The Mystery of the Media Mega Drive | Nostalgia Nerd
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The Mystery of the Media Mega Drive | Nostalgia Nerd

Ahhhh, the Sega Mega Drive, that glorious
piece of 16 bit hardware from Japan in 1989. A treat for the senses. A feat for the eyes…. what in the name of
Atari Lynx’s Mother is this thing? Well, this, friends, is the Media Mega Drive. That’s right, I had no bloomin’ clue either. But I did take note of these iconic gaming
images on the front. We’ve got the Outrun car up there, Donatello
in two differing art styles, the Silver Surfer over there, him, that, all these people. Suffice to say, it’s familiar, although at
least they haven’t plonked Mario or Sonic on the front. The Mega Drive logo is also very familiar,
as does the tessellated box design, although the console looks like it’s fallen from the
back of Del Boy’s van and bounced several times down the road. On the side we have a blurb… “Now the Experience the Unknown” (quite literally)
“the Power, the sound, the excitement. Only on your MEDIA Mega Drive” We’ll get to the rest in just a second. First lets delve into this box of incredulity. I should also mention that I found this through
a random eBay retro hardware search and paid the sum of £25 for it. So we have the Mega Mega Drive logo on the
poly insert as well, nice attention to detail, as well as a hand-written number – 176 – this
could imply there was another 175 of these boxes shipped beforehand. Under that we have a plethora of wonder, and
look there’s that number again. Here’s the manual. Apparently Models/Specifications subject to
change WITHOUT notice. Inside we get a blurb similar to the box blurb. “The Media Mega Drive. The most advanced that technology has to offer. Built with components from SONY of Japan”… I bet there’s a single Sony Capacitor in there,
and it’s probably fake… “The Complete system nobody has offered so
far. Games you MAY want in Combinations of 250×1,
100×1, 52×1, 21x, etc…”.. This is like some kind of floor plan… “That take you to worlds unthinkable, unimaginable. Now let’s get set and read on because there’s
so much to do. But remember Handle with Care… your Media
Mega Drive could drive you to ecstasy”……. Good grief. Your Media Mega Drive is the only system in
the world with the TURBO DRIVE CORDLESS REMOTE CONTROLS. That must be this fat one here. Your Media Mega Drive also provides you with
a sleek sharpshooter Laser Gun. Check. Your 3 Speed Laser Gun is so accurate that
you could shoot down from a distance of 6ft?… Wait a minute… 3 speed? Is this thing a Morris Minor or something?? Your Exciting World of fantasy comes in a
Multi Game Cartridge. Games that will keep you going on and on,
You’d never like to stop. Yep, here it is. It appears I have a 64×1 model containing
all these wonders. We’ve got BROS II, BIG APES 1,2 and 3, WRESTLE
and FAST BROS 2 among numerous others. We’ve also got two wired controllers, an RF
box, the power brick and the console itself, with handy slots on the side for the wired
controllers, just like the Famicom…. hmmm, yes, this is feeling like a Famicom clone. There’s an eject button, the MEDIA Mega Drive
logo, twice, and two reset buttons. One to reset upwards and one to reset downwards? I have no idea. We’ve also got 2 15 pin control ports and
an IR sensor on the front. There are more connectors on the back than
I’d imagined. We have RF, DV, Composite connections, heardphones
and the power switch. The label on the bottom tells us the serial
number, that it is indeed a PAL system and that it consumes ABOUT 11W of power. Media Video Ltd. is clearly a very nonchalant
company. Alrighty then, let’s get this bad boy hooked
up to a screen. I’m going to follow the connection diagram
and use the audio/video terminal rather than RF. My 64 in 1 cartridge works absolutely fine
and straight away we can see its packed with NES/Famicom games….. You’d probably already guessed that. There’s nothing particularly special about
the titles on offer here, although we do have speeded up versions of some games, such as
Fast Bros. NES cartridges won’t work in this machine,
but Famicom carts will, and as you can see, the Famicom version of Duck Hunt works absolutely
fine. Well apart from the screen corruption. But with some light blowing all is well. Despite my fine acting here, the light gun
doesn’t seem to work anymore, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and presume it
did when new. That upper reset button does absolutely nothing
either. But the bottom one works an absolute treat. The main controller features two turbo buttons
in addition to the normal controls. Player 2’s controller is the same but lacking
select and start, and we also have this infra-red controller which can be assigned to either
player one or two and works from a fair distance. This would be pretty useful for playing on
the sofa, squinting at your 21” CRT in the corner… that is, until someone walks in
front and breaks the connection. So what is this? Well, aesthetically it looks like a cross
between a Mega Drive, Master system and Famicom…. and if you bash past the aesthetic, then yes,
it is indeed a Famicom clone – or Famiclone as they’re known. This type of machine is of course, nothing
new. They’ve been made – often in Taiwan, but also
places like Russia and India – since the 80s. But this machine stands out because on first
