Power Base Converter Review

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29th October 1988; the 16-bit wars have officially started. The Megadrive is released in Japan, and people are upgrading from their old Master Systems to the new revolutionary system. Then, you realize something; you’ve spent a lot of money on last gen, and now you can’t play any of the games on the new system. Time passes, and you just have to plug in both systems.

Then, Sega answers your calls and releases the Sega Master System Converter. This peripheral (which is affectionately known as the Power Base Converter) allows you to play your old games without having to own the old system! But, was this converter any good? Let’s find out!

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Look at this beauty! (sarcasm)


First, let’s discuss what the extension did. The Master System’s main CPU was a Zilog Z80, which is an 8 -bit processor. The Megadrive, on the other hand, has the Zilog Z80 as a sub-processor, and a Motorola 68000 as the main processor. Unlike common belief, the Power Base Converter does not contain a murdered Master System. It does, however, contain a few chips. Basically, it is a glorified pin adapter. You could probably make your own home-made version of this device, if you really wanted to.

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The Powerbase Converter: Like a brain slug!


But, the main thing you came here to hear is whether it is any good. And, it works really well! The games run at full speed, and the audio sounds just like the original system. Since controllers use the same port, you can use your old accessories with the Megadrive. The downside is the adapter looks like it is leaching life off of the MegaDrive. Another downside is the price. It is quite expensive, especially when you can get a Master System at the same price, boxed.


So, should you bother getting this peripheral? If you want to have only one system to play as many games as possible, it is worth it. I got it as I only have one plug that is shared between systems, and I swap the consoles regularly. It is more of a convenience, than a necessity.

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