Sunday, 27 July 2008

Telstar Double Packs

To the best of my knowledge the Telstar we are talking about here is not the same as the Telstar music distributor which started in the 60's as suggested in the magazine scan below, although please let me know if you have better information. Telstar is a UK company which began life in 1993. They started out by selling discounted video games in 'double packs'. As far as I am aware it was only games for the Mega Drive, Master System and Game Gear then later they also released packs for the PC. Telstar went on to get the UK publishing right to 7th Guest.. it all went down hill from there until they were bought out by 'Take 2' in 1999.

Scan from issue 27 of Sega Pro - Christmas Special - November 1993 (click to enlarge)

The packs were advertised in the Sega magazines of the day (Sega Pro) and also sold through popular high street shops such as WH Smiths and HMV. Below is an advertisement feature from issue 31 of Sega Pro (Easter 94).

(click to enlarge)

As you can see from the above advert most of the Double Packs released were for the Mega Drive, in fact there are 20 mega Drive Telstar Double Packs in all, as can be seen listed on Guardiana (A French Mega Drive site). I do not collect for the Mega Drive but I have been told that these are very difficult to find and perhaps only pop up on ebay once maybe twice per year. Below is my Mega Drive collector friends set of 6 Double Packs.

The main reason for the rarity of these packs, other than the fact that comparatively few would have been sold, is the packaging. The outer casing is just thin clear plastic with a paper insert to cover the two original game boxes.

The games sit back to back so that the hangers fit through a gap in the outer casing. The only actual difference with the game boxes inside is the Telstar stickers over the original barcodes and smaller T F&G (Telstar Fun & Games) stickers on the front covers.

As you can see from the picture below Telstar and Sega Pro had a bit of a relationship going..

The Master System double pack I've shown here is the only one I have ever seen, I found it in June of 2007 on ebay. I ended up paying just over £30 for it which I was surprised at as the auction was quite poorly done. I would say that you shouldn't really have to pay more than this but it's one of those difficult to value items. The Mega Drive ones are more common (if you can call them that) as there was such a large range avaialble but apparently just 3 each for the Master System and Game Gear.

As with any of my articles if anyone has any more information or even just pictures they can provide then please let me know in the comments link below.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

The Sega Light Phaser

The Sega Light Phaser is one of the most popular accessories for the Master System. It started life in Japan but was never actually released as a console peripheral there. Its first outing was as a toy laser tag game called Zillion. The Zillion toy was released in Japan by Sega, Europe by Matchbox and Brazil by Tec Toy. Interestingly this was Tec Toy’s first product from Sega and marked the beginning of a great partnership.

The Zillion guns proved very popular In Japan and an anime series of the same name was created. This was around the same time as the Master system was released. A Zillion Master System game featuring the same characters and the gun was also released followed by the sequel Zillion 2 The Tri Formation, neither of which were light phaser compatible games.

The Light Phaser was unveiled at the start of the Master System life in 1986. It was originally bundled with Marksman Shooting, Trap Shooting and Safari Hunt for £44.95 (In the UK). And was later made available with no game included. Meanwhile the US had two separate cartridges in the form of Marksman Shooting & Trap Shooting and Hang On/ Safari Hunt.

Shooting Gallery, Gangster Town and Missile Defence 3D came out in 1987. 1988 saw the release of Rescue Mission and Rambo III. Now with 6 Light Phaser games available Sega introduced the Master System Plus and Super System, The Master System Plus package included a Light Phaser and two games built into the system, Hang On and Safari Hunt. The Super System came with 3D Glasses, a Light Phaser and Missile Defence 3D built in (the only game to cater for both those accessories).

Wanted came out in 1989 followed by Operation Wolf and Assault City in 1990. 1990 was a good year for the Master System, The Master System 2 was unveiled, and with that the Master System II Plus package which would once again include the Light Phaser but this time Operation Wolf was included (Alex kidd in Miracle World was built into the system). Loose versions of the Light Phaser were also re-released in slightly different packaging, one with Operation Wolf included and one on its own.

The last games to be released for use with the Light Phaser were Laser Ghost in 1991 and finally Space Gun in 1992. In total there are 13 Light Phaser games available. The picture below contains all the common variations of Light Phaser games, this also provides a good timeline of box cover design.

There are some interesting hardware variations to look out for including the Blue
Tec Toy version, apparently to reduce the Light Phasers similarities to that of a real gun (Shown below). The US also took steps to change the light phasers appearance by painting the tip neon orange although these are few and far between.

Some interesting Light Phaser box variations can also be found, perhaps the easiest (actually not easy at all!) to track down would be the Tec Toy Pistola Light Phaser.

