske as CEO of Sega of America. Kalinske developed a four-point plan for sales of the Genesis: cut the console's price, develop games for the American market with a new American team, continue aggressive advertising campaigns, and ship Sonic the Hedgehog with the Genesis as a pack-in game. [4] The Japanese board of directors initially disapproved of the plan, [4] but all four points were approved by Nakayama, who told Kalinske, "I hired you to make the decisions for Europe and the Americas, so go ahead and do it." [3] Magazines praised Sonic as one of the greatest games yet made, and Sega's console finally took off as customers who had been waiting for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) decided to purchase a Genesis instead. [4]

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

Thomas "Tom" Kalinske is an American businessman, best known as having worked for Mattel 1972-87, reviving the Barbie & Hot Wheels Brands, launching Masters of the Universe, then being promoted to CEO of Mattel from 1985 to 1987. Next he was CEO of Matchbox, and then was recruited to be the president and CEO of Sega of America, Inc. from 1990 to 1996, and the CEO and COB of Leapfrog 1997-2006. His aggressive marketing decisions during his time at Sega, such as price drops, anti-Nintendo attack ads, and the famous "Sega Scream" TV campaign, are often cited as key elements in the success of the Genesis video game console. He is currently the Executive Chairman of Global Education Learning, a company dedicated to children's education in China.

<i>Sonic the Hedgehog</i> (1991 video game) 1991 video game

Sonic the Hedgehog, also referred to as Sonic 1, is a platform game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for the Sega Genesis console. It was released in North America in June 1991, and in PAL regions and Japan the following month. The game features an anthropomorphic hedgehog named Sonic in a quest to defeat Doctor Robotnik, a scientist who has imprisoned animals in robots and stolen the powerful Chaos Emeralds. The gameplay involves collecting rings as a form of health and a simple control scheme, with jumping and attacking controlled by a single button.

Development

By the early 1990s, compact discs (CDs) were making significant headway as a storage medium for music and video games. NEC had been the first to use CD technology in a video game console with their PC Engine CD-ROM² System add-on in October 1988 in Japan (launched in North America as the TurboGrafx-CD the following year), which sold 80,000 units in six months. [5] That year, Nintendo announced a partnership with Sony to develop its own CD-ROM peripheral for the SNES. Commodore International released their CD-based CDTV multimedia system in early 1991, while the CD-i from Philips arrived towards the end of that year. [6]

Compact disc Optical disc for storage and playback of digital audio

Compact disc (CD) is a digital optical disc data storage format that was co-developed by Philips and Sony and released in 1982. The format was originally developed to store and play only sound recordings (CD-DA) but was later adapted for storage of data (CD-ROM). Several other formats were further derived from these, including write-once audio and data storage (CD-R), rewritable media (CD-RW), Video Compact Disc (VCD), Super Video Compact Disc (SVCD), Photo CD, PictureCD, CD-i, and Enhanced Music CD. The first commercially available audio CD player, the Sony CDP-101, was released October 1982 in Japan.

NEC Japanese technology corporation

NEC Corporation is a Japanese multinational provider of information technology (IT) services and products, headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. It provides IT and network solutions to business enterprises, communications services providers and to government agencies, and has also been the biggest PC vendor in Japan since the 1980s. The company was known as the Nippon Electric Company, Limited, before rebranding in 1983 as NEC.

Sony Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation

Sony Corporation is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Kōnan, Minato, Tokyo. Its diversified business includes consumer and professional electronics, gaming, entertainment and financial services. The company owns the largest music entertainment business in the world, the largest video game console business and one of the largest video game publishing businesses, and is one of the leading manufacturers of electronic products for the consumer and professional markets, and a leading player in the film and television entertainment industry. Sony was ranked 97th on the 2018 Fortune Global 500 list.

