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Platform - GEN.png
Released: 1988-10-29
Discontinued: 1997-??-??
Developer: Sega
Type: Hardware

The Genesis is a fourth-generation video game console system developed and produced by Sega. It was first released in Japan in 1988, then in North America in 1989. The system is referred to as the Mega Drive (セガメガドライブ Sega Mega Doraibu) in most regions. Two add-ons were released for the Genesis; the 32X and the Sega CD. Unfortunately, both add-ons were designed very poorly, as each one required their own power supply and video cord, and both ended up flopping in the video game market. There are even a few games which utilize both the 32X and the Sega CD.

The Genesis used what Sega advertised as "blast processing". The Genesis actually used two different processors; a Zilog Z80, as well as a Motorola 68000. With the latter, many English developers who worked on platforms such as the Amiga and Atari ST were able to port games over to the system more easily.

The Genesis received another addon called the Power Base Converter which allowed Sega Master System games to be played on the Genesis. There was also the Sega Nomad, which allowed Genesis games to be played on the go. In addition, the Genesis received three different models.

The Sega Genesis was interesting regarding region locking, as the cartridges themselves were interchangeable with each region, but each individual game was actually programmed to either work or not work on different-region consoles than the ones they were released for.

This system was very popular in Brazil, other Latin American countries and saw a definite recognition in Russia.

Mega Drive.jpg



Music and Sound

The Sega Genesis uses the YM2612 as well as the SN76496 from the Sega Master System. The YM2612 contains 6 FM channels, the 6th of which can be exchanged for a DAC channel for digitized sound, which was mostly used for percussion samples. The SN76496 contains three square wave channels as well as a noise channel which could alternate between white and periodic noise. In total, the Sega Genesis contains 10 channels which was 2 more than the SNES's S-SMP. However, the SNES had the luxury of higher-fidelity instrument samples while the Genesis relied on FM synthesis.


Sound drivers could be programmed in assembly for either the Zilog Z80 (similar to the Master System), Motorola 68000 (similar to the Amiga) or sometimes both.

Most American and European game developers would use the software GEMS to develop music for their Sega Genesis/Mega Drive games, while in Japan, some would use any of Sega's four generations of the SMPS sound driver, which were written in assembly on a PC-9801 computer. However, many games in all regions had their own sound engines. To further complicate things, these drivers used by third-party developers would be extensively modified to suit their needs.

"Native" rip formats are very uncommon and most likely are applied only to specific drivers. The prevailing majority of the music is logged to VGM instead.