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Thread: Canadian Genesis, eh.

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert ITViking's Avatar
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    Default Canadian Genesis, eh.

    Back in late 1991, or the early part of 1992 I bought my very first gaming console, a Sega Genesis model 1, from a hardware store in Canada called 'Canadian Tire'. As a friend asked me recently... what? You bought a gaming console at Canadian Tire? Well, back then we didn't generally have anything that resembled a video game store in rural areas of Canada.

    Since it did have the 'High Definition Graphics' logo on it, I'm going to guess it was a VA6 motherboard variation, probably built in late 1991. It would have had the MK-1601-22 model #, and likely a 0100 series serial #. It didn't come with a Sonic 'pack in' game. Just the core console, in the typical Canadian packaging, distributed by Irwin Toys. Alas, I sold it a few year later. So now I'm hunting for another.

    About a month ago I started down this nostalgia driven road of looking for what I had. In that time I've discovered that the Genesis model 1 came in a number of forms, with different motherboard variations, and some different characteristics to go along with those variations. Now I'm thinking... while I'm hunting for another one like I had in 1992, maybe I'll take some time to explore and collect Canadian variants of the console and other related items. After all, I live here, and it doesn't seem like too many others are doing that. Or if they are, I don't see much documentation for the Sega Genesis merchandise sold in Canada.

    My first purchase was a bit of a pricey one, and I went in not really knowing much about the collecting or technical aspects of things. I spotted a Canadian auction on eBay and what really got my attention was the box that was included in the auction. it was the very same box I had in 1992. I pulled the trigger. As you might guess, I later learned that there were variations of the model 1 Genesis and that some were not as generally well regarded as others. Looking online I found a number of YouTube videos warning people about the 'stinker'. That's when I learned (incorrectly) that if my Genesis was lacking the 'High Definition Graphics' logo, then it was a stinker, and I got suckered. But I recalled seeing the 'High Definition Graphics' logo, so I'm all good, right? I double checked the auction I had BIN'd and my heart sank as I realized it was a non-HDG Genesis. The HDG logo was just on the stock image of the Genesis unit used on the box art. Arrgggh.

    Still, when it arrived I was quite impressed with the boxes' condition, and the Genesis console seemed like new. It was exactly the same box I remembered. You can tell its a Canadian box because Irwin Toys is listed as the distributor on the back of the box. Too bad it was a 'stinker'...

    Then I discovered Sega 16 and received some education from some of you here. After educating myself, I decided to break open my non-HDG unit for a closer look. It turns out, its a VA6.5. It has the Yamaha YM2612 sound chip and all the other indicators. Not to mention, the sound is every bit as good as the earlier models I've picked up since.

    As it turns out I'm pretty happy with my purchase over all. And I think I really like this idea of collecting Canadian Sega stuff. The search begins!

    Mod1VA6.5_Cdn_001_30per.jpg Mod1VA6.5_Cdn_002_30per.jpg Mod1VA6.5_Cdn_003_30per.jpg Mod1VA6.5_Cdn_005_30per.jpg Mod1VA6.5_Cdn_015_30per.jpg
    Last edited by ITViking; 08-19-2019 at 01:05 PM.

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert ITViking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ITViking View Post
    Since it did have the 'High Definition Graphics' logo on it, I'm going to guess it was a VA6 motherboard variation, probably built in late 1991. It would have had the MK-1601-22 model #, and likely a 0100 series serial #.
    Looking at another Canadian 1991 'Sonic' model 1, I realized that the serial # format would have started more like 31X. I guess the serial # format probably changed when the non-HDG units (VA6.5 +)started coming out.

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    Road Rasher Qjimbo's Avatar
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    Despite living in Canada, the only interesting "Canadian" SEGA thing I have is the Canadian Sonic 1, which is the Euro box art with the SEGA Genesis logo instead of Megadrive.

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    Master of Shinobi Mega Drive Bowlsey's Avatar
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    Good hunting!

    As an aside does anybody know why the console was called Genesis in Canada, and not Mega Drive? I realise that the name change was forced on Sega of America because of a US company already owning the rights to the name 'Mega Drive', but surely the legal issue with the name wouldn't have applied on Canadian soil?

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    Road Rasher Qjimbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mega Drive Bowlsey View Post
    As an aside does anybody know why the console was called Genesis in Canada, and not Mega Drive? I realise that the name change was forced on Sega of America because of a US company already owning the rights to the name 'Mega Drive', but surely the legal issue with the name wouldn't have applied on Canadian soil?
    Most consumer electronics devices are built for the joint US/Canada market, with stickers on products often having both US and Canada technical support information for example. I expect many manufacturers simply to ship the finished product to North America and then box it separately for Canada, in this case, adding french and distributor information. Often appliances will include a set of stickers with french language version of all the buttons on the device, if you want to convert it to french, this is pretty easy to just include in the box when packaging.

    There are also benefits marketing wise - we get FOX, CBS etc. up here on cable with American commercials, so keeping the name the same makes sense that way as well.