glance of the branding alone, it appeared to be some kind of Mega Drive hybrid made
by an alternative manufacturer. In any case, it still leaves me interested
as to why this branding was adopted and how was it distributed, especially in the UK? A rapid Google search delivers only one real
entry of intrigue. A Planet Arbitrary post by Pat B on December
12th 2011. It seems that Pat had acquired one of these
machines and was intrigued enough to investigate. Pat’s clearly a man of my own heart. Written here, Pat says he picked his up from
a local thrift store. I wanted more information than this, so I
contacted him. Lovely chap, and he informed he that it came
from a Goodwill in Naperville, Illinois USA. It doesn’t appear that these machines were
sold in North America, so it must have been imported. The machine was unboxed and in a slightly
sorry state, lacking some of it’s peripherals, but Pat was as taken by the branding as me. Like mine, Pat’s controllers stated “Built
with Sony components from Japan”, and also like me, Pat concluded that Sony clearly had
no idea their logo was stamped on this machine. Pat had one of the Media Original Cartridges
containing various Famicom titles such as Contra, Excite Bike, Galaza and DUCK, along
with a Super Nintendo-esq 188 in 1 cart. 188 in 1? That wasn’t one of the combinations noted
on my box. What the hell is this? A counterfeit of a counterfeit? This is one deep rabbit hole. Pat’s Media Mega drive is also a PAL model,
and it has the serial number 950711299, whereas mine is 920816176. Now I very much doubt they made some 30 odd
million of these machines. I mean, of course they didn’t. But if you look to the left it says B.No,
which I presume stands for Batch and Number. The number also has a very slight gap between
the 81 and the 61. So my first guess what that this is some kind
of batch number 92,081 and this is machine number 6,176. But then of course, the box says 176 on it. So maybe this is Batch – or whatever that
means – 920,816 and simply machine number 176. That’s a pretty low number! That would make Pat’s machine number 299. *But as one of my Patron’s, Hikari, pointed
out, maybe those batch numbers are dates. So 16th August 1992 and 11th July 1995. The plot thickens* But anyway. Pat’s post is from December 2011, and it would
appear that Media Video Ltd still had a running website back then. The logo on their website matches the logo
on the Media Mega Drive, so it’s almost certain they’re the right company. Their website is now offline, but using the
wonder of the Internet archive’s Way Back Machine, we can have a better look. So we can see images have been collected since
2002, and it appears to have gone offline sometime in 2014. The interesting thing is that during it’s
entire lifetime, the site wasn’t updated what-so-ever. The June 13th 2013 capture is identical to
the November 24th 2002 capture, including some pages which remained Under Construction
for that entire duration. That’s some slack web-mastering. We can see they produced TV Games, Educational
Computers, Rechargeable Lights, Fans and indeed Torches. You can even subscribe to the “Media Kids
Club”, which offered a surprise gift. I imagine it was an animated GIF. Anyway, I’m interested in their TV Games,
and it seems they certainly weren’t shy to swiping the names of better known machines. They’ve got the GAME BOY on offer here, and
they’ve even had the cheek to throw in a Trade Mark logo… but then, I’m not sure whether
they’re trying to claim it’s their own trade mark or just acknowledging it’s a trade mark
they’re stealing. The Game Boy promises to Razor sharpens your
guts, speed and skills. And you emerge a winner…. sounds pretty
painful to me. They’re also offering the “Future Zone”, which
comes with two turbo joysticks, a laser gun and a LEAD WIRE. There’s a WIZ-KID, the Little Master-1, the
Little Master-2 (which requires Heavy Duty AC Adaptors), and look! There’s also a 16 bit TV Games section, but
even here, there’s no mention of the Media Mega Drive. I’d love to know what an R.F. Chord sounds like though. But ultimately, I can’t find any trace of
these other consoles online either, so all of these machines are pretty elusive. A quick search of companies house reveals
that Media Video Ltd was a UK company which traded from 23rd November 2001 to 30th April
2013 – that ties in with the website’s uptime. It’s directors were Mark Beales and Jonathan
Collins, and it’s largest profit was during it’s first year of trading at £3,616. If you look on the website’s contact page
it lists Media Video Limited’s contact address and phone number as being in India. In fact, despite appearing as an English site,
it’s directed at India mentioning Media’s Exclusive chain of retail showrooms in the
region. So maybe this UK company was just a localised
face for this larger operation. One which was based here, on this New Dehli
industrial park. If we have another look at the manual, there’s
a warranty card with the same address, so that tallies. But then… oh good god. The date of purchase has been filled in as
25/8/92. That doesn’t tie in with this UK company what-so-ever. Apparently the dealer’s name was Arow and
the chasis number is 17892. Armed with this knowledge, I went back to
the outer packaging and found this label lurking on the bottom. Aside from the cool “Free Mega Offer” sticker,
the label next to it certainly confirms the 176 serial number, and has a date of the 17th
