Sega Master System


The Sega Master System was released in the US in 1986 as a competitor to the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

The Master System was technically superior to the NES, but failed to overturn Nintendo’s significant market share advantage in Japan and North America. Due to Nintendo’s licensing practices with third-party developers, the Master System’s game library lacked a number of quality titles.

Final sales estimates show the Master System sold 13 million units in its lifetime, compared to the 62 million NES units.

Games for the Master System came in two formats: ROM cartridges were capable of holding up to 1048 kbit of game code, while Sega Cards could hold up to 256 kbit. Cards were cheaper to manufacture than the cartridges, but Sega Cards were eventually dropped due to their lack of memory.