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U.S. Sega Master System game list and collecting guide


Kobun Heat
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Hi! I was thinking about what my first post here should be, and I noticed there was no Sega Master System list, so I figured, why not?

Here's the list of U.S. game releases for the Sega Master System. 114 games in all. I'll do the master list first and break down the various subsets and other errata afterwards:

I. The List
II. United States versus Everywhere Else
III. Third-Party Games
IV. UPC Stickers
V. Variants

Hopefully this should all be in order, but let me know if I missed anything! 


I. The List

All 114 officially licensed games released in the United States for the Sega Master System.

*Card format: This game was released as a Sega Card, not a cartridge.
** Third-party: This game was released by a third-party software maker, not Sega.
*** UPC Sticker: This game is identical to the European version, but with a U.S. UPC sticker on the case.

  1. Action Fighter
  2. Aerial Assault
  3. After Burner
  4. Alex Kidd: High Tech World
  5. Alex Kidd: Miracle World
  6. Alex Kidd: Shinobi World
  7. Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars
  8. Alf
  9. Alien Syndrome
  10. Altered Beast
  11. Astro Warrior
  12. Aztec Adventure
  13. Black Belt
  14. Blade Eagle 3-D
  15. Bomber Raid**
  16. California Games
  17. Captain Silver
  18. Casino Games
  19. Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
  20. Choplifter
  21. Cloud Master
  22. Columns
  23. Cyborg Hunter**
  24. Dead Angle
  25. Dick Tracy
  26. Double Dragon
  27. Enduro Racer
  28. E-Swat
  29. F-16 Fighting Falcon*
  30. Fantasy Zone
  31. Fantasy Zone II
  32. Fantasy Zone: The Maze
  33. Galaxy Force**
  34. Gangster Town
  35. Ghost House*
  36. Ghostbusters
  37. Ghouls 'n Ghosts
  38. Global Defense
  39. Golden Axe
  40. Golden Axe Warrior***
  41. Golvellius: Valley of Doom
  42. Great Baseball
  43. Great Basketball
  44. Great Football
  45. Great Golf
  46. Great Ice Hockey
  47. Great Soccer
  48. Great Volleyball
  49. Hang-On / Astro Warrior
  50. Hang-On / Safari Hunt
  51. James "Buster" Douglas Knockout Boxing
  52. Joe Montana Football
  53. Kenseiden
  54. King's Quest**
  55. Kung-Fu Kid
  56. Lord of the Sword
  57. Marksman Shooting / Trap Shooting
  58. Maze Hunter 3-D
  59. Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
  60. Miracle Warriors
  61. Missile Defense 3-D
  62. Monopoly
  63. Montezuma's Revenge**
  64. My Hero*
  65. OutRun
  66. Paperboy
  67. Parlour Games
  68. Penguin Land
  69. Phantasy Star
  70. Poseidon Wars 3-D
  71. Power Strike
  72. Pro Wrestling
  73. Psycho Fox
  74. Quartet
  75. R. C. Grand Prix**
  76. Rambo: First Blood Part II
  77. Rambo III
  78. Rampage**
  79. Rastan
  80. Reggie Jackson Baseball
  81. Rescue Mission
  82. Rocky
  83. R-Type
  84. Shanghai
  85. Shinobi
  86. Shooting Gallery
  87. Slap Shot
  88. Sonic the Hedgehog***
  89. Space Harrier
  90. Space Harrier 3-D
  91. Spellcaster
  92. Spider-Man***
  93. Sports Pad Football
  94. Spy vs. Spy
  95. Strider***
  96. Super Monaco G.P.
  97. Super Tennis*
  98. Teddy Boy*
  99. The Ninja
  100. Thunder Blade
  101. Time Soldiers
  102. Transbot*
  103. Vigilante
  104. Walter Payton Football
  105. Wanted
  106. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?**
  107. Wonder Boy
  108. Wonder Boy in Monster Land
  109. Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap
  110. World Grand Prix
  111. Ys: The Vanished Omens
  112. Zaxxon 3-D
  113. Zillion
  114. Zillion 2: Tri-Formation 

II. United States versus Everywhere Else

The Sega Master System is, generally speaking, region-free, meaning that most games can be played on most models of the hardware. Because the European versions of Sega Master System games were released with similar box art and often identical cartridges, and were sold so frequently in U.S. stores, many European games were already mixed in to the population of these games within the U.S. even before eBay and the global marketplace began to spread games around the globe.

With few exceptions -- those being the "UPC sticker" versions of Spider-Man, Sonic, and Strider discussed below -- official U.S. releases will only have English text on their back covers and manuals, and specifically note that they are manufactured by "Sega of America" on the manuals and boxes.

While U.S. and European game cartridges are often identical, there are some cases where they are not. Alex Kidd In Shinobi World and Slap Shot were only released with blue cartridge labels in the U.S., so if you have a version of either of these with a red label, it's not the U.S. release.

Additionally, some Sega Card games were also released on standard cartridges in Europe, but not the U.S.

