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The Sega CD is an add-on device for the Sega Genesis released in North America.
The device will allow the user to both play audio CDs and specially designed game CDs. It also has CD+G capabilities.
The development of the Sega CD was top secret; game programmers didn't know what they were designing for until the Sega CD was finally revealed at Tokyo Toy Show in Japan. The Sega CD was desgned to be in competition with the Turbografx-16, which had a CD module. The Sega CD was not meant to compete with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
The Sega CD was first released in the U.S early in October 15, 1992 for $299. Several titles were available at launch including the controversial Night Trap. The issue of violence in that game garnered a lot of media attention. Nintendo, whom was losing sales, openly attacked Sega for this, and sales decreased for Sega's games because stores were afraid that their games were objectionable. Nintendo did release Mortal Kombat for the Super Nintendo. Some said that this move was hypocritcal, but this version of Mortal Kombat was watered down, and was outsold by the Sega Genesis version on a 1 to 4 ratio. Still, that also garnered controversy for Sega. They developed the Videogames Rating Council, or VRC to put classifications, and it helped, albiet to an insignificant degree.
A total of 149 games have been released for the Sega CD in the U.S. Game production was mostly discontinued from 1995-1996.
At the Summer CES in 1992, Sega announced that it would release Sonic CD for the Sega CD, and sales for the Sega CD soared.
In the end, the Sega CD floundered in the USA, partly due to the cost. There just was not a great enough value for the price. Tangibly, game quality was little improved. The sound was often better if it included a CD audio track, but for the most part, conventional games looked the same. Sega insisted on licensing and producing primarily "full motion video" games similar to earlier laserdisc games, that were universally panned by game reviewers. The single speed CD drive added load times to all games, and the 64-color graphics and underpowered processor (for video rendering) made the full-motion games look terrible. Worst of all, people did not buy the games as they felt that they were no fun. Sega wanted to showcase the power of the Sega CD, and so focused on the "FMV" games rather than importing "extended" games that only expanded ordinary games by taking advantage of the extra storage space of the CD media. The games looked nice on the FMV, but bored people due to the limited interaction. Perhaps if people felt that the quality of the motion video games were better, this plan might have succeeded.
The downhill path started in 1993, and ended with the console's death in 1996.
The Sega CD exists in the following models:
- Sega CD I (Mega CD I in Japan)
- Sega CD II (Mega CD II in Japan) had a faster CD-ROM drive
- JVC X Eye (Wondermega in Japan), was a all-in one Sega CD unit
- Sega CDX
- Pioneer LaserActive Sega CD module, an add-on device you could add to a Laseractive Pioneer Laserdisc player.
- 10 extra sound channels to complement the sound from the Genesis Z80 sound processor.
- sprite enhancement features such as scaling and rotation, similar to that of the SNES Mode 7.
Main CPU: Motorola 68000 @ 12.5 MHz
- Same as the Genesis... runs with it... except the Genesis CPU runs at the slower clock speed: 7.9 MHz
- 6 Mbit Main RAM
- 512 Kbit PCM Waveform Memory
- 128 Kbit CD-ROM data cache memory
- 64 Kbit Internal Backup RAM
- Originally 64, same as Genesis
- Using programming tricks, can get 128 colors via HAM "Hold and Modify"
- Using Cinepak and TruVideo:
- 128 to 256 colors
- Increase screen size from 1/4 to full
- Advanced compression scheme
- Software-based upgrade
- Approximately 500 MB of data (62 min of audio data equivalent)
- 1/4 screen B/W footage video: 1.5 to 4 hours
- 1/4 screen color footage: 45 minutes
- Above specs are prior to compression
- 1 Mb contains:
- CD Game Bios
- CD Player Software
- CD+G Software
Bios Version Machine 1.10 Original Sega CD, Motorized Drive 2.00 Sega CD2 (Sega Mega-CD2 in Japan) 2.05 Sega CD2 2.10 Sega CD2 2.21 Sega CDX (MultiMega in Japan)--To see other versions, see Sega Mega-CD--
Access time: 800 ms Sound Circuitry:
- PCM Sound
- Stereo: 8 channels
- 32 KHz Maximum sampling wavelength
- 16 Bit D/A converter
- 8X internal over-sampling digital filter
- Frequency Range: 20Hz - 20 KHz
- Signal-to-Noise Ratio: >900dB @ 1K
- Channel Separation: >900 dB