Shortly after the release of the Genesis, Sega's Consumer Products Research and Development Labs led by manager Tomio Takami were tasked with creating a CD-ROM add-on, which became the Sega CD. The Sega CD was originally intended to equal the capabilities of the TurboGrafx-CD, but with twice as much random-access memory (RAM), and sell for about JP¥20,000 (or US$150). [7] In addition to relatively short loading times, Takami's team planned the device to feature hardware scaling and rotation similar to that of Sega's arcade games, which required a dedicated digital signal processor (DSP). [7] [8]

Random-access memory Form of computer data storage

Random-access memory is a form of computer memory that can be read and changed in any order, typically used to store working data and machine code. A random-access memory device allows data items to be read or written in almost the same amount of time irrespective of the physical location of data inside the memory. In contrast, with other direct-access data storage media such as hard disks, CD-RWs, DVD-RWs and the older magnetic tapes and drum memory, the time required to read and write data items varies significantly depending on their physical locations on the recording medium, due to mechanical limitations such as media rotation speeds and arm movement.

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.

United States dollar Currency of the United States of America

The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States and its territories per the United States Constitution since 1792. In practice, the dollar is divided into 100 smaller cent (¢) units, but is occasionally divided into 1000 mills (₥) for accounting. The circulating paper money consists of Federal Reserve Notes that are denominated in United States dollars.

However, two changes made later in development contributed to the final unit's higher-than-expected price. [7] Because the Genesis' Motorola 68000 CPU was too slow to handle the Sega CD's new graphical capabilities, an additional 68000 CPU was incorporated. [7] In addition, upon hearing rumors that NEC planned a memory upgrade to the TurboGrafx-CD, which would bring its available RAM from 0.5 Mbit to between 2 and 4 Mbit, Sega decided to increase the Sega CD's available RAM from 1 Mbit to 6 Mbit. [7] This proved to be one of the greatest technical challenges since the CD's access speed was initially too slow to run programs effectively. [8] The cost of the device was now estimated at $370, but market research convinced Sega executives that consumers would be willing to pay more for a state-of-the-art machine. [7] Sega partnered with JVC, which had been working with Warner New Media to develop a CD player under the CD+G standard. [5] [9]

Until mid-1991, Sega of America had been kept largely uninformed of the details of the project, without a functioning unit to test (although Sega of America was provided with preliminary technical documents earlier in the year). [10] According to former Sega of America executive producer Michael Latham, "When you work at a multinational company, there are things that go well and there are things that don't. They didn't want to send us working Sega CD units. They wanted to send us dummies and not send us the working CD units until the last minute because they were concerned about what we would do with it and if it would leak out. It was very frustrating." [6] Latham and Sega of America vice president of licensing Shinobu Toyoda put together a functioning Sega CD by acquiring a ROM for the system and installing it in a dummy unit. [6]

Sega of America staff were also frustrated by the Sega CD's construction. Former Sega of America senior producer Scot Bayless said: "The Mega-CD was designed with a cheap, consumer-grade audio CD drive, not a CD-ROM. Quite late in the run-up to launch, the quality assurance teams started running into severe problems with many of the units—and when I say severe, I mean units literally bursting into flames. We worked around the clock, trying to catch the failure in-progress, and after about a week we finally realized what was happening," citing the need for games to use more time seeking data than the CD drive was designed to provide. [11]

Launch

Sega announced the release of the Mega-CD in Japan for late 1991, and North America (as the Sega CD) in 1992. It was unveiled to the public for the first time at the 1991 Tokyo Toy Show, to positive reception from critics. [12] It was released in Japan on December 12, 1991, initially retailing at JP¥49,800. [13] Though the unit sold quickly, the small install base of the Mega Drive in Japan meant that sales declined rapidly. [14] Within its first year in Japan, the Mega-CD only sold 100,000 units. Third-party development of games for the new system suffered because Sega took a long amount of time to release software development kits. [12] [15] Other factors affecting sales included the high launch price of the Mega-CD in Japan and only two games available at launch. [12]

