Back in 1992, Sega were at the very height of their powers. Business was booming for their arcade division and they had turned around their initially faltering fortunes as a console manufacturer as well, releasing the mighty MegaDrive at the end of the 80’s which went on to dominate in most of the world’s territories. This period also unsurprisingly coincided with the height of my Sega fanboyishness too. Never was I more convinced of their superiority and it seems they bought into it somewhat themselves as well.
It was certainly a nice-looking unit when it did appear, first of all in Japan of course, in 1991. As was usually the case until recent years, the new hardware took a long time to see a release in the other territories – ten months for the US, a further six months for Europe, but for most gamers it was worth the wait, or so Sega's adverts and the non-stop hype machine in the magazines would have us believe.
Many games did feature lovely audio as promised but the much-trumpeted FMV was poor quality and grainy thanks to the MD's rather limited colour palette and was usually featured in very small windows as well. Suffice to say, like most similar upgrades and even dedicated systems, it didn't last too long. Sega did their best to keep it going by releasing some exclusive titles - some were even good such as Sonic CD and the Lunar series of RPG's - and they also released a redesigned version of the system (Mega CD II, believe it or not), but it wasn't enough and it quickly lost support from most publishers of the day which signals the beginning of the end for any system...
Special Note: Like many of my other foolish ramblings, this post has ended up being rather on the long side so I've decided to split it in two - check tomorrow for the conclusion! :|