Sega Week

How to build the ultimate Sega Genesis

The Sega Genesis (called the Mega Drive outside the U.S.) rocketed Sega from a nothing outfit to, for a time, the largest video game company in the world. Its games are classics that still cherished by fans all over the world today. Here’s the best way to experience it.

Model

Though the console has been redesigned and re-released many times, for this guide we’ll be using the North American Model 1 for its rich feature set, excellent design, ease of modding, and availability in the wild.

HDTV

The Genesis Model 1 natively supports crystal clear RGB video despite the horrible composite video most consumers dealt with in its heyday. To get the best results on a modern HDTV, we’ll be using a SCART cable into an OSSC.

Jailbars

To eliminate visual interference known as “jailbars,” we recommend performing a fairly straightforward modification know as the Triple Bypass. This will also improve the clarity of the console’s audio.

Audio

To tap stereo audio out of the console, you should use a SCART cable that comes with an adapter for the 3.5mm headphone jack on the front of the unit.

Add-ons

Prior to the release of the Sega Saturn, the company rolled out the 32X. The 32X was an add-on unit that plugged into the Genesis and expanded the consoles color range and processing power. It was famously short-lived — but there are a number of games worth playing that are only compatible with the 32X.

Flash Cart

The MegaSD is more than a standard flash cart. While, like its competition, it can hold the entire Genesis library on an SD card, it is also an FPGA hardware clone for the Sega CD. The Sega CD was an add on that allowed the Genesis to use the expanded storage available on the CD format. In addition to Sega CD games, this cart also enables MD+ ROM hacks which add CD-quality audio to standard Genesis games. The MegaSD features instant loading, low power consumption, a bevy of options, and perfect compatibility even with the 32X.

Backwards Compatibility

Unlike the SNES, the Genesis was backwards compatible with all Master System games via the Power Base Converter.

Controllers

The Genesis controller, both in its three and six button forms, is legendary. The best modern iteration is the 8BitDo M30 2.4Ghz Wireless controller which is extremely low latency and somehow feels even better than Sega’s original model.

Overclock

The Genesis can be overclocked from 7Mhz to 10Mhz, which allows games which normally push the system to its limits to run much more smoothly. This will not speed up your games. It’s also possible to add a switch and an LED mod so you can toggle this feature on and off.

ROMs

We will not be telling you where to find ROM files for Sega games. That is illegal. Anyway, the other day I was on the phone with a friend who told me about Archive.org. It sounds like a nice website.

Some titles we’d recommend: Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, Gunstar Heroes, Streets of Rage 2, ToeJam & Earl, Altered Beast, Phantasy Star IV, Shinobi III, Comix Zone, Contra: Hard Corps, Ecco the Dolphin, Castlevania: Bloodlines, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, Disney's Aladdin, Monster World IV, Street Fighter II, Rocket Knight Adventures, Strider, Space Harrier II, Mortal Kombat II, Virtua Racing, Snatcher, and Final Fight.

Enjoy your Sega Genesis.

Sega does what Nintendon’t.

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