Sega CD

Video game console add-on / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Sega CD, released as the Mega-CD[lower-alpha 1] in most regions outside North America and Brazil, is a CD-ROM accessory for the Sega Genesis developed and produced by Sega as part of the fourth generation of video game consoles. It was released on December 12, 1991, in Japan, October 15, 1992, in North America, and April 2, 1993, in Europe. The Sega CD plays CD games and adds hardware functionality such as a faster CPU and graphic enhancements such as sprite scaling and rotation. It can also play audio CDs and CD+G discs.

Quick facts: Also known as, Developer, Manufacturer, Type,...
Sega CD / Mega-CD
North American logo Japanese logo
Original North American Sega CD and a model 1 Sega Genesis
North American model 2 Sega CD and a model 2 Sega Genesis
Top: Original Sega CD (bottom) attached to a Model 1 Genesis.
Bottom: Model 2 Sega CD (on right) attached to a Model 2 Genesis.
Also known asMega-CD (most regions outside North America and Brazil)
TypeVideo game console add-on
Release date
  • JP: December 12, 1991
  • NA: October 15, 1992
  • AU: March 1993
  • UK: April 2, 1993
  • EU: April 1993
  • BR: October 1993
Introductory price
DiscontinuedJanuary 1, 1996
Units sold2.24 million
CPUMotorola 68000 @ 12.5 MHz
Storage6 Mbit RAM (programs, pictures, and sounds), 128 Kbit RAM (CD-ROM cache), 64 kbit RAM (backup memory)
Graphicscustom ASIC
SoundRicoh RF5C164
Best-selling gameSonic CD, 1.5 million[1]

Sega sought to match the capabilities of the competing PC Engine CD-ROM² System, and added an additional CPU and custom graphics chip. They partnered with JVC to design the Sega CD. Fearful of leaks, Sega refused to consult with Sega of America until the project was complete; Sega of America assembled parts from dummy units to obtain a functioning unit. The Sega CD was redesigned several times by Sega and licensed third parties.

The main benefit of CD technology at the time was greater storage; CDs offered more than 320 times more space than Genesis cartridges. This benefit manifested as full-motion video (FMV) games such as the controversial Night Trap, which became a focus of the 1993 congressional hearings on issues of video game violence and ratings.

The Sega CD game library[2] features acclaimed games such as Sonic CD, Lunar: The Silver Star, Lunar: Eternal Blue, Popful Mail, and Snatcher, but also many Genesis ports and poorly received FMV games. Only 2.24 million Sega CD units were sold, after which Sega discontinued it to focus on the Sega Saturn. Retrospective reception has been mixed, with praise for some games and functions, but criticism for its lack of deep games and its high price. Sega's poor support for the Sega CD has been criticized as the beginning of the devaluation of its brand.