Sega 32X \ Super 32X
Type Console Add-On Developer Sega
Release Date 1994-Nov-21 Region(s) North America, Japan, Europe, Brazil
Initial Price $159 USD Games Released 39
     by Dark Watcher
It was the winter of 1994, and new more powerful consoles were entering the videogame market.  Gamers were enjoying new 3D arcade games, and the 16-bit Genesis / Mega Drive seemed to be feeling its age.  It was January 8th 1994 when Sega CEO Hayao Nakayama directed his company to produce a 32-bit cartridge-based console to be in stores by Christmas 1994.  The project, dubbed Jupiter, was given to 'Sega of America' while their Japan sector worked on a CD-Based console.  Not happy with the idea of developing a simple console that had a 32-bit processor and more colors, Joe Miller of Sega of America chose to make the project an add on for the Genesis / Mega Drive.  Sega of America began development on the add on called project Mars without any knowledge of the 32-bit CD console being developed by their Japanese counterparts.
Sega began their marketing campaign for project Mars and called the device Sega 32X to emphasis its 32-bit capabilities.  The device, which connected through the Genesis / Mega Drive cartridge port, combined its 32-bit processor with the consoles existing processor.  Gamers could play 32-bit cartridge games, use the 32X slot as a pass through to play Genesis / Mega Drive games and even play enhanced 32-bit CD games if the Sega CD was attached.  The 32X was released in mid-November 1994 in America for the US.  Japan got the console in December (Super 32X) and Europe and Australia received it in January 1995 (Mega 32X).  With the added power, Sega was able to port their 3D arcade titles for console users and other third party developers began jumping aboard.
Sega 32X with Box
All was not good with planet Mars.  The 32X was off to a bad start from the beginning.  The 32X was launched with no games initially available.  Although it was marketed at a decent price it was not packaged with a pack in game, but came with 10 coupons toward the purchase of 32X software (coupons....meh!).  Retailers submitted a demand for over 1 million units, but only half of the amount was made available.  In there efforts to meet demand, Sega produced 32X units with various defects.  Customers reported incompatibilities with their Genesis / Mega Drive models or TVs.  Once again Sega began to scramble to create adapters to alleviate the compatibility problems.  They also began to develop an all in one unit combining both the Genesis / Mega Drive and the 32X and dubbed it project 'Neptune'.
By 1995 news of a 32-bit CD-based Sega Saturn began stirring from Japan.  Developers lost interest in 32X and abandoned development for 32X carts for a more favorable 32-bit CD format.  Gamers also caught wind of the news and quickly began losing interest in the Sega 32X.

By 1996 the 32X saw a total of 31 cart based games and five 32X enhanced Sega CD games.  Most of the games were developed by Sega themselves or were color enhanced versions of existing Genesis titles.  Sega ceased all support for 32X that year in order to focus on the Sega Saturn.  It would seem that the 32X was merely meant to fill the time gap for its CD based counterpart. 32X would also be Sega's final attempt at add on enhancing devices.

The 32X appeared to be the downturn of Sega.  The lack of developer support, device incompatibilities and defects, and the sheer abandonment of support for 32X owners was enough to damage Sega's reputation.  This mistake could possibly have contributed to problems in Sega's later years.
A year prior, Sega fell into issues with congress over a game called "Night Trap".  The game that stirred up the hornets nest over videogame violence was pulled off retail shelves.  This prompted much curiosity and interest in gamers that never got the opportunity to play it.  Sega wisely seized an opportunity to cash in by releasing a 32X enhanced version of Night Trap.  A major cash in on an otherwise mediocre game.

     Officially licensed releases
Sega 32X
North America Release
Sega 32X - North America Release
Sega Super 32X
Japanese Release
Sega Super 32X
Sega Mega Drive 32X
European Release
Sega Mega Drive 32X
Tectoy Mega 32X
Brazillian Release

Mega Drive 32X Technical Pictures
Sega Medga Dive 32X - Top Sega Medga Dive 32X - Box Sega Medga Dive 32X - Bottom
Sega Medga Dive 32X - Front Sega Medga Dive 32X - Side Sega Medga Dive 32X - Back
Courtesy of Charles Lee
     Non-licensed hardware releases
No clones were released for this system.
     by Marriott_Guy
Consoles are rated based upon the available technology at the time of its release.  A 10 point scale is utilized, with 10 being excellent.

