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NOTE: This add-on itself was actually good. This article will focus primarily on what caused it to flop.
The Sega CD (known as the Mega-CD in Europe and Japan) is a CD-based add-on for the Sega Genesis designed and produced by Sega. The Mega CD was the first attempt by Sega to prolong the life of the Genesis, along with the 32X.
The way that the Mega CD was designed to work was that the main Genesis console would handle the gameplay and the controls, while the Sega CD add-on would handle the audio and video aspects.
Why It Flopped
Note: Many of the ways that the 32X failed were identical to the failings of the Mega CD.
- The Sega CD had its own AC adapter. Yes, it's one of those plugs that incorporates a power brick. This meant if you owned this, you'd also have to own a Genesis/Mega Drive and a TV: that's three plugs (four if you had a 32X adapter). 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's solution to this was offering their own 5 outlet power strip to plug in all the add-on's power adapters sideways including the TV and the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive itself.
- While the Mega CD did have good games, (including Sonic CD, one of the best Sonic games) it heavily focused on FMV games, the way that the 3DO and the CD-i did, which were a fad at the time and lacked real interactivity.
- Ironically it was also very bad at rendering FMVs compared to its competitors. Thanks to not supporting MPEG-1 (unlike the CD-i and 3DO) or having the vibrant color palette of the TurboGrafx-CD (it could display 482 colors at once while the Sega-CD was stuck at 61). Most didn't even fill up the whole screen and/or ran at a very poor frame rate. The aforementioned Sega CD 32X games looked okay enough for the time, but few people owned this combination.
- In order to play Sega CD games you have to own a Sega Genesis/Mega Drive to go with it. To make matters worse, there were no third-party systems that allowed you to play Sega CD alone.
- That being said, however, JVC did release the X'Eye (known in Japan as the Wondermega), a third-party combined system that plays both Genesis and Sega CD games.
- There are six games that require you to own both the Sega 32X and the Mega CD simultaneously. Examples that required to do so were Corpse Killer and Night Trap which already were on the add-on without the need for a 32X attachment. The only difference was that the CD 32x versions had visual improvements through the 32X. Other than that, they were the exact same games.
- Speaking of games, a good chunk of the Sega CD library consisted of Genesis ports with CD audio soundtracks and FMV cutscenes, though some ports like Puggsy and 3 Ninjas did take advantage of the hardware and CD technology by offering more levels that used the scaling capabilities of the add-on.
- The loading times for games were way too long. Even the 32X didn't have this problem.
- 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/Mega Drive itself was doing fine.
- Very overpriced: the Sega CD's introductory price was 49,800 yen / US$299 / £270 on top of the initial price of the Genesis/Mega Drive.
- There is a terrifying warning if you put a Mega CD disc in a normal CD Player.
Despite being a flop, the Sega CD was not a bad system, for its redeeming qualities, see AGW for more info.
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.
| "What were they thinking?"|
- A year after the Model 1 Sega CD (shown in the picture above in the infobox), Sega would release a top-loading Model 2 Mega CD, being significantly cheaper ($230) and smaller.
- This model, known as the Sega CD 2, is the more recognized version, while the Model 1 is rarer.
- In 1994, Sega eventually released the Sega CDX (known as the Multi-Mega in PAL regions), a hybrid system that combined the Genesis/Mega Drive, Mega CD and 32X all into one sleek package.
- Ironically, even though the Sega CD was created to extend the Genesis'/Mega Drive's lifespan, the original console ended up outliving it. In fact, the Genesis/Mega Drive 3 doesn't even support the Sega CD.