August 1992. So that corroborates with the warranty card. It seems evident that I’m going to have to
crack this bad boy up to check the contents. A straight forward task consisting of just
4 screws on the bottom. Remember that handheld we looked at the other
day. Yeah, well this is what a Famiclone from the
90s looks like inside. Quite a bit different. Now I can’t see any Sony components on first
glass, but we do have some Hyundai silicon here and a couple of Philips chips also. This UMC UA6527P is a hybrid CPU used in the
Dendy console; A popular Taiwanese famiclone distributed in Russia from 1992 onwards. These chips also have a date code of the 10th
week of 1992, so that checks out with the date on the box and warranty card. In fact all of these chips date to around
the same era. Thinking about this, if we go back to Pat’s
website. His machine has a Media Seal on with a year
– I presume – of 1995. So if my machine is from 1992, then we can
presume these machines were made for at least 3 years. I mentioned my machine number is 176 and Pat’s
is 299, *and if those batch numbers really are dates, then all this tallies, but I still
find it hard to imagine that they only made a couple hundred of these over 3 years, although
it’s completely possible.* So a bit more digging; this time on the Indian
Registrar of Companies, and although there’s no Media Video Limited presently there is
a company called Noesis Industries Limited. Their website looks like it’s been made by
a high school student in 1997, but that’s not important. What is important is that Noesis Industries
Limited were known as MVL Industries Limited up until 2014 and before that they were called… YES. Media Video Ltd. Now this company was founded on the 11th December
1986 and took to task manufacturing pre-recorded video cassettes, emerging as one of the main
manufacturers of both pre-recorded and blank video cassettes in Northern India in 1991,
whilst also holding several hundred copyrights for feature films. Clearly they decided that they didn’t want
to have too many legitimate copyrights and so decided around the same time to start manufacturing
Famiclones, which is how our Media Mega Drive came to pass, making it’s way across Europe
in the early to mid 90s. I can then only speculate that then in 2002,
they either decided to setup a legitimate UK operation for distributing their wares
into the UK, or our director friends decided to set themselves up as importers of these
goods under the same name. Perhaps they just got hold of some surplus
stock and decided to sell it. That would explain why there was only really
any turnover in the first year of operation. It’s also possible that this UK company has
nothing to do with the Media Video Ltd of India what-so-ever, despite sharing the same
business nature and trading name. Either way, it’s existence doesn’t really
affect the story of our Media Mega Drive, because by this point, these models were seemingly
out of production, leaving only these other systems and devices listed on the website. So this then isn’t a Famicom clone from the
noughties. It’s a clone from the 90s, which rode on the
Mega Drive name, but was apparently, not that popular. It’s not like it was alone either, Famiclones
like the MD-1 were also available in the 90s and they went a step even further with the
Mega Drive aesthetic. It probably would have been pretty cool to
fire up your “Mega Drive”, only to have Mario running around on screen. But the novelty would have quickly worn thin,
especially if you thought you were getting a real Mega Drive for Christmas. It feels like while “legitimate” clones like
the Scorpion 16 – featured on Bad Influence – tried to capitalise on the active game market
through cloning current technology. These frankenstein clones tried to simply
penetrate – either through deception or blissful ignorance – into the low cost end of market
by simply riding on the branding. The back alley distribution links these machines
arrived through were simply a forerunner before sellers cottoned onto websites like eBay and
Aliexpress to sell knock off goods. For me it’s just a fascinating dip into recent
history. I don’t know if Sega or Nintendo ever jumped
onto these machines, but I suspect they slipped under the radar landing in various homes and
probably remain lurking in attics throughout the world. As for this beauty. I’ll probably stick it on a shelf for now
and dream of a past full of clones. If you have one of these yourself, please
do let me know, and perhaps we can shed some further light on this niche piece of gaming
history. As for Noesis Limited. Well, they were involved with the manufacture
of consumer electronics up until a number of years ago but don’t really do much of anything
today, having operated at a loss for the past number of years; it exists now essentially
as a shell company. That is, a non trading company retained for
other reasons. Those reasons could be it’s various listed
subsidiaries such as Kool Auto Ltd who manufacture car solar screens and the like, who still
seem to be operating. As for the controllers. Do they have Sony components? Well actually… No. Of course they don’t. Thank you for watching this strange video into an Indian Famiclone. Click for more, subscribe, or even sign up to my Patreon account. It means a great deal to me! Anyway, have a great evening!

