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Sega entered the electronic games market producing only software and full-sized arcade cabinets. In 1986, Sega challenged Nintendo's dominance by releasing the 8-bit Master System. The Master System had sharper, more colorful graphics and substantially better sound quality than the Nintendo Entertainment System. This was not enough to overcome Nintendo's advantage in market share, however.

For two years of its six-year production, Sega sold the American production rights to Tonka. This did not increase its popularity with consumers. With the success of the Genesis, Sega reclaimed the production rights in 1990 and continued producing the unit for two more years. Sega also released two devices that let people play their Master System games on the new Genesis and Game Gear systems.

Despite its demise in 1992, the Master System continues to be popular in Brazil. New units were produced as late as 2006. These units, marketed as the Master System III, include several innovations such as wireless controllers and television connections. There is also a design marketed specifically to girls with a hot pink console and pastel colored buttons. Also, Nintendo recently announced that Master System games would be available for purchase on their Wii Virtual Console in North America. [DL]

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  • Title: Video game console:The Sega Master System
  • Creator: Sega
  • Date Created: 1987
  • Location: Hong Kong
  • Subject Keywords: electronic game, video game, Sega, Sega Master System
  • Type: Console Hardware
  • Medium: plastic, metal, printed paper
  • Object ID: 110.1419.13

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