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View Poll Results: What is the worst Sega CD model?
Sega/Mega-CD Model 1 (Front loader, placed underneath) 4 20.00%
Sega/Mega-CD Model 2 (Top loader, placed on the side) 1 5.00%
Victor Wondermega Model 1 0 0%
Victor Wondermega Model 2 / X'Eye 0 0%
Sega CDX / Multi-Mega 2 10.00%
Aiwa Mega CD (CSD-G1M) 1 5.00%
SEGA CD?Who needs that? Just stick a million Sonic and  Knuckles carts on top of each other! 12 60.00%
Voters: 20. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 10-10-2016, 01:58 PM
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Default What is the worst Sega CD?

If this isn't a poll, I need to figure out how the forum software works.

For the record, I have an X'Eye and love it. I voted the model 1 for the obvious reason that the drive motor and its associated parts are a site of inevitable mechanical failure, making all the other top-loading modules more robust.

Last edited by muteKi; 10-10-2016 at 02:12 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-10-2016, 02:01 PM
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A Pioneer Laseractive with the Mega Drive module plugged in.
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  #3  
Old 10-10-2016, 02:07 PM
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Worst:



Best:

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  #4  
Old 10-10-2016, 02:09 PM
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FUCK. I can't believe I forgot the LaserActive module. I KNEW I forgot one.
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  #5  
Old 10-10-2016, 02:11 PM
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Gotta go with the Sega CD 32X. Infamously needed 3 power bricks to get working and only six games were ever made for the thing, none worth owning.
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  #6  
Old 10-10-2016, 02:13 PM
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Whoops! I voted for the best rather than the worst. I don't know how polls work!
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  #7  
Old 10-10-2016, 02:17 PM
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An Amstrad Mega PC with a Sega CD amateurishly crammed into it in defiance of the wishes of both god and man.
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  #8  
Old 10-10-2016, 02:21 PM
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Oh man, I never knew that Aiwa made a Sega CD. That looks awesome.
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  #9  
Old 10-10-2016, 02:38 PM
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Model 1 Mega CD on Model 2 Mega Drive.
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  #10  
Old 10-10-2016, 03:00 PM
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Model 1 MCD and MD featuring optional Karaoke expansion (which was compatible with the Model 2 unit as well since it doesn't actually connect to the unit except through RCA cables) and wireless controller port.

