Sega CD

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Sega CD
The start of Sega’s downfall.
Developer: Sega
Release Date: JP: 12/12/1991
NA: 10/15/1992
EU: 1993
Successor: Sega 32X
Competitors: Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Generation: Fourth generation

The Sega CD (known as the Mega-CD in most areas outside North America) is a CD-based add-on for the Sega GenesisAGW designed and produced by Sega. The Sega CD was the first attempt by Sega to prolong the life of the Genesis, along with the Sega 32X.

The way that the Sega CD was designed to work was that the Genesis system would handle the gameplay and the controls, while the Sega CD system would handle any cenematics, music and sound effects.

Why It Flopped

Note: Many of the ways that the 32X failed were identical to the failings of the Sega CD.

  1. The Sega CD had its own AC adapter. Yes, it's one of those plugs that incorporates the power brick. This meant if you owned this, you'd also have to own a Genesis and a TV: that's three plugs (four if you had a 32X). The plug was so large that outside of the most generously-spaced multi-sockets, it would prevent anything from being plugged into any adjacent socket.
    • Sega thought requiring so many power adapters would take up all your plugs, so they suggested to buy a Sega Power Strip to plug in all the add-on's power adapters sideways including the TV and the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive itself.
  2. While the Sega CD did have good games, (including Sonic CD, arguably the best Sonic game) it heavily focused on FMV games, the way that the 3DO or the CD-i did, which were a fad at the time and lacked real interactivity.
  3. In order to play the Sega CD you have to own a Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. To make matters worse there were no third-party systems that allowed you to play Sega CD alone.
  4. There are six games that requires you to own both the Sega 32X and the Sega CD simultaneously. One of the example that was required to do so was Night Trap.
  5. The FMVs couldn't even render to the entire screen and were rather poor quality. The aforementioned Sega CD 32X games looked okay enough for the time, but few people owned this combination.
  6. The loading times for games were way too long. Even the 32X didn't have this problem.
  7. Competition from consoles like the Super Nintendo and the then-upcoming PlayStation meant that very few people were interested in the Sega CD. Even the Genesis itself was doing fine.
  8. Very overpriced: the Sega CD's introductory price was 49,800 yen / US$299 / £270 on top of the initial price of the Genesis.
  9. There was a creepy warning if you put a Sega CD disk in a normal CD Player.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. It did have some good games, such as the Lunar series, The Terminator, Night TrapAGW, Sonic CDAGW, Final Fight CD, and the only version of Snatcher that was released outside of Japan.  
  2. It is one of the higher quality CD add-ons that were made during the 90's.
  3. A few alternatives that included both the Sega CD and Genesis built into one single device such as the Victor Wondermega/JVC ‘X’ Eye and Sega’s own CDX/Multi-Mega were released.


The Sega CD was initially praised for its ability to play CD games, however interest in the add-on quickly plummeted due to the abundance of poor quality FMV games with little to no gameplay. By the end of its lifespan in 1995, the Sega CD had sold just 2.7 million units total.


  • It did show gamers and companies the possibilities that CDs had, in comparison to ROM cartridges (which included: larger games, better audio, full motion video, cheaper production costs).
  • A year after the Model 1 Sega CD (shown in the picture above in the infobox), Sega would release a top-loading Model 2 Sega CD, being significantly cheaper ($230) and smaller.
    • This model is the more recognized version, while the Model 1 is rarer.






5 months ago
Score 3
Oh Sega and your console add-ons....


5 months ago
Score 2
That's one of the reasons why SEGA fell off.

Deepthroat Ghoul

4 months ago
Score 2
This was designed to compete with the NEC TurboGrafx-16 CD, not the SNES.


4 months ago
Score 1
I remember some warning if you put a sega cd in a normal cd player.

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