Sega Mega Modem

From Sega Retro

MegaModem.jpg
Sega Mega Modem
Made for: Sega Mega Drive
Manufacturer: Sega
Type: Network tool
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Mega Drive
JP
¥9,8009,800 HAA-2951
Sega Mega Drive
JP
(Game Toshokan)
¥12,80012,800

This teeny-tiny article needs some work. You can help us by expanding it.


Sega Mega Modem (メガモデム) is a modem for the Sega Mega Drive released in 1990 exclusively in Japan. It allowed Mega Drive owners to connect their console to various online services provided by Sega and third parties. It enabled online play for the few games that supported it, most of which were peer to peer, thus only requiring the cost of the call. However, the later released Sansan connected to servers and charged connection fees. Sega Game Toshokan allowed users to download small games at a cost of ¥4,800 to use the service for six months[2] (although some software was available for free). Online banking was another service available through Mega Anser, with Naisu-kun Mini, Osaka Bank My Line; and Sumisei Home Tanmatsu offering alternative options. Live play by play accounts of baseball matches were available through Nikkan Sports Pro Yakyuu VAN, which also required subscription fees.

Hardware

CyberBall MD DialUp.png

The Japanese version of CyberBall lets you dial-up a friend for peer to peer online play.

The modem connects to the back of a Mega Drive through the third DE-9 expansion port; consequently, it will only connect to a Model 1 Mega Drive. Furthermore, two models of the Mega Modem are known to exist: one that connects online through a phone line (which was sold both standalone and with the Sega Game Toshokan cartridge) and one that connects through an RS232C cable built into the unit.

Once connected to a phone line the Mega Modem could be used to either dial-up a fellow user with the same supported game, or to connect to one of the aforementioned services. As the modem only officially supported a speed of 1200 baud (1.2 kbit/s), and the only means of storing downloaded software was in the Mega Drive's onboard RAM any software downloads were required to be as small as possible. These problems were ultimately addressed by the Sega Channel which used the higher bandwidth of cable TV paired with a large amount of RAM in the Sega Channel adapter. The Sega Game Toshokan cartridge did have a small save capacity for telephone numbers and log-in details thus avoiding the need to enter them more than once. The Ten Key Pad was available to make the use of the various online banking services more convenient.

The unit was effectively written off by late 1992, with newer models of the Mega Drive omitting the modem port, and Sega announcing the end of the Sega Game Toshokan service. Despite this the modem still saw some use, with Sansan seeing release in 1994. Whilst the servers of the various services were taken offline in the 1990s rendering them obsolete, it's still possible to use the Mega Modem to play most of the online games, which used peer to peer dial-up.

Compatibility

TeleGenesis Modem

A localised variant of the Mega Modem, renamed TeleGenesis Modem was demonstrated at Summer CES 1989 alongside the debut of the US Sega Genesis. Originally set to debut during the "first few months of 1990"[3], the device was pushed back to July 1990 and given a price tag of around $100[4].

While the accessory was thought to be the same as its Japanese counterpart, it was marketed as offering competitive online play across towns and cities nationwide[5] rather than something akin to Sega Meganet. On display at Summer CES was a live demonstration of (the unreleased) TeleGenesis Baseball, and Spectrum HoloByte suggested their (also unreleased) conversions of Vette![6] and Falcon[7] would use the perihperal. Cyberball and Battling Worlds were then announced as compatible games at Winter CES 1990[8].

However, Sega withheld selling the TeleGenesis Modem until "quality modem-based entertainment software" was available in the region[9], which presumably never occurred. By the time of Japanese launch in November, Sega of America were still undecided as to whether to press ahead with a localised variant[10]. Early Mega Drive (and Genesis) consoles in both NTSC-U and PAL regions include the expansion port for the Mega Modem, but it ultimately remained unused and like Japan, was removed in later revisions of the hardware.

The concept of playing video games competitively over the internet did not become a mainstream feature of gaming until well into the 2000s.

Magazine articles

Main article: Sega Mega Modem/Magazine articles.

Physical scans

Mega Drive, JP
Eraser-modem.jpg
Cover

External links

References


Sega Mega Drive
Topics Technical specifications (Hardware comparison) | History | List of games | Magazine articles | Promotional material | Merchandise | Cartridges | TradeMark Security System
Hardware Japan | North America | Europe (West | North | South | Central and East) | South America | Asia | South Korea | Australia | Africa
EZ Games | LaserActive | Mega Jet | Mega PC | Mega Play | Mega-Tech System | Nomad | Teradrive | Mega Drive Mini | Mega Game II |"Consoles on a chip" | Unlicensed clones
Add-ons Power Base Converter | Mega-CD | 32X (Mega-CD 32X) | Mega Modem | Demo System DS-16
Cases Sega Genesis Nomad Carrying Case
Controllers Control Pad | Six Button Control Pad | 6 Button Arcade Pad | Arcade Power Stick 6B | Konami Justifier | MK-1470
Action Chair | Activator | Arcade Power Stick | Keyboard | MegaFire | Mouse | Mega Stick | Menacer | Remote Arcade System | Ten Key Pad
Accessories 4 Way Play | Cleaning System | Control Pad Extension Cord | Genesis Speakers | HeartBeat Catalyst | Region converter cartridges | Mega Terminal | Miracle Piano Teaching System | Nomad PowerBack | NordicQuest | RF Unit (Mega Drive 2) | SCART Cable (Mega Drive 2) | Stereo Audio Video Cable | Team Player | Video Monitor Cable
Network services Sega Channel | Sega Game Toshokan | Mega Anser | Mega Net | TeleBradesco Residência | XB∀ND
Development tools ERX 308P | ERX 318P | Sprobe | SNASM68K | SNASM2 (Mega Drive) | SNASM2 (32X) | PSY-Q Development System (Mega Drive) | PSY-Q Development System (32X) | 32X CartDev | Sega Mars Development Aid System | Sega 32X Development Target
Unreleased Edge 16 | Floppy Disk Drive | Mega Play 1010 | Sega VR | Teleplay System | Video Jukebox