30 years ago today, Sega launched what would turn out to be its most successful piece of home gaming hardware, the Mega Drive (Genesis if you're in North America). It was pushed onto Japanese store shelves on October 29th, 1988, alongside Space Harrier II and Super Thunder Blade. The system got off to a slow start in its homeland - Super Mario Bros. 3 launching a week earlier certainly didn't help - and it was always in third place behind Nintendo's Famicom / NES (and later Super Famicom / SNES) and NEC's PC Engine family, but it would be the western release that really changed Sega's fortunes.
Armed with licenced titles and arcade ports - as well as a clever marketing campaign that highlighted the console's appeal to teens and young adults - Sega of America took a massive bite out of Nintendo's pie in the US, even going as far as to outsell its rival and become the dominant video game format - for a time, at least. In Europe, where Sega had traditionally been very successful, the Mega Drive was a resounding success, comfortably outselling the SNES.
Sega struggling to replicate the performance of the Mega Drive with its subsequent systems; the Saturn had the misfortune of launching at the same time as the Sony PlayStation, while the more popular Dreamcast was killed off by the hype for the PlayStation 2. It would prove to be Sega's final home console, but next year (which is the 30th anniversary of the US launch of the 16-bit system) the company will launch the Sega Mega Drive Mini, its own take on the 'Classic Edition' format laid down by Nintendo.
Share your Mega Drive (or Genesis!) memories below.