Console Design 02 The 32X is one poorly designed peripheral.  The units plugs into the cartridge slot of the Sega Genesis (which is fine), but it requires up to 4 different wires to get this thing even operational.  Overall I don't mind the mushroom design, but all of the wires and the additional power supply kill this add-on for me.
Console Durability 09 With nary a moving part, the 32X is extremely durable.  Just make sure you don't lose the various cables required for connection to the Sega Genesis.
Controllers N\A No special controllers were designed for this add-on.  It uses the standard Genesis control pad.
Graphics 05 A few stand-out games, like Virtua Racing, truly demonstrated the power of the 32X.  Unfortunately, most games were simply high-color versions of existing games within the Sega Genesis library.
Audio 06 The 32X added two additional channels to compliment the Sega Genesis, but in all honesty it is very hard to differentiate the minute differences.
Media 03 By the time of its release in 1994, CD-ROM technology was already being fully utilized for various media.  Though the 32X cartridges allowed for up to 240 MB of programming data, this paled in comparison to the standard CD (640 MB at that time).  The 32X did release 5 CD games, but the Sega CD add-on is required for play.
Gamer Value 02 Outside of a very few titles, the small games library of the 32X offers very little for the gamer.  The good thing is that most titles are relatively inexpensive and easily obtainable.
Collector Value 03 Though it had a very short life span, the Sega 32X is readily available and cheap to acquire (even CIB).  With its small library and limited innovations, the 32X is basically a non-priority for most console collectors.

     Interesting facts on software for this system
Software for the Sega 32X was primarily distributed in the ROM cartridge format, with a small number of titles released on CD.

The cartridges are the same exact size as those utilized with the Sega Genesis.  This was necessary since the 32X acted as a pass-through for existing games within the Genesis library.  Most titles were distributed in tall, cardboard that were prone to being crushed.  The 32X logo is vertically displayed on the front cover.

There were only five (5) 32X CD games that were released in North America, with a sixth title being an exclusive to the Brazil market (Surgical Strike).  These are identified accordingly on the front of the box (Sega CD 32X).  As the name implies, these games require the optional Sega CD in addition to the 32X for game play.  These CD titles are pretty much FMV affairs that were popular in the early 1990s.

applemctom's Games that Defined Compiliation
One of the best Sega 32X games is Blackthorne, an upgraded version of the classic platformer previously released for the PC and Super Nintendo.

Sega 32X Game Boxes

     Captured in-game images
After Burner
Corpse Killer
Golf Magazine's 36 Greatest Holes
Knuckles Chaotix
Mortal Kombat 2
Motocross Championship
NBA Jam Tournament Edition
NFL Quarterback Club
Pitfall - The Mayan Adventure
Primal Rage
Spiderman: Web of Fire
Star Wars Arcade
Virtua Fighter
Virtua Racing Deluxe
World Series Baseball
WWF Wrestle Mania
Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000

     First and third party system emulators

This is an amazing emulator for Windows. It requires Direct X 8.0.
There are other emulators available, but this one is one of our favorites.
     For the hardware enthusiasts out there - all the detail you\we love.
Processor Type  Processor Speed  Other Processor Information RAM \ Video RAM
Twin Hitachi (SH2) 32-bit RISC processors 23 MHz at 20 MIPS (in addition to the Genesis \ Mega Drive CPU) Genesis 68000, Z80, Genesis 32X VDP 512 KB (in addition to the Genesis \ Mega Drive RAM)
Screen Resolution Color Palette Polygons \ Sprites Audio
320 x 224 32,768 50K texture-mapped polygons\sec Stereo PWM chip (two channel) (combines with the existing 10)
Media Format Media Capacity Games Released Other Supported Formats
Cartridge \ CD *
(* if CD add-on is present)
32 MB \ 240 MB 39 None
Internal Storage External \ Removable Storage Game Controllers Other Game \ Peripheral Devices
3 KB (BIOS) None Not Applicable None
Controller Ports Network Ports Other Ports Audio \ Video
Not Applicable None None Composite (9-pin DIN connector)
Power Supply - External Other Outputs  Other Details \ Notes
Input: AC 120V, 60 Hz
Output: DC 10V
None Compatible with the Sega Genesis \ Mega Drive Model 1\2, JVC X'Eye, Victor Wondermega, Sega Multi-Mega, Sega CDX. This add-on is not compatible with the Majesco Genesis or the Sega Mega Jet.
Sega 32X Owners Manual (PDF) - 0.94 MB
Sega MegaDrive 32X Owners Manual (PDF) - 2.42 MB

     Peripherals, Promotions, Commercials, Brochures, Etc.
Sega 32X Commercial & Tech Demostration

Sega 32X Advertisements


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