Mega Drive, European Launch

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Black Squirrel, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Mentski

    Mentski

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    The reset button on my JP MD1 and the start buttons on the pads certainly don't have the hue they had when they were manufactured, but they certainly haven't gone purple... it just looks a little less vibrant.
     
  2. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    "GameOn" was a localised version of the UK mag, "Arcade" (we have a full set of those - they quite liked the Dreamcast). Issue #3: September 1999:

    http://retrocdn.net/index.php?title=File%3AGameOn_FR_03.pdf&page=144
     
  3. Pirate Dragon

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    It was actually the other way around. The buttons had been painted red (which has now mostly worn off), my guess is that it ended up with Sega Europe, who tried to make it look a bit more like the PAL version prior to release. It actually has a JP MCD1 bios, V1.11, which is undocumented and undumped. Board "E2200JAPCB", which isn't documented either (probably only ever used as a prototype board).

    So, can anyone come across any pics of Japanese MD2 and/or MCD2 with red buttons in European press / catalogues / ads etc?

    Possibly the very first Mega CD 2 produced;

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I've never seen red buttons on a Japanese system (though to be fair, we don't have many Japanese magazine scans). EDIT: read the post properly - will check for proto Euro shots

    However, that photo has alerted me to something we probably should have noticed before - the Mega-CD has the text "CD-ROM" engraved on the top.

    The photo we have on Sega Retro says MEGA-CD (as do all European models).


    Our box has CD-ROM:

    http://segaretro.org/File:Megacd_front.jpg


    But this box has MEGA-CD:

    http://I.imgur.com/PoG4rNO.jpg


    And here's a CD-ROM model on eBay:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sega-Mega-Cd-2-Console-System-Japan-FREE-SHIPPING-Great-Condition-BOXED-/162125648440?hash=item25bf711238:g:4QUAAOSwZ1BXecv8


    That means there's at least two fairly distinct hardware revisions. According to our table, there were two different Japanese Mega-CD 2 bioses: 2.00c and 2.11c - do they match up with these two shells?


    A hardware revision hidden in plain sight? Wouldn't be the first time for Sega - how many years did it take for people to notice the missing "HIGH DEFINITION GRAPHICS" on their Mega Drives?
     
  5. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    There's this one:

    http://www.segadriven.com/sega-club-genesis/

    but a) it's not European and b) I think it's a mock-up. I've never seen it elsewhere.
     
  6. Pirate Dragon

    Pirate Dragon

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    Yes, there are two types of Japanese Mega CD 2. The first 50,000 or so starting with serials T30 have "CD-ROM", from then on serials with "T31" have "MEGA-CD". It's actually the case for most of Sega's consoles (for example there's five variants of SMS2, not including TecToy/Samsung), we need to fix that on the wiki.
     
  7. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Yes we definitely do. I did try to do Mega Drive console revisions once but I gave up when I realised how big the task was and went onto doing something else. That and I knew there were more qualified people on this board than me when it came to this subject.


    What I'd like to see as a minimum is clear shots of the front of units, the back, and the serial bit on the bottom, and then hopefully try and match it up with a PCB. And then combine this all together into a "Mega Drive console revisions" page, so we can have a concrete list of everything and hopefully work out some manufacturing dates.

    Bonus points if you can work out when the colour schemes of controllers were changed in Europe.


    I know this is an issue with the Saturn too - there's something about earlier Japanese units having more (or fewer) air vents on the side. Lots of these little things we should really be taking note of.
     
  8. Pirate Dragon

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    Yeah, I had the same thought too, but it's almost overwhelming. At last count I had got up to 66 different SMS model numbers (not including TecToy or Samsung), I'm sure that there are dozens more to be discovered. There are also variations between the same model depending on manufacturer and year. Mega Drive is also a pain due to having so many clones. A good way to discount many clones for MD2 is to check the rating on the label. Many (but not all) clones have 1.0A instead of 0.85A. Incidentally, ones with region code "16" are pretty much always clones (although it's possible real ones exist too).

    It might be simpler to list the upper and lower case type by part number. Looking at the service manuals the lower case usually has different part numbers depending on region. The upper case generally has far fewer variants. Actually, maybe I'll start with some consoles I have, just listing the main part numbers (case, board, shielding etc). Hopefully more people will add their own consoles once we have a page and template set up, as it's difficult to do without having the actual console.
     
  9. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Re: Mega-CD 2

    For some reason we didn't have the release dates (or release "periods" I suppose might be more accurate) for the system, however a bit of brief research suggests:

    Japan got theirs on the 23rd of April, 1993.

    The US launch was probably around Summer CES 1993 (early June). There were definitely Sega CD units on the show floor.

    The UK got its Mega Drive II/Mega-CD II at some point in August 1993. Apparently the plan was around the October/November period, but Sega seemingly sent stock off to Argos and Index (remember that) presumably for their Winter catalogues... and the two started selling machines straight away. Or something. Either way it was a soft launch and I'm doubting there was much publicity.

    We have September 1993 dates for France, Germany and Spain.
     
  10. Pirate Dragon

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    Yeah, Japan also got the MD2 the same day as the MCD2. Maybe major (named) revisions should have their own pages as the Mark III does. As you point out though, outside of Japan these rarely had hard release date. Still, we can usually narrow it down to the month at least.

    I had forgotten about Index ...

    As for listing main part numbers, it doesn't seem like that will work for all models, as looking at some shells, not all have the part numbers on them.
     
