List of Sega arcade system boards

A Sega Titan-Video (ST-V) arcade system board, based on Sega Saturn hardware and featuring interchangeable games

Sega is a video game developer, publisher, and hardware development company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, with multiple offices around the world. The company's involvement in the arcade game industry began as a Japan-based distributor of coin-operated machines, including pinball games and jukeboxes. Sega imported second-hand machines that required frequent maintenance. This necessitated the construction of replacement guns, flippers, and other parts for the machines. According to former Sega director Akira Nagai, this is what led to the company into developing their own games.

Sega released Pong-Tron, its first video-based game, in 1973. The company prospered from the arcade game boom of the late 1970s, with revenues climbing to over US$100 million by 1979. Nagai has stated that Hang-On and Out Run helped to pull the arcade game market out of the 1983 downturn and created new genres of video games.

In terms of arcades, Sega is the world's most prolific arcade game producer, having developed more than 500 games, 70 franchises, and 20 arcade system boards since 1981. It has been recognized by Guinness World Records for this achievement. The following list comprises the various arcade system boards developed and used by Sega in their arcade games.

Arcade system boards

Arcade board Notes Notable games and release years
  • Capable of both black-and-white and color display
  • Capable of packaging two games in the same arcade cabinet
  • Introduced arcade conversion kits where games could be changed in 15 minutes via a card cage housed in game cabinet with six PC boards; kits were sold as Convert-a-Game paks or ConvertaPaks
  • Color display
  • Capable of raster and vector graphics
  • Possessed the world's first color X-Y video system
  • Convert-a-Game released in 1981, making it the second interchangeable arcade system (after the DECO Cassette System)
  • Inspired later interchangeable arcade systems such as the Nintendo VS. System.
VCO Object
System 1 / System 2
  • System 1 released in July 1983
  • Not designed with console ports in mind, but some titles were ported to the Master System
  • System 2's graphics unit served as the basis for the Master System's graphics chip
Super Scaler
  • Initially known as "Sega Hang-On hardware"; was developed for Hang-On
  • Refinement of VCO Object hardware
  • Featured two Motorola 68000 processors.
  • 16-bit hardware
  • First board in the Super Scaler series
System E
  • Stripped-down version of Master System hardware
System 16 / System 18
  • Successor to the System 1 and System 2 boards, released in 1985
  • Nearly 40 titles released
  • Four different versions of System 16 were made
  • Served as the basis for design of the Mega Drive/Genesis
  • Uses a Motorola 68000 and a Zilog Z80 as CPU processors
  • Limited to 128 sprites on screen at a time
  • Based on the System 16
  • Second generation Super Scaler board; able to use sprite scaling to simulate 3D using Super Scaler technology
  • Designed because Yu Suzuki was unable to make Out Run on existing technology at the time
X Board
  • Capable of displaying 256 sprites on screen at the same time
  • Capable of running at 60 frames per second
System 24
  • Displayed in 496 x 384 resolution, larger than the 320 x 224 to which Sega designers were accustomed at the time
  • Limited character RAM
  • Early games loaded onto a floppy disk and could be switched
Y Board
  • Fourth board in the Super Scaler series, and successor to the X Board
  • Added an extra CPU and memory, as well as upgraded video hardware compared to the X Board
  • Capable of performing real-time sprite rotation
Mega-Tech / Mega Play
  • Modified version of Mega Drive/Genesis hardware, designed to play multiple games
  • Mega-Tech capable of playing up to eight games
  • Mega Play capable of playing up to four games
  • Distributed in the United States by Belam
System C
  • Also known as System 14
  • Based on Mega Drive/Genesis hardware
System 32
  • Final board in the Super Scaler series
  • Sega's first 32-bit system, and final major sprite-based board
  • Uses NEC V60 processor
  • Research and development began in 1988
Model 1
  • Sega's first video game system designed for 3D polygon graphics, developed internally at Sega between 1990 and 1991.
  • Uses the same NEC V60 processor as in the System 32
  • Contains a custom graphics unit, the CG Board, that can display 180,000 polygons per second and 6,500 polygons per frame
  • Capable of displaying 60 frames per second
  • Board had a high cost during development
  • Original concept was initially conceived around 1988, and Sega began staff hiring for new system in 1989
Model 2
  • Developed in collaboration with GE Aerospace.
  • The first Sega board using Lockheed Martin technology, to produce texture-mapped 3D polygon graphics.
  • Sega and GE Aerospace began co-development of texture-mapping 3D arcade system in September 1992, originally intended for release in 1993.
  • Introduced the use of texture filtering and texture anti-aliasing
  • Added Compu-Scene 3D graphics technology
  • Capable of displaying 300,000 textured polygons per second, at 60 frames per second.
  • Licensed to other developers
  • Model 2 sold over 130,000 arcade systems by 1996.
Sega Titan-Video (ST-V)
  • Based on Sega Saturn architecture
  • Was Sega's low-end board during its lifespan, underpowered compared to the Model 2
  • Uses two Hitachi SH-2 CPU processors.
Model 3
  • Developed in collaboration with Lockheed Martin
  • First unveiled at the 1996 AOU (Amusement Machine Operators' Union) show
  • Upon release, was the most powerful arcade system board in existence
  • Released in multiple "steps" with improving specifications
  • Model 2 and 3 sold more than 200,000 arcade systems combined by 2000.
  • Released in 1998 at one-third the price of the Model 3
  • Shared architecture with Dreamcast, but with additional main, graphics and sound memory (32, 16 and 8 megabytes respectively)
  • Uses Hitachi SH-4 CPU processor and PowerVR graphics processor
  • Uses ROM boards, with optional GD-ROM compatible CD-ROM drive. If a drive is used, it will be used at bootup to copy data to a DIMM RAM board instead.
  • Naomi multiboard can use 3 or 4 boards at the same time depending on the game
  • NAOMI is a backronym for New Arcade Operation Machine Idea. The name NAOMI was reportedly selected by Sega R&D head Hisashi Suzuki in honor of the British model Naomi Campbell.
  • Custom modified version of NAOMI hardware
  • Uses a custom Sega graphics chip and had more memory than the NAOMI
  • Capable of smooth Phong shading and particle effects.
  • Much more expensive than NAOMI
  • Co-developed by Namco, Sega, and Nintendo
  • Based on GameCube architecture. Supported GameCube memory cards.
  • The idea for Triforce came from Namco and Sega. They saw potential in the GameCube architecture for a cost-effective and port-friendly arcade machine. Nintendo agreed to cooperate in building the Triforce board, but had little interest in developing arcade games of their own.
  • Based on Xbox architecture
  • Uses a 3 GHz Pentium 4 CPU, 1 GB RAM and an Nvidia GPU
  • LAN play capabilities, USB controller slots and DVD-ROM.
  • Runs at 60 frames per second and 720p video resolution
RingEdge / RingWide / RingEdge 2

Additional arcade hardware

Sega has developed and released additional arcade games that use technology other than their dedicated arcade system boards. The first arcade game manufactured by Sega was Periscope, an electromechanical game. This was followed by Missile in 1969. Subsequent video-based games such as Pong-Tron (1973), Fonz (1976), and Monaco GP (1979) used discrete logic boards without a CPU microprocessor. Frogger (1981) used a system powered by two Z80 CPU microprocessors. Some titles, such as Zaxxon (1982) were developed externally from Sega, a practice that was not uncommon at the time.

See also

This page was last updated at 2024-04-19 12:19 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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