Sega Master System SegaScope 3-D System

15 04 2013

MastersystemIn 1986, Sega entered the console market in North America with the Sega Master System. Competing against the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES for short), Sega brought to the living room a technically superior system, but still managed to lose that generation’s console war due to a lack of good 3rd party games. That said the system still had some great games including some awesome Sega arcade ports.

Back in ‘86 my roommate had the Master System and the really cool 3-SegaSope Glasses. This was a funky 3D system that utilized a pair of active shutter glasses that synched on and off with alternating images on the TV creating a surprisingly effective 3D effect in the few games that supported it. People looking at the TV without the glasses would see a flickery mess of an image while the wearer of the 3D glasses would see a (semi) realistic 3D image.

Well, a lot of time has passed since then and while I had been able to acquire a few Master Systems over the years, a working, complete set of the 3D glasses and required adapter always seemed to elude me. That is until recently:

2013-03-29 12.43.03One night while randomly searching Ebay for retro gaming related items I decided to search for the Master System 3D glasses and was surprised by my results. I found a new pair of LCD glasses that the seller claimed was compatible with the Sega Master System. They were selling for $20, but I would till need the adapter, assuming that the glasses really were compatible. A quick Google search for post from anyone who may have actually used these style of glasses with a Master System confirmed that while the 2013-03-29 12.42.20glasses weren’t manufactured by Sega, they were indeed compatible. I hit buy now on those and the looked and quickly found someone selling the 3-D adaptor part of the SegaScope system for about $5. This is the piece that plugs into the Master System’s card slot and the glasses plug into it. So, I was able to recreate the SegaScope system for under $30. The real question was would it be as good as I seemed to remember it being? I was really hoping this wasn’t one of those Rose Coloured Glasses kind of situations

LightPhaserPlugging in the glasses and Zaxxon 3-D into the system, I fired it up and was very happy to see that my age fogged memory was accurate in this case: the 3-D still held up, considering the time. Though clucky to coordinate the 3D glasses and my own glasses, one I found a comfortable solution, the actual 3-D effect was quite impressive. I played a few rounds of Zaxxon and then plunked in Missile Defense 3-D.  This is a fast pace 3-D shooter where you use a light gun to target ICBMs – nuclear missiles that are heading your way. This is a game that is particularly good at taking advantage of the 3-D with both over head and first person views. Not only was I impressed with what I saw on TV, I was also very content with the old Light Phaser light gun’s accuracy. This old system was and is working great, and it’s the revolutionary 3-D system still worked well. There was a reason I backed this eventually losing horse back in it’s early days. The Master System can still be had for reasonably cheap if you look for it, and the 3-D glasses combo that I created can be easily done with a simple Ebay search. As for the games, I’ve found them at pawn shops for a few dollars and they’re pretty easy to find on Ebay. There’s even a flash cart available called the Master EverDrive that allows you to load up all the games on an SD card and play from a menu on the Master System. I just ordered one from Stoneagegamer.com and I’ll let you know what I think of it after I get it and try it out for a bit.

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