Sega Genesis System
After three years of struggling to compete with the Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega decided to change direction. Engineers incorporated elements from Sega’s 16-bit arcade technology into a home console. In August 1989, the Sega Genesis was released onto American store shelves.
The Genesis (called the Megadrive in Japan) originally retailed for $199. It featured the same 16-bit Motorolla 68000 processor that had powered the original Apple Macintosh computer. With such a powerful engine, it was capable of producing high quality reproductions of popular Sega arcade titles. The pack-in game was a home version of Sega’s coin-operated hit, Altered Beast. Only a single game controller was released with the Genesis platform. Additional controllers retailed for $20.
The first peripheral that Sega released was the Power Base Converter. It was a module that allowed the Genesis to play Sega Master System cartridges. Its availability was important to owners of the SMS because they were reluctant to invest in a new system that would make their entire software library obsolete. Compatibility has proven to be an important feature for any next generation system.