Also, since I forgot to include it in the poll, here's one of the better pictures I could find of a LaserActive with the Sega PAC installed. The system uses the LD drive to play Sega CD games, while the cartridge slot is on the expansion module itself, along with a couple controller ports. Not compatible with the karaoke module; the LaserActive had a karaoke-specific PAC that also can be placed in that slot.
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Old 10-10-2016, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dart Zaidyer View Post
Gotta go with the Sega CD 32X. Infamously needed 3 power bricks to get working and only six games were ever made for the thing, none worth owning.
Hey, that was the only way to play the best version of Night Trap! Everybody knows t͖̦ha̟t͙̺͕̖ ̤͍N̹̭̰i̟̹g̺͈̯̥h͕t ̘T̫͇rạ͓̗̥ͅp̦̞ į̬̤̯͓̤͔͖͞ͅs̞̣̘̕ ̀҉͍̝̥̮̹̥̜͎ơ̻͙͚̮n̦̝̝͍̘̠͈͜é̙ ̸̭̟̭o̜̰̙͔͢f̴̢͈̞͕̘̀ ̱͔̼̗̼͡t̲̥͓͍h̡̫̩̺͖̗͍̭̯e̯͚͕̝̙ ̧̰̹̗̠̼͈m͏͍͓̞̱͎͙̫̞͢o̵̹͙͜͜s̡͟҉̠͖͔̮̝̟̬̭t̴̵̶̼̭̥̥ ̶͚͚͘i̷͖͓̣̱̫̖͜ͅm̛̰͍̪̰̬ͅp̷̢̛̲̹̙̠̼̥̝ǫ̖̭̱̗͕͚̮͇́ͅr̶̩͝͝ ̯̼̱̠t̞̪̹͈̩͘͡ą̶̴̫͙̰͙̟̯̥n̡̙̰̰̙̮̩̤̤͞t̩̲͔̗̙ g̸͈͓͔͙͌̀͊͒̕͟a͉̩̍̉̔̈́͗m̡͔̜͚̲̼̊ͯ́ͅê̪̜̥͇̺ͭ̈͒̈̔ͯ͘s̉̍͆͐ ̧̠͚̰̪̩͛ͤͨ̓ͣ ̢̜̟ͣ̌̆ͩ̄̕o̲͚̖̺̠̩ͧ͐̋̍͘f̯̭̿̿ͦͧ͟͡ͅ ̬͓̟̘̹̘̹̃ͅt̨̧͎̪̯͍̺͖̞̎̾ͧ͢h̄̐̾̍̓̂̀͏͙̞e̬͙̖͕̦͛̔̔̎́́ ̠̱ ͇̯͚̲̠͉̝̌͗̅ͫ̔̏̀͗̕͟l̛͔͈̜͗̐̓̃̈́͌͂͘ą̩͕̀̄ͨͧ͌̕s̡͉̲̟̱̦̻̄̂ ͕̠̹ţ͕̝̻̬̩̺̐̏̿̄ͫ͝ͅ ̢͎͖̞͎̥ͧ͆̐̿͗͋v͚̻̜͚̤̪̯̘͇ͭ͗ͣ͂́e͛ͥ̔͌̂͑̚҉̭̻͚͔̗̀rͨ̃̑̑̒̔ͩ ̨̱͕̫͎̞͉͔͉̙y̵͇̮̥͆̂̌̐́͒͆ͩ̕͢ ̶̲͓̼̪͚̌d̫̯̟͈̐̔̾e̙͎ͦͦ̓ͩ́̆͌̀̀̚ç̢̙͗ͣͭ̆à̶̪̯͙̳̯ͭͪ̀̚ͅͅ d̷̰̟̙̝̼̎̄͜ͅͅēͣ͛͒ͪ̀̽͏̲̮͎͖ͅs͗͆̔̊͊͟͏͍̰. S̡͈͕̯͖̦̮̣͔̪͖̫̺̣̮̯̺̋ͨ̈̐ͥ͌ͮ͡͠͞ͅű̃͗̃͛̏͏͏̗͚̼͖͓̝̭̙p͊̿̚ ̴̧̤̖̰͖̟̘͉̞̥̞̙̑͛̑̅͜ȩ̧̗̳̪͈͉͎͈̞͓͆̃̔ͥ͌̀̚ͅr̸̴̉ͦ̐̓̓̌̅͜͝ ͎͙̠̙̗̦͚̝̻̙̣ͅͅͅ ̵̶̢̭̗̬͔̭͓͉̪͈͛̊ͨ̒͒̽ͫ̐̈́͢͠ͅḮ̸̢̹̤̳̦̣̯̱͖̥̠̜̦͈͍̆́̽̓͠mͬͯ ̧̧̯͖̼͚̗͙̻̞͎͎ͣͦ̾̌̌̀ͬ̾̅̆ͥ̋͛̾͂̂̚p̶͒̑̊ͨ̕͢͡҉͉͔̭͚̻̻̠̗͎͉̲ ̺̖͙̝̭͔̟o̴̼̟͙̘̘̣̻̙͇̤̣̠̲̰͖̤̙ͩ̎̏͋̄̎̐̑̅̔̂ͣ̾̐́̚r̍ͫ͊̒ͦ̆̊ ̢͆͗́̇̑̆͋̚͘͞͏̡̦̯̝̬͈̼͉̺͚͉͙̩̹ṫ̷̶͕̮̲͉́͆̃ͨ̋͠͠a͐̔̐̂͛ͣͯ̍ ̷͚͔̱̹̄ͬ̽͗͢n̻̥̖̰̱͓͖͔̱͚͖̣̦͙̘̊̃͋͐̇̇̌͂ͦ̇̃̇̆ͪ͋ͨ̌͒͜͡t̃̄̽ ͬ̊ͦ̀̆ͪ͋͂̆ͭͦ̚̕҉͈̣̲͖͜͜͝.̵̡͇̳̠̱̺̩͋͑̓ͨͮͯ̀͜͢ͅ ͇̙̥̯͑ͤͣ̍̕͡ ̊̿̈ͣ͑ͩ̎ͤͮͪ̌̈́̒ͨ͒ͯ̌̅̓́͏̛͏̱̩̝͚͙̲̞̯͙͇T̬͉ͦ͗͑̋͗̃ͭ͂͌̿̀͟͠͡ ̹̮̞̮̰̬̫̮̹̫̮͙͉̜̗̲hͭͥ̓̐̔̇̉ͥ͒̔̍̉̂̈̊ͪ̔҉̫̹͙̠͠ë͐̀͛̒̉̓̀̍ ̢͇̲̻̬̱̞̝̮͔̺͝ ̧ͬ̔̿ͯ͒̋ͤ̀̌̈́ͮ̐̔̏ͮ̇̀̚̚͏͚͎̩̺͍m̢̨̨̟̤͖͓̙̳̝͓͈͍̰̩̪͔̊͊ͤ̾̚ͅ ͅo̤̲̯̦͉̲̖̩̲͈͓͙̩̎ͤ̅ͧ̑͑͋ͧ̽̽̊́̋͡s̷̸͍̘̖̤̱̜͎̞̤̣̉̉ͥ̍ͯ͂̕͢ ̼̱ͅt̛ͫͤ̿ͪ̈ͬͨ͡͏̛̰̰͍̲̪͍̰͔̘̻̪̘̲̖̫̫͉̙̝ ̶̥͇̻̫̹͒͗̾̐͒ͪ͂̉ͭ̓̈̑ͮ͋ͩ͐͌̏͊͡ỉ̡̡̞̬̯̱͖ͫͮ̿ͬ̑ͩ̾̽̓͗͌ͪͮ̓̿ ̟̭̮̫̻̟ṁ̸̋̃̓ͮ̾ͭ̆̎̒̈́ͥ̇́́̚̚͝͞҉͈̮̠̥͉̦͕͖͔̭̘̖͍̤̳͓̯̭pͪ̎̃ ̷̨̯̲̹̣̙͓̹͍̬̒ͥͮ̋́ͩ̚̕ǫ̶͎͇̮̠̳̗̠̜͈̭͕͍̲͍̋̽̽̓͌̍̅̐̌̉ͦͥͅͅ ̮̥̩r̷̊ͦ̉͋̄̋̍͐ͫ͟͠͞҉̝͎̞̳͇t̸̹̺̦͍̱͖̹̟̝̞ͪ͆̐̓ͬͯ̔̀āͣ̋ͯ͋ͭ ̶̱̹͙͈͍̼̦̙̲̃͌ͯ̈́ņ̣̠̬͖̣̱̭̤̒ͮͮ̌ͤͦ̽͟tͩͮ͌͂̅̆ͪ̽̀͋̔̄͛̏̉ͪ̾ ̶̴̢̭̳̫̬̯̯͍ͥ́.̶̻̗̟̻̣͎̬̰̱̝̭̜͉̤͕̗ͦ̿̿͐ͦ́̀͝ͅͅ
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  #12  
Old 10-10-2016, 03:13 PM
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You'd be better off playing the 3DO or PC versions of it anyway.

