Brazil may have been Sega’s staunchest supporter, with the Sega Master System selling well in the South America’s most populous nation and the Mega Drive getting its own share of the market as well.
Sega may well have been indebted to their Brazilian distributor, Tec Toy (now called ‘Tectoy‘) for their massive support in the only Portuguese-speaking majority outside of Europe, selling Sega-derived products well into the age of X-box 360s and Playstation 3s.
To what extent the Brazilians these times are really fond of the old days where 2D sprites and 16-bit sounds rule the video game roost is unclear – you may have to drop by Brazil’s largest cities to see for yourself. The Mega Drive has been reduced to a dozing old matriarch by the end of 1995, with its hardware severely under stress by the advent of polygonal graphics and it’d be fascinating to see the perpetual interest by the Brazilians in Sega’s most successful video game console to date. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Mega Drive II consoles are still sold in some places in Malaysia but having had one already, the novelty is probably not as far-reaching.
But what’s this? Tectoy is still releasing Mega Drive-derived hardware in Brazil! Some consoles just refused to get buried in the console graveyard – and the Mega Drive is still living on borrowed time in this nation known to be Sega maniacs. This unassuming white machine is the Mega Drive 3. Notice that weird mushroom/fungi hands out of that advert?
Above, you can see Tectoy’s webpage advertising a ‘Mega Drive 3’ console, purportedly with 86 (built-in memory) games. That’s not all, it’s touted as a new design with including the latest games in the market (or so they said) FIFA 2008, Need for Speed Pro Street, The Sims 2 and Sim City. These games on a 16-bit machine? The mind reels. I’ve got the NFS: Pro Street on my PS2 and the quality of presentation shouldn’t go any lower than the PS2’s limitations.
The Mega Drive 3 is also supposed to function in two positions – flat-out lying down or on standing (like the PS2 too, I suppose).
The Mega Drive classics of old would contain ‘Sonic 3’ (why not Sonic 1 & 2 as well?), ‘Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle’, ‘Altered Beast’, ‘Golden Axe’ , ‘Kid Chameleon’ and more. The 2 ergonomic joypads are nothing like the stock Sega controllers and are like nice little sausage rolls. They’re also 3-button controllers only (nothing beats the 6-button Mega Drive gamepad in craftsmanship and usefulness).
Let’s have a look at the specs.
Guarantee for 1 year – console / guarantee for 3 months – accessories: joypads, cables etc.
Dimensions : 17 x 5.6 x 16.7 cm (length, thickness, width)
Net weight: 798 g (almost as light as the PS2 slim)
Gross weight: 985 (including packaging)
Contents: 1 Mega Drive 3 console with A/C Adaptor; 86 games in built-in memory; 2 joypads; 1 console support (stands); 1 audio/video cable; 1 instruction manual with certificate of guarantee; 1 authorized contacts list (for hardware support, I think)
Tectoy lists down several distributors of their goods. I found this site – Bemol which carries the Mega Drive 3 in stock.
It costs a whopping R$ (Brazilian Reais) 299.00 ~ USD 129 ~ RM464.64. Hardly an attractive price for a retro gaming console and with questionable ‘latest titles’. If this nifty thing could play the latest titles, it could well have been another Game Cube or PS2 challenger – but it did not and I suspect that these titles are little more than refurbished games ported to the 16-bit wonder called Mega Drive.
The design does look like the part of a sandwich-maker, and the brand ‘Mega Drive’ affixed to it is more of a brand-recognition exercise rather than depicting the Blast Processing capabilities of old. Cute little joypads though.
And I don’t get this – why would a Master System console get a 6-button pad whereas the more advanced system is retrograding to a 3-button stock Mega Drive controller? 6 buttons on a Master System is really uncalled for, and that lovely half-crescent shaped 6-button controllers are only befitting the Mega Drive games. Still, it’s a commendable effort for Tectoy to defy the rules of nature and bring these obsolete consoles to the current generation.