  11. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    It feels like the Mega-CD II launch was almost a non-event in the US and UK - it just turned up one day. The only countries that seem to have given a slightest damn were Japan, France, Germany and Spain, the latter three because it marks the launch of a Mega-CD console in those regions.

    Given that there wasn't really any events going on in the Spring/Summer months of 1993 (bar Summer CES), I can only assume that your prototype was an internal thing. I've checked most magazines from the era (that we have scans of) - there's not much here.


    Mega-CD II coverage in general was sidelined thanks to our good friend the Amiga CD32, which had a European launch in September 1993. Fun fact: the CD32 has retained its value - it was £200-£300 in 1993, now it's £500-£600 to get one boxed from eBay - in line with inflation!
     
  12. Pirate Dragon

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    Yeah, looking through mags at the time it seems that they didn't publicise MCD2 until MCD1 had been cleared, which is understandable.
     
  13. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Spot the difference

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Newer models have a smaller hole for the power LED.


    For the sake of my own sanity I'm going to personally sit this one out, but these are the sorts of details we should really be writing down if we want to be thorough. Hardware experts?
     
  14. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Just some extra closure on the Mega-CD 2 thing:

    http://segaretro.org/index.php?title=File%3AGamers_DE_1993-05.pdf&page=27

    Concept art suggests a blue button was planned from the get go.
     
  15. Pirate Dragon

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    Great find, that Mega CD 2 drawing looks more like a very early JP design, rather than a PAL specific design. It's quite a bit different to the final design, the biggest one being in having an extra LED for "PLAY".

    I hadn't noticed the smaller LED hole in some PAL MD models, I'll look into what serials that relates to.

    As a side note, have you ever seen any PAL (non-Asian) MD or MD2 clones (as in, ones that attempt to look like the real thing), or for that matter, any Genesis ones either? As far as I can see, they all seem to be clones of Asian models.
     
  16. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    There's a shop on eBay selling those Mega Drives, complete with photos of labels (warning: some consoles comes from Thailand while the rest are from China, a.k.a. there may be factory-specific differences too)


    Clones usually aim for the Japanese colour scheme (although there's a bunch of Genesis 3 clones if that counts) - I've only ever found one or two exceptions:

    http://segaretro.org/File:SuperAlphaII.jpg

    The "Super Alpha II"... which looks like a contestant in Robot Wars, and a couple of Russian clones - the Mega Drive 4 which isn't too hard to track down, and the occasional flavour of Magistr Drive, though in this case I'm not entirely sure if the colour scheme was intentional. Magistr Drives are particularly unpleasant because there are tons and the colours (and sizes!) don't necessarily match with their boxes.


    I would hazard a guess that the PAL Mega Drive II wasn't really something to aspire to in the early 90s - Japanese imports with region switches were what people wanted, and the "Genesis" branding in the US adds an extra layer of confusion.
     
  17. Pirate Dragon

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    Yes, my first thought is that it was a factory difference, that's the case with SMSII. Some PAL MD1s were also made in Malaysia (and I think a small number in Japan too).

    I meant the clones that used actual (or at least copied) MD and MD2 case moulds, so that they're almost impossible to tell just by looking at pictures of the top of the console. Anyway, I guess that the hardware cloners who were mainly based in Taiwan only ever bothered to make moulds (or had access to the originals) for the local models. The model numbers on the clones that I've seen also tend to be of Asian models. Of course, a mould of a western console would have prevented it from being able to accept Japanese/Asian cartridges, so it would have been of limited use, especially as there wouldn't have been many opportunites to sell significant numbers of blatant clones with trademarks in western countries.

    This makes things a lot simpler for documenting serial numbers, as it looks like I'll only have to worry about identifying clones of Asian (and possibly Japanese) consoles.

    Every clone that I've seen so far lacks the gold metal screw hole on the bottom of both MD and MD2. MD2 clones also lack the rubber foot by the label. So, whilst they may have had perfect moulds for the shells, they didn't bother with any of the "furniture" attached to it on the original consoles.
     
  18. Pirate Dragon

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    So here's the confirmation of US Sega CD release;

    http://retrocdn.net/index.php?title=File:SegaSoftNewz_US_1993-05.pdf&page=6

    November 9th, 1992 was a Monday, so the exact date would depend on the store, but some could have theoretically been selling them the same day if they were close to SoA's warehouse.
     
  19. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Minor hardware differences go go go
    http://i.imgur.com/x2fH7v2.jpg

    Thankfully there has been an attempt at documenting different models of Dreamcasts, and it appears that similar rules may apply to Saturns after a certain date:
    http://users.skynet.be/t_chan/dc/mylist.htm
    I wouldn't place much of a bet on other Sega systems following these rules.

    Sega Retro needs to absorb all of this of course. In the Dreamcast's case, it can also help determine which consoles have Mil-CD support.
     
  20. Pirate Dragon

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    Technically those "670-" numbers in the second link are the sticker part numbers rather than the console model number, although different models would have different stickers, so they're somewhat related. SMS through to Saturn is pretty uniform, but they changed stuff with Dreamcast, whilst Mark III and earlier is also different. I'm not too knowledgable on Dreamcast, and don't understand pre-SMS yet, but for SMS - Saturn we should at least start with documenting each model number (I have a pretty good list of these that I'll add to the wiki) with pictures of all sides (and ultimately internally too). There can still be differences between consoles with the same model number, so it could be expanded to differences by year and manufacturer (determined by the first three digits of the serial number). It's a pretty big project, although from MD2 onwards there are far fewer model numbers.