The Launch of the Sega Genesis (1989) | Classic Gaming Quarterly

Episode 44 – The launch of the Sega Genesis in 1989. Sega first entered the home console market in 1983 with the SG-1000, which was released in Asia, Australia, and some parts of Europe. In 1985, the hardware was upgraded and a new system, the Mark III was released. This would become the “Sega Master System” around the world, and although it was only really successful in Europe and Brazil, it blazed the trail for Sega’s next system, the 16-bit Mega Drive.

The Mega Drive, designed around the Motorola 68000 CPU (previously used in Sega’s “System 16″ arcade hardware” was released in Japan in November of 1988, and was brought over to North America as the “Genesis” less than a year later. Launching on August 14, 1989, the system came bundled with Altered Beast, and 5 additional games were available on day 1: Space Harrier II, Last Battle, Super Thunder Blade, Tommy Lasorda Baseball, and Thunder Force II.

Initially Sega was competing with NEC’s TurboGrafx-16, launched just a week after the Genesis. But Sega’s superior hardware and marketing caused the Turbografx to quickly lose ground. For 2 years, the Genesis was the only 16-bit home console on the market, until the Super Nintendo was released in the late summer of 1991. This kicked off the infamous “16-bit Console War”, which was a back-and-forth affair, with Sega at one point outselling Nintendo, but ultimately aged hardware and poor decisions by Sega of Japan led to Nintendo ultimately winning out.

The Genesis was succeeded by the Sega Saturn in 1995, and the Dreamcast in 1999. The former was not a success in North America but was Sega’s best-selling system at home. The Dreamcast was an excellent arcade-at-home system that also had a number of excellent home-exclusive titles, but was ultimately Sega’s final entry in the hardware market.

The Genesis was Sega’s most iconic and successful console worldwide.

Show Notes:

– Much of this show was produced in tandem with the Sega Master System launch episode.

– The original “Launch of the Sega Genesis” episode was published on May 4, 2014, and was retired with almost 120,000 views. That video had comparatively low production value due to its age, which is why it was replaced.

– The System-16 board pictured in this episode is Golden Axe, and was the board used in the “History of Golden Axe” episode.

– All arcade footage used in this episode was generated using emulation. All home console footage was captured from actual hardware.

– The bulk of this episode was produced during a 5-day stretch in which I was working on it up to 16 hours per day.

– I found not one but two ways to sneak references to Ayrton Senna into this episode.

Music courtesy of Kevin MacLeod (­ncompetech)

#CGQuarterly #LaunchVids #SegaGenesis


  1. zergmare7 on March 25, 2021 at 11:11 pm

    Srriously i could listen to you talk all day. So informative and i learn a ton!

  2. Marvel Geek on March 25, 2021 at 11:13 pm

    Genesis had better games
    Super Nintendo had better graphics and better sound quality

  3. Classic Gaming Quarterly on March 25, 2021 at 11:13 pm

    Get the ALL NEW Classic Gaming Quarterly t-shirt here:

    This is a completely re-written and re-produced Genesis launch video that was made from scratch. The old one was delisted after the release of the Master System episode, and I made sure to have this one ready to go to take it’s place. The SMS, GEN, and SAT videos now make for a nice contiguous trilogy, with the Dreamcast episode set to finish out the series next year.

  4. THECOMMENTMASTER 7 on March 25, 2021 at 11:14 pm

    The Genesis sucked

  5. AlexanderBogdanow on March 25, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    Copied that comment from another vid from ya, cause I think it fits perfectly here: How Launch days have changed… In the good ol’ days, you just met ppl with whom you played online afterwards. Friedships developed and these specific ‘energy’ in air, the excitement. My mom once told me she witnessed the Mega Drive launch day here in Germany with my father. They met some nice folks and took ’em home to play some Altered Beast & Sonic together. – Plus a fighting game, but I forgot the name – Today, you meet just a bunch ‘o scalpers who are ‘ready to rumble’ if the stock runs dry… 🙄

  6. bstoos93 on March 25, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    I hate to ask but could you please give my channel a sub? it would help me out and I will have more content coming. thank you.

