800px-Megadrive no shadow.jpg

The Sega Mega Drive released in Japan and Europe.

The Sega Genesis, or Sega Mega Drive in Europe and Japan (メガドライブ, Mega Doraibu), was a video game system released by SEGA that competed with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Various games released on the Genesis were later ported to Nintendo systems.


The Sega Genesis was the second SEGA console released. It first launched in Japan on October 29, 1988, followed by in North America on August 14, 1989. It finally launched in the PAL region on November 30, 1990 with the help of Virgin Mastertronic (who were later bought in 1991 and turned into SEGA of Europe). The Brazillian launch was handled by Tec toy. SEGA was determined to seize a piece of the gaming console pie from Nintendo, and they soon released a cutting edge console superior to the NES in every way. With the slogan, Genesis does what Nintendon't, Sega aggresively attacked Nintendo in a variety of marketing campaigns, and soon gained the upper hand, overthrowing the NES. It was bundled with Altered Beast at launch. 

In Japan, the Mega Drive failed to grab traction due to launching the same week as Super Mario Bros. 3. However, thanks to positive press coverage from Famitsu to start a following and in addition to a variety of games, it created a variety of peripherials to boost the console's usability like an answering machine. Unfortunately, even this was unable to overcome the Famicom in Japan. 

SNES vs. Genesis

The Super Nintendo was more powerful than the Genesis, so Sega stepped up their marketing campaign. Soon, they created a mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog, and soon the Genesis surged forward. It ended up overtaking Nintendo, and put Sega on top for the first and only time, outselling Nintendo systems for 4 holiday seasons in a row. However, once the 5th gen came about, Sega desperately took the Genesis off the shelves to make more room for the Saturn, but the SNES was still in stores. Combined with Donkey Kong Country, the SNES began to overtake the Genesis. Despite this, the Genesis outsold the SNES in America overall according to an NPD study.[1] The Genesis sold a grand total of 20 million consoles in North America, which contributed to approximately half of total sales[2] In Japan, the console was much less successful. It ended up at a distant 3rd of the 16-bit consoles behind both the Super Famicom and PC Engine and selling only 4.3 million units. [2] By the end of the Genesis's lifetime, sales approached 40 million. However, that count is not including the Majesco Model 3 Genesis and the ATGames throw-back model.

Legacy on Nintendo consoles

After Sega had stopped producing consoles, they started releasing games on other systems, including the Game Boy Advance. Many of the games that was released included games that had previously released on the Genesis.

Virtual Console

Sega Genesis games are currently being released via the Wii Virtual Console on the Wii. On the launch of the Wii, two games from the Genesis were immediately available: Altered Beast and Sonic the Hedgehog. Several more have been released in the weeks following with more to follow.

Genesis titles currently available

Planned titles for future release

Currently, of all Sega consoles, only titles from the Sega Genesis are confirmed for release on the Wii Virtual Console.

External Links


  1. [1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 [2]