SEGA Power Base Converter

This is the SEGA Power Base Converter. This guy was released by SEGA so you could have access to its 8-Bit SEGA Master System games. All you have to do is plug this guy into your SEGA Genesis (model 1 only) cartridge slot and you can play all the SEGA Master System carts or cards and use some of the peripherals like the 3D Glasses. I never owned one originally but have since purchased one and use it to play my SEGA Master System games. The real beauty of this guy is that does not require any additional cables or power supplies, just plug it in! The down side is that it only fits the SEGA Genesis 1 (not the 2nd or 3rd versions) due to its shape. I have one that someone hacksawed off the lip on the back to make it fit the newer models, and my assassins are still scouring the globe to eliminate the individual for defacing such a nice piece of hardware!

The SEGA Power Base Converter

Model #1620

While there was only one version made, it is technically another version of the SEGA Master System, but due to the fact that it requires the SEGA Genesis I thought it needed its own page.

It fits and sits beautifully on the original SEGA Genesis, and adds the nice Master System color scheme to it.

While all you have to do is plug it in, flip open the cartridge door, and start playing Master System games. You could not plug Genesis games into the Power Base. To play your Genesis games again you had to remove the Power Base. Not a big deal as it was basically a very large cartridge.

Every SEGA Master System game was compatible except for Alien Syndrome. You could also use the SEGA Genesis controller to play Master System games (Buttons B & C served as Buttons 1 & 2), for most games. If you experienced some odd controls you can always just plug in a SEGA Master System Controller.

SEGA Master System

  • Unit Lifetime: 1986-1991 (US)
  • Units Sold Wordlwide: 13 million (2 Mil in US)
  • Resolution: 256 x 192
  • Colors Available: 256
  • Colors on Screen: 32
  • Power Requirements: 10V 850amps
  • Sound: 6-Channel Mono
  • Games Released US: 318

As for buttons and ports there are few. As I mentioned above this guy requires no additional cables or power supplies other then those used to hook up the original SEGA Genesis. You can find out how to connect them in out How To section. The cartridge flap on top has to be flipped up to insert a game. There is PAUSE button to pause Master System games while you are playing them (the Genesis pause button will not work). On the right side is the Master System Card Game slot. You can place either a regular cartridge up top or a card game here, but not both. There is an opening on the very front to allow the SEGA Genesis power light to shine through when powered on.

SEGA Master System Controllers

SEGA Master System 2-Button Controller

The SEGA Master System came with a 2-button controller very similar to the NES controller. It has your standard 8-way d-pad and an A and B button. Pretty straight forward. The Power Base Converter did not come with a controller. So you would need to use ones you already have.

There are some different variations though that I have come across. On the early models the wire came out of the controller on the right side. This made it a bit awkward to hold as you would have the wire running between your fingers. They later moved the wire to the back like we are all used to. There are some controllers that have a small hole in the middle of the d-pad. If you look closely you will see there is a screw thread inside. This was used to screw in a tiny little knob that was about a 1/2″ tall. It has a little ball on the end and made the d-pad more like a little joystick… good luck finding those little guys.

SEGA Light Phaser Gun

Much like the NES, the SEGA Master System often came with a gun pack-in. The Light Phaser is a nice light gun. The design is cool and like a laser gun. The trigger has a nice click and is responsive. The construction is nice and they also added a weight inside the handle so that it has some nice heavy feel to it.

NOTE: This gun or any other light gun like the NES version WILL NOT work on new TVs. It will only work on old CRT TVs as it shoots electrons that the CRT screen detects. This effect is gone on LCD TVs or anything not a CRT. This is a good reason to get and keep an old reliable CRT TV for your game room!

SEGA Genesis Controllers

The 3-Button Controller

When using the SEGA power base converter you can use SEGA Genesis controllers also.

The SEGA Genesis originally came with a 3-button controller. It has an 8-way directional d-pad, a Start button, and three buttons labeled A, B & C.

These controllers are fairly durable, but with original controllers being decades old now you find many that do not work. But when they are in good shape they are good quality controllers. They can be maintained, cleaned and repaired and I will go over some of that in the GameTrog Maintenance Section.

They feel beefy with a little weight and thick plastic and may feel a little big in smaller hands. The d-pad and buttons are responsive and it’s an all around solid controller. I have seen various cord lengths from plenty to short. There are also a few different internal changes over the years, but appeared the same cosmetically.

The 6-Button Controller

In 1993 SEGA made a 6-button controller for the SEGA Genesis. This was partly due to fighting games like Street Fighter that required the extra inputs. To me this is a perfect analog controller. It’s slightly smaller and easier to handle than the 3-button controller while adding 3 more action buttons.

The new buttons are labeled X, Y & Z and smaller than the original A, B & C buttons. The are also rounded or convex while the original buttons retain the recess concave shape. This makes the very easy to navigate. The buttons are sturdy and responsive.

The d-pad is slightly smaller than the original 3-button controller and raised a little higher. It had a little more movement that feels nice.

Just like the 3-button they are sturdy and well made, but time waits for nothing and maintenance or repair may be necessary.

NOTE: There is a button located on the right shoulder. This is a MODE button for a few games (one’s made before the controller was) that did not work with the 6-button controller was used. Holding this button down and then turning on the system and waiting for the game to load will make the controller function like an original 3-button controller.

SEGA Master System Games

The SEGA Master Systems graphics were very nice for the time. In almost all cases if the same game was availble for the NES, the Master System version was superior.

The Master Systems library has a good mix of game types. There are many gun games including ones that utilize the 3-D Glasses. There are some quality RPGs, plenty of platformers, shumups, and action games. There is plenty here to keep any collector happy.

The SEGA Master System is a cartridge based system. The games came in a plastic box, with clips inside that held the cartridge. There are normally tabs on the inside front that held the manual in place. These are the same style boxes that were later used for the SEGA Genesis.

Being a plastic box these guys have held up pretty well. There is a clear mylar sleeve around the box that the game cover slips into. This allows the box art to hold up pretty well over time also. You can remove the game cover from the top or bottom of the box (opening the box gives a little slack to the mylar sleeve allowing you to reach in and pull out the cover. If yours is damaged you can even print your own cover and slide it in!

Most of the manuals were in black and white with blue used for the cover. The box art design and manuals on most games had the same overall Master System grid lines with some small art that represented the game. It’s rare to see game box with large game graphics and not follow this design. Most of the games you do find were from the 2nd running of master system games that came out after the SEGA Genesis.

In addition to the standard cartridges the SEGA Master System also played smaller games from The SEGA Card. These are little credit card sized games. They are about 3 times thicker than a credit card though and quite sturdy. Their box was slightly smaller and much thinner then the standard Master System cases. The card it self came with a clear protective sleeve that slides over the entire card for storage.

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