  7. things to do in Michigan swg on March 25, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    🤣😂🤣😂 I’m like 40 deep in this utubers utube and was like I love this dudes voice
    But now my mind is like …is that monotone …you ever get a person who is monotone pissed off …its hilarious!!!😅

  8. Stuart J 1210 on March 25, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    you missed a launch game lets call it the yellow game happy hunting

  9. RockHyde777 on March 25, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    Of all the available colour palettes, why can’t it be all colours on screen (60 out of 500 or to be more precise 61 out of 512) at once? Hardware limitations? Just no way around that? The processors available at the time? Too expensive to produce a processor that can display all available colours at once? I think Saturn and PlayStation can do that without limiting how many colours on screen or however many sprites it can have (animation frames are another story) at once without slowdown or tearing. Understanding sprites and colours per scanline is complicated. I think modern hardware can display a colour palette and what can be displayed on screen at once (which I don’t understand) of all the colours in the world which is probably more than 16.7 million. I bet modern hardware can have as many sprites on screen and all the animation frames they can as the developers want without being slowed down or torn or flicker all over the place, those were the limitations back in the day.

  10. redrooster303 on March 25, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    Was that Patrick Stewart talking in the ad. Sound like it but also sometimes it doesn’t.

  11. 1920's Flapper Girl on March 25, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    The only Saga System we have is the dreamcast from 98 ! and it from Toys R US

  12. Walter Sobchak on March 25, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    Love some Shadowrun

  13. Damin Mance on March 25, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    18:46 the music is the best for me I listen to it every time

  14. rgerber on March 25, 2021 at 11:26 pm

    those Console docs are very well made, i just found this yesterday and im hooked

  15. Bill J. on March 25, 2021 at 11:28 pm

    I said it before I’ll say it again. Had Sega been able to land a port of the original TMNT arcade game in the Fall of 1990, it literally would have been a game changer. Pre-Street Fighter 2, this game was a powerhouse and would have been a system seller.

  16. Lana Smith on March 25, 2021 at 11:28 pm

    You play Fallen Centurian resurrected by Zeus in ancient Greece. Is time travel involved? Does he mind that you have a different name for him?

  17. Lucas C. on March 25, 2021 at 11:29 pm

    Genesis is my favourite console of all time because I had a very emotional attachment to it when I was a kid. My great uncle picked one up when it first came out. He was into Phantasy Star II while I enjoyed his Golden Axe and Altered Beast games. I would watch him play PS2 and learn from him and he would let me go nuts on AB and GA. Finally, I got my own console with Micky Mouse Castle of Illusion and Sonic the Hedgehog shortly after that. I was a fanboy.

    Oh, and I never forgot my uncle’s enjoyment of Phantasy Star. Finished 2, 3, and 4 later on.

  18. Icosiol on March 25, 2021 at 11:29 pm

    Dude, you get an automatic Like for wearing the 1994 Ayrton Senna hat! This video is great too!

  19. Daniel DeVito on March 25, 2021 at 11:29 pm

    Greatest and coolest console in the history of gaming..

  20. Alexia Carter on March 25, 2021 at 11:31 pm

    And I’m Casey Kasem!

  21. xFlow777 on March 25, 2021 at 11:31 pm

    as a kid i always viewed nintendo as a console for little babies, i had sega genesis and one of my favorite games was mortal kombat, correct me if im wrong but there was no MK on nintendo, they even doing it now, censoring everything left and right.

  22. morrisonien on March 25, 2021 at 11:31 pm

    Streets of rage is my favorite game ever

  23. MJB Games on March 25, 2021 at 11:34 pm

    Kid In 1989: “The More Bits The Better”
    Kid In 2020: “The More Microtransactions The Better”

  24. jamie oiler on March 25, 2021 at 11:36 pm

    Alterd Beast was shit,lost interest in 5 mins

  25. SMKE on March 25, 2021 at 11:37 pm

    Genesis has high definition graphics before hd era

  26. Jon Paul on March 25, 2021 at 11:37 pm

    Street fighter 2 and Sonic the hedgehog is what made sega the money.