The one interesting FMV game that never got a rerelease on any sort of better hardware is Wirehead -- with all the special effects they put into the game, you'd think they'd have jumped at the chance to make a version with better graphical fidelity. That is the one out of all the LD games that I most wish got some sort of re-release, because nothing else was even half as audacious, and Road Avenger was on other systems anyway.
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  #13  
Old 10-10-2016, 03:35 PM
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Probably the Model 1. I haven't had any experience with one, though, only having owned a Model 2. I always wanted an X'Eye, or a CDX, but alas.
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  #14  
Old 10-10-2016, 04:34 PM
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Uhh, wow, more than I expected.

Model 1 probably, it looks kinda neat but I doubt a tray in that day and age was the most durable thing. The Tec-Toy one is kind of cheap looking but the novelty of treating carts like cassettes gets points in my book.
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  #15  
Old 10-10-2016, 11:03 PM
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Why are there so many
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  #16  
Old 10-11-2016, 12:55 AM
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I know the reason the Wondermega exists is the same reason the V-Saturn and Hi-Saturn exist. Sega relied on Victor to help build the system and in the process gave them the rights to manufacture their own version of the console. I assume the process with Pioneer was "we want to expand Laserdisc to do gaming, let's talk with the two companies who currently have CD drive consoles/expansions", but I have no fucking idea what the hell is up with the Aiwa thing
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  #17  
Old 10-11-2016, 08:39 AM
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All of them?
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  #18  
Old 10-11-2016, 11:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muteKi View Post
I know the reason the Wondermega exists is the same reason the V-Saturn and Hi-Saturn exist. Sega relied on Victor to help build the system and in the process gave them the rights to manufacture their own version of the console. I assume the process with Pioneer was "we want to expand Laserdisc to do gaming, let's talk with the two companies who currently have CD drive consoles/expansions", but I have no fucking idea what the hell is up with the Aiwa thing

"Not only will we create massive brand confusion by flooding the market with our own hardware peripherals, we will also allow third-parties to do the same!"


Looking back at it it's kinda amazing Sega lasted as long in the hardware business as they did
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Old 10-12-2016, 12:26 AM
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I have no idea what any of the following are:

Victor Wondermega Model 1
Victor Wondermega Model 2 / X'Eye
Aiwa Mega CD (CSD-G1M)

Before Nomad was a thing, I wanted a CDX, since I think it doubled as a portable CD player -- something I didn't have at the time.

I have a soft spot for the original front-loader, though. Just something about the form factor I really like.
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Old 10-14-2016, 12:59 AM
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Default BETTER KNOW A BIOS #1

Now that we've discussed the relative merits of some of the hardware variants of the Sega CD, let's discuss the software/firmware of each unit. Specifically the BIOS animation screen.

Let's begin with the first one, Mega CD Bios 1.00. This one's used for the front-loader units in Japan, the ones with the mechanical drive the Genesis is placed on top of.

When you turn on the unit without a game in it (the Sega CD doesn't have its own power button; it's initialized when the Genesis is turned on when the slot's empty or contains a RAM cart), you're greeted with the following screen:



The logo is interesting. Unique to the Japanese Mega CD, the shape of the text is clearly made to complement the MD/Mega Drive logo used regularly in the region:



The MD in this logo, in red and green, pairs up in a way with the gold and blue CD. No other system has the CD logo shaped that way (and of course the American name, "Sega CD", chosen to deal with the fact that the Mega Drive name was in use for copyright purposes and not available to Sega for their console, had a unique but consistent logo in its systems), not even the second Japanese Mega CD unit, though it was used on the packaging for Japanese games (which came in standard jewel cases). Note that the word "Mega" uses the same font in each logo.

The Mega CD logo doesn't just stay still, either: it animates. Showing off one of the other special features of the Sega CD, a chip capable of scaling and rotation of bitmapped graphics -- which it then patches back into the Genesis display processor which displays it on screen. It's not an over- or underlay like, say, Mode 7 SNES graphics or some Laserdisc FMV games were, but instead just a way of pre-scaling graphics for the Sega CD. Patching into Genesis VDP is a huge bottleneck, but there's added flexibility in being able to scale multiple objects at a time, unlike being fixed with Mode 7.

You'll see the logo squash, stretch, bounce forward, and display multiple copies of itself in a spiraling pattern (my personal favorite) among a series of other animations. Also, the logo's palette changes on some of the animations to give the effect of shading. It's a simple effect (especially since it's the only sprite object on screen when it's done) but very effective in giving animations the effect of depth.

