Happy 17th Anniversary to the Sega 32X

It’s been 17 years since Sega released their 32X enhancement device for the Sega Genesis and Sega CD  in North America on November 21,1994, and it remains on my list of most intriguing and yet most disappointing game systems of all time.  Essentially Sega created an attachment for their popular Genesis game system that used two 32-bit RISC processors to improve the graphics quality of their 16-bit video game console.  The 32X was inserted into the Genesis into the game cartridge slot, and used a separate power supply, which made it a tad cumbersome.  (If you had a Sega CD accessory, you could have three power supplies and a mess of cables.)

The short-lived Sega 32X

A small variety of games were released for the 32X on both cartridge and CD formats (36 in total), including Doom, Virtua Racing, NBA Jam TE, Virtua Fighter, Star Wars, Mortal Kombat II, and the brilliant Kolibri (the only game I know of where you play a hummingbird).  However, the game library never achieved the status of other game systems simply because the 32X was discontinued within one year after its release (in October, 1995), as  Sega’s management team decided to move forward with the CD-based Sega Saturn game system, and the 32X soon became a mere memory, selling only 400,000 or so units.  Regardless, the 32X is still enjoyed by some Sega enthusiasts in the retrogaming community, remembered for the promise of its potential rather than the disappointment of its execution.  Though we hardly knew ye, Happy 17th Anniversary to the 32X!

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