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    I agree. I think for the purposes of marketing the game console in North America, it made perfect sense to keep the name 'Genesis' consistent between the US & Canada (was it sold in Mexico?).

    It does seem though that there were model # differences. Apparently the Canadian Genesis bore the Irwin Toys designation 'MK-1601-22', while the US distributed units were 'MK-1601'.

    After my initial non-HDG VA6.5 purchase, I realized that I would probably want to pick up an inexpensive VA7 unit to compare. I found a great one on eBay being sold out of Winnipeg, for $39 cdn with two original controllers; all in great condition. It arrived the other day, and I'm quite pleased with it. To be honest, when I first fired it up I was quite impressed with the graphics on the so called 'stinker'. The audio is definitely muffled compared to the earlier models though.

    Interestingly, the other 'stinkers' I've seen were all made in 1992 and bore the 0200 serial #. This one I picked up has an 0300 serial number, meaning it was manufactured in 1993. I have yet to open it up to verify the exact week of manufacture, but I'm guessing it was made earlier in 1993, which means it hit the shelf in mid-late 1993. The reason I think this is that it also has the Irwin Toys model # 'MK-1601-22'. Since Irwin Toys lost their distribution rights in 1993, its probably one of the very last Sega Genesis' that Irwin Toys distributed.

    EDIT: I opened it up... manufacture date stamps on the board as well as a paper label: 9245 (45th week of 1992). So made late in 1992 but given a 1993 serial #.

    DSCN7793_30per.jpg DSCN7809_30per.jpg DSCN7842_30per.jpg DSCN7833_30per.jpg DSCN7866_30per.jpg
    Last edited by ITViking; 08-15-2018 at 04:51 PM.

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    Master of Shinobi Mega Drive Bowlsey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qjimbo View Post
    Most consumer electronics devices are built for the joint US/Canada market, with stickers on products often having both US and Canada technical support information for example. I expect many manufacturers simply to ship the finished product to North America and then box it separately for Canada, in this case, adding french and distributor information. Often appliances will include a set of stickers with french language version of all the buttons on the device, if you want to convert it to french, this is pretty easy to just include in the box when packaging.

    There are also benefits marketing wise - we get FOX, CBS etc. up here on cable with American commercials, so keeping the name the same makes sense that way as well.
    Ah ok, that makes sense.

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    A Light In The Building. Master of Shinobi
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    Quote Originally Posted by ITViking View Post
    Interestingly, the other 'stinkers' I've seen were all made in 1992 and bore the 0200 serial #. This one I picked up has an 0300 serial number, meaning it was manufactured in 1993. I have yet to open it up to verify the exact week of manufacture, but I'm guessing it was made earlier in 1993, which means it hit the shelf in mid-late 1993. The reason I think this is that it also has the Irwin Toys model # 'MK-1601-22'. Since Irwin Toys lost their distribution rights in 1993, its probably one of the very last Sega Genesis' that Irwin Toys distributed.

    EDIT: I opened it up... manufacture date stamps on the board as well as a paper label: 9245 (45th week of 1992). So made late in 1992 but given a 1993 serial #.
    "Assembled in 1993" would be more accurate. Be sure to check the date clocks on the inside of the console shell. See here for reference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chessage View Post
    "Assembled in 1993" would be more accurate. Be sure to check the date clocks on the inside of the console shell. See here for reference.
    Where would the date clocks be on the upper cover? I've looked high and low on all my units but haven't been able to locate them.

    The dated chips on the board are all around the same time period 92-40 (approx).

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    Ive seen 2 bundles unique to canada, model 2 with a vhs tape of blue jays world series win and another one with a satellite phine offer on the box.
    I personally prefer the irwin altered beast bundle, box is just awesome amd console sounds better!

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    On lunch break I popped into a local store and found a Canadian variant on the Sonic pack-in cartridge. Not a label I've personally seen before, but French & English... it's definitely Canadian, eh.

    DSCN7983_30per.jpg

    I'm guessing the '-22' is the typical Irwin Toys designation #. The label appears to be very similar to the 'Mega Drive' version of the game.
    Last edited by ITViking; 08-16-2018 at 05:18 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qjimbo View Post
    Despite living in Canada, the only interesting "Canadian" SEGA thing I have is the Canadian Sonic 1, which is the Euro box art with the SEGA Genesis logo instead of Megadrive.
    Looks like I just found a 'not for resale' version of the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ITViking View Post
    Where would the date clocks be on the upper cover? I've looked high and low on all my units but haven't been able to locate them.
    They're conspicuous. If you don't see them on the inside, then it doesn't have 'em.

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    Antiquing Hedgehog Lord QuickSciFi's Avatar
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    This is an excellent thread. I wish you the best of luck on your endeavor. Maybe you'll be educating us along the way on Genny goods from the land of Canadia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QuickSciFi View Post
    This is an excellent thread. I wish you the best of luck on your endeavor. Maybe you'll be educating us along the way on Genny goods from the land of Canadia.
    Thanks!

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