On October 15, 1992, the Sega CD was released in North America, with a retail price of US$299. [6] Advertising included one of Sega's slogans, "Welcome to the Next Level". Though only 50,000 units were available at launch due to production problems, the Sega CD sold over 200,000 units by the end of 1992. [14] As part of Sega's sales, Blockbuster LLC purchased Sega CD units for rental in their stores. [16] The Mega-CD was launched in Europe in the spring of 1993, [12] starting with the United Kingdom on April 2, 1993, at a price of GB£269.99. The European version was packaged with Sol-Feace and Cobra Command in a two-disc set, along with a compilation CD of five Mega Drive games. [17] Only 70,000 units were initially available in the UK, but 60,000 units were sold by August 1993. [14]

Emphasized by Sega of America, the benefits of the Sega CD's additional storage space allowed for a large amount of full motion video (FMV) games, [15] [18] [19] with Digital Pictures becoming an important partner for Sega. [6] After the initial competition between Sega and Nintendo to develop a CD-based add-on, Nintendo eventually canceled the development process of its own peripheral after having partnered with Sony and then with Philips to develop one. [6]

A model 1 Sega CD without a Genesis attached. The steel joining plate was included to act as RF shielding between the CD and console hardware. Sega-Genesis-CD-Model-1-Bare-wPlate.jpg
A model 1 Sega CD without a Genesis attached. The steel joining plate was included to act as RF shielding between the CD and console hardware.

Sega released a second model, the Sega CD 2 (Mega-CD 2), on April 23, 1993 in Japan at a price of JP¥29,800. [20] It was released in North America several months later at the reduced price of US$229, bundled with one of the system's best-selling games, Sewer Shark . [15] [21] Designed to bring down the manufacturing costs of the Sega CD, the newer model is smaller and does not use a motorized disc tray. [14] A limited number of games were developed that used the Sega CD and the 32X add-on, released in November 1994. [22]

Night Trap controversy

On December 9, 1993, the United States Congress began to hold hearings on video game violence and the marketing of violent video games to children. [23] One game at the center of this controversy was the Sega CD's Night Trap , a full-motion video adventure game by Digital Pictures. [19] Night Trap had been brought to the attention of United States Senator Joe Lieberman, who said: "It ends with this attack scene on this woman in lingerie, in her bathroom. I know that the creator of the game said it was all meant to be a satire of Dracula ; but nonetheless, I thought it sent out the wrong message." Lieberman's research concluded that the average video game player was between seven and twelve years old and that video game publishers were marketing violence to children. [23]

In the United Kingdom, former Sega of Europe development director Mike Brogan noted that "Night Trap got Sega an awful lot of publicity.... Questions were even raised in the UK Parliament about its suitability. This came at a time when Sega was capitalizing on its image as an edgy company with attitude, and this only served to reinforce that image." [11] Despite increased sales as a result of the hearings, Sega recalled Night Trap and rereleased it with revisions in 1994. [24] Following these hearings, video game manufacturers came together in 1994 to establish a unified rating system, the Entertainment Software Rating Board. [23]

Decline

Newer CD-based consoles such as the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer rendered the Sega CD technically obsolete, reducing public interest. [14] In late 1993, less than a year after the Sega CD's launches in North America and Europe, the media reported that Sega was no longer accepting in-house development proposals for the Mega-CD in Japan. [25] In early 1995, Sega shifted its focus to the Sega Saturn and discontinued advertising for Genesis hardware, including the Sega CD. Sega officially discontinued the Sega CD in the first quarter of 1996, saying that it needed to concentrate on fewer platforms and felt the Sega CD could not compete due to its high price and outdated single-speed drive. [26] The last games scheduled to be released for the Sega CD, Myst and Brain Dead 13 , [27] were cancelled. 2.24 million Sega CD units were sold worldwide, including 400,000 in Japan. [28]

Technical specifications

The motherboard and CD laser assembly to a model 2 Sega CD. Sega-CD-Base-Mk2-Inside-V1-01.jpg
The motherboard and CD laser assembly to a model 2 Sega CD.

