The Megadrive was released in Britain around Christmas in 1989. Technology wise it was a a bit of a step up from the 16bit computers and the then most advanced console of the day, the PC Engine. The Megadrive was a instant hit. The release of games such as the infamous Sonic the Hedgehog, Streets of Rage and Revenge of Shinobi cemented it as the games console of choice. The release of Streetfighter 2 on the SNES was the beginning of a fall in popularity. Sega attempted to trump Nintendo with Streetfighter 2 Championship Edition with a new joypad. Nintendo immeadiately made them look silly though with the release of Streetfighter 2 Turbo.
The Megadrive was increasingly looking a bit old, but it continued to sell. The release of the Mega CD (complete with the dodgy Nightrap, which encouraged lots of yound lads to forget about the game and attempt to get far enough to see the stripping girls. Nightrap, surprisingly, was banned) and repackaging as the Megadrive 2 staved off slagging sales (even if the build quality on this one left a lot to be desired. The release of the Atari Jaguar seems to have surprised Sega, who responded with the the 32X. This 32bit expansion, which fits into the cartidge port, was even more poorly supported than Atari's 'Vunder' console however and was promptly dumped with the launch of the Saturn.
Sega Megadrive Console
The original box
Motorola M68000 16 bit CPU @ 7.67Mhz
320x244 with 64 colors from a palette of 512
Yamaha YM2612 6 channel FM wih a Additional 4 channel PSG
Cartridges (and CD's for the later released Mega CD, a addon device)