Unlicensed Master System games

From Sega Retro

It is perhaps difficult to imagine the Sega Master System being a target for unlicensed developers, what with its failure to secure a large market share in either Japan or North America. However, relaxed (or non-existent) copyright laws in several Asian countries at the time mean there are tons of unlicensed games.

A standard Master System console can run SG-1000 games, provided it is a model where the cartridges will physically fit in the slot. The SG-1000, in turn, shares similar hardware specifications with the MSX computer standard, which was extremely popular in the east at the time. As a result, the majority of unlicensed Master System games are MSX ports, released on Master System cartridges (and therefore incompatible with the SG-1000), but running in the graphics mode intended for SG-1000 games.

Among the targets were top games produced by Namco, Konami and Taito, essentially giving the Master System all the triple-A hits the SG-1000 sorely needed. Though some games take advantage of the Master System's superior hardware, releases are rare in comparison to those which do not. Almost every unlicensed Master System game has its roots in South Korea or Taiwan.