The Sega CD can only be used in conjunction with a Genesis system, attaching through an expansion slot on the side of the main console. It requires its own power supply. In addition to playing its own library of games in CD-ROM format, the Sega CD can also play compact discs and karaoke CD+G discs, and can be used in conjunction with the 32X to play 32-bit games that use both add-ons. The second model, also known as the Sega CD 2, includes a steel joining plate to be screwed into the bottom of the Genesis and extension spacer to work with the original Genesis model. [29]

The main CPU of the Sega CD is a 12.5MHz 16-bit Motorola 68000 processor, [12] [30] which runs 5 MHz faster than the Genesis processor. [15] It contains 1 Mbit of boot ROM, allocated for the CD game BIOS, CD player software, and compatibility with CD+G discs. 6 Mbit of RAM are allocated to data for programs, pictures, and sounds; 512 Kbit to PCM waveform memory; 128 Kbit to CD-ROM data cache memory; and an additional 64 Kbit are allocated as the backup memory. [29] Additional backup memory in the form of a 1 Mbit Backup RAM Cartridge was also available as a separate purchase, released near the end of the system's life. [31] Audio can be supplied through the Ricoh RF5C164, and two RCA pin jacks allow the Sega CD to output stereophonic sound separate from the Genesis. Combining stereo sound from a Genesis to either version of the Sega CD requires a cable between the Genesis's headphone jack and an input jack on the back of the CD unit. This is not required for the second model of the Genesis. [29]

Though the Sega CD offers a faster processor, its main purpose is to expand the size of the games. Whereas ROM cartridges of the day typically contained 8 to 16 megabits of data, a CD-ROM disc can hold more than 640 megabytes of data, more than 320 times the storage of a Genesis cartridge. This allows the Sega CD to run games containing full motion video. [6]

Variations

Sega-CD-Model1-Set.jpg
Sega-CD-Model2-Set.jpg
Genesis-CDX-Console-Set.jpg
Genesis and Sega CD (original models)
Genesis and Sega CD (second models)
Genesis CDX
Console-wondermega.jpg
Victor-WonderMega-RG-M2-Console-Set.jpg
Pioneer-LaserActive-Set-FL.jpg
Victor Wondermega RG-M1
Victor Wondermega RG-M2
Pioneer LaserActive

The Sega CD received several variations during its lifetime, of which Sega constructed three. The original model utilized a front-loading motorized disc tray and sat underneath the Genesis. [15] Sega later released the second model of the Sega CD, which was redesigned to sit next to the Genesis console and featured a top-loading disc tray in place of the motorized tray of the original model. [15] In addition to the add-on models, Sega also released the Genesis CDX (Multi-Mega in Europe). This console was a combination of the Genesis and Sega CD in one unit and initially retailed at US$399. Unique to this model was its additional functionality as a portable compact disc player. [32]

Three additional system models were created by other electronics companies. Working with Sega, JVC released the Wondermega on April 1, 1992, in Japan, at an initial retail price of ¥82,800 (or US$620). The system was later redesigned by JVC and released as the X'Eye in North America in September 1994. Designed by JVC to be a Genesis and Sega CD combination with high-quality audio, the Wondermega's high price kept it out of the hands of average consumers. [33] Likewise was the case with the Pioneer LaserActive, which was also an add-on that required an attachment developed by Sega, known as the Mega-LD pack, in order to play Genesis and Sega CD games. Though the LaserActive, developed by Pioneer Corporation, was lined up to compete with the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, the combined system and Mega-LD pack retailed at nearly $1600, becoming a very expensive option for Sega CD players. [34] Aiwa also released the CSD-GM1, a combination Genesis/Sega CD unit built into a boombox. [3]

