Piracy is rampant in smaller markets such as Asia. In Russia and northern China, the situation has been taken one step further, to the stage where it's organised, professional and where many products act as the single unofficial alternative to readily available video game consoles in Japan and the west. The Mega Drive Portable is one such example of this.
During the 1990s and early 2000s, many small manufacturers in Russia and northern China produced unlicensed Sega Mega Drive console clones. These systems aimed to be identical to their Japanese, North American or European/Australasian counterparrts. Fed up with piracy Sega eventually gave the rights to manufacture and distribute consoles to AtGames, who to this day produce "consoles on a chip" at an affordable price. But technology has improved and more recently pirates have began to develop cartridge-based handhelds.
The Mega Drive Portable seems to have been a standard devised by a variety of different groups in the northern China area. Rather than rely on standard-size Mega Drive cartridges, games are distributed on smaller Game Boy Advance-sized carts which are then compatible with the entire range of Mega Drive Portable systems. Within these carts contains a Mega Drive ROM, likely taken from the internet, repackaged and sold for use on the go. Though the technology is twenty years out of date, importing more advanced handhelds is costly and may be a challenge thanks to China's internet censorship or low connection speeds.
There are a handful of Mega Drive Portable compatible devices, most of which appear to have been based on pre-existing shells developed by Nintendo.
This appears to have been the original unit, built within the shell of a Game Boy Advance. All Mega Drive Portables seem to extend the functions of a Sega Nomad, with the ability to connect to a TV screen while having headphone support, a built-in speaker and a 960x240 pixel resolution 2.5 inch screen. The specifications are otherwise identical to that of the Sega Mega Drive. Often they come in a variety of colors too.
A unit based on the PlayStation Portable that comes with a built-in battery pack (which fully charged claims to last 10 hours). The buttons were not replaced.
Almost identical to the above, the Mega Drive Mobile just has a different shell.
The Mega Drive Micro steals its design from the Game Boy Micro and adds two extra buttons, meaning the system can play six-button Mega Drive games. It also has 32 games built-in:
Identical to the above, but this time using the shell of a Game Boy Advance SP.
Attempting to cash in on the 3D craze, the Mega Drive Portable is almost identical to the first Mega Drive Portable, just with a built-in battery. There is no third dimension involved.
An original looking model, the Mega Drive Ultimate is almost identical to the Slim. It appears to be manufactured by Simba.
|Unlicensed Sega Mega Drive Hardware|
|1990s||AT-168 | AX-660 | AX-990 | Game Dunk | Game Drive 2 | KW-501 | Megavision | Modern Mate | New 16 Bit | New Star 2 | S & M | Songa I | Songa II | Super 16 Bit | TW-168|
|2000s||e-time Game Play | Extreme Land Mega Drive 2 | FC3 Plus | Game Joy | Gen-X Dual Station | GN Twin | Magistr Drive | Maniac Drive | Mega 3 | Mega Brasil 3 | Mega Drive 4 | Mega Drive Extreme | Mega Drive One | Mega Drive Portable | Mega Drive V | Mega Drive X | Noritul FX-16 | Pocket MD | RetroGen | RetroN 3 | Simba's 168 | Simba's 268 | Super Drive | Zoga|
|2010s||Hamy SD | Hamy HG-806 | Mega Drive Young series | RetroN 5 | Fei Hao HD Retro Game ||