Sega Master System

The Sega Master System (マスターシステム Masutā Shisutemu, abbreviated to SMS or Master System) is a third-generation 8-bit cartridge-based video game console that was manufactured and released by Sega in 1986 in North America, seven months after the original NES, and in 1987 in Europe. Its original Japanese incarnation was the "Sega Mark III", which was first released in 1985.

Sega Master System
Sega Mark III.png Japanese Sega Mark III
SMS-Console.png North American Sega Master System
Master System II.png PAL Master System II
Manufacturer Sega
Type Video game console
Generation Third generation
Retail availability JP October 20, 1985 (Mark III)
NA June 1986
EU September 1987
JP October 18, 1987 (Master System)
SA September 4, 1989
Discontinued JP 1989
NA 1991
EU/CA 1996
Units sold 10-14.8 million
Media ROM cartridge
CPU 3.58MHz Zilog Z80 8-bit processor
Controller input SMS controllers, Sega Light Phaser
Best-selling game Alex Kidd in Miracle World JP November 1, 1986
Predecessor SG-1000 (Wikipedia)
Successor Sega Mega Drive/Genesis

When the system was later released in North America it was sold in two incarnations: a bare-bones console with one controller bundle called the Sega Base System and a bundle with two controllers and a light gun entitled the Sega Master System. It was this latter configuration that became the more popular and better known of the two, and the system almost immediately became synonymous with this bundle. The system itself appears to have originally been intended to have been referred to as the "Sega Power Base" in English-speaking markets, and the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive adapter that lets Master System games be played on that console was later referred to as the "Power Base Converter".

In the European, Oceanic, and Brazilian markets, this console launched Sega onto a competitive level comparable to Nintendo, due to its wider availability, but it failed to put a dent in the North American and Japanese markets. The Master System was released as a direct competitor to the Nintendo Entertainment System in the third videogame generation. Despite its shaky performance in the major territories, it enjoyed over a decade of life in smaller markets. The later Sega Game Gear is effectively a hand-held Master System, with a few enhancements, although it required an adapter to play actual Master System cartridges.

Sega Master System Global Problems


There are no known global problems with Sega Master System titles on Dolphin.

Virtual Console Compatibility List (Sega Master System)

Help complete the list!

  • Click the icon   to the right of the rating stars and put just a number 1 through 5 into the page. Use the compatibility guide below as a reference of what rating to use.
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Compatibility Description
  Perfect: No issues at all!
  Playable: Runs well, only minor graphical or audio glitches. Games can be played all the way through
  Starts: Starts, maybe even plays well, but crashes or major graphical/audio glitches
  Intro/Menu: Hangs/crashes somewhere between booting and starting
  Broken: Crashes when booting
  Unknown: Has not been tested yet
Region indicator Region description
AU Australia
CA Canada (NTSC /w French translation)
EU Europe, PAL/SECAM territories
JP Japan and Asia (NTSC-J)
KO Korea
NA North America and NTSC territories
RU Russia
Title Year Region Compatibility
Alex Kidd in Miracle World 2008 JP/NA/EU 5  
Alex Kidd in Shinobi World 2010 NA/EU 5  
Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars 2009 JP/NA/EU 4  
Enduro Racer 2008 JP/NA/EU 5  
Fantasy Zone 2008 JP/NA/EU 5  
Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa 2009 JP/NA/EU 5  
Hokuto no Ken 2008 JP 4  
Phantasy Star 2009 JP/NA/EU 5  
R-Type 2009 JP/NA/EU 5  
Rambo: First Blood Part II aka Secret Command aka Ashura 2009 JP/NA/EU 5  
Sonic the Hedgehog 2008 JP/NA/EU 5  
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 2008 JP/NA/EU 5  
Sonic the Hedgehog Chaos aka Sonic & Tails 2009 JP/NA/EU 5  
Space Harrier 2008 JP/NA/EU 5  
Wonder Boy 2008 JP/NA/EU 5  
Wonder Boy in Monster Land 2009 JP/NA/EU 5  
Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap 2009 NA/EU 5  

See also