8-bit Game Console - Dismantled for reference and curiosity
Pre 1990 SEGA had sold the US rights for the Master System to Tonka but come the turn of the decade they bought them back and released the 'SEGA Master System II'.
Hoping to save a dime on their re-acquisition, SEGA took the original Master System and removed everything they thought few people ever used and the cost reduced Master System II was born.
While technically the same as far as running cartridge games goes, the SMS II does not have a reset button or AV output jacks and instead offers only RF out. The other glaring omission is the game card slot that means that if you replaced your old SEGA Master System with a SMS II you couldn't play those games or use the 3D Glasses.
But it wasn't all loss. The SEGA Master System II came loaded with the game 'Alex Kidd in Miracle World' that plays automatically if you turn on the console without a cartridge inserted. Later PAL releases came pre-loaded with 'Sonic the Hedgehog' instead.
The huge bonus was that Alex Kidd was a pretty good platform game!
The gamepads are extremely basic having only a directional pad, two action buttons and no internal smarts. They're also fairly unpleasant to use for a lengthy period. On the upside, as they stuck to the Atari 2600 switch to wire standard and use nine pin d-sub connectors you can use them with your Atari(s), Commodore 64, etc.
While it was technically a superior console hardware wise to the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) (having the benefit of being released a few years later), it didn't receive the renewed consumer interest SEGA had hoped. This saw US distribution of the SMS II end in 1992. A big part of its downfall was a policy held by Nintendo preventing software companies releasing titles for them from doing the same a competitor. This saw the Master System and the SMS II with a critical lack of