The Sega Mega Drive, known as the Genesis in North America, was a 16-bihome video game console developed by Sega. The Mega Drive was Sega’s successor to the Master System. Released in 1988 in Japan, and in 1989 in North America, followed by a European release in 1990.

The main microprocessor was a 16/32-bit Motorola 68000 CPU clocked at 7.6 MHz. An 8-bit Zilog Z80 processor controls the sound hardware and provides backward compatibility with the Master System. The Genesis has 64 kB of RAM, 64 kB of video RAM and 8 kB of audio RAM.

It could display up to 61 colours at once from a palette of 512. Games were released on ROM cartridge format, with the typical size being 8 Mbit, with larger games moving beyond 16 Mbit, such as Super Street Fighter 2 which was the largest release, at 40 Mbit.

As with the SNES, the Mega Drive could display several video modes, but the most commonly used was the 320×240 pixel mode (320×224 NTSC)

The Mega Drive colour palette

5 of the Best Mega Drive Games Ever

5 of the Best Mega Drive games ever made! These are not listed in order of preference, all 5 games are fantastic.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Not the best of the Sonic series, but THE biggest release, ground breaking at the time and really showed off what the Mega Drive could do – shift lots of sprites around the screen, and scroll really fast!

Streets of Rage

Co-op scrolling beat ’em up, which looked like an arcade game and was great fun to play. I spent many enjoyable hours playing this and its bigger and badder sequel.


A wonderful platform adventure, with incredible rotoscoped player animation (a technique where you film an actor performing the moves and draw the sprites over the real footage). A wonderful story, beautiful visuals and so much fun to play, Flashback feels like you are playing a movie!

Thunder Force IV

Horizonal scrolling shooter that pushed the Mega Drive to the limit. Boasting amazing visuals, over-the-top weaponry and a stunning soundtrack.

Phantasy Star IV

It wasn’t just Nintendo who could create great RPG experiences. Phantasy Star IV was deep, beautiful to look at, and incredibly rewarding to play.

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