Twenty years this week, Sega CD was released in stores across North America. An add-on to the Sega Genesis, it came early in the adoption of CDs and was the second video game console to utilize the format, with the first being the ill-concieved Phillips CD-i.
The Sega CD had one of the oddest conceptions ever, with developers not aware what exactly it was until after it was revealed publicly at the Tokyo Toy Show. Unforutanely, it showed, as the original idea for the system to feature Full Motion Video never panned out. The ability of the Genesis (which the Sega CD ran from) was limited, so the weak processor power resulted in poor image quality at a low frame rate.
While 3D FMV games didn’t pan out and the console never caught on commercially, it did produce some memorable games. Sonic CD was one of the graphically-strongest platformers released to that point and is today thought of as one of the best entries in the series. Lunar, one of the greatest RPGs series ever, also was released on the platform.
So happy 20th birthday, Sega CD. Sega may not recognize your special day, but we do. You were ahead of your time (the next Genesis add-on was cartridge based) and an important cog in the evolution of gaming. To celebrate, we’ve posted some pictures of the console below. Next year, we’ll be able to get alcohol involved.