Sega Console Region

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Sega Consoles

todo: Add video links or website links showing detailed instructions.


Sega Master System

Identical names? No, the western release calls it the Sega Master System while in Japan it was originally called Sega Mark III before it got re-released as Sega Master System.
The very successful release in Brazil is known as Tec Toy Master System.
Similar cart sizes? No, Western cartridges are different to Japanese as they have different pins.
Can a PAL console be modified to function or even match NTSC/PAL-M speeds? Sort of (see SMS notes below)
Method (Japanese games playing on a Western System) A Western/JP Master System to Sega 16-bit console (the console you play it on is not SMS) click here
Method (Western games playing on a JP System) A ToToTek Western Master System games to Japanese MarkIII/Master System Converter click here
Safe to use NTSC import consoles with official EU/UK power supply in Europe/UK? Master System (USA): Works

Mark III/Master System (JPN): Works



SMS notes:
The main issue which is not easily noticeable is that a PAL Modded SMS running at 60hz runs a tad slower than official NTSC/PAL-M SMS models.
The Sega Master System in Japan has built in FM sound and some games can use that feature but only in Japan mode
There's different console BIOs that may prevent Japanese imports to function properly.
Earlier Mark III games, SG-1000 games and both third-party Japanese games are among those that won't work with just the Mark III to SMS adapter.

Sega Genesis/Sega Mega Drive

Identical names? No, Japan and Europe calls it the Sega Mega Drive while America calls it the Sega Genesis.
Similar cart sizes? Sort of, the pins are identical but the shape makes it "impossible" to insert import carts.
Can a PAL console be modified to function or even match NTSC speeds? Sort of but it is better to get a NTSC model (see Sega Mega Drive notes below)
US Method 1 (Western Console playing old Japanese games) A Widen the cartridge slot.
US Method 2a (Western NTSC Console playing later Japanese games) Game Genie/Action Replay which bypass region lock to certain games by inputting a code.
US Method 2b (Western NTSC Console playing later Japanese games) Modify the console by adding a language switch and Widen the cartridge slot/use a honeybee related converter to insert Japanese games.
Safe to use NTSC import consoles with official EU/UK power supply in Europe/UK? NTSC Model 1: Works with PAL Model 1 power supply

NTSC Model 2: Works with PAL Model 2 power supply



Sega Mega Drive/Genesis notes
The main issue which is not easily noticeable is that a PAL Modded Mega Drive running at 60hz runs a tad slower than official NTSC Gens/Mega Drive models.

There are 3 different groups of games based on language count and compatibility
The oldest games roughly before 1992 usually have multiple languages and are compatible with any console, the HZ and Language mode is based on the console that is played on.
For example a UK copy of Streets of Rage played on a NTSC Japanese Mega Drive will function as Bare Knuckle (JP name) in 60hz.

The second set of games are region locked but still have multiple languages which is noticeable when using a language switch mod. Most notable example is Streets of Rage 2.
The third set of games are region locked and only supports one language, Genesis users may need to get a Game Genie/Action Replay which bypass region lock to certain games by inputting a code. Or modify the system to support a language switch to change it to Japanese and widen the cartridge slot/get a honey bee converter to insert Japanese games

Strangely if you use a PAL Mega Drive, it is possible to play Bare Knuckle 3 by using a Honey Bee converter or widen the cartridge slot but the game will only run at 50hz.
While UK Mega Drive and US Genesis share the same cartridge shape, some of the later PAL games were optimised for 50hz systems and they will play slower if used on 60hz systems, notable examples: Sonic 2, Sonic 3 (& Knuckles).
Try and get Genesis/JP Mega Drive copies for games released in 1992 -> onwards if possible.

Sega CD

Identical names? No, Japan and Europe calls it the Sega Mega CD while America calls it the Sega CD.
Can a PAL console be modified to function or even match NTSC speeds? Sort of, see Sega CD notes.
Combinations with default BIOs (Main console region + CD console region = Outcome) US Genesis + PAL Mega CD 2 BIOS = ERROR
PAL Mega Drive + US Sega CD 2 BIOS = ERROR
PAL Mega Drive + PAL Mega CD 1 BIOS = works
Italic text examples below uses a Region modded PAL Mega Drive
PAL Mega Drive with language switch to US or JP + US Sega CD 2 BIOS = works
PAL Mega Drive with language switch to JP/US/"PAL" + JP Mega CD 2 Bios = works
PAL Mega Drive with language switch set to JP/US + PAL Mega CD 1 BIOS = ERROR
Can a CD console be modified to play any game regardless of region? Yes, a region free BIOs mod exists.
Safe to use NTSC import consoles with official EU/UK power supply in Europe/UK? NTSC CD Model 1: Works or you can also use a PAL Mega Drive 1 Power supply

NTSC CD Model 2: Works or you can also use a PAL Mega Drive 1 Power supply



Sega CD notes
The main issue which is not easily noticeable is that a PAL Modded Mega Drive running at 60hz runs a tad slower than official NTSC Gens/Mega Drive models.

