Sega Master System

Published: September 27, 2021
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The Sega Master System (1986 - 2000), is an 8-bit cartridge-based video game console that was manufactured by Sega. Its original Japanese incarnation was the SG-1000 Mark III. In the European market, this console launched Sega onto a competitive level comparable to Nintendo, due to its wider availability, but failed to put a dent in the North American and Japanese markets. The Sega Master System was released as a direct competitor to the Nintendo NES. Despite its shaky performance in the major territories, it has enjoyed over a decade of life in smaller markets, especially Brazil.

sega master system

The later Sega Game Gear is effectively a hand-held Master System, with a few enhancements.

SG-1000 Mark III

The SG-1000 Mark III was released in Japan on October 20, 1985 to compete with the Famicom, following on from the SG-1000 Mark I and SG-1000 Mark II. The Mark III was built similarly to the Mark II, with the addition of improved video hardware and an increased amount of RAM.

The system is backwards compatible with earlier SG-1000 titles. As well as the standard cartridge slot, it has a built-in slot for "Sega Cards", which are physically identical to the cards for the Sega SG-1000 "Card Catcher" add-on.

Though the Master System was a more technically advanced piece of hardware than the NES, it did not attain the same level of popularity among consumers in the United States. Its lack of success in the U.S. has been attributed to various causes, among them the difference in game titles available for each platform and the slightly later release date of the Master System. The licensing agreement that Nintendo had with its third-party game developers had a profound impact. The agreement stated, in effect, that developers would exclusively produce games for the NES. The Master System sold 125,000 consoles in the first four months. In the same period, the NES sold 2,000,000.

Sega Master System II

In 1990, Sega was having success with its Sega Genesis and as a result took back the rights from Tonka for the SMS. It designed the Sega Master System II, a low-cost Master System that lacked the reset button and card slot of the original. In an effort to counter Nintendo's Super Mario Brothers, the new system included Alex Kidd in Miracle World playable without any cartridges. Sega marketed the Master System II heavily; nevertheless, the unit sold poorly in North America. By 1992, the Master System's sales were virtually nonexistent in North America and eventually ceased.

The last commercial licensed release in North America was Sonic the Hedgehog, released by Sega on October 25, 1991


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Sega Master System value and price guide

What's your Sega Master System worth in 2022? Here are some recently sold items with prices.

Item Title Date Price
Sega Pack sega master system Pack Sega Master System Asterix Great 11/2021 $1502
Sega Competition Pro Professional Competition Pro Professional Control Pad 10/2021 $51
Sega Sega Master System Mega Drive Sega Master System Mega Drive Plus Games 11/2021 $720
Sega Sega Master System Power Base Sega Master System Power Base Console 12/2021 $495
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices01/2022-.--

Master System forum

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