Idiots Guide To Consoles- Sega SG1000

Let the War begin…

Segas first foray into the home console market was the Sega SG1000 (Sega Game 1000). A slimline console, with a color scheme, that kind of reminds me of a sports shoe in the 80’s. Man, I would kill for one of these babies, as they are very sought after by Sega nutters.

A top loading cartridge based system that was surprisingly released at exactly the same time as the Nintendo Famicom , the SG1000 was always going to have its work cut out for it. Whereas Nintendo had its slew of third party publishers, the old SG1000 relied on, (as per usual with Sega) ports of their arcade titles as well as some early backing by the likes of Konami.
Initially released in Japan and then only New Zealand (??!?), it enjoyed limited success in the shadow of the Famicom, but gave Sega a great insight for future systems.


Smarter than the average console-
Alongside the SG1000 was the SC3000 (Sega Computer3000), the Home computer equivalent to the SG1000 and the first and only home computer made by Sega.
Initially meant for educational purposes, like many other home PC’s of the time, most users resorted to using it primarily for gaming…..naturally.
With a slew of add ons, from floppy drives to printers to programming with basic, it was certainly impressive for its time.




The SG 1000 II, or Mark 2 if you will, was released a year later in 1984, and offered the buyer both controller ports at the back of the machine, did away with the shambolic joystick and replaced with joypads that could be housed on the sides of the system, ala Famicom. As well as a more slimmer, rectangular design.




Take control….
The SG1000 came out of the box with one controller, annoyingly, hard wired to the system, much like the Famicoms 2 controllers.
The controller comes across similar to the Atari 5200, with its long body, held in the palm and the other hand controlling the joystick. Much like the 5200 controller, it was ridid and stiff to use and failed often…leaving a dead controller hanging off your console. Nice.
Luckily though there was another auxiliary port for extra controllers to be plugged in.
These were redesigned joypads, very much similar to the Master System ones, but with the ability to screw in I little thumb toggle in the centre of the D-Pad.
Aside from the Joypad updates there was a more “Arcade” style joystick and the obligatory Steering Wheel set up, for all your racing needs.



The Games….
So how does it fare against the consoles of that era? Pretty damn well, you could say it’s on par with the ColecoVision or MSX.
Great ports of Choplifter, Elevator Action, Flicky, Exerion and even Pitfall 2: The Lost Caverns really showed off what the hardware could do, and give its competition a run for its money.
Cartridges were the primary medium for the system, but Sega also introduced their “Sega My Card” range of titles as well.
Very similar in appearance to the Hu Cards that fed a PC Engine, the My Cards were a credit Card sized game chip that could be popped in to the SG1000 via a Sega Card Catcher, hmmmm, think Super Gameboy here people and you’ll get where I’m going with this.
More of a budget range, numerous Cart releases were also ported to the My Cards as well.
One really cool thing about the Cards, is, apart from their super slick design, is their packaging. Cardboard cases that fold neatly around the card, locking it in place, they really are quite well designed and a joy for us “Westerners” to experience for the first time.



In Tune….
The SG1000 and the SG1000 II were both equipped with RF ports straight out the box, so much good old fashioned tuning related frolics will be had. Most modern CRT televisions should be able to tune in the signal, but there are exceptions.
Would you dare mod it to have RCA or AV ports? I say “Hell No! Buy a better tv! It’s a freakin relic this system!A relic I tells ya!”

Collecting Tips….
Prepare to spend big, as it’s not often these pop up either in the wild, or online.
The SG1000 is highly sought after and will often go for great amounts boxed or loose.
Another sour point is that its another one of those bloody consoles that’s white….and will eventually yellow….(But there are remedies for that, Retro Bright anyone?)
Software is in abundance and generally, if still in its box, is surprisingly in good condition compared to the tattered NES boxes we see.
The sports titles like “Champion Baseball, wrestling, etc” , much like any system are the most common titles you’ll come across. Whereas, titles like “Princess Ninja” and “WonderBoy” only pop up every now and again….heck, I waited 7 years to score my copy of “Princess Ninja”!!


So, that’s it, Sega’s first big step into the world of home consoles.
It’s certainly a great entry into the market, with a slew of great titles to choose from and some revolutionary ideas towards mediums and accessories.
Like a baby duckling swimming in the pond for the first time, flittering around cautiously, gaining confidence slowly, correcting a few hiccups……….then sunk by the Big Black Famicom Swan….for now….damn swans.

Rarity Ratings-
1- Garage sale fodder
2- Fairly common
3- Pops up occasionally
4- Oo-er, this one’s a tricky one to find
5- Sweet Lord! [email protected]@K! [email protected]!!!



Sega SG1000- Rarity Rating -5