III. Third-Party Games

The vast majority of Sega Master System games were produced by Sega. Of the 114 in the list, 8 of them were produced by three different third parties. Note that many of these games were produced by Sega in other territories, and the only official U.S. releases of these were by third parties.

Activision:
Bomber Raid
Cyborg Hunter
Galaxy Force
Rampage

Parker Bros.:
King's Quest
Montezuma's Revenge
Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?

Seismic:
R.C. Grand Prix

IV. UPC Stickers

Towards the end of the Master System's life, Sega of America cheaped out a bit with the final releases. Instead of manufacturing unique boxes and manuals for four of its final releases, it simply took a batch of the previously-existing PAL releases of the games, put a sticker with a UPC code over the EAN code, and sold those copies in the U.S. These games were Golden Axe Warrior, Strider, Spider-Man, and Sonic the Hedgehog.

Since these games were indeed officially released in the U.S., they are necessary for a full set. Collectors tend to be of two minds on these releases: 1) Since the products are identical but for a single sticker on the back, they're happy to have any copy of the game in their collection. 2) Since the sticker is what denotes the U.S. version, they want the sticker. Only you can decide what makes you happy!

Whether you personally want to collect copies with stickers or not, you should know that the sticker is a major variant that can increase the value of the game significantly, sometimes tenfold.

The UPC codes for each game are:
Golden Axe Warrior: 0 10086 07505 2
Sonic The Hedgehog: 0 10086 07076 7
Spider-Man: 0 10086 07065 1
Strider: 0 10086 09005 5

(Note that Spider-Man's sticker contains not just the new UPC code, but the U.S.-specific trademark and copyright notices that also had to be added to the product for it to be released in the U.S.)

V. Variants

There are two major groups of variant versions of Master System games in the U.S.

As the 1990s dawned, Sega decided to revitalize its products for the new decade by putting tiny stickers that read "Sega For The 90's: The New Generation" on the box, manual, and cartridge of many of its Sega Master System games. Many games can be found with these stickers. I don't have a complete list, and I'm not quite sure a complete list exists.

The other variant has been better documented (see this video). Again, in 1990, Sega re-released several early Master System games with significantly redesigned box art featuring a bold typeface, manuals printed on cheaper paper with a 1990 copyright date, and, most noticeably, a blue label on the cartridge instead of the standard red:

  1. Alex Kidd In Miracle World
  2. Black Belt
  3. California Games
  4. Choplifter
  5. Double Dragon
  6. Enduro Racer
  7. Fantasy Zone
  8. Ghostbusters
  9. Out Run
  10. Rambo: First Blood Part II
  11. Reggie Jackson Baseball

(Additionally, two games -- Alex Kidd in Shinobi World and Slap Shot -- were ONLY released in this format, with a blue cart label, in the U.S.)

Another well-known error variant is that many cartridges for the game Monopoly spell its title "Mono Poly." These are not especially valuable.


 

Edited by Kobun Heat
Spelling error!
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Is Golden Axe Warrior actually the same for US and EU only with a US UPC sticker?  That doesn't seem right to me, but I don't have the game in front of me at the moment.  I thought it was just Sonic, Spider-Man and Strider that got the UPC sticker treatment for US?

ETA: My mistake.  I knew it had a "tall" manual vs. a "sideways" one and thought only US games got tall manuals.  I didn't realize the PAL versions had the same style manual.

Also, great list - thanks!

Edited by glazball
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  • 2 weeks later...

Did a major YouTuber do a video on Spellcaster? It used to be a game you could get CIB $20-$30 all day, but now I’m seeing them listed around $60-$80 seemingly overnight (I know that’s not the same as sold listings, but someone still had the idea to start listing it at that price and it seems others have followed their lead).

I’ve been wanting Spellcaster for awhile but it was one of those games I just hadn’t pulled the trigger on yet. After seeing that I tracked one down for $30 and panic bought it, naturally.

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You can upgrade Miracle Warriors since at least some of the foreign releases (Japanese Master System, Famicom, MSX, MSX2, PC88 and FM-7) came with a light canvas like map and a pewter figure,  The map that came with the US release is pretty big and made out of paper.  So even when you do find one it is almost always hammered pretty badly,

 

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On 4/20/2020 at 8:23 PM, The Strangest said:

Did a major YouTuber do a video on Spellcaster? It used to be a game you could get CIB $20-$30 all day, but now I’m seeing them listed around $60-$80 seemingly overnight (I know that’s not the same as sold listings, but someone still had the idea to start listing it at that price and it seems others have followed their lead).

I’ve been wanting Spellcaster for awhile but it was one of those games I just hadn’t pulled the trigger on yet. After seeing that I tracked one down for $30 and panic bought it, naturally.

This happens with lots of Master System in little waves.  I don't pay attention to any youtubers, but people will start posting a game for a lot more than it sells for and others follow suit.  If you're patient you can grab anything at a reasonable price.  I've been using that method for the last few years on eBay because finding CIB Master System in the wild is super rare here.

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  • 5 weeks later...

