Sega System series

From Sega Retro

1986's OutRun was revolutionary at the time of release.

The Sega System series stands as the first set of "consistent" arcade boards used at Sega, following an experimental period in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Aside from the naming convention adopted by Sega, the defining piece of architecture which links these boards together is the existence of an 8-bit Zilog Z80 chip. Earlier boards use this for the CPU, later ones demote it to handling sound. Sega System hardware primarily spans a period from 1983 to 1992, when it was succeeded by the Sega Model series.

Three "generations" of the Sega System series exist; the Sega System 1, Sega System 16 and later Sega System 32. Alongside these, variants of the hardware exist for dealing with more complex graphics. The "Super Scaler" series was used to create three-dimensional sprite/texture scaling graphics, including the Sega Hang-On hardware, Sega OutRun hardware, Sega X Board and Sega Y Board. Other variants include the Sega System 24 opting for high-resolution games, and relatively minor upgrades such as the Sega System 2 and Sega System 18. Budget systems such as the Sega System C and Sega System E were also released around this period, and share similarities with Sega's home consoles of the era (the Sega Mega Drive and Sega Master System, respectively).



  • Super Scaler series (high-end)
  • Sega System series (mid-range)
  • Console-based series (budget)