The Sega Master System was released in 1987 in Europe and forms part of the 3rd generation of games consoles. The Master System was Sega’s answer to the popular Nintendo Entertainment System and although it was technically more powerful than the NES, it would never become as popular in Japan and North America. However, it attained significantly more success in Europe and Brazil. Due in part to Nintendo’s licensing practices, whereby they requested that developers keep their games as NES exclusives, few third-party developers contributed games for the Master System. By the early 1990s, the Master System (especially the Master System II model) had become the most popular gaming platform in Europe, eclipsing the NES as well as home computers.
The original Master System models use both cartridges and a credit card-sized format known as Sega Cards. The Master System uses the same 9-pin controller connector which could be found on the the Atari 2600, and later, the Sega Mega Drive
There were several different game combinations built into the SEGA Master System which could be played without a game cartridge inside. Those games were, a Snail Maze game, Hang-On, Safari Hunt, Astro Warrior and Missile Defence 3D.
Released in 1990, the Master System II removed a number of components in order to reduce the cost of the console, including the Sega Card slot, reset button, power light, expansion port, and activation music and logo upon turning on the system. This console also featured in-built games, those were, Sonic The Hedgehog and Alex Kid In Miracle World.
I can’t remember having a Master System as a kid, but I definitely remember playing one and really loving playing Sonic The Hedgehog and Alex Kidd.
The Master System is a black 3D trapezium with red/orange highlights and looks very much like a piece of late 80’s technology trying to look futuristic, and it works very well in that regard. The angular design is very striking and the console shows a diagram or vague instructions as to how the system works on its face. The Master System is a very durable machine.
The controller is very similar to the NES controller, with a (slightly mushy) D-pad and 2 face buttons, however I personally find this pad to be more comfortable to use than the NES controller.
My Master System has a 50/60hz mod switch installed which allows me to switch between 50hz (PAL) and 60hz (NTSC). Pal games run slower and have a top and bottom border where as the NTSC has a full screen and runs at full speed.
Rating – Loose
Price Paid – £35 (eBay)