The animations on this bios screen are almost entirely unique. While they would form the basis of the animations used in the European and American front-loader BIOSes, those systems came out later (in America, it was just over 10 months after the December 1991 release, and not until 1993 in Europe), giving Sega time to develop more elaborate animations for their logos. In comparison to these, which I'll discuss later, the Japanese BIOS feels downright restrained, though maintaining a playful style.

(Most of these animations were reused in JVC/Victor's systems, though they added a few of their own to theirs.)

The piano and string music used in the bios screen here is also pretty restrained, too. Light and airy, it matches well with the sky backdrop. Most BIOSes, you'll find, use this music, with the Sega's American ones the odd ones out. The song is by Sachio Ogawa, who did sound programming and occasional composing for a number of high-profile Sega titles, such as the 3D Master System Space Harrier, the Japanese Mega Drive launch title Super Thunder Blade, as well as a few other titles. His most notable music contribution of the time is probably Hard Road from Super-Hang On.

Whether or not a disc is in the system, the animations and music will loop until a button is presed on the controller. When that happens, you'll show up on the music playback screen, shown here:



The topmost box on the left side, shown blank in this image, has the text "CD-ROM" when a suitable game CD is played in the tray -- it's used to launch Japanese Mega CD games (every system BIOS is locked to games of its region, though some MCD/SCD units don't care which MD/Gen console it's connected to). Aside from that, this screen is, obviously, used as a means of playing back CD audio -- it can be used for any redbook audio disc, even those with game data on it. Crucially, there's an eject button on it. Since the model 1 units don't have a hardware eject button, this is the primary place to insert (or eject) a disc from the unit.

Most of the interface buttons on this screen are pretty intuitive (due to the use of the ISO 7000 / IEC 60417 standardized media control icons for playback, pause, fast forward, etc.) but a couple may be confusing. "Repeat" is used to repeat the current playlist, which is either the full disc contents or a selection of tracks programmed in using the "Set" option: If the disc is stopped, selecting the "Program" option and hitting play allows for the customized track selection to be played instead of the standard numerical order. A-B repeat takes two timed inputs, and loops the interval of audio in the gap between the time of the two presses. The first random option, "Random-A" creates a shuffled playlist of tracks where every track is included once, and "Random-B" chooses a random track to jump when a track ends and may play the same track more than once before every track is played. "Space" sets a pause of silence in between tracks between 2 seconds and 1 minute. "Time" has four display options: elapsed track time, remaining track time, elapsed total CD time, and remaining total CD time. "Reset" removes any repeat or shuffle options set, and "Clear" clears out any custom-set playlist.

That last option, "option" is not used to control the CD player at all, but is used to modify the Sega CD internal memory and the memory of an attached RAM cart, should there be one. You can format the memory (clearing out any residual data and setting a corrupted memory into a usable state), delete individual game save data, or transfer files from the RAM cart to system memory or vice-versa. Games that use save data will throw up an error if you try to play them without the saves initialized. The interface for this menu is basically exactly the same for each system, with the only change being that Japanese systems have that text in Japanese.

CDG there is used to display the graphics that display for Karaoke CDs (the CD-G format); while Sega's CD units required that separate hookup shown in a previous post to connect microphones, it was still possible to use the connected TV to show the display that a karaoke machine would have. (A couple promotional discs actually used the CD-G format to display custom graphics not for the sake of Karaoke but to enhance the listening experience with animations.)

All CD units have some capability of off-TV display, and thus could potentially double as a primary CD player for your household, just connected to some speakers. You probably wouldn't want to do this, but you could control the system without the TV by holding down the start button: pressing A ejects the disc tray, B stops a playing CD, and C alternates between play and pause. The left and right buttons on the D-pad can be used to switch the playing track. (The other SCD systems have this feature as well.)

