Software reset

From Sega Retro

Most software produced for the Sega Saturn and Sega Dreamcast have a sofware reset feature. As the name suggests, this involves "resetting" the "software", returning the user to an earlier state, though is implemented by software recognising button combinations, rather than through a physical switch on the hardware.

Mega Drive

A software reset was never required for Sega Mega Drive games (and may have been actively discouraged by Sega[1]), but some implement one anyway. Most use A+B+C+ START  for this purpose.

List of games


A software or "game reset", performed with A+B+C+ START , was required (by Sega of America at least) for Sega Mega-CD games[2]. During gameplay, the player should be taken to the title screen (or a similar point at the beginning of the game), while on the title screen the player should be taken to the CD controls in the BIOS. It should not clear any save games or high score information[2].

Implementation is inconsistent across the Mega-CD (and Sega Mega-CD 32X) library. While several games implement this feature as instructed, it is not guaranteed to work on every screen in every scenario, suggesting the requirement was not strictly enforced. Some games only implement half the requirements; being able to return to the title screen (or the beginning of the game), but not the CD controls. Games pre-dating the US launch of the console may also pre-date the official guidelines.


The software reset was mandated by Sega for the Saturn[3] and is performed by pressing A+B+C+ START  simultaneously. Saturn games should be able to respond to the software reset at any point (save for when memory operations are occurring[3]) and return the player back to the title screen[3]. If the player is already on the title screen, the software reset should send them back to the BIOS (or "audio CD control screen" as it was also called)[3].

Any configured options must be retained during a software reset[3].


The software reset was also mandated by Sega for the Dreamcast except for "cases of special processing" (memory operations)[4]. Here the command is A+B+X+Y+ START  through regular controllers, however variations exist for other controllers[4]. Like the Saturn, the soft reset should return the user to the title screen, or if he/she is already at the title screen, to the BIOS[5].

For the Dreamcast Keyboard, the software reset is performed with  Ctrl + Alt + Delete [6]. The Dreamcast Gun requires A+B+ START [7].

The software reset is especially important with the Dreamcast as a physical reset button does not exist on the unit. This means the hardware can only be reset by turning the power on and off.