The one below in a black and white box discovered last year on eBay (I only know of 2 reported sightings of this version, both in Europe).

Also more recently it has come to light that there is a German packaged light phaser, again only two have been uncovered so far.

Also perhaps the rarest of all so far, as I only know of one, is this Argentinan example, looks similar to the Tec Toy version with the orange and yellow squares. The packaging is in Spanish not Portuguese. This and the German one above are owned by the same collector.

In the main for a nice boxed Light
Phaser, unless it's in mint condition, you shouldn't really have to pay over £10. If you are lucky enough to spot one of the rarer examples shown above then you may expect to pay more (a lot more!).

Terebi Oekaki

The Sega Graphic Board.

This article discusses one of the more interesting and obscure early Sega accessories. It is both hardware and software in one. The Sega Graphic board was only released in Japan and came out 1 year before the Master System. As it’s colour suggests the graphic board was designed for use with the Sega Mark III console. It was also backwards compatible with the SC-3000 and SG-1000. The Japanese retail price was 8800 yen.

The board itself is a rather compact 23cm x 14cm and just 1.2cm thick. At 10.8cm x 8cm the transparent drawing area is, to be honest, disappointingly small (almost exactly the same size as a game cartridge). There is just one button on the board itself, located in the top left corner, which acts as a start/ select button. You can also use a control pad for selecting from the tool and colour menu’s.

The cable that links the board to the cartridge is also a bit of a negative point; it is a rather restrictive 55cm in length, meaning you have to be positioned quite close to the console to use it. Which would be more suited to a PC accessory than a console.

The Sega embossed stylus (pen) that comes with the set does the job as expected. Its rather blunt tip is accurate enough to use with this limited standard of software.

When first using the Graphic Board it is easy to assume the system is faulty as you have to press on to the, quite fragile looking, drawing area with a fair amount of force. Otherwise you get rather erratic/ random results.

Once you get used to using the required amount of pressure and remembering to lift of the button when moving the stylus to another area the enjoyment factor takes over!

As this is intended to be for entertainment use only, having fun with it is obviously a key factor. It’s important to remember this isn’t a tool for creating advanced projects like you would on a PC. So whilst the options available are limited you have everything you need to make fun pictures.

There are options for 3 different line widths and an erase tool. There are 15 colours to choose from, these can also be used to fill the whole background. Lastly there is a mirror option that doubles everything you draw into a mirror image. Have a look at my 3 attempts using the Graphic Board below. The first picture was my first proper go, as you can see it looks rather pathetic!

In this next picture I attempted to use the tracing feature of the board by copying a G-Loc game box. The vertical misplaced lines near the top of the image are where I forgot to lift off the button when moving the stylus to another area.

My third picture was much more successful as I had got use to the functionality of the board. I traced a DVD box cover but had some difficulty with Rupert’s face, I’m not sure whether this was my board being a bit faulty or it just got confused with a lot going on in a small area.

I really like this accessory and feel it’s a shame the Graphic board never made it outside Japan. Although this early Ariolasoft brochure from Germany suggests it nearly did.

To strengthen the theory that it had a planned western release the Graphic Board in this picture differs slightly from the Japanese release. It has a ‘key’ showing the meanings of the abbreviated two letter menu commands. Presumably our inferior western intellect required this. Had the picture included the attached cartridge this would have shown how far this prototype (?) had got.

Perhaps one reason it never happened was how the Board connects to the to the cartridge and not the controller port, which effectively kills the units potential for more software releases.

This really is a must for any collector with a Japanese Master System (or earlier compatible system). Expect to pay around £30 - £45 but no more (unless you happen to find the European version!!). Great fun to use and a relatively rare item to own.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Tec Toy Exclusives and Hacks


Tec Toy is the official Sega distributor for Brazil and one of my favorite areas of Master System collecting. During the life of the Master System Tec Toy actually released some Brazilian exclusive games. These are now much sort after by collectors and can command fairly high prices on ebay. There were 22 released in total, the last being Mickey's Ultimate Challenge released in December 1998. (There are also later exclusive Master System games released by Tec Toy on their multi built in game consoles but that's another story altogether).

It took me around 2 years to complete my exclusives set (shown above). The average price was around £20 each (some being less and some being much more). It is easy for bidding wars to start with these games as they don't appear too often on ebay and this tends to over inflate the prices. To be fair it's quite difficult to give each one a value, all I can suggest is don't get too carried away. Please note that 20 em 1 was never released in a box as it was a pack in game with the system, this makes the manual tough to find.

