Released about 6 months after the Nintendo Entertainment System - better known as the NES - the Sega Master System is one of my all-time favorite vintage games platforms.This 8-bit machine came in 2 versions in the west, the Sega Master System (SMS) 1, and the Sega Master System 2.
The SMS was sold in a variety of bundles, similar to the way todays modern consoles are sold in computer game shops, but most of the games sold with the machine were built in. Sonic, Alex Kidd and Safari Hunt were just some of the games built into various versions, and if I have to be honest, it's a shame this sort of thing no longer happens.
With the new computers coming out these days, it would be great to be able to buy the machine, get it home, and boot up an old classic, without having to spend more money before you can even use the machine.
The SMS also had a variety of accessories available.
The control stick was rather bulky, but it was very durable, and was very useful for pulling off killer moves on fighting games, such as Mortal Kombat.
Another great gadget was the auto-fire unit, which did exactly what it said on the box. You plug it into your controller port, then plug your controller in. Turn it on, and hold your fire button down. Hey Presto! You have auto-fire. No more wearing your thumbs down to the bone on shooting games, and no more worn buttons.
And of course, you had the light phaser, and let's face it, shooting games are much more fun when you've got an actual gun in your hands, rather than moving a sluggish, non-responsive reticule across the screen with your D-pad.
As for games, some of the best were available on the SMS. OK, Nintendo gave them a bit of a problem at first, by making developers sign NES only contracts, but once this was deemed as illegal, the SMS soon sprouted new games from every genre.
One of my favorites was Alex Kidd in Miracle World, and it will definitely appear as a review in the near future.
There were games from almost every genre on the SMS, and there was something for everyone. After Burner for the flight sim/shooter fans. Mortal Kombat 1, 2 and 3 for the fighting fans. Lemmings for the puzzle fans. There were even versions of some of the old tape or disk games of the early 80's. Gauntlet, Paperboy and Impossible Mission all made an appearance, all of which I remember playing on my dad's Amstrad CPC464.
All in all, the SMS, although not as popular as some of it's competition, is a forgotten classic in my opinion, and a console that any self-respecting vintage games collector should have.