Games

Sonic CD's special stage uses the Sega CD's enhanced graphical capabilities SonicCD.PNG
Sonic CD's special stage uses the Sega CD's enhanced graphical capabilities

The Sega CD supports a library of over 200 games created by Sega and third-party publishers. Included in this library are six games which, while receiving individual Sega CD releases, also received separate versions that used both the Sega CD and 32X add-ons. [22] Among the games were a number of FMV games, including Sewer Shark and Fahrenheit . Well regarded games include Sonic CD , Lunar: Eternal Blue and Lunar: The Silver Star , Popful Mail , and Snatcher , as well as the controversial Night Trap. [18] [19] [35] [36] [37] Although Sega created Streets of Rage for the Genesis to compete against the SNES port of the arcade hit Final Fight , the Sega CD received an enhanced version of Final Fight game that has been praised for its greater faithfulness to the arcade original. [38] [39] Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side was noted for its impressive use of the Sega CD hardware as well as its violent content. [40] [41] In particular, Sonic CD garnered acclaim for its graphics and time travel gameplay, which improved upon the traditional Sonic formula. [19] [42] [43] [44] [45] [46] The Sega CD also received enhanced ports of Genesis games including Batman Returns and Ecco the Dolphin . [12]

Given the large number of FMV games and Genesis ports, the Sega CD's game library has been criticized for its lack of depth. Full-motion video quality was substandard on the Sega CD due to poor video compression software and limited color palette, [18] and the concept never caught on with the public. [15] According to Digital Pictures founder Tom Zito, "Sega CD could only put up 32 colors at a time, so you had this horrible grainy look to the images," [6] though the system was able to put up 64 colors at one time. [47] Likewise, most Genesis ports for the Sega CD featured additional full motion video sequences, extra levels, and enhanced audio, but were otherwise identical to their Genesis release. [15] The video quality in these sequences has also been criticized as comparable to an old VHS tape. [18]

Reception and legacy

Sega-CD II with a Genesis II and a 32X attached. Each device requires its own power supply. Sega-Genesis-Model-2-Monster-Bare.jpg
Sega-CD II with a Genesis II and a 32X attached. Each device requires its own power supply.

Near the time of its release, the Sega CD was awarded Best New Peripheral of 1992 by Electronic Gaming Monthly. Four separate reviews scored the add-on 8, 9, 8, and 8 out of 10; reviewers cited its upgrades to the Genesis as well as its high-quality and expanding library of games. [48] Later reception in 1995 by Electronic Gaming Monthly showed a more mixed response to the peripheral, with four reviewers scoring it 5 out of 10, citing its game library issues and substandard video quality. [49] GamePro also criticized the weak games library and substandard video quality, noting that many of the games were simple ports of cartridge games with minimal enhancements and commenting that "The Sega CD could have been an upgrade, but it's essentially a big memory device with CD sound." They gave it a "thumbs sideways" and recommended that Genesis fans buy an SNES before even considering a Sega CD. [50] Likewise, in a special Game Machine Cross Review in May 1995, Famicom Tsūshin scored the Japanese Mega-CD 2 a 17 out of 40. [51]

Retrospective reception of the Sega CD is mixed, praising certain games but criticizing its low value for money and limitations on the benefits it provides to the Genesis. [18] [19] [52] GamePro listed the Sega CD as the 7th-worst selling video game console of all time, with reviewer Blake Snow noting that "The problem was threefold: the device was expensive at $299, it arrived late in the 16-bit life cycle, and it didn't do much (if anything) to enhance the gameplay experience." Snow went on to note, however, that the Sega CD did have in its library "the greatest Sonic game of all time" in Sonic CD. [52] IGN's Levi Buchanan criticized Sega's implementation of CD technology for the Genesis, noting, "What good is the extra storage space if there is nothing inventive to be done with it? No new gameplay concepts emerged from the SEGA CD—it just offered more of the same. In fact, with few exceptions like Sonic CD, it often offered some of the 16-bit generation's worst games, like Demolition Man ." [18] Jeremy Parish of USgamer pointed out that "Sega was hardly the only company to muddy its waters with a CD add-on in the early '90s" and highlighted some "gems" for the system, but cautioned "the benefits offered by the Sega CD had to be balanced against the fact that the add-on more than doubled the price (and complexity) of the [Genesis]." [53] Writing for Retro Gamer , Damien McFerran cited various reasons for the Sega CD's limited sales, including the add-on's high price, lack of significant enhancement to the Genesis console, and lack of ability to function without a console attached. [14] Retro Gamer writer Aaron Birch, however, defended the Sega CD and wrote that "the single biggest cause of the Mega-CD's failure was the console itself. When the system came out, CD-ROM technology was still in its infancy and companies had yet to get to grips with the possibilities it offered... quite simply, the Mega-CD was a console ahead of its time." [12]