100 thoughts on “The Mystery of the Media Mega Drive | Nostalgia Nerd

  1. Slight oversight by me and an update on the serial number front courtesy of Patron Donald Perkins: The standard for most date codes is (year)(dayoftheyear) so 92081 would be the 81st day of 1992 and this would be device 176 that was produced that day. It's possible they didn't use this system, but it's likely and means they could produce several hundred per day. That could mean the serial numbers written on the machines possibly applied to an allocated batch from each day.

    Additional (some are getting upset): the Mega Drive may have spread FROM Japan in 1989 but it was first released in 1988.

  2. These were sold in the “yellow market “ In Prague the yellow market was the name the Czech people called it , they have a pretty big Vietnamese population for some reason and they sold these there along with fake Japanese katana and lots of fake designer clothing , it’s dead now , I went back a few years ago and there were no counterfeit stall holders at all , shame because I loved it.

  3. So they reverse enginered a Dendy and pirated it in a Sega Megadrive like case but it plays Nintendo rom hacks.This is super weird. LMAO

  4. SPOILER: It's a Famiclone. Another one of those cheap cloned NESes that sell for 5p in places like India and China. Only it's name is "Media Mega Drive". It's not a Megadrive and it doesn't do any media things. Just a boring old Famiclone.

    So now you don't have to watch 20 minutes of video waiting for him to get to the point.

  5. Great vid thanks for all your research into this, it is unfortunate that they would use the Mega Drive logo, and I feel for the kids who got these back in the day who thought they were getting a 16 bit machine when that was all the rage only to be stuck with a famicom

  6. Here in the US you could find shady dealers as early as the late 80s selling these sorts of bootleg consoles at flea markets or at shady mall kiosks. Even new the chances that all the peripherals in the box actually working was slim and of course there was no way to return them because, again, shady sales guys means no receipts, cash only kinda things.

    They haven’t went away either. I saw one the other day selling NES/SNES classic bootlegs and over priced Retro pie boxes.

  7. Oh my goodness the Mario bros really gives away he difference between pal and ntsc. It sounded so slow to my ears from what I’m use to

  8. The design of the console kind of reminds me of the Power Base Converter, and combined with the box art it made me think that this was some obscure Master System redesign that I hadn't heard of before. It took a minute for me to realize that this was just a knock-off console (the multi-game carts should have been the obvious tip).

  9. Media video games was an Indian manufacturer.

    Their NES clone line was

    1. Lil Master
    2. Whiz Kid
    3. Amazer ( Mega Drive shown here) with a 3rd IR remote

    They also had an SNES clone – The Grand Amazer

    They imported bootleg compilation carts from Hong Kong. I spent a lot of hours as a kid playing Nintendo classics never knowing it was a bootleg system.

