Happy 25th Birthday, Sega Master System!

Illustration for article titled Happy 25th Birthday, Sega Master System!

It's been sadly overlooked by all the hoopla surrounding the 25th anniversary of the NES and Super Mario Bros., but this week was also the 25th anniversary of another classic gaming console: the Sega Master System.


The machine that began life as the Sega Mark III before assuming its more famous moniker was first released in Japan on October 20, 1985. It would hit American markets a year later, while Europe and Australia would have to wait until 1987 to get their hands on one.


The Master System may not be home to as many all-time icons as the NES, but it was still a great console; indeed, many in the PAL market will identify more with Sega's offerings of the 1980s than with Nintendo's, so well did the Master System perform in Europe and Australia.

Case in point: as an Australian, I had a Master System II (the console's cheaper, second version), as did many of my friends. It wasn't until I began working here that I ran into substantial numbers of people who grew up with the NES.

Illustration for article titled Happy 25th Birthday, Sega Master System!

Some of its more noteworthy games include Alex Kidd, Space Harrier, Outrun, After Burner, Phantasy Star and even Sonic, whose 8-bit debut pushed the hardware to its absolute limits. All great titles, but perhaps even more memorable was the uniform box art adopted by Master System games.


Happy birthday, Sega Master System!

[image credit: palm z, thanks Kalem!

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I remember visiting my cousin's house, he eventually had all the Sega consoles... but the Master System was the first. Fantasy Zone stood out just from the box art. Easily my favorite game of the system and the first one I play whenever I get nostalgic.