Sega released the Mega Drive in Japan on October 29, 1988, though the launch was overshadowed by Nintendo's release of Super Mario Bros. 3 a week earlier. Positive coverage from magazines Famitsu and Beep! helped to establish a following, but Sega only managed to ship 400,000 units in the first year. In order to increase sales, Sega released various peripherals and games, including an online banking system and answering machine called the Sega Mega Anser.[19] Nevertheless, the Mega Drive was unable to overtake the venerable Famicom[20] and remained a distant third in Japan behind Nintendo's Super Famicom and NEC's PC Engine throughout the 16-bit era.[21]

Many of the Sony Mega Drives available come boxed with your old favourites, such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Ecco the Dolphin and Joe Montana Football. Some consoles even have games built in, with up to 80 games included in the console. If you have a favourite classic game, look out for boxed sets featuring the character or graphics from the game.

The term "video game console" is primarily used to distinguish a console machine primarily designed for consumers to use for playing video games, in contrast to arcade machines or home computers. An arcade machine consists of a video game computer, display, game controller (joystick, buttons, etc.) and speakers housed in large chassis. A home computer is a personal computer designed for home use for a variety of purposes, such as bookkeeping, accessing the Internet and playing video games. While arcades and computers are generally expensive or highly “technical” devices, video game consoles were designed with affordability and accessibility to the general public in mind.

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