The Sega Master System Controller

Sega Master System

Well, well... What's this? This looks very much like the NES controller except that it's black, is missing the start and select buttons and has a differently shaped directional pad (Nintendo's cross shape is patented.)

The Sega Master System was released in 1986, and was outsold by the NES 10-to-1. This wasn't Sega's first home console, but the earlier SG-1000 had joysticks more similar to the Atari 2600 than the NES. Oddly, this controller's connector is nearly pin-for-pin compatible with the Atari 2600. Perhaps this was carried over from the SG-1000.

It's pretty obvious that this controller is inspired by the NES controller. If we follow along the Sega branch of the family tree, we'll notice a trend - Sega controllers follow a straight line progression in this chart. Every one has similarities to the previous controller design, but also borrows ideas from the competitors (namely Nintendo.)

Ancestors - Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega SG-1000

Back to family tree

Descendants - Sega Genesis

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