The Sega Mega Drive is a 16-bit console released by Sega in Japan in 1988, North America in 1989, and the PAL region in 1990. It was sold under the name Sega Genesis in North America as Sega was unable to secure legal rights to the Mega Drive name in that region.
The Mega Drive was the successor to the Sega Master System and was Sega's third home console.
The Mega Drive is part of the fourth generation era of consoles, and the first. It was a direct competitor of the the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) which was released two years later. The Sega Mega Drive began production in Japan in 1988 and ended with the last new game being released in 2002 in Brazil.
The Sega Mega Drive initially competed against the aging 8-bit NES, over which it had superior graphics and sound. Nonetheless, it had a hard time overcoming Nintendo's presence.
The standard Mega Drive controller features three main buttons and a start button usually used for pausing mid-game. The controller itself had a distinctive rounded shape. Sega later released a six-button version which was slightly smaller and featured, as well as three more face buttons, a mode button to allow the controller to work with certain older games which it would otherwise be incompatible with. Infra-red wireless versions of both controllers were also released.