The poor support for the Sega CD has often been criticized as the first link in the devaluation of the Sega brand. Writing for IGN, Buchanan described an outside perspective on Sega's decision to release the Sega CD with its poor library and console support, stating, "[T]he SEGA CD instead looked like a strange, desperate move—something designed to nab some ink but without any real, thought-out strategy. Genesis owners that invested in the add-on were sorely disappointed, which undoubtedly helped sour the non-diehards on the brand." [18] In reviewing for GamePro, Snow commented that "[the] Sega CD marked the first of several Sega systems that saw very poor support; something that devalued the once-popular Sega brand in the eyes of consumers, and something that would ultimately lead to the company's demise as a hardware maker." [52]

Former Sega of America senior producer Scot Bayless attributes the unsuccessful market to a lack of direction from Sega with the add-on. According to Bayless, "It was a fundamental paradigm shift with almost no thought given to consequences. I honestly don't think anyone at Sega asked the most important question: 'Why?' There's a rule I developed during my time as an engineer in the military aviation business: never fall in love with your tech. I think that's where the Mega-CD went off the rails. The whole company fell in love with the idea without ever really asking how it would affect the games you made." [14] Sega of America producer Michael Latham offers a contrasting view of support for the add-on, however, stating "I loved the Sega CD. I always thought the platform was under-appreciated and that it was hurt by an over-concentration of trying to make Hollywood interactive film games versus using its storage and extended abilities to make just plain great video games." [54] Former Sega of Europe president Nick Alexander commented on the Mega-CD, saying "The Mega CD was interesting but probably misconceived and was seen very much as the interim product it was. I am afraid I cannot recall the sales numbers, but it was not a success." [55]

See also

Notes

  1. Japanese:メガCD(シーディー) Hepburn:Mega Shī Dī ?

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32X Add-on for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis video game console

The 32X is an add-on for the Sega Genesis video game console. Codenamed "Project Mars", the 32X was designed to expand the power of the Genesis and serve as a transitional console into the 32-bit era until the release of the Sega Saturn. Independent of the Genesis, the 32X uses its own ROM cartridges and has its own library of games. The add-on was distributed under the name Super 32X in Japan, Genesis 32X in North America, Mega Drive 32X in the PAL region, and Mega 32X in Brazil.

TurboGrafx-16 video game console

The TurboGrafx-16, known in Japan and France as the PC Engine, is a cartridge based home video game console manufactured and marketed by NEC Home Electronics, and designed by Hudson Soft. It was released in Japan on October 30, 1987 and in the United States on August 29, 1989. It also had a limited release in the United Kingdom and Spain in 1990, known as simply TurboGrafx and based on the American model, while the Japanese model was imported and distributed in France in 1989. It was the first console released in the 16-bit era, although it used an 8-bit CPU. Originally intended to compete with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), it ended up competing with the Sega Genesis, and later on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).

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

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<i>Sonic Mega Collection</i> 2002 video game

Sonic Mega Collection is a video game compilation developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega in 2002 for the GameCube. The compilation contains twelve to fourteen games originally released on the Sega Genesis. Ten of the included games are installments of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, while the remaining two to four games are only related to the series through its publisher, Sega.