    The licensed NES clone maker in India was Samurai. They made an NES clone complete with the Big Carts from the American NES.

  10. The "reset up" button doesn't do anything because the machine is already in an "up" state. "Reset down" takes it down, but the hardware automatically reverts to an "up" state. "Reset up" only works when the machine is in the "down" state. Of course, to do this, you also need to provide power to the machine, which automatically puts it into an "up" state, but just in case it doesn't, you can "reset up."

    I might be drunk.

  11. Thats a clone of a Famiclone 😀 Nowadays they make them with an appearance similar to PS1 😀

    And nowadays I have a real trouble finding a classic red/white Famiclone, the one I grew up with!

  12. 0:50 Why is Nana the Ice Climber in the top? Ice Climber is a Nintendo Game! You can even see the polar bear and a seal, which are enemies.

    Edit: after watching the video, i see why.

  13. don't put that "thing" so close to a Dreamcast pls, if i came and saw your sega console collection and saw that thing id punch you

  14. These consoles were sold at cheap as chips for $40, My awesome grandparents bought one for me and it was fun until a got a Nintendo and became enlightened. Cool vid

  15. I have a bit of trivia about this :
    In the early to mid 90's, in Eastern Europe and mainly Russia, there were HUNDREDS of different hardware clones of the NES, all packaged as different consoles of the time. PlayStation, SEGA, didn't matter. All of them worked on the same clone hardware, and 99% of them had this distinctive "yellow cartridge", which was basically just an unlicensed multicart compilation of NES roms all dumped into it. These consoles were colloquially called "Yellow Cartridge Nintendo's" , pretty much ubiquitously available in chinatowns and chinese flea markets.

  16. I did some research of my own:
    Their company info is still available on Google search but nothing about their whois info.

  17. I had one of these clones as my first ever console. It had Mario, tanks and duck hunt on it. And I loved the shit out of it.
    A bit of background: I spent my childhood in the remnants of a collapsed Soviet union. I remember that in around '98 affording a game boy (the first one) was a big deal. So these knock offs really brought the post-Soviet youth in the gaming era… the next step being internet cafes and CS. And screaming at everyone. Sorry about that.

  18. I still own the same model in box in perfect condition. Even the outer box looks like brand new till date. It was so popular in 90's. I don't play now but after watching your video thinking to unbox it again and start playing bcoz old is always gold.

  19. These were pretty common in India in 1990s. I used to own one. There were quite a few names and these were manufactured locally in India (mostly in delhi and chennai) and were marketed under names like "Samurai" and "Media". Media used to be a popular name. They had a few interesting ads featuring CGI back in 90s. They even had a Mega-Drive clone too. So did Samurai.

  20. Dude!!!! That is one cool console and I've never even seen it before, I bet there's even more consoles just waiting for you to play them 🙂

  21. "This is one deep rabbit hole" Luckily for me I love gaming rabbit holes. Just so mysterious and spooky to me.

  22. I remember about 10 years ago market was saturated with all this clones but we never knew we would pick one up for like $10 and cartage costs about $1 . And they came with like 10in1 games 😁😁 and (I am from india)

  23. "Your Media Mega Drive could drive you to ecstacy"

    My girl did that to me while I was driving and we were almost arrested for overspeeding because of it.

  24. Anybody else remember that 76000 in one console Jontron covered in his Plug and Play episode? I think this was made on similar hardware.

  25. Over here in Germany you could find them on Fleamarkets from around 1998 until today, Packaging, Brand and Console change over the Time, Names as Wintendo or Media Mega Drive are also. Only the Businessman or Businesstype stays same: Import or Export with Connections to China via India or Pakistan/Afghanistan.

  26. The pinned definition is not correct. There is an extra digit that has not been accounted for. The last 3 digits you are right about, that would be the unit number of that days production, however there are 6 digits before it, not 5.

    920816176 = 16th August 1992, Unit 176

    950711299 = 11th July 1995, Unit 299

    Could explain why he has a different cart as this may have varied over time, much like the statement on the user guide suggests.

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