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Sega CD - Genesis Add-On Video Game Console

The Sega CD is an add-on hardware attachment that was developed for the Sega Genesis video game console. Released in North America in 1992 by Sega, the system adds extra hardware functionality to the Sega Genesis. Years after the system's release, many Sega games are widely considered to be underappreciated classics by hard-core fans and classic game collectors alike.

Do you need a Genesis to run the Sega CD?

Yes, the Sega Genesis console is required to play all Sega CD games. The Sega CD is essentially a quasi-console. It requires the base Genesis hardware to properly function, but it doesn't play or affect Genesis games in any way. Instead, the system has its own library of games, completely separate from and independent of the Genesis library. The system attaches to an expansion slot on the bottom of the Genesis console, but otherwise, it acts independently from the system.

How does the system improve on the Sega Genesis console?

The Sega CD was designed to augment the capabilities of the Sega Genesis console. Thanks to a slightly faster processor and improved graphics unit, Sega CD titles are capable of slightly improved performance. However, the main selling point of Sega's system at the time of its release was its full CD-ROM playback capabilities. It was one of the first video game consoles to incorporate a CD drive into its system. That held many advantages. For example, a typical cartridge in the early 1990s could be expected to hold a few megabytes of data. A CD-ROM, on the other hand, held hundreds of megabytes of data.

Not only did the CD-ROM format pave the way for the development of larger games, but it also allowed developers to include video and audio files that were more advanced than anything at the time for 16-bit consoles. Sega's system was also capable of playing audio CDs, which were only just entering the mainstream at the time.

What kinds of games were released for the system?

The Sega CD library contains a mixture of exclusive titles and re-released versions of Genesis games that take advantage of the superior capabilities of Sega's CD console. Many of the most popular games for the system, including Sonic CD, Lunar: Eternal Blue, and Snatcher, were designed exclusively to benefit from the CD format by incorporating high-quality audio and video.

A special technique known as full-motion video, or FMV, refers to a type of pre-rendered or pre-recorded video that is played during certain moments of the game to enhance its graphical quality. Whereas most graphics at the time were rendered in very simple 2-D sprites, FMV could incorporate hand-drawn, computer-generated, or live-action clips into the game. A select few games, such as Night Trap, were made exclusively by using pre-recorded footage that could be interacted with in a limited way.

Content provided for informational purposes only. eBay is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sega.
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