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View Full Version : What is SMS mode and how do you access it?



Salduchi
05-28-2018, 10:47 AM
I've heard that the Game Gear is capable of booting into a master system mode and displaying in higher resolution. What exactly is this and how do I access it? Does it work with any game? This could make Sonic 2 much easier.

Black_Tiger
05-28-2018, 12:43 PM
Use a physical adapter to use SMS carts on a Game Gear or use a Game Gear flashcart that supports SMS roms.

The physical screen of the Game Gear is smaller/lower than the resolution of SMS games, so you'll be missing the outer portion of the visuals.

Salduchi
05-28-2018, 10:26 PM
But I thought the game gear was capable of displaying the master system's native resolution? I figured instead of missing the out portions of the visuals everything would just be small but it would fit

Black_Tiger
05-28-2018, 11:41 PM
I haven't used a Master Gear more than a few times and it was years ago. The sides of the screen/image of SMS games is supposed to be cut off, but not a big deal in most cases.

GohanX
05-29-2018, 10:11 AM
IIRC there's a pin on the cart slot that triggers SMS mode. However, loading a GG game in SMS mode doesn't automatically give you more screen real estate, it just puts the smaller image in the middle of the screen. However, if you were to use Master System version of Sonic 2 on the Game Gear it does indeed show much more of the screen, making the game much easier.

Best thing to do is use an Everdrive and put the SMS roms on it. It will automatically play SMS games in SMS mode.

axel
06-01-2018, 11:26 AM
But I thought the game gear was capable of displaying the master system's native resolution? I figured instead of missing the out portions of the visuals everything would just be small but it would fit

Game Gear resolution is 160x144, which is fixed because of the LCD. The Master System is 256x192.

The Gear Master converter will play SMS games on the Game Gear but it resizes the game for the lower resolution (you can see the difference when there is text on the screen).

Now, one thing you might find interesting -- the Nomad has a much higher resolution LCD. If you could modify a Nomad to run in SMS mode you might be able to play the games off a flash cart in full resolution. Maybe. I don't know if anyone has actually tried that.

GohanX
06-01-2018, 12:24 PM
That's a great idea actually. Mod the Nomad for SMS mode and load SMS games with a Genny Everdrive.

I think I have a project...

Sik
06-26-2018, 08:34 AM
Old but I just see this:

But I thought the game gear was capable of displaying the master system's native resolution? I figured instead of missing the out portions of the visuals everything would just be small but it would fit
Master System resolution is 256px wide, but the Game Gear in SMS mode will output 240px. In other words, you'll be losing 8px at the sides.

This is not a big deal: TVs would cut off the sides already and games had to be made taking this into account. This was just Sega taking advantage of that to make their life easier.

dark
01-06-2019, 07:59 PM
I wanted to chime in on this thread - I used to gently tilt the cartridge for Star Wars while playing it back in the day because this would change the screen resolution. In retrospect, I think I was tilting the cartridge enough to switch things to SMS mode.

Ecco
03-17-2020, 03:13 PM
I wanted to chime in on this thread - I used to gently tilt the cartridge for Star Wars while playing it back in the day because this would change the screen resolution. In retrospect, I think I was tilting the cartridge enough to switch things to SMS mode.

Yes, some games can do this and apparently go into SMS mode. If the GG colors are used, then doing this will scramble up the SMS colors (like in GG Sonic 1). I recall GG Ecco: Tides doing this without scrambling the colors (meaning that it apparently uses the same exact colors in SMS mode).

My GG died and I really miss it.

Anyway I would have thought SMS mode probably displays the full SMS screen, although posts above seem to think SMS mode cuts off the edges. I wouldn't have expected that but I can't double check... (Edit: Unless they're just saying that it cuts off a very small margin like a standard TV set did, then that makes sense.)

Sik
03-20-2020, 11:06 PM
Yeah, 240px is within the expected margin to get cut (in fact games could only rely on the middle 224px on a TV, so Game Gear was still beyond that threshold).

For the record, the color format is directly tied to SMS/GG mode, and as far as I can tell there isn't any way to detect which mode it's in. If there's any Game Gear game that doesn't have screwed up colors when the mode gets switched, there's a high chance that they're actually SMS mode games packaged in a Game Gear cartridge (I think Prince of Persia does this?).

Joe Redifer
03-24-2020, 04:26 PM
Fun fact: The Game Gear version of Castle of Illusion runs in Master System mode. It literally is the SMS game on a GG cart with zero changes.