KW-501

From Sega Retro

KW501 unknown.jpg
KW-501
Manufacturer: King-Wei Electronics
Distributor: Electrolab, Universe Electronic S.A, Bitman, Interactive Enterprises, Bobmark International, Samurai Software, Wywy Group, NKH (?), H.H.Lin Hoovers Video Shop, Anova, Archon Computer Products
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Mega Drive
DE
Sega Mega Drive
UK
£70.0070.00
Sega Mega Drive
PL
300zł300
Sega Mega Drive
AR
Sega Mega Drive
BR
Sega Mega Drive
MY
Sega Mega Drive
RU
(Magic 2)
Sega Mega Drive
RU
(Super Bitman)
Sega Mega Drive
SG
Sega Mega Drive
TW
Sega Mega Drive
ZA
Sega Mega Drive
IN

The KW-501 is an unlicensed Sega Mega Drive clone manufactured in Taiwan by King-Wei Electronics, Inc (慶威電子) and distributed across various countries during the 1990s. It was the successor to the KW-500 and was built as a more affordable alternative to Sega's official offering, and was one of the first (and perhaps most prominent) Mega Drive clones released to the general public. The KW-501 was predictably challenged by Sega in many markets, but saw recognition by Sega in countries where presence was difficult.

The original version of this console is believed to be the Zhan Shen (戰神) which was sold in Taiwan, however numerous companies distributed the KW-501, rebranding the unit to suit their needs. There are many slight variations of the console, including the Scorpion XVI (by Interactive Enterprises), King-500 (by Anova), Froggy System 16, MG-16 (by Electrolab), Turbo Aito (by Universe Electronic S.A), Magic 2, Speedy Boy, MG-2 (by Kinyo), Super Bitman (by Bitman), Power Pegasus (by Bobmark International), Samurai MG-16 (by Samurai Software), Micro Genius (by Micro Genius), King Karol, Hitex, KW-II, Kowi 96' and Kowi 97' (by Kowi) as well as the Saba Super Mega 16 Bit which is the English version of the Zhan Shen. The first models in this series continued to appear under the name of the KW-500. The console also had a modified version called KW-501U, which did not differ from the first one in appearance.

Saba successor is the KW-502 which is a clone from SB-16C brand. The next one was KW-503 released in 1996, which is a successor of few KW-501 clones. The last console noticed from this series is the KW-505.

All KW-501 consoles are presumed to be internally identical, with minor cosmetic alterations and swapped RF adaptors for differing markets.

Hardware

The KW-501 functions as a regular (original model) Mega Drive, complete with volume slider and support for the Sega Mega-CD via the expansion port underneath the unit. Furthermore its controller port positioning lines up with a real Mega Drive, meaning the Remote Arcade System is compatible. The unit is not, however, compatible with the Sega 32X, as the add-on's connection cable will not physically fit in the system - minor modifications to the circuit board can re-enable this functionality.

New to the KW-501 are two switches located next to the expansion port for determining both region and refresh rate, making the system compatible with the vast majority of Mega Drive games. The KW-501 was also designed around the concept of a built-in Mega Drive game - below the unit lies a second cartridge slot which the unit will default to if no cartridge is detected on top. Any regular Mega Drive game can be inserted here, however only the PCB will fit - the game must therefore be removed from its protective shell. Some models, such as the Kowi 96' lack this second port.

The build quality of the KW-501 is predictably lower than the official Sega Mega Drive, but the system usually shipped with two six button controllers.

History

All KW-501s were manufactured in Taiwan for export across the world.

Taiwan

The KW-501 is known to have been released in Taiwan as the Zhan Shen (戰神) and Saba. Both consoles had a trademark registered in Taiwan by King-Wei Electronics.

Germany

A King-500 unit was advertised for sale in Germany by the Taiwanese based Anova[2].

United Kingdom

Under its Scorpion XVI name, the KW-501 became infamous in the United Kingdom, where it gained widespread press coverage and undercut Sega's official Mega Drive console by a considerable margin. Though presumed to have been forced out of the market shortly afterwards, the Scorpion XVI stands as one of the few clone consoles of this nature to make gains in the region and is now a valuable collectors item. The console was distributed by Interactive Enterprises as a successor to the Scorpion 8, which was a famiclone. The first models were sold in a black box with the number KW-501, while the later were sold in a yellow box with the number KW-501U.

Predictably the Scorpion XVI did not see a widespread release, however is known to have retailed at branches of Beatties for about £70.

