Not All Sega Mega Drives Were Made Equally

While these days the release of a new model of hardware is kind of a big deal, signifying as it does important changes in components, capabilities or even a complete redesign, back in the day some companies used to be able to flood the market with different versions of their console and nobody even noticed. Take, for example, Sega's Mega Drive / Genesis.

As detailed in this wonderfully exhaustive guide over on the Sega-16 forums, Sega released new variants of the console across major world markets every time you rolled out of bed, some of them carrying only minor changes, others boasting surprisingly varied quality in terms of visuals and sound output. One had the potential to output graphics so nice it's called the "high definition" model.

There's even a model whose sound was so bad compared to other versions it's been nicknamed "the stinker".

Note that what's being discussed here aren't the kind of major changes you saw in our Genesis gallery from last year, which covered significant redeisgns and re-releases of the console. No, what we're talking about here are different models of a console that, unless you knew where to look, would appear identical, even if they contained different hardware.

Sega fans or those interested in this kind of minutiae should definitely check it out. You'll hopefully learn something; I, for example, of course knew that the PAL Mega Drive resulted in slower visuals, but had no idea it also slowed down a game's sound as well.

GUIDE: A complete overview of the many Sega Genesis/MegaDrive models [Sega-16, via Insert Credit]

Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends. You'll find Total Recall stories every Tue-Fri between 1am -2am Eastern.
(Top image by leelearn)


    Why write an article about a link? An article about the different types of Mega Drive would have probably been a good read. But one all about a link to a forum about Mega Drives is not. Congrats for writing more than one paragraph though.

      waits for the now infamous luke supports who think shoddy journalism is good.

      I applaud you jack, this crap does need to be stamped out, maybe we should take a collection to send luke on a certificate II in media studies....

        I approve of Luke Plunkett, and I approve of this article.

        There ya go, didn't want to disappoint

          This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

      He wrote an introduction and gave a summary of the article, complete with points of interest for those that might not want to wade through all the technical stuff, and provided a link for those that do.

      How is this a bad article? Mark writes articles like these all the time..

      Lifehacker is 90% articles about links.

        Oh sorry. I didn't realise I had clicked a link to Kotaku. Carry on.

    "I, for example, of course knew that the PAL Mega Drive resulted in slower visuals, but had no idea it also slowed down a game’s sound as well."

    Well what did you think happened?

      If you played for more than four hours at a time you would notice the sound to go out of sync? :P

    What was funny is that the 1st gen Mega Drive carts wouldn't always fit into a Mega Drive 2.

      thats probably because you are attempting to put a jap cart in which dont fit otherwise all cartridges will fit.

        Nope, although the JAP cart casing was used in a few select cases for English releases.

    “I, for example, of course knew that the PAL Mega Drive resulted in slower visuals, but had no idea it also slowed down a game’s sound as well.”.......

    So thats why the snes looked better.

      SNES ran on PAL as well and generally had the same slowdown.

        I was being facetious.

      PAL slowdown has been a fixture of all console games in our region up until around the PS2 era where we started getting 60 Hz options.

    Same as the ps1. The SCPH-1001 for example with its RCA components make it comparable to even high end audio setups if used correctly.

    Slow news day again... Atleast they havent mentioned next gen :P


    God damn it Luke.

    You get me every fucking time.

    How is it you consistantly write amazing captivating titles, followed by absolutely useless articles.

    I usually read the first two lines and think "oh fuck. I'm reading a plunkett article."

    I for one had no idea there were any differences in the hardware variants. At the time I was a snot nosed kid who was only interested in eating pizza while beating my friends at Madden.

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