• 8-Bit Cartridge Video Game Console System From Sega• Large Library of Games Available
The SEGA Master System is the videogame console that almost could. Despite its technical superiority to the dominant NES, the machine lacked just one critical thing: Mario. Without this icon and the emergence of Sonic the Hedgehog still five years on the horizon, the Master System ran a far distant second to the NES during the 8-bit generation -- the phoenix-like resurrection of videogames following the Atari 2600-lead industry crash. The Master System was essentially a conduit for SEGA to get its arcade hits into the home. Even though the Master System did not have the horsepower to completely replicate the experience of SEGA's enviable stable of arcade smashes like OutRun and Space Harrier, there was no other place to play these games outside of an arcade. But SEGA also released plenty of great, original games for the console over its lifespan, including Alex Kidd in Miracle World and one of the greatest role-playing games of all-time, Phantasy Star. However, thanks to Nintendo's iron-grip agreements, few third-party publishers ever supported the machine and software came out at a very frustrating pace. Months could go by between major releases and that made a dud on the Master System feel even more painful. One of the Master System's quirkiest (and coolest) features, though, was the 3D Glasses peripheral. The thick, wraparound shades may have looked a little clunky from the outside, but the effect was positively stunning. Sadly, like the Master System itself, the peripheral was under-supported with just over a half-dozen games, including Maze Hunter 3D and Space Harrier 3D. Despite its narrow mass audience, the Master System had -- and still has -- a very loyal fan base. Thankfully, the thumping SEGA received with the Master System did not daunt its quest for the living room, leading to the Genesis, which corrected most of the Master System's mistakes and gave Nintendo a run for its money for the majority of the 16-bit generation.