Genesis Nomad handheld game console

The Genesis Nomad is a handheld game console manufactured by Sega and released in North America in October 1995. The Nomad is a portable variation of the Sega Genesis home video game console. Based on the Mega Jet, a portable version of the home console designed for use on airline flights in Japan, Nomad was the last handheld console released by Sega. In addition to functioning as a portable device, it was designed to be used with a television set via a video port. Released late in the Genesis era, the Nomad had a short lifespan.

In the history of computer and video games, the fourth generation of game consoles began on October 30, 1987 with the Japanese release of NEC Home Electronics' PC Engine. Although NEC released the first console of this era, sales were mostly dominated by the rivalry between Nintendo's and Sega's consoles in North America: the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Genesis. Handheld systems released during this time include the Nintendo Game Boy, released in 1989, and the Sega Game Gear, first released in 1990.

The fifth-generation era refers to computer and video games, video game consoles, and handheld gaming consoles dating from approximately October 1993 to May 2002. For home consoles, the best-selling console was the PlayStation (PS), followed by the Nintendo 64 (N64), and then the Sega Saturn. The PlayStation also had a redesigned version, the PSOne, which was launched in July 2000.

LaserActive video game console

The LaserActive is a converged device and fourth-generation home video game console capable of playing Laserdiscs, Compact Discs, console games, and LD-G karaoke discs. It was released by Pioneer Corporation in 1993. In addition to LaserActive games, separately sold add-on modules accept Mega Drive/Genesis and PC Engine/TurboGrafx 16 ROM cartridges and CD-ROMs.

1992 has seen many sequels and prequels in video games and several new titles such as Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, Art of Fighting, Super Mario Kart, and Mortal Kombat.

Sega Channel online game service

Sega Channel was an online game service developed by Sega for the Genesis video game console, serving as a content delivery system. Launching in December 1994, Sega Channel was provided to the public by TCI and Time Warner Cable through cable television services by way of coaxial cable. It was a pay to play service, through which customers could access Genesis games online, play game demos, and get cheat codes. Lasting until July 31, 1998, Sega Channel operated three years after the release of Sega's next generation console, the Sega Saturn. Though criticized for its poorly timed launch and high subscription fee, Sega Channel has been praised for its innovations in downloadable content and impact on online services for video games.

<i>Sonic Gems Collection</i> 2005 video game

Sonic Gems Collection is a 2005 compilation of Sega video games, primarily those in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. The emulated games span multiple genres and consoles—from the Sega Genesis to the Sega Saturn—and retain the features and errors of their initial releases with minimal edits. Player progress is rewarded with demos of other Sonic games, videos, and promotional artwork spanning the history of the Sonic franchise. While its 2002 predecessor, Sonic Mega Collection, comprised the more popular Sonic games, Gems Collection focuses on more obscure games, such as Sonic CD and Sonic the Fighters. Other non-Sonic games are included, but some, such as the Streets of Rage trilogy, are omitted in the North American localization.

<i>Sonic the Hedgehog 2</i> 1992 Mega-Drive video game

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a platform game developed and published by Sega for the Sega Genesis console, released worldwide in November 1992. It is the second main entry in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, and introduced Sonic's sidekick, Miles "Tails" Prower, controllable by a second player. In the story, Sonic and Tails must stop series antagonist Dr. Ivo Robotnik from stealing the Chaos Emeralds to power his space station, the Death Egg.

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 Genesis Mini, known as the Mega Drive Mini in regions outside of North America, is a dedicated home video game console modeled on Sega's Genesis in miniature. The Mini will emulate the original console's 16-bit hardware and include 42 pre-installed games, including two that were never released for the original console, which were ported by M2. It is set for release worldwide on September 19, 2019, except in Europe and the Middle East, where it is expected to launch on October 4, 2019.

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