This is great man!  I agree with @The Strangest that it'd be great if we could add the other cart label variants as well (Wonderboy in Monsterland and Psycho Fox alongside the monopoly note) as well as a small piece on Sega for the 90s stickers to deal with leftover Tonka stock.  An additional section on "extras" as well, including posters, manuals, reg cards (for the Activision releases).   

Thanks for this!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey, literally made an account to ask about this ebay listing. I've never seen a release that looks like this. Could this be an early, pre-launch mock up type deal?

Couldn't find any info or carts that resemble this, so maybe y'all would find it interesting. This thread is easily the most recent resource I can find right now.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Hokuto-no-Ken-Fist-Of-The-North-Star-BLACK-BELT-Rare-Sega-MASTER-SYSTEM-NTSC-Htf-/233399085730

 

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12 hours ago, goobigal said:

Hey, literally made an account to ask about this ebay listing. I've never seen a release that looks like this. Could this be an early, pre-launch mock up type deal?

That is super homemade and the seller should feel bad about it. The grid is blurry. It's missing ® and ™all over the place. The font is close but wrong, even in the world of disparate SMS fonts. Sega didn't move their logo to the top of the box until later in the SMS life. Compared Wonder Boy to Wonder Boy III for example. Black Belt wouldn't have had a logo up top (or squished that close to the top in any case). The art isn't centered and doesn't match the style of any other SMS box art. The cart label doesn't look like anything else. The Arial on the back of the box is way out of place, most old games have serif fonts on back, but I'll give you that one as circumstantial. The text on the back sounds ridiculous for 1986, particularly the sentence fragment "This often resulting in a violent gory death". The UPC is the UPC from Ghostbusters, which came out a year later. The Players: 1 box has the grid poking through it, I'm not sure if this was just an attempt to seem deliberately lazy and "prototypey" though.

I'm sure an SMS expert could point out even more weird inconsistencies with it out if they want to go hard. Like, maybe Sega wasn't using that style of Players: 1 box yet, or maybe the PO Box address vs the 573 Forbes Blvd address is wrong for the time period. Or hey, screenshots from that era were almost always surrounded by a black border, but those aren't. Even having the Sega logo 3 times on the box seems excessive, any other games have the Sega logo twice on one side? This is fun, like playing spot the variant difference with @RH

While pretty much every argument about prototypes can be dismissed by saying "it's that way because it's a prototype" I would say no, this is not a prototype.

Edited by DefaultGen
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Member · Posted

I picked up a blue label variant of Double Dragon from my local game store and I wanted to post pictures on this thread for documentation sake.

If someone needs better photos for any reason I’d be happy to take some when I can.

F7CCE4F0-5C86-4211-9C66-E2969E474197.jpeg

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At the bottom of this box, it’s copyright Sega of America. I believe on the boxes for the red label carts it’s copyright Tonka, but if I’m wrong please let me know.

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The manual has a copyright date of 1990

Edited by The Strangest
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  • 4 weeks later...
Member · Posted

And here are photos of the North American copy of Alex Kidd in Shinobi World. Check out that sexy blue label!

As mentioned above, this game ONLY came with a blue cartridge in North America. So if you see a red cartridge, it’s PAL. SMS is region free, but just a bit of info for those who are shooting for the North American set. Other factors for identifying North American copies: vertical manuals and only English-language on the back of the box. There are exceptions to these rules on a few SMS games, however.

Alex Kidd in Shinobi World, if I remember correctly, was originally going to be an entry in the Shinobi series simply titled “Shinobi Kid,” but then Sega decided to throw Alex Kidd into the game at the last minute. So this is really more “Shinobi” than “Alex Kidd.”

 

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Member · Posted

For those of you that are curious about the Master System, Hungry Goriya (an underrated YouTube channel) posted this video recently comparing NES mainstays with some similar offerings on the Master System. My favorite game on the Master System is featured first.

Edited by The Strangest
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  • 5 months later...
9 hours ago, DoctorEncore said:

I'm officially on the Master System collecting train, so thanks for all the awesome info. If anyone is looking to unload any CIB stuff, please hit me up. I will buy in lots, whenever possible.

A very under rated system. Don’t listen to the Nintendo fanboys, it’s got a lot of fun games. I do recommend going PAL as well though, the US missed out on a lot of good games. The system is region free so no need for mods or extra consoles.

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On 1/2/2021 at 11:42 PM, Shmup said:

A very under rated system. Don’t listen to the Nintendo fanboys, it’s got a lot of fun games. I do recommend going PAL as well though, the US missed out on a lot of good games. The system is region free so no need for mods or extra consoles.

Any recommendations on what PAL and Japanese games to pick up?

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48 minutes ago, DoctorEncore said:

Any recommendations on what PAL and Japanese games to pick up?

Not familiar with the Japanese games but a few PAL exclusives that I have enjoyed:

Asterix

Sonic 1 & 2 (I think you guys got 1 but it has a ridiculous markup due to a sticker)

Ninja Gaiden

Master of Darkness

Power Strike 2

Streets of Rage 1 & 2

Land of Illusion 

Wonder boy in monster world

Bank Panic (I loved this game as a kid but haven’t played it as an adult so you might want to check it out on an emulator).

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