As with the Genesis when playing a cartridge game, the Mega CD has a screen that shows up before the game starts that gives you the "produced by" screen. In the case of the Japanese Mega CD units, it looks like this:



And that's your tour through the Mega CD 1.0(J) BIOS interface!
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Old 10-14-2016, 02:34 AM
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This is the one I'm most closely familiar with:



I use it as my ringtone for text messages.
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  #22  
Old 10-17-2016, 01:26 AM
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Default BETTER KNOW A BIOS #2

The nice thing about writing such an exhaustive first BIOS post is that this next part is much easier to write, because a lot of the heavy documentation was done there. I can go in and tell you what's changed between the Japanese and US model 1 BIOS and it shouldn't take up too much of your time. That's what I'd like to say, anyway, but in the 10-ish months between the releases, the system firmware underwent a number of changes, and the contrast with the original Mega CD BIOS is pretty stark.

As I noted before, the most obvious change is that it's no longer the Mega CD -- since it wasn't called the 'Mega Drive' here, there was no tie-in marketing by calling it that. Instead, it's the Sega CD. Between the new name and the inclusion of the Sega logo on the BIOS screen right there on boot, they want it to be extremely clear who made the hardware it is that you're using.

By the way, speaking of the new Sega CD logo, it's a pretty nice one, isn't it? Let's take another look at it.



There's quite a bit going on here that I want to talk about, because there's actually quite a number of larger Sega design choices that tie into some of the specific appearance of that logo there.

So, with a few exceptions, the early box art of the Genesis grew out of the common design of Master System box art, and since Sega was effectively the sole publisher of the system's library, the games for that system had a common design for all their box art, a white background with a blue checkerboard grid. There'd usually be a small piece of clip art or two on the cover along with the title, often really unhelpful as a representative image of what a game would be like. Here's an example of what that meant in practice, using the common joke example that most people who would read this are probably already familiar with:



Now, compare that to this box art of Super Thunder Blade, which was a launch title for the original release of the Mega Drive in Japan in 1988, as well as for the American release roughly a year later in 1989.



Sega learned their lesson about what not to do soon enough to not make the same mistake with Genesis games -- there's a lot more game art here! But you'll also notice that below the art, where the game title is, there's another checkerboard background, this time black and gray.

For the record, game boxes looked basically the same in America and Europe, the main difference being the use of "Mega Drive" instead of "Genesis" outside of the US. Since European boxes were designed to have game descriptions in multiple languages, the back boxes of both systems' games were almost identical in layout, with the checkerboard backgrounds, a box of images taken from the game, and a series of paragraphs each of which was a translated version of some ad copy for the game.

Perhaps as a result of the Master System being most successful in parts of Europe, this style of Genesis box art was used for a little bit longer than it was in America. In America, the attachment to the Master System was limited, but its shrunken cousin, the Game Gear was at least a little more celebrated. Game Gear boxes were slightly smaller, but given that many games could get Game Gear, Genesis, and Master System ports -- especially high-profile titles like the Streets of Rage series or the Sonic games. Early Game Gear games in America had only the barest amount of product identification on their boxes, and I wouldn't be surprised if people got confused thinking they were getting a Genesis game when instead, oops, because they didn't actually know what they were doing wound up getting Sonic 2 for a system that they didn't actually own.

By the way, here's the Sonic 2 Game Gear box art in America:



There's not a lot of great design there, is there? The labelling feels like it was placed haphazardly compared to the elegant Genesis cartridges, clunky and uncentered, and the Sega seal of quality isn't covered up by the black border used to separate the game's labels and logos. It's a mess, and looks like what you'd get today out of a 5-minute romp in photoshop, or, dare I say it, MS Paint.

So given that Sega of America had no particular attachment to the Master System box art styling; had Genesis, Game Gear, and now Sega CD games all out on the market by 1992; and was suffering from bad box art design in its Game Gear releases, there was a clear and obvious change to be made that enhanced product differentiation and made the games of the era easily recognizable:



The spines of the various Sega cartridges were color-coded with a banner that identified which system the game was for. Genesis games had a red banner, Game Gear games had a purple banner, and Sega CD games had a blue banner. (Master System games were effectively out of the picture at this point.) All of them used the same font to identify explicitly which system a game was for, and the consistent banner meant that it was easier to layout the boxart for a game in a way that kept logos and labels from awkwardly encroaching on images like they do in early Game Gear releases. The change wasn't actually immediate -- Sega CD games in the launch window, for example, had cardboard boxes with the game art and logo surrounded by a monochrome border, with the Sega CD logo near the bottom of the box (the game was included on a basic standard jewel case), and of course games like Sonic 2 retained the checkerboard logo for Genesis games, despite its release date being about a month after.