The PAL 60hz mod could tweak the gameplay speed but not the already optimised music speed just like a Sega Saturn.
The easiest way to ensure 60hz is to get a NTSC Genesis/Mega Drive & along with a Mega/Sega CD model 2 with a region free bios mod to enable the system to play any American & Japanese games at 60hz.

Greenalink has a NTSC Genesis Model 2 and a Sega Mega CD Model 2 with Region Free BIOS. The system can now play Japanese, US and European games!


Sega 32X

Identical names? No. US model is known as Genesis 32x, in Japan it is known as Sega Super 32x and in Europe it is known as Mega Drive 32x
Can a PAL console be modified to function or even match NTSC speeds? To be answered later.
Method All the region mod on the 32X does, is set the Genlock. If the Genlock is incorrectly set, and the video input is of a different vertical refresh, the Genlock fails, and the 32X won't boot. This works good as a region mod. That means an JP 32X could in theory works on a USA Genesis. Security checks are actually done on the Genesis itself (Unconfirmed).
Safe to use NTSC import consoles with official EU/UK power supply in Europe/UK? Genesis 32X (US) : Works

Super 32X (JP): Works



Sega Saturn

Similar cart sizes? Yes, oh wait the main system is still CDs.
Can a PAL console be modified to function or even match NTSC speeds? Sort of, see note below.
Methods (US System playing Japanese Games & vice versa) A cartridge add on called "Memory Card plus" or "Action Replay plus 4M" The latter is better as it also plays both 1 Meg ram and 4 Meg ram cart games Video click here.
There is another method called the region switch mod but that requires soldering.
Safe to use NTSC import consoles with official EU/UK power supply in Europe/UK? Saturn Model 1 JP/US: Can NOT!

Saturn Model 2 JP/US: Can NOT!
There is a way to do a Power supply swap from the 230-240v PAL console into the NTSC-U/J console but it requires some research as it comes in 3 different types which varies based on the serial number. Read zyrobs posts to get an idea



Sega Saturn notes:
The 60hz mod does tweak the gameplay speed to 60hz but the music stays the same. In fact when Sonic 1 is played on Saturn at 50hz the background music runs at 60hz pace. When the 60hz switch is turned on, the gameplay speed increases but the music stays the same. But like most PAL 60hz mods, there is a chance it may run a tad slower than official NTSC consoles or even worse distorts the aspect ratio which often causes cropping..
Click here to view example 0:00 for Panzer Dragoon and 1:56 for Sonic Jam Collection playing Sonic 1

Sega Saturn consoles from Japan, America and other areas, use a voltage of 100 to 120 Volts.
Most of Europe uses 230 to 240 Volts.
Plugging an imported console into the wrong voltage will blow the console.
If you import a console from a country that uses a higher voltage than you, you must purchase a "Step-Down transformer" (They are readily available from eBay and many electronic stores) which converts your mains voltage to the same voltage of the console).

Sega Dreamcast

Similar CD sizes?
Can a PAL console be modified to function or even match NTSC speeds? Yes, the PAL console can officially run 60hz so imported copies isn't a problem.
Method 1 You can either purchase an Import Boot Disc like the DC-X, Gameshark, Xploder, Action Replay CDX, etc that you can buy online or burn it to a CD-R. If you cannot obtain a retail import boot disc, you can always burn yourself a copy of the Action Replay CDX Demo Version. It’s a legal demo version of the full release, but still allows you to easily boot imports. click here for Action replay CDX demo version

Run the boot disc, wait for a few seconds and then import the game disc.

Method 2 If you're an expert at soldering then it is possible to modify the Dreamcast to bypass region lock without using any boot discs. This is called a Region Free Bios mod.
Safe to use NTSC import consoles with official EU/UK power supply in Europe/UK? NTSC US/JP models: Can NOT!

There is a way to do a Power supply swap from the 230-240v PAL console into the NTSC-U/J console. Video example
It would be best for an EU user to get a PAL Dreamcast with region free bios/boot disc to play NTSC titles.



Dreamcast notes
Importing a NTSC system to Europe requires a transformer as the power/fuse unit inside the system is different to a PAL console or a PSU board swap.

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