Variations of the Sega Master System

Variations of the Sega Master System

During the lifespan of the Sega Master System, the internals of the system had been altered multiple times, as well as the external shell. The Master System was also officially bundled in certain packages - a list of these packages and model variations can be found below.

Master System

The Master System is an alteration of the Sega Mark III console, released for the American and European markets. The console uses wide rectangular 50-pin cartridges, while the Mark III uses a tall rectangular 44-pin cartridge.


Model number: MK-2000

This is Sega's final incarnation of their 8-bit system in Japan, which was released under the Master System name. Unlike the European and American equivalent systems, this version features the backwards compatibility of the original Mark III, making it capable of playing SG-1000, SG-1000 Mark II, and SC-3000 titles, in addition to older Mark III titles, whereas the European and American versions can only play Master System games released in those territories. This Master System also has an FM sound unit, rapid fire unit, and 3D adapter built-in, unlike the Mark III, whereby the three units had to be bought separately.

Model number variations


The 3000 variation has the built-in Snail Maze game play (by pressing Up and buttons 1 and 2) when no cartridge is inserted.


The 3005-18 Master System has the original Alex Kidd in Miracle World game built into the console, playing if no game is inserted.


The 3005-24 Master System has the original Hang-On game built into the console, playing if no game is inserted.

Master System II

The Master System II was released in 1990, and was popular in Europe and Brazil. It is smaller and sleeker, but in order to keep production costs low, it lacks the reset button, composite video and card slot of the original. All consoles included a game that plays when no cartridge is inserted. The built-in game was originally Alex Kidd in Miracle World, which was switched to Sonic the Hedgehog on later PAL consoles.


There are two variants - black with a black pause button, and grey with a white pause button - there is no other difference between the two. The former is more common in PAL regions, and was never sold in North America.

A newer variant was realeased by Sega's brazillian distributor, Tectoy. This version is identical to the previous Master System II (Master System III in Brazil) builds, except that the color scheme was changed from the traditional dark color scheme predominantly Black/Grey from the older realeases to a lighter blue and white scheme, the Master System control pads were replaced with the Genesis 6-button pads, and now the console has 74 built-in games.

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