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How to Modify a Genesis Model 3 to Play Japanese Games

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I recently picked up a Genesis 3. If you haven't seen one, they're very small versions of the Genesis. I later found out that they can apparently play Japanese imports. The cartridge slot is even wide enough to accomodate the larger Japanese cartridges, unlike the original and second generation versions of the Genesis (you have to widen their slots with a dremel or file). So I picked up a copy of Phantasy Star II on eBay to give it a try.

It turns out that it's only partially true. It will supposedly play Japanese imports which do not have an internal region lockout. It appears that Phantasy Star II does have that lockout, because after the initial Sega copyright screen, it just gave me a black screen.

This was not a big deal. I don't know of any Japanese Mega Drive (the Genesis was called the Mega Drive outside the U.S., or rather, the Mega Drive was called the Genesis in the U.S.) games that I desperately want to play. Still, I thought it would be fun to try to get it working. And besides, Phantasy Star II cost me like $8, and that's enough to buy a decent sandwich. And I can't eat a Phantasy Star II cartridge. Believe me, I tried (note to self: try adding more cumin next time).

I gathered information on this mod from a number of places. Unfortunately, most of the instructions I've found have been pretty light on details. And since there are instructables for Genesis models 1 & 2, but not 3, I thought I'd condense what I found out here, accompanied by some pretty pictures.

So let's mod a Genesis 3!
 
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Step 1: What You'll Need

Picture of What You'll Need
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You will need:
  • 1 Sega Genesis 3. Obviously.
  • 1 or more Japanese Mega Drive games. Again, obviously.
  • 1 Phillips head screwdriver.
  • Tweezers.
  • Soldering Iron. I used a 25W one. You don't want to use one that's too hot here.
  • Thin wire. I used IDE ribbon cable.
Optionally:
  • SPDT Switch. I didn't need one, which surprised me. I'll get to that later.
sonicdude1012 months ago
I did the same thing to my model 3 in addition to also making it NTSC/ PAL too. Another jumper close by controls this. I did mine with a single switch that double pole quadruple throw. This gives me all 4 possible region combinations the Genesis can do. I get USA (NTSC video and english language) EUR (english and PAL) JAP (japanese and NTSC) and finally the hardly ever used ASIAN (japanese and PAL). I have instructions and pictures of it over at ASSEMblergames forum.
ibizarro_8310 months ago
Yo sonicdude10, where exactly is this Gen3 Mod instruct you mentioned, I did a few searches and looked through a couple threads on ASSEMblergames but found nothing helpful or close to your description.

Just now saw this. Never made it a reply to me so I never saw this until just now when looking at something here.

Anyways, here's the ASSEMbler thread I spoke of. Goodness you're looking for starts at post #63.

http://www.assemblergames.com/forums/showthread.ph...

I suggest doing a google search as there are better instructions out there than what I did. I mainly showed how I wired up with the DP4T switch for all 4 region combinations.

fwonkas (author) 11 months ago
@sonicdude10: Very cool. I don't have any PAL games at the moment, so I had no reason to make that change. Great idea using a DP4T switch. I'll have to pick some of those up.
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