Sega's 16-bit games console, released in Japan in 1989. Known in the US as the Sega Genesis.

Technical Specifications

The Mega Drive can display two independently scrollable playfields consisting of 8x8 pixel tiles with 4 bits per pixel. Each tile can use one of four color tables, giving a pallete of 64 colours. Sprites are also composed of tiles, and can be up to 4 tiles wide by four tiles high. Eighty sprites can be displayed on-screen at one time. Ten 32 pixel wide sprites or twenty 16 pixel wide sprites can be displayed per scanline, upto a maximum of 320 sprite pixels per line. The Mega Drive uses 9 bits to describe colour, giving a maximum of 512 colours.

Sound is generated by a Yamaha FM synthesis chip and a TI programmable sound generator. The PSG has 3 square wave tones and 1 white noise tone. The Yamaha has 6 voices with 4 operators each.

Information coutesy of the Sega Programming FAQ.

Recomended Titles

These are some of the games I've come across that I'd recomend newcomers to the system to get a hold of: (by no means complete)

Shoot 'em ups: Thunderforce series, Gynoug, Gunstar Heroes, Granada, Zero Wing, Assault Suits Leynos, Elemental Master

Platformers: Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2, & 3, The Super Shinobi, El Viento, Ghouls 'n' Ghosts / Daimakaimura, Castle of Illusion, Quackshot, Dynamite Heady

Racing: Outrun, Virtua Racing, F-1 Circus MD

Beat 'em ups: Bare Knuckle series, Golden Axe series

RPGs: Shining Force series (Cheers Zeb) I'll get back to this one once I've played some MD RPGs more thoroughly.

This is the correct spelling of the consoles name. It even says so on the front of my Mega Drive. History to come. Errr... Actually, there's a good account of the MD / Genesis' history in the introduction of the Genesis Game Guide noded by fondue. Not much point in duplicating stuff like that....