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SEGA Genesis 32X/Neptune (Unreleased)

The Genesis 32X (code-named ‘Neptune’) is an unreleased hybrid console that was planned for release in late 1995 in North America. It is designed to accept all Mega Drive and 32X software and is powered by a single power adapter. The console would have retailed for $149.99 – cheaper than a 32X at launch and considerably cheaper than buying a 32X and a Mega Drive separately. A release was also planned for the United Kingdom with a retail price of £200.

The console was prototyped as a way to recoup costs of producing the expensive 32X add-on, but the console never left its prototype stage as the imminent release of the SEGA Saturn became SEGA’s focus at the time. A single Genesis 32X prototype exists and is currently in the ownership of Sean Kelly of the National Videogame Museum in Frisco, Texas. While it is often rumoured this prototype is a mock-up made of wood and plastic to give an impression of what the final system would look like after mass production, an interview with Sean Kelly by MeTV revealed that Kelly has never attempted to power the system up through fear. Kelly has the console insured for $500,000. Kelly’s Genesis 32X is recognisable via a white paint splatter near the cartridge slot.

It is also rumoured that the reason why this Genesis 32X prototype made it into the hands of a private collector is because it was owned by former SEGA America employee Clint Dyer, who sold off several prototypes and unreleased Mega Drive and Mega-CD games in 1999-2000, including the infamous ‘Sonic Crackers’ prototype of Knuckles’ Chaotix.

Potential Specifications

Main Processor: 2 Hitachi SH-2 32-bit RISC processors clocked at 23 MHz
Motorola 68000 @ 7.6 MHz
Zilog Z80 @ 3.58 MHz

Resolution: 320 × 240 resolution
Colors Available: 32,768 on-screen colors
Capable of rendering 50,000 polygons per second

Yamaha YM2612
Texas Instruments SN76489

256 KB RAM, 256 KB VRAM

ROM cartridge


Image credit to MeTV and SEGA Retro

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