  27. NerdGamer on March 25, 2021 at 11:37 pm

    A week ago i showed my best friends son my Sega Genesis and he told me it was "old" and "weird" taken aback I said: So throwing a bean looking guy in a room with a killer is not weird (I was talking about among us) he just looked at me and said no cuz its new. its crazy what kid think is weird and what’s not lol.

  28. Alexander W. on March 25, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    Genisis was so ahead of its time

  29. Pan Z on March 25, 2021 at 11:43 pm

    For a system with so many great games as the Genesis, it’s launch titles are kinda lackluster. Most are bad, ports, or bad ports.
    I guess the launch showed off the graphical prowess of the system. But fantastic games wouldn’t come until later.

  30. Raketwerper on March 25, 2021 at 11:43 pm

    Blast processing 🤙

  31. Damin Mance on March 25, 2021 at 11:45 pm

    sega genesis will always be the best to me.

  32. Bryan Liguori on March 25, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    6:09 "Sega Cyclone" would probably have worked for a disc-based system

  33. Ryan Ortega on March 25, 2021 at 11:47 pm

    What a great voice!

  34. life and times of Jonathan Harrison on March 25, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    Altered Beeeeeeeeeaaaaaaasssssssst!!!!!

  35. Mars Boy on March 25, 2021 at 11:50 pm

    good tiimes

  36. Paul on March 25, 2021 at 11:51 pm

    Uk call this the Mega drive! Not Genesis.

  37. Strangermoon on March 25, 2021 at 11:53 pm

    altered beast can be seems not good game for somes now but in that time it was exatcly feels like god of war combined dark souls until ghouls of ghost rlease ofcourse. imagine 2 player coop verison of game god of war or darksouls come with console package ps3 or ps4 launch. last battle also good game espcialy that time when fist of north star on tv. all other titles like thunder force or space harrier get better games like after burner 2 and thunder force 3 and 4 but the altread beast and last battle not get better versioned similar game. streets of rage style games not look like those games. ı can say same about wold cup italia 90. other soccer games mostly not top down view which that game good about it.

  38. Jovan Jovanovic on March 25, 2021 at 11:56 pm

    There wasn’t greek centurions. Centurion was a professional officer at a old Roman army. Pretty awesome video though! Nice!

  39. Mumps Mumpshun on March 25, 2021 at 11:57 pm


  40. Ken Murawski on March 25, 2021 at 11:57 pm

    I love coming back to watch this for the holidays. 😊😊

  41. kyle stivers on March 25, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    I want an original genesis. I need all the sonic the hedgehog games and vectorman and I have to have Jurassic park too. I miss my genesis.

  42. undone14 on March 25, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    Altered Beast worst game? I LOVED that game back in 1989. I thought it was awesome. I was like 6 at that time so that could be it but looks great to me seeing footage of it again!

  43. BlueBraviary on March 26, 2021 at 12:00 am

    I had the square version of Genesis

  44. frank on March 26, 2021 at 12:04 am

    I’m really enjoying your content. So much that I’ve been bin watching your videos! Could use a little more turbo gfx and Neo Geo. Especially as good as u put these videos together. Thx man 🤘

  45. Stazia Kibera on March 26, 2021 at 12:05 am

    Sinister cause presents throw back 101 on YouTube

  46. 33Dannyb on March 26, 2021 at 12:05 am

    I’ll say one thing: Sega definitely sold me on the console being more geared towards older kids. Not that I was an older kid, but it just seemed cooler than the SNES. Had I never played the Genesis at a friends house I probably would have got an SNES. That night changed my gaming life lol. And yup, it was Sonic 1.

  47. Miles Allen on March 26, 2021 at 12:06 am

    The only shortcoming of the Mega drive is the scratchy sound compared to the snes

  48. Jose Rosa on March 26, 2021 at 12:08 am

    “Genesis dose what Nintendon’t.”
    Nintendo: Bruh?

  49. Tural Narimanovv on March 26, 2021 at 12:09 am

    Sega my life. 🙏💗🎮

  50. pearljaime2 on March 26, 2021 at 12:10 am

    High definition 👌

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