South America (Argentina)

The majority of KW-501 consoles appear to have been sold in South America in PAL-N regions (and thus were mostly found in Argentina). Consoles are known to have crossed the border into Brazil, but were met with stiff resistence by Tectoy. It is assumed some systems also crossed over to Uruguay and Paraguay, which also use the PAL-N format.

MG-16s distributed by Electrolab are perhaps the most common unit to be seen in Argentina, although systems by Kinyo and Kowi were also sold there. Given the extent of Mega Drive piracy in the region, is difficult to gauge the success of the KW-501 - given the rarity of the Sega Mega-CD and its games, there were likely many cheaper alternatives to this unit. This console has a successor under the name MG-16R and MGW-16 modeled on KW-503.

KW-501 was also distributed here under the name Turbo Aito by Universe Electronic S.A.

Russia

The first available clone of this type in Russia was Magic 2 which appeared in 1994.

Later, the Bitman released KW-501 in the form of the Super Bitman, a presumed successor to the "Bitman" Famiclone distributed by Bitman in the region. Similar to the above it was likely undercut by cheaper Mega Drive clones. After Bitman became a Sega distributor, the console was called the official clone [3] similar to Mega Game II in Portugal. This console have also a version modeled on KW-503.

Poland

KW-501 was released as the Power Pegasus and was distributed by Bobmark International as a successor to the Pegasus console. It was originally announced on Play Box 95 where they promised to release it before Christmas 1995 but judging by the date of shipment under console, it was released in September 1995. Bobmark was a Sega distributor in Poland, so it could be assumed that the product was released with the permission of Sega, just like Mega Game II in Portugal. Using the well-known Pegasus brand was supposed to attract to Sega, players who played on 8-bit famiclone. Although the console cost 300 PLN and was cheaper than the original models (Mega Drive cost around 350 PLN), did not gain as much popularity as it predecessor. One of the reasons for the failure was the lack of advertising, which could be due to the experience with Pegasus, which when it was released in 1991 didn't need advertising for the first period to gain popularity, but then the only consoles on the Polish market were Rambo and original Atari consoles, and in 1995, apart from Pegasus and Mega Drive clones, most of the consoles available in Europe were also officially available in Poland. In April 1996, Power Pegasus could be bought for 260 PLN. Eventually there was also new model called KW-501U which is even more rare than standard KW-501.

Serbia and Montenegro

There are rumors that around 1996, Power Pegasus appeared in Serbia and Montenegro.

Saba was another available console.[4]

Bosnia

There are rumors that around 1996, Power Pegasus appeared in Bosnia.

South Africa

MG16 was sold in this region by H.H.Lin Hoovers Video Shop and Hitex Super Mega 16 bit by Archon Computer Products.

Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei

As in Poland and Russia, the version of the KW-501 named here Magic 2 was sold by Wywy Group the official Sega distributor in this country, along with the Sega sticker under the console.

Algeria

Rumors says that King-Wei contacted NKH - official Sega distributor in Algeria and offered them production of 16-bit Sega consoles with official trademark's sticker or with changed name and supposedly distributor accepted this and sold clone in the region.

India

The KW-501 was distributed here as the Samurai MG-16 by Samurai Software, associated with the Samurai Electronics company which in 1987-1994 distributed Nintendo consoles in India under the name Samurai. The KW-501 has been on sale since 1996 with a registered trademark in India on October 7, 1996.[5]

End

King-Wei ceased operations in April 1998,[6] which meant the end of KW-500s brand. Rumors say that Sega sued King-Wei and won it in 2000.

Magazine articles

Main article: KW-501/Magazine articles.

Photo gallery

Promotional material

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Print advert in Aktueller Software Markt (DE) #1993-09: "September 1993" (1993-08-09)
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Print advert in Action Games (AR) #30: "Noviembre 1994" (1994-xx-xx)
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Print advert in Action Games (AR) #31: "Diciembre 1994" (199x-xx-xx)
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Print advert in Action Games (AR) #32: "Enero 1995" (1995-xx-xx)
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Print advert in Action Games (AR) #33: "Febrero 1995" (1995-xx-xx)
also published in:
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Print advert in Action Games (AR) #33: "Febrero 1995" (1995-xx-xx)
also published in:
Logo-pdf.svg
Print advert in Magazina Igrushek (RU) #8: "4/1996" (1996-xx-xx)
Bitman offer.jpg
Super Bitman advert RU
Bitman Poster RU.jpg
Super Bitman advert RU
Bitman RU PrintAdvert.jpeg
Print advert in Velikiy Drakon (RU) #29 (1996-12-01)
Power Pegasus as a prize in the quiz show PL


Physical scans

Mega Drive, (戰神)
KW501 MD Box Back.jpgNospine-small.pngKW501 MD Box Front.jpg
Cover
Mega Drive, (Scorpion XVI)
ScorpionXVI MD Box Front alt.jpg
Cover
Mega Drive, (Scorpion XVI) alt
ScorpionXVI MD Box Front.jpg
Cover
Mega Drive, (King-500)

Mega Drive, (MG-16)
MG16 MD Box Front.jpg
Cover
Mega Drive, (Magic 2)
Magic2 MD Box Front.jpg
Cover
Mega Drive, (Magic 2 alt)
MD Clone Magic 2 Box Front.jpg
Cover
Mega Drive, (Speedy Boy)

Mega Drive, (MG-2)

Mega Drive, (Saba)
SuperMega16Bit MD Box Front.jpg
Cover
Mega Drive, (KW-II)
KW2 MD Box Back.jpgNospine-small.pngKW2 MD Box Front.jpg
Cover
Mega Drive, (KW-II) (Dual System)
KW2 MD Box Front Alt.jpg
Cover
Mega Drive, (Kowi 96')
Kowi96 MD Box Front.jpg
Cover
Mega Drive, (Kowi 97')
Kowi97 MD Box Front.jpg
Cover
Mega Drive, (Super Bitman)
SuperBitman MD RU Box Back.jpgNospine-small.pngMD Super Bitman.jpg
Cover
Super Bitman KW-501 Manual.pdf
Manual
Super Bitman KW-501 UCS.jpg
EN UCS
Bitman RU WarrantyCard.png
Warranty Card
Mega Drive, (Super Bitman) alt
SuperBitman MD RU Box Back.jpgNospine-small.pngMD Super Bitman alt.png
Cover
Super Bitman KW-501 Manual.pdf
Manual
Super Bitman KW-501 UCS RU.png
RU UCS
Mega Drive, (Power Pegasus)
PowerPegasus MD Box Back.jpgNospine-small.pngPowerPegasus MD Box Front.jpg
Power Pegasus Box Bottom.jpg
Cover
Bobmark registration card PL.pdf
Registration card
Eltors warranty card PL.pdf
Warranty card
Power Pegasus manual.jpg
EN Manual
Power Pegasus Manual PL.jpg
PL Manual
Mega Drive, (Aito)
Aito MD Box Front.jpg
Cover
Mega Drive, (Hitex)
Hitex SuperMega16 MD Box Front.jpg
Cover

External links

References


Unlicensed Sega Mega Drive hardware
Clone consoles
Mega Drive | Mega Drive 2 | Genesis 3 | "Mini" models | "PlayStation" models | Keyboard models | Others


Mega Drive Mega Drive 2 Genesis 3
AT-168 | FR-302 | High Quality | HK-986 | KW-500 | Mega-Ken | Pro 16 Bit | S & M | Super Drive Extreme Land Mega Drive 2 | Liko BBG-688 | Mega Drive II (StarGame) | Mega Drive 4 | Mondial Drive II | New Star 2 | Super Mega Driver Game Joy | Mega 3 | Mega Brasil 3 | Mega Drive Junior | Mega Drive X
Other designs
1990s AX-660 | AX-990 | EZcom | Game Dunk | Game Drive 2 | KW-501 | KW-502 | KW-503 | KW-505 | Megavision | Modern Mate | New 16 Bit | Simba's 168 | Star Drive DS 1603 | Super Alpha II | Super 16 Bit
2000s C-11 | CyberShell | CyberSmart | Dual Action | e-time Game Play | GN Twin | Kombat 16 | Kombat Obuchayushchii | Kibord-005 | Kibord-007 | Mega Drive Extreme | Mega Drive One | Mega Drive III | Mega Drive V | Noritul FX-16 | Premier | RetroN 3 | Sega Driver | Sega Millenium | Simba's 268 | Super Kombat
2010s 16 Bit Compact MD HDMI | Fei Hao HD Retro Game | Hamy SD | MD Compact | MegaRetroN HD | Mega Sg | Minigen | Minigen HD | RetroN 5 | Super Retro Trio | Super Retro Trio Plus
2020s Data Frog Y3 Mini | Dendy Smart | MixHD | Nimbus Smart | RetroN 3 HD
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