Sega CD \ Mega-CD
Type Console Add-On Developer Sega
Release Date 1991-Dec-12 Region(s) North America, Japan, Europe, Australia, Brazil
Initial Price $399 USD Games Released Approximately 150
     by Dark Watcher
In 1991 at the Tokyo Toy show in Japan, Sega unveiled its secret project to compete against NEC's PC Engine CD-ROM add on.
The Mega-CD like its rival was capable of utilizing the enormous storage capacity of CD media to produce quality games.  The Mega-CD however was designed with its own processor and memory that worked in conjunction with the Mega Drive's (Genesis) processor and memory via an interface port.
The unit was capable of adding 10 extra sound channels to the Mega Drive and provide sprite enhancement features such as scaling and rotation, similar to that of the Super NES's Mode 7.  Like other CD-based consoles, the Mega-CD could also run Audio CDs and CD+G (CD plus Graphics).  With the massive amount of storage space on CDs, game producers also saw the capability of using Full Motion Video (FMV) in their games.  Unfortunately, when shown on a 16-bit console, the graphics turned out very pixilated and grainy, but that didn't stop them making such games.
The Mega-CD was released in Japan in the winter of 1991 and competed well against NEC's add on.  In 1992 Sega began to lose its dominance in the United States due to the release of the Super NES.  Their CD add-on renamed Sega CD was released in October of that year to retake their sales position.  However, the initial price tag of $399 and the initial lack of quality titles kept the add-on from taking off.  In 1993 the Sega CD was redesigned with a top loading CD tray.  The redesign made the add-on cheaper and sleeker to connect to the remodeled Mega Drive II \ Genesis 2.  It was finally released in Europe in April and garnered a larger following.
The Sega CD was an innovative creation, but was not considered a total success.  A number of factors prevented the Sega CD from attaining a dominant position in the videogame market at the time.  The initial high price prevented the add-on from selling well.  Another contributor was the delay of third party software support.  This was because Sega was slow to distribute the development kits needed to create Sega CD games.  The result caused some rushed low quality games.  Other developers abused the add-on's ability to create FMV and games seemed more a cheap movie then an actual game.  Other games still were simple slightly enhanced versions of their existing Genesis \ Mega Drive carts.  Sega finally pulled the plug on the Sega CD in 1996.

FACT:  As a result of their involvement in protests about videogames and violence concerning the release of Night Trap, Sega was the first to develop video game ratings on their Sega CD titles.  Another interesting fact is that the Sega CD had another capability not exploited by more developers.  The console had limited 3D polygon capability.  The only Sega CD title that took advantage of this capability was Silpheed, released in 1993.

     Officially licensed releases
Sega CD (North America)
Sega Mega-CD (Japan \ Europe)
Sega CD 2 (North America)
Sega Mega-CD II (Japan \ Europe)

Additional Authorized Releases
TecToy was the authorized manufacturer\distributor of the Sega CD in Brazil.  TecToy also released a number of versions of the Sega Mega Drive system in Brazil and continues to peddle these systems on their website.

Sega CD technology was also included in a number of other systems, all combination-type units.  These include the JVC X'Eye, Victor Wondermega, Sega Multi-Mega \ CDX and the Pioneer LaserActive (with the PAC-S1 module).

The Aiwa Mega-CD (pictured below) is another one of these such machines.  The system consists of two parts - the top CD player and the bottom docking station that provided the Sega Mega Drive\CD interface\capabilities (except sound).  This rare bird was a Japanese exclusive and will lighten your pocketbook quite a bit (if you can find one).

     Non-licensed hardware releases
No clones were released for this system.
     Interesting facts on software for this system
Software for the Sega CD was initially distributed in large cardboard boxes which included the instruction manual and the game CD in a standard jewel case.  In 1993, Sega changed the default packaging to the oversized plastic casing that most gamers are familiar with.  This casing would also be utilized for Sega Saturn games.

The first production run of the Sega CD included a rather impressive assortment of pack-in titles which highlighted the technical capabilities of the system.  The included titles:

o Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective (FMV Interactive Adventure)
o Sol-Feace (2D horizontal shooter)
o Sega Classics 4-in1 CD (Shinobi, Streets of Rage, Columns and Golden Axe)
o Rock Paintings (CD+G affair that demonstrated graphical capabilities)
o Hot Hits: Adventurous New Music Sampler (Music sampler to showcase audio)

applemctom's Games that Defined Compiliation
An additional seven (7) titles were available at launch which included Sewer Shark, Night Trap, Marky Mark Make Your Own Video, INXS Make Your Own Video, Cobra Command, Chuck Rock and Black Hole Assault.  This lineup was less than stellar, but overall these selections did provide a nice variety to those looking to grab a game at launch.

Sega CD Launch Game Boxes

     Captured in-game images
Afterburner III
Afterburner III Screenshot
Android Assault
Android Assault Screenshot
Battlecorps Screenshot
Battletech: Grey Death Legion
Battletech: Grey Death Legion Screenshot
Burning Fists: Force Striker
Burning Fists: Force Striker Screenshot
Citizen X
Citizen X Screenshot
Dark Wizard
Dark Wizard Screenshot
Dune Screenshot
Earthworm Jim
Earthworm Jim Screenshot
Ecco the Dolphin: Tides of Time
Ecco the Dolphin: Tides of Time Screenshot
Final Fight CD
Final Fight CD Screenshot
Formula One Racing
Formula One Racing Screenshot
Hook Screenshot
Lords of Thunder
Lords of Thunder Screenshot
Lunar Silver Star
Lunar Silver Star Screenshot
Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat Screenshot
NBA Jam Screenshot
NHL 94
NHL 94 Screenshot
Night Trap
Night Trap Screenshot
Popful Mail
Popful Mail Screenshot
Shining Force CD
Shining Force CD Screenshot
Shining Force CD
Shining Force CD Screenshot
Slipheed Screenshot
Sol-Feace Screenshot
Sonic the Hedgehog CD
Sonic the Hedgehog CD Screenshot
Star Wars Rebel Assault
Star Wars Rebel Assault Screenshot
Tomcat Alley
Tomcat Alley Screenshot
Vay Screenshot
Wing Commander
Wing Commander Screenshot
World Cup USA 94
World Cup USA 94 Screenshot
     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
16-bit Motorola 68000 12.5 MHz None 768 KB Main RAM
Screen Resolution Color Palette Polygons \ Sprites Audio
320 x 224 512 (64 on screen) 80 sprites PCM Sound Stereo, 8 channels,
32 KHz maximum sampling, 8X
internal over-sampling digital filter
Media Format Media Capacity Games Released Other Supported Formats
CD-ROM (1x) 500 MB Approx. 150 Audio CD, CD+G
Internal Storage External \ Removable Storage Game Controllers Other Game \ Peripheral Devices
64 KB Internal Backup RAM CD Backup RAM Cart (optional) N\A Light Gun, CD Backup Ram Cart
Controller Ports Network Ports Other Ports Audio \ Video
N\A None None RCA Line Out for Stereo (Video runs through the attached Genesis\Mega Drive main system)
Power Supply - External Other Outputs  Other Details \ Notes
Input: 120V, 60Hz, 18W
Output: DC 9V, 1.2A, 600mA
None RAM and CPU processing power are added to the existing
output of the attached Genesis \ Mega Drive main console.
Sega CD (Model 1) Owners Manual (PDF) - 3.37 MB
Sega CD (Model 2) Owners Manual (PDF) - 1.95 MB

     Peripherals, Promotions, Commercials, Brochures, Etc.
Sega CD \ Mega-CD Television Advertisements

Sega CD Advertisements

     Visitor insights and feedback
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