As for the actually quality of the games, well that ranges a lot also. My favorites are Baku Baku, Dynamite Headdy and Ren and Stimpy. Some of the worst are Sitio do Picapau Amarelo, Castelo Ra-Tim-Bum and 20 em 1.


As well as these 'exclusives' Tec Toy also released 8 'hacks' of existing Master System games (shown above), where the characters and title screens etc have been swapped for well known Brazilian characters. These hacks are also popular with collectors.

These hacks include the following:
Turma da Monica em: O Resgate (Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap)
Monica no Castelo do Dragao (Wonder Boy in Monster Land)
Geraldinho (Teddy Boy)
Chapolim x Dracula - Um Duelo Assustador (Ghost House)
Sapo Xule O Mestre do Kung Fu (Kung Fu Kid)
Sapo Xule S.O.S. Lagoa Poluida (Astro Warrior)
Sapo Xule vs Os Invasores do Brejo (Psycho Fox)
As Aventuras da TV Colosso (Astérix)

Some collecting notes

Collecting Tec Toy games is not an easy task (unless you live in Brazil). Even Tec Toy branded common Master System games are fairly hard to come by on ebay. The main reason for this is that Brazil have their own version of ebay called Mercado Livre, anyone is able to register to this site and try their luck at finding a seller who is willing to ship overseas or accept paypal. I have tried myself and have never actually bought anything. Having said that some collectors I know have successfully bought Tec Toy items from Mercado Livre for a great price so it can be done. There are the odd few Brazilian sellers on ebay, but not enough to bring the prices down much.

Other things to note with Tec Toy games is that they are often in very poor condition. This is probably because the manufacturing standards are not as high, for example the glue and paper used on the cartridge stickers is very poor and you often find the labels are peeling off even on new sealed games. Also the box plastic is thin and glossy which shows up evey little scratch and wrinkle. Some of the first released Tec Toy games actually came in cardboard packets and these are particularly difficult to find in a non-destroyed state, even shrink wrapped ones often have evidence of the glue failing.

My best advice if you want to start collecting Tec toy Master System games is to be prepared that it's going to be a slow and comparatively expensive process. It's best not to jump right in and pay over the odds, maybe asking for advice on a forum first. Just enjoy it and don't try to get too bogged down with condition (as it will drive you insane!). Have a dabble with Mercado if you have the time and Patience or just wait for another collector to spill his load on ebay.

Welcome to Sega Collect

Welcome to my first ever blog. I have been a fan of Sega since I first got a Master System about 18 years ago. I left it behind for newer machines a few years later but it always stayed in my mind as my favorite console. After leaving University about 4 years ago, and getting my first proper job, I found myself with lots of spare time to fill. I didn't really have a hobby other than the usual socialising etc. Then one day my dad turns up with a bag full of my old Sega games and my Master System which he was going to throw out. I was shocked he still had it all!

I spent the next few days playing through all my old games, so many great memories. I noticed that Gamestation was selling retro games including some for the SMS, most were around £1.99 BOGOF (Buy One Get One Free). So I started to buy some of the ones I didn't have back in the day but always wanted, and some I just chose because they looked okay. I started to visit other Gamestation shops in the area and very quickly, and for not much money, I had a bit of a collection going of around 40 titles.

I began to get really interested in just how many games were made for the system and found a helpful website called They had something called a forum which up until then I had never used before. It was like an information overload! I was amazed to find loads of like minded people avidly collecting for the system and discussing it daily. I got totally sucked in and actually started to 'collect' for the system.

I started visiting all the Gamestations, Cash Converters and Car Boot Sales I could find in search of Master System games I didn't have. I recall it took no time at all to get to over 150 games. I found myself constantly reading the old forum posts and gaining knowledge on all the game variations from across the world, so it wasn't long be for ebay became my main source for Master System collecting.

At one point I was receiving up to 3 or 4 parcels per day, every day. Most of my wage seemed to be going on my new hobby and my collection grew out of my office and took over the dining room.

I found another forum,, which seemed even more active than SMSPower. I met loads more like minded people and even found some older posts their which had mentioned my ebay user name, that seemed really strange to me at first. I quickly got friends with quite a few collectors and bought items from them instead of constantly using ebay. I posted some pictures of my collection and got a really positive response. I found it quite rewarding to track down rare or unusual items from other collectors or on ebay then post about them on the forum.

Which brings me to the purpose of this blog. I wanted my own space to be able to report my (and other collectors) finds. Also to perhaps showcase some Sega only collections and other interesting Sega related information. Anyway, we will see how it goes...