Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sega Mega Drive Adaptor and the Ridiculousness of 80s Sega Stuff

I fished another thing out of the Omocha Souko junk bin the other day: the Sega Mega Drive Adaptor: AKA yet another peripheral to add on to my already monstrously bloated Mega Drive confabobulatorionation.That, my friend, be a whole lot of Mega Drive. And I ain`t even put the adaptor on it yet.

I think this latest acquisition of mine provides a rather decent (and, for only 300 yen, cheap) way of illustrating the complexity of playing games on Sega Consoles from the 1980s.

To begin with it perfectly illustrates Sega`s Mega Drive-era policy of making you buy what amounts to almost an entirely new console to attach to the Mega Drive every time they introduced some new feature. In the adaptor`s case that new feature was backwards compatability with the Mega Drive`s predecessor, the Sega Mark III (AKA the Master System).

Note the complexity. If I want to play a Mark III game, I have to take the 32X attachment off. If I want to play a 32X game I have to take the Adaptor off. If I`m feeling really frisky and just want to, you know, play a regular Mega Drive game, then I have to either take the adaptor off or leave the 32X on. Everybody got that? Good.

In addition to that, for me personally at least, it also illustrates Sega`s rather silly pre-Mega Drive policy of just making you buy new consoles all the time period, at least in Japan. First they released the SG 1000 (photo courtesy of Wikipedia because I don`t have one of these):
Then they released the SG-1000 II, which I do have and I do love it so:
Then (finally) came the Mark III:
I think all of these were released over the course of a long weekend in the summer of 1983, though I`ll have to double check that.

Anyway, since my SG 1000 II cannot play carts released for the Mark III, my acquisition of the adaptor means that I can finally play the one Mark III game that I possess, baseball:
After only about 3 hours of fumbling around, PRESTO! My Mega Drive was conveniently switched from ready-to-play-32X games mode to ready-to-play-Mark III games mode:
I have to admit that I really like this adaptor. I think it looks rather sleek:
I also like the fact that the Mark III carts stick WAY out of it. No wait, I hate that fact. It means that I have to take them out every time I want to put the thing back on its shelf because the whole contraption with the CD, Mega Drive, adaptor and Mark III cart is almost waist-high.

At least it looks neat though. Yet another piece of weird 80s video game history from Japan.


  1. "If I`m feeling really frisky and just want to, you know, play a regular Mega Drive game, then I have to take them both off."

    At least with my US 32X and Genesis Mk. II, this is not necessary. Regular Genesis games work while plugged in to the 32X, if all is hooked up correctly.

  2. Ah you are right! The Japanese 32X is like that too, I got a little confused as the adaptor is not like that (you have to take that out to play the Mega Drive games). I had better edit that sentence!

  3. Oh, does this bring back memories, Sean. I've always loved the Genesis/Mega Drive and the Mega/Sega CD attachment, but even I have to admit that Sega's penchant for add-ons and attachments at that point in their history was a bit ridiculous. That said, it's really too bad that you can't have all of them plugged in at the same time. I mean, wouldn't it be awesome to see a Mega Drive + Mega CD + 32X + Mega Adapter + cart? I'll bet the resulting monstrosity would be as tall as you are :)

  4. I always thought the Megadrive looked like it was on Steroids with its various added peripherals. However, the 'Mega Adaptor' looks aesthetically pleasing.

  5. I still have all my original Mega Drive/Genesis add-on. I remember even as a child thinking things had gotten out of hand when I was playing Sonic & Knuckles/ Sonic 3 while my Sega CD1 and Sega 32X were all plugged in.

  6. Bryan - Yes that would be awesome. Actually I wonder if it could be done, I didn`t even think to try putting the adaptor on top of the 32X, but it might work.....the only problem being that the ceiling in my living room isn`t high enough:)

    Mo - yes, it really is the console on steroids. The resemblence with Barry Bonds` head and neck circa 2007 is uncanny:)

    Andy - Cool! It really makes one wonder why nobody working at Sega noticed how far it had gotten out of hand;)

  7. confabobulatorionation- my new favourite word.

  8. Nice Sega Tower you've got there Sean! Glad to see your sole Mark III game works too - is it any good? I've actually got a Master System as well as a converter for my MD and both rule :)

  9. BRIK - thanks!

    Simon - The Mark III is quite good. At least the one baseball game I have for it is quite good, for a baseball game of that generation anyway. I actually just got the real deal a few days ago - an actual Sega Mark III console - so I won`t be needing to construct my Sega Tower just to play Mark III games anymore!

  10. Awesome! You should go back to that shop where they had Aleste for the Mark II to see if they still have it! :P

  11. I'd kill to buy a Mega Drive Adapter for 300 yen! I'm not really surprised at how retro gaming prices have risen over the last few years, but man does it make things hard at times. I just sold my Mark III (for space reasons) and I'm now looking to buy a Japanese Mega Drive (always wanted one) and the MD Adapter. Looks like I may be out close to $200 USD before its all said and done.

  12. Yeah, 300 yen was an amazing bargain for that, especially CIB. I think they usually go for about 10 times that much. I actually did the opposite of you - I sold this MD adaptor a couple of years ago after buying a Mark III (which I still own). Sadly both my Mega Drive and Mark III are in storage right now, I don't have space for more than 2 consoles at a time beneath our TV and right now it is the Famicom and N64 which occupy that space.

    It is indeed an expensive venture to put together a MD with all the bits and pieces, but well worth it. Its such an awesome console, definitely my favorite from that generation.