Depending on what country, planet or otherwise dimension you are from (yes they have gaming in other dimensions), the third console from Sega was known either as Sega Mega Drive or Sega Genesis. It was Sega’s first 16 bit gaming console, and was released in Japan on October 29, 1988.
It was unfortunately, the second 16 bit gaming console to be introduced with the NEC ‘PC Engine’ arriving first in 1987. Both of these systems leap frogged the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) which was an 8 bit system. It was not until Nintendo’s Super Nintendo launched 1991 that the market had three 16 bit competitors to choose from.
The Sega Mega Drive was the first of its consoles to outsell the then most popular gaming system, being Nintendo. This was due to timing and a good selection of games. The market was definitely saturated with the NES which gave Nintendo a solid foot hold. However, like any zealous gamer, the choice of a new and improved system was a big enough temptation to provide a success for Sega.
The Mega Drive was a great system and I wish I had one in my collection. I love the distinguishable transition between the 8 to 16 bit consoles. The Mega Drive is a great example of the direction the gaming industry was headed by starting to produce games for an older audience. Sega was the first gaming company to develop a video game rating system due to the mature content contained on game titles such as Night Trap and Mortal Combat.
The below video demonstration from 1990 show cases the system. Obviously neither the presenter (1990 marketing at its best), or system do not look like cutting edge stuff today, but think back on its predecessors and you will appreciate how much this console had quickly progressed.
Unfortunately today Sega gaming systems have gone the way of the Dodo ending on the Dream Cast in 1999…but that’s another story.