Sega Master System

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JP 1989
NA 1992[4]
EU 1996
BR 1998

The Master System (マスターシステム Masutā Shisutemu?) (abbreviated to SMS) is a third-generation 8-bit cartridge-based video game console that was manufactured and released by Sega in 1986 in North America, seven months after the original NES,[13] and in 1987 in Europe. Its original Japanese incarnation was the "Sega Mark III", which was first released in 1985.

When the system was later released in North America it was sold in two incarnations: a bare-bones console with one controller bundle called the Sega Base System and a bundle with two controllers and a light gun entitled the Sega Master System. It was this latter configuration that became the more popular and better known of the two, and the system almost immediately became synonymous with this bundle. The system itself appears to have originally been intended to have been referred to as the "Sega Power Base" in English-speaking markets, and the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive adapter that lets Master System games be played on that console was later referred to as the "Power Base Converter".

In the European, Oceanic, and Brazilian markets, this console launched Sega onto a competitive level comparable to Nintendo, due to its wider availability, but it failed to put a dent in the North American and Japanese markets. The Master System was released as a direct competitor to the Nintendo Entertainment System in the third videogame generation. Despite its shaky performance in the major territories, it enjoyed over a decade of life in smaller markets.[14] The later Sega Game Gear is effectively a hand-held Master System, with a few enhancements,[14] although it required an adapter to play actual Master System cartridges.[14]

In 2009, the Master System was named the 20th best video game console of all time (out of 25) by the video gaming website IGN.[15]


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