While the font in this logo thus actually comes first, the fact that it doesn't use the standard SEGA font seems to be out of a desire to go for a more uniform packaging, which also led to Sega CD games being made with boxes that were a cross between Genesis boxes and jewel cases, longer and thicker, and with insert booklets the same size as standard Genesis game manuals (which doubled as the game's cover art, as CD booklets do for jewel cases). This was probably done as a compromise between a desire to make Sega's products stand out better in the market and on shelves (it certainly keeps them from being confused with audio CD jewel cases) while also cutting down very slightly on extraneous packaging (since it made the cardboard case redundant).

(But seriously, there were versions of Ecco for Master System, for Game Gear, for Genesis, and for Sega CD -- not to mention PC. While they weren't all available at the same time in the same places, being able to clearly identify which release matched up with each system was a boon to customers and therefore also retailers.)

Anyway, you'll notice that the font used in the Sega CD logo is exactly the same one used in the spine identifier shown above. That said, Sega CD games with that packaging didn't use that Sega CD logo (while the cardboard-boxed games did), instead choosing to have CD use the same font as all the other spine text examples. (I think that's a slight shame, because they probably could have gotten away with it.) In any case, it points to the design being part of a gradual push toward a consistent set of product identifiers for their software, one turned out to be, in my estimation, quite successful.

Speaking of that stylized CD logo, it's pretty cool, isn't it? It's made to look a little like a CD itself, since the letters together curve in a way that looks a bit like a circle with some fonts. It feels like a precursor to the logo of the SD card format, which, I should note, was originally designed for use with an optical disc format that never wound up happening. I think it's funny that one of the more relevant logos of modern storage formats has in its lineage the logo of a localized version of a console expansion that didn't catch on much either.

That's...a lot of writing for what amounts to two words for product packaging, isn't it? Go figure. Now where were we? Oh, right, the startup screen.



The Mega CD bootup was, in a way, the epitome of chill. A single logo flapping around the clouds while airy strings and piano played in the background? In a way, almost relaxing. A small bit of text (translated) told you to please hit the start button, the only real pressure to get away from that screen.

The Sega CD bootup is the antithesis of chill. The two logos -- Sega's and the conole's -- zoom in and out of the background to string and horn stings. The intensity is upped by combining the Genesis's synths with the sample playback the SCD provides, delivering a fuller sound with more acoustic depth. And it's in space! SPACE! There's the Earth, the Moon, and lots of stars. What a powerful intro!

The Sega CD logo is hypnotic in a way, with its rainbow palette shifting every frame to give the illusion of additional motion (rather than the effect of depth from the shading in the Japanese bootup). Because it shares space with the Sega logo now, the animations that it takes are noticeably different from the original. You can see a few holdouts that look like they came mostly unchanged from the Japanese bootup -- the animation where the Mega CD logo bounced on its bottom corners while growing larger, as if it were walking toward the screen, has an analogue in an animation where the logos seem to walk into the screen, and some of the squashing and stretching shows up again -- but a lot of the animations, especially the first several, don't appear to be very similar to any of the ones in the Japanese bootup. Many of these animations go heavy on the after-images, so the screen fills up with logos like the card animations at the end of a game of classic Windows solitaire.

The music loop is very rock-inspired. While it won't be the last time that something for Sega CD will change its sound to rock harder for America (hello Sonic CD!) it is certainly one of the more noticeable ones. Composed by David Javelosa (notable for his work on the soundtrack of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine), it's got lots of synth pitch bends and some fairly heavy drums for the Genesis. It does a great job of balancing out the strengths of the sound chips of each platform: percussion and strings are played back on the Sega CD's sampler, and the guitar, bass, electric piano, and synth are all generated on the Genesis FM synth (YM2612), some of them doubled up (mainly the guitar) to give an echo effect and more harmonic fullness.

In retrospect, given that the Japanese Master System showed off the sound it was capable of when its synths were used in tandem (which no official release ever took advantage of) in its BIOS with its lovely remix of Space Harrier's main theme, it's odd that the Mega CD bios only uses the sample chip for playback. Go figure, huh?

So the animations loop around about 3 minutes in. You'll notice that this time around rather than press start to enter the disc control menu, you have a command that lets you open the disc tray right from this screen -- hitting the reset button. Pressing the reset button is the easiest way to switch out discs on this revision, because when there is a disc in the tray already, the system either goes directly from the boot screen to the game launcher or the audio control menu -- depending on whether the disc is game media or just an ordinary audio CD. You can force the system to go to the audio controls by hitting A, B, or C on this screen, and just like with the Japanese system there's another eject button on that screen.

That said, the most reliable method of ejecting the disc is to hit the reset button on the console during bootup. If there is a disc in the system, though, you might not know to do that, as the screen will inform you to press the start button (and once the disc is read or a button pressed, the bootup screen goes away).

Anyway, when you leave the bootup screen for whichever reason, this is what you end up with:



Now you have the audio control menu in space! This menu configuration only exists in this console revision, and it's a little more compact than the Japanese one. The compact control set, with the 'program' menu providing most of the options available on the Japanese system, makes me think of the direction the Saturn's BIOS would take, where the audio controls had a space theme as well, and was based around a handful of control icons and a couple expandable menus.



The options are all basically the same, with the exception of the loss of the random-b option; "shuffle" produces a full CD playlist with the track order randomized.

Those two blank squares at the bottom of the control box both have text associated with them that shows up under specific circumstances. The left box says "option" and is selectable when on this screen if there is either no disc or a game disc in the system (it is not selectable when an audio CD is inserted, not even if there is a RAM cartridge in the slot). The box on the right says "CD-ROM" only when a Sega CD game is inserted and, unsurprisingly, boots the game.



The game boot screen is different! A year later and Sonic is huge in America, iconic and tied to the idea of Sega in general. So of course he shows up on this screen. The instruments used in the Sega jingle are different, too; the horn sounds less overdriven than the one used in the Japanese bootup screen. But it's slightly slower than the Japanese one because Sonic wags his finger (to spread the sparkles that surround the Sega logo?) while the ring sound effect plays. Weird, but almost exactly what anyone would expect out of Sega of America at the time.

While the Sega CD Model 1 BIOS sure has lots of intentionally cool design principles, I can't help but think of it as mostly a pain to navigate. The system menu for managing saves can't be accessed when an audio CD is in the drive, the audio CD controls are harder to access when a game is already in the drive, and the only reason using the reset button to eject the disc tray is a good idea is that the audio control menu with the eject button doesn't automatically load every time. Couple this with the fact that the mechanical drive's moving parts have a risk of failure which immobilizes the tray and it's hard to argue that the Model 1 SCD has many useful defining features.
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  #23  
Old 10-17-2016, 04:39 AM
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Wendell Wendell is offline
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Great posts, muteKi.
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  #24  
Old 10-17-2016, 10:43 PM
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LBD_Nytetrayn LBD_Nytetrayn is offline
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Indeed, I'm enjoying them. =)
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  #25  
Old 10-17-2016, 10:46 PM
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Posaune Posaune is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LBD_Nytetrayn View Post
Indeed, I'm enjoying them. =)
I'm not!

I was gonna reply with 'Sega C-Deez Nuts', but now the thread is actually good and useful!
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  #26  
Old 10-18-2016, 12:44 AM
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jovewolf jovewolf is offline
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Oh hey we missed one on the the list.

Probably because it cost ~$1500 USD to get full Sega CD functionality.

Also love the posts muteKi! Very informative!
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  #27  
Old 04-20-2017, 04:33 PM
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muteKi muteKi is offline
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bumping this because I remembered I never finished the better-know-a-bios series
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  #28  
Old 04-21-2017, 01:31 PM
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Wendell Wendell is offline
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Yeah, bring em on!
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