The arrival of the Sega CD was announced in the United States in September 1991, an entire year in advance of its actual release date. Nintendo had just released the SNES and Sega was proclaiming the superiority of the Genesis console to consumers. Sega contended that with the introduction of the Sega CD, the Genesis would become the system of the future. In October 1991, the Sega CD was released as the "Mega-CD" in Japan where the Genesis was called the "Mega-Drive." It initially retailed for $380. Adding to its appeal to consumers in the East, Sega engineered the Mega-CD system to play karaoke CDs. On October 15, 1992, the Sega CD was finally released in American stores. Its original retail price was $299. It sat underneath the Genesis console and featured a front-loading CD tray. Though they both contained the same 68000 microprocessor, the Sega CD ran at 12.5 MHz, a full 5 MHz faster than the Genesis. Working in conjunction, the two processors virtually eliminated any pauses for loading. Two graphics chips in the Sega CD introduced scaling and rotation to Genesis games (the SNES was also capable of this). It could also add up to 256 different colors on-screen. The Sega CD could add sound right off of the disk and double the Genesis’ available RAM.
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