Sega Master System
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The Sega Master System was an 8-bit video game platform produced by Sega in the mid-to-late 1980's. Despite its name, there was nothing masterful about it. In fact, it came in a gross second to the contemporary Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES.
The Sega Master System was black. It stood in stark contrast to the NES, which was white. Also, unlike the NES, the Sega Master System did not have a cool robot you could buy that spun a gyroscope. Also unlike the NES, the Sega Master System had like seven games you could buy. Nintendo quickly learned it could expand its game repository by licensing out the development and manufacture of its cartridges to other software companies, but Sega just made its own games for its own system. The result was a total lack of game inventory.
edit Seriously, Who Really Remembers the Sega Master System?
Name one title that was really popular on the Sega Master System. Can't do it, can you? That's because there weren't any. NES had Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, not to mention Metroid, Castlevannia, and a host of other cool titles. There was nothing memorable about the Sega Master System. There was a rumor once in the 1980's that the Sega Master System had better graphics, but one couldn't tell the difference between it and NES as far as picture or sound quality. And let's remember the lesson of Betamax: superior technology does not always a superior product make.
edit But Really, Name One Famous Sega Master System Game?
There must have been games for the system, because one person remembers playing them at a friend's house when he was a kid. But we can't for the life of us remember what they were was called. It might have been a spaceship game called Zaxxon, but then again, we think he played that on the 8-bit system, Colecovision.
edit Sega's Redemption: Genesis
Everything changed for Sega in 1989 with the advent of its Genesis system, the first major 16-bit video game console. By that time, it had been five years since the 8-bit systems had dominated the market, and people were ready to upgrade. For some reason, Nintendo dropped the ball big time and didn't have a competitor console ready until, like a year later or something. And then, the marketing for the Nintendo system really sucked (c'mon guys, Super NES? That was the best you could do?) So Sega truly had its rebirth with the Genesis system, but that's actually a separate article.