SEGA Master System

SEGA Master System Emulators

About the SEGA Master System

The Sega Master System

The Sega Master System or also known as the Master System is the third generation console that was developed and manufactured by Sega. Originally being released back in 1985 as the Sega Mark III in Japan was later redesigned for the North American launch in 1986.

Both the newer older versions of the console could play the cartridges and also the credit card sized “Sega Cards”. These cards retailed at lower prices than cartridges but had a drawback of having less memory then a cartridge. The Sega cards were eventually dropped because their very small memory limit. (Only 256 Kbit)

The system had superior hardware when it was compared to NES containing twice as much memory. The CPU also ran at a much faster pace but this wasn’t enough to stop the NES and its strong franchise lines from outdoing them in sales.There was a few accessories developed for the system such as 3D glasses and a light gun both being designed to work with a range of specially developed games.

The console faced strong competition from Nintendo with the Sega Master System only selling about 10-13 million units over its life time which is far less than the NES that sold over 62 million.
The game library was criticised of being too small and needed to be more substantial. The Master System did feature the Sega’s flagship character at the time (The Alex Kidd franchise). Other games such as Street Fighter II and Dynamite Headdy were also released for the system.

SEGA Master System Emulators

KEGA Fusion is a SEGA Master System emulator that supports a whole host of extra functionality. It is considered one of the best SEGA Master System emulators available.

GearSystem is a highly accurate SEGA Master System Emulator. GearSystem manages to emulate even undocumented features of the Master System, making it highly compatible.

CrabEmu is one of the best SEGA Master System emulators available for Linux and macOS. It is used as the Master System emulator for the OpenEmu project.

Nemulator has a multi-system emulator that has support for the SEGA Master System. While primarily focused on Nintendo systems, Nemulator is also a fantastic Master System emulator.

SEGA Master System Specifications

CPU Specifications

  • Processor: Zilog Z80 (8-bit)
  • Processor Speed: 3.55 MHz (Pal/SECAM), 3.58 (NTSC)
  • Main RAM: 64 Kbits (8KB)

Audio Specifications

  • PSG:
    • Processor: Texas Instruments SN76489
    • Channels: 4 (mono)
    • Sound Generators: 3
    • Octaves per generator: 4
    • White noise generator: 1
  • FM:
    • Processor: Yamaha YM-2413
    • Channels: 9 (mono)

Video Specifications

  • Processor: Video Display Processor (VDP) derived from Texas Instruments TMS9918
  • Video RAM (VRAM): 128 Kbits (16KB)
  • Available Colors: 64
  • Max colors on screen: 32 (16 for sprites, 16 for background)
  • Resolution: 256 x 192 and 256 x 224, PAL/SECAM also supports 256×240
  • Sprite size: 8×8 or 8×16
  • Character size: 8×8 pixels (Max 488 due to VRAM limitation)
  • Background support: Horizontal, diagonal, vertical and partial screen scrolling
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