Master System

Master System

Master System

After testing the waters with a range of consoles, including the SG-1000 and the Sega Mark III, Sega decided to launch the Master System in order to compete with Nintendo's NES. The machine was indentical to the Japanese MkIII hardware (although it now included the FM sound module as standard).

The system failed to gain a foothold in both the US and Japan, but in Europe it was a massive success. Nintendo had failed to gain a significant share of the European gaming market and Sega therefore was in a prime position. Distributed by Mastertronic (which would later be purchased by Richard Branson and become Virgin Mastertronic), the SMS sold by the bucketload in key European territories like the UK.

A redesigned Master System II was launched after the Genesis/Mega Drive arrived on the scene and allowed the console to keep on selling in Europe, but by this point it had died completely in the US and Japan, with Sonic being the final US release for the system.

Sega took the Master System hardware and shrunk it down to produce the Game Gear portable console. Boasting a full colour screen, it was far superior to Nintendo's Gameboy in terms of raw power but sadly ate batteries like there was no tomorrow. The machine still sold in decent enough numbers and outlived the other great Gameboy rival of the time, the Atari Lynx.

The Master System was a stunning success in Brazil, where the machine was supported until the late '90s and saw some excellent conversions, including Street Fighter II.

Read our Master System hardware focus

Master System Games

Title Rating Publisher Players Genre US Date « Price
Alex Kidd in Shinobi World Alex Kidd in Shinobi World 6/10 SEGA 1 Action 01 Feb 10 500 points
Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap 8/10 SEGA 1 Adventure 09 Nov 09 500 points
R-Type R-Type 6/10 SEGA 1 Shooter 02 Nov 09 500 points
Phantasy Star Phantasy Star 8/10 SEGA 1 RPG 31 Aug 09 500 points
Secret Command Secret Command
aka Rambo: First Blood Part II
6/10 SEGA 2 Shooter 13 Jul 09 600 points
Fantasy Zone II Fantasy Zone II
aka Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa
8/10 SEGA 1 Shooter 29 Jun 09 500 points
Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars 3/10 SEGA 1 Action 09 Mar 09 500 points
Sonic Chaos Sonic Chaos 4/10 SEGA 1 Platformer 02 Feb 09 500 points
Wonder Boy in Monster Land Wonder Boy in Monster Land 8/10 SEGA 1 Adventure 26 Jan 09 500 points
Enduro Racer Enduro Racer 3/10 SEGA 1 Racing 15 Dec 08 500 points
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Sonic the Hedgehog 2 7/10 SEGA 1 Platformer 08 Dec 08 500 points
Space Harrier Space Harrier 6/10 SEGA 1 Shooter 03 Nov 08 500 points
Sonic the Hedgehog Sonic the Hedgehog 7/10 SEGA 1 Platformer 04 Aug 08 500 points
Alex Kidd in Miracle World Alex Kidd in Miracle World 7/10 SEGA 1 Action 23 Jun 08 500 points
Fantasy Zone Fantasy Zone 7/10 SEGA 1 Shooter 14 Apr 08 500 points
Wonder Boy Wonder Boy 7/10 SEGA 1 Action 31 Mar 08 500 points

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