The Sega Mega Drive Master System Converter

One of the key design features of the Mega Drive console was its backwards compatibility with Sega’s previous console, the Sega Master System (SMS). The 16-bit design was based upon the 8-bit design, albeit enhanced and extended in many areas. In order to achieve backwards compatibility, the original SMS central processor and sound chip (the Z80 and SN76489) were included in the Mega Drive and the consoles Video Display Processor (VDP) was capable of the SMS VDP’s mode 4 (though it cannot run in modes 0, 1, 2, or 3).
As the cartridge slot was of a different shape, Sega released the Master System Converter, a separate device that sat between an SMS cartridge and the Mega Drives cartridge slot. The Master System Converter did not contain any SMS components, instead functioning as a pass-through device. The converter contained a top slot for cartridge based games along with a front slot for card based games. Once an 8-bit game was inserted, the system put the Z80 in control, leaving the 68000 idle.

Rating – Complete
Price Paid – £49.99 (Cash Converters)