If it wasn’t for the fact that Japanese Sega Mega Drive games are slightly larger than Sega Genesis cartridges most of the Japanese Mega Drive library would be playable on the Sega Genesis. The larger Mega Drive carts just don’t fit into the slot opening of a Genesis.
A lot of games didn’t have any form of region encoding. If a game wasn’t too language dependent (as many are) non-Japanese speaking gamer would have access to games that didn’t get translated. It would also increase your chances of finding a particular title if English (or another non-Japanese language) was not a requirement for you.
I still have my same Genesis that my parents bought me many years ago when it was new. Back then I had the store I bought it from modify it for me. Now as I’m getting into my Sega games again I’m enjoying learning about some of the mods you can perform on the Sega Genesis.
I would say that widening the slot opening to accommodate a larger cart is the simplest mod and well worth doing. The concept is simple. File or shave away plastic from the edge of the cartridge slot opening. My choice of tool for this is the Dremel.
Not Bad. Pretty close to the mark.
Since I have never used a Dremel before I decided to test it out first. I wanted to get a feel for how it works. I used the plastic cover from a spool of DVD’s as my test subject. I marked off a section that I wanted to cut out… then I cut it out. The Dremel is basically a file that spins. As it spins you press the head against the surface you want to file down and it does just that. It was very easy and quick. I noticed that it was important not to spend too much time on one spot. I was constantly moving the Dremel head along the surface I wanted to remove trying to keep each edge uniform as I worked my way to my black line. After that simple test I was already confident that I could do this.
As I said my Genesis had already been modified and it could accommodate most Japanese Mega Drive games already. But there was one company called Sunsoft that used a cartridge that was slightly larger and these carts would not fit into my Genesis.
You can see above how a regular Mega Drive carts fits well and how the Sunsoft cart doesn’t fit at all. So there wasn’t much work to do which helps because this is my first attempt.
Just like my test on the DVD’s spool cover the Genesis was also easy to Dremel. The plastic was much harder and it took longer but it still was not hard to do. The Sunsoft carts are not much wider but just more square around the corners. So most of my time was spent expanding the four corners of the slot opening.
With the dust cover installed again you can easily see the size difference of the Sunsoft games compared to the Genesis carts.
And here is it. My North American Genesis which can now fit a larger Sunsoft cartridge and any other Japanese Mega Drive carts as well. The second image shows my Genesis playing the Sunsoft game Panorama Cotton. The only mod required was to widen the opening.
I know this will not work for all Japanese Mega Drives games. For Example Golden Axe 3 and Sonic 3 are region locked and will display a message on screen and not load. Click Japanese region locked games for a more complete list.
I picked up a copy of a couple Japanese and Chinese games some time ago and found out that though they were not region locked, they simply did not fit correctly in my Genesis model (in fact, none of my models). I ended up having to modify the top plate on the system a bit to get the cartridges to go in. Still, I guess that’s just like how you have to remove a couple plastic tabs on the SNES to get it to run JP games on it. 🙂
I hope you don’t mind, but I might put up a link to your blog on my gaming site if that’s okay? I’m a huge retro fan and collector myself!
Oh, and since you are into Sega and Genesis/MD stuff, I recently purchased two copies of a port of “Phantasy Star IV” from the Genesis to the Famicom by a Chinese developer. Perhaps you’d find it interesting?
I checked out your site and you are not just a Retro Fan you’re a full-on everything gamer 🙂 Good stuff!
I saw your copy of PSIV for the Famicom. That is pretty cool that someone took the time to port it to an 8-bit system. And yes I find it more than interesting! It’s really very cool.
For my own collection I try to stay focuses. I’m afraid of branching out to obscure and rare things like boot-legs and ports. As cool as they are I don’t have enough money to snap up all things Sega (as much as I’d like to).
Although, recently I have started collecting just a few NES, SNES and Super Famicom games. I’m going to try and keep it under control… I won’t be able to but I’m really going to try.
Do you have any pictures of your Retro Video games online? I’ve love to see what you’ve got. Do you have them on display or packed up somewhere? I saw you list at http://tinyurl.com/3t8polg and you’ve got some good stuff and a lot of it too. I’ve love some pictures 🙂
If you’d like to I’ve love it if you put up a link to my site on yours. I’d consider it a favor 🙂
I try to draw distinctions in games I collect too. The one thing about China though is that there are obvious pirated games, but then there are some that I’d rather simply classify as Hongkong Originals (HKO) – and those games are genuinely much better, even if still a bit legally questionable. I’ll definitely pick up a good HKO when I see one, or a port of a popular game. They are hard to come by, but I have enough contacts there that I can easily get them, usually more than 1 copy at a time, which is nice for some side income through eBay! 🙂
The other thing though is that there are a lot of licensed games in the Asian market. Examples of these are PC titles like “Rockman Strategy” (2001-02) and “Rockmen R: Dr. Wily’s Counterattack” (2009 in Japan). I’m a HUGE Rockman fan, and so I had to pick up all things Rockman-related, and Rockmen R is probably one of the best Rockman games out there. It’s really like Rockman 9.5 in a way. You should totally YouTube it to see what I’m talking about!
I need to update that list of games as there are other new games that need to go on it, but I’ll try and get around to that soon, so be patient! 🙂
Regarding pictures, I might take some. I’ve got several disc towers and also of course cabinets filled with cartridge games and specially taken-care-of rarities. Examples of the rarer games is a very early build of “Final Fantasy 7” from 1995 and then one of the holy grails of my Sega collection – a copy of “Sonic Xtreme” that I spent $3,000 on in a private settlement a few years ago! 🙂
Oh! And yep, I’ve added a link to your site on mine…Feel free to do the same! I saw today that I now have 1,601 followers, so maybe that’ll help with traffic! 🙂
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