Master System

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The North American Master System.

The Master System, originally released in Japan as the マークIII [Maku III], Mark III, is a video game console developed by Sega and first released in Japan on 1985-10-20, and, after a slight redesign, sold in the USA in September of 1986. Although the system didn't do well in Japan or the USA, it sold very well in Europe and Brazil. Each of the permutations of the console use a Z80A CPU. The North American, Brazilian, and European versions use a SN76489 sound chip. The Japanese version use the same chip, but also add a YM2413.

I never owned a Master System, and I only played it once around 1988, after going over to a friend's house after school. My family owned an NES, but he had a Master System. The only game I remember playing was Wonder Boy. Later, a different friend who owned a Genesis had a collection of Master System games, but didn't have the adapter to play them, so I only got to look at the box and cartridge art. I didn't play a game on the console again until about 15 years later when Master System emulation became popular.


See all Master System Games.

These are the Master System games that are important to me:



  • This was the first platform to release games for the Phantasy Star and Alex Kidd series, and the first US release of a game from the Ys series.
  • The console was backward-compatible with the SG-1000. Although, this wasn't much, as the console had few games, and even fewer good games.


  • Sega couldn't attract very many third party developers, so the platform never really developed a large catalog of games. This was primarily due to Nintendo's anti-competition policy at the time.
  • Despite being released two years after the NES, and being technically superior, games released around the same time looked better on the NES.
  • Pause is not on the controller, but on the console itself, which is really annoying, especially if you're playing a game that requires fast reflexes.


  • Nothing.





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