SegaDoes Podcast Episode 11: The Mark III / Master System


I’m currently in the throes of moving across many states, but my love for you, dear readers/listeners, knows no bounds.


Hence Episode 11 of the SegaDoes podcast: thirty-three minutes of unadulterated banter between two guys yearning for simpler times.


Listen/Download it here. Yearn with us, then once you’ve been properly nostalgia-fied, come back and leave some comments.



9 thoughts on “SegaDoes Podcast Episode 11: The Mark III / Master System

  1. I’m just gonna say that Dylan was probrably too young to remember SMS in the stores. It’s kind of peaked in presence in 1986-88. If your first memories of Toys R US was seeing the Genesis, then it was too late. When the Genesis came out the SMS in stores disappeared. Maybe you saw a game or too in a lonely corner. I saw zero marketing for the SMS post Genesis. It’s why I never played so many post Genesis launch SMS games. They essential disappeared from retail in 89 most places. But in 86 in 87 you would see SMS and NES demo stations side by side. I mentioned Macys because they seemed to really market the SMS over the NES with prominent store displays and glass cases filled with SMS games and peripherals in their electronics dept. (I don’t think they have had an electronics dept in decades.) Toys R Us really had balanced coverage. With the World of Nintendo section with demo kiosk and games on one side and the Sega now your playing with power section on the other. It really was a fight for gamers in the first two years. But after Nintendo became the dominant player all SMS space continued to get smaller till it was non existent.

    You could also say every system was casual games up till his point. The Atari and even early Nintendo games all played like simple arcade experiences. I think third party games on the NES lead the way more with adapting games to a console environment initially. Look at ports of Rygar and Double Dragon. The first NES Nintendo games were also simple affairs. Wasn’t really till Metroid and Zelda Nintendo offered a different style of experience. Even Sega started on that trend later in the SMS life by making more console only experience type of games like Phantasy Star, Y’s, and Miracle Warriors. (Sega was actually the first console maker to bring RPGs out in the US.) you will see later on with the Genesis Sega actually did adopt this model for a lot more games than just Toe Jam and Earl. Adding RPG elements to Super Hang On, Full season modes in Super Monaco GP, while still making arcade type games.

    Anyway I was a big fan of arcade style games. It would irritate me to no end when NES ports of arcade games where significantly different. Like I hated Double Dragon. It was nothing like the arcade. (The SMS port was a lot closer but it had its own issues.) Why did I have to earn moves in the game! Etc. Years later I would come to understand this trend of making home games a little more meaty than their arcade counterparts. For instance, I think I appreciate NES Rygar a lot more now as something that holds up, (While Mark III Rygar is just an arcade port.) but at the time I wanted arcade ports.

    Oh also I think the SMS had something like 10 percent market share at one point to Nintendos 90. (Some figure say 8 later on.) it was a small slice but it kept Sega in business. At least long enough to strongly market the Genesis later. I knew maybe 3 or 4 people with a SMS, but everyone had a NES, the strangle hold they had on the market was just unreal. Also the sound upgrade was the FM sound add in that upgraded the Mark III to use FM sound synthesis. The Master Sytem released in Japan had this built in I believe. We never got it in the US. Although oddly enough, some later US only released games had FM sound tracks programmed on board even though they were never released in Japan. (The Mark III died a quick death in Japan in 88 when the Mega Drive was released seeing many games planned for release never see the light of day except in the US. Wonder Boy 3 even had Japanese title screens when played on a Japanese system titling it Monster World 2 even though it was never released there.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • The SMS did not disappear from stores when the Genesis came out. There was the SMS2 and a final try by Sega to market the thing one last time. I remember the Gamepro ads for some of the last Master System games and they were well after the Genesis was released. Stuff like Altered Beast, Ghouls and Ghosts, Golden Axe, and ESWAT were all ported to the system. The SMS2 was still being sold at Toys R Us after the Genny was released.


      • I guess disappear is a strong word. I remember reading about the SMS 2. And those later ports in game mags. But most stores stopped carrying Master system stuff and I saw zero marketing. And stuff I did see was a few games tucked in a corner. I never actually saw most of those games in any store. And the stuff that was there didn’t last long. Obviously they all got US releases. But it was pretty dead in the water. Even in console wars they talk about Sega USA shifting all their focus to the Genesis. And pretty much dropping most Master System support. I believe most of those post Genesis SMS games are pretty rare. Especially once the GG was released. Like one of the most rare SMS games is the US release of Sonic. It wasn’t like the NES when the SNES came out that continued to be marketed strongly and had a long tail in the US. The SMS only continued to thrive in Europe and Brazil. Is why there is a huge library of European games that never saw the light of day here.


  2. Growing up in a small Midwestern town in the 90’s, you either had a Super Nintendo or a Genesis, or if your parents didn’t upgrade you had an NES. Or if you were really poor you had those cheap handheld LCD games made by Tiger Electronics. Uck, such bad memories of trying to play LCD Sonic 2 because it was the only video game I got for Christmas that year.
    I have no idea if we ever even got a master system there, at least I don’t ever remember anybody having one or ever seeing it in stores.
    One small point of interest: When I was deployed to UAE I remember seeing Master Systems in stores there, selling right next to the X-boxes and Playstations. I’d say maybe they were used ones (as opposed to new bootleg versions maybe?) but then people still bought cassette tapes brand new there as well, so I have no idea. It’d be interesting to read about the history of consoles in the Middle East, if anybody has any info.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve never thought about consoles in the Middle East because (and this is horrible stereotyping, I’m sorry), I just assume people there don’t have time for “trivialities” like gaming, what with seemingly constant warfare. Obviously this isn’t the case, gaming exists everywhere in some form. I would love to read a history of consoles in the Middle East.


    • If you ever want to see a perspective of gamng in the Middle East, there is a guy on twitter I follow in Saudi Arabia who has extensive knowledge, @BadoorSNK I believe. He just posted about a big E3 like gamer show they had there, Sony, Microsft and all the big players. Interesting enough it was male only. The female show is next month. Saudi Gamers Day. Why, because Saudi Arabia. Anyway if anyone knew the history of consoles there it would be that guy. Big Sega fan too. Actually I wouldn’t be surprised if he reads this blog. He also has a blog 100 days of Megashock writing chronological about every Neo Geo game.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sam and Dylan,
    just started listening my way through this enormous journey. I am so grateful you’ve taken this mantle of Sega Sorcerer and Side-Arm. All the games that Sega put out are of large interest to me. I became a Sega gamer because of their outstanding arcade presence (Outrun and Space Harrier, later others). There was just a tangible quality to Sega games. Then I discovered the Master System in 1987. I took an entire weeks pay with me to an electronics store and got the Master System with the Light Phaser and two games (pretty sure it was Outrun and Space Harrier). After years (decades worth) of wondering how cool the SG-1000 was your podcast comes along and illuminates it fully. Sounds like a while before we get to my favorites in the Genesis library, but I am really enjoying all the reviews, stories, and memories. I hope there is room in the cartridge slot for a few more fans of the show. I hope to send my thoughts in on a few of the games I remember well enough.

    Take care and thanks for being excellent hosts and creators!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Sam! Thanks so much for the kind words and for accompanying us on our journey. We always love hearing people’s Sega stories, so absolutely feel free to chime in on any game you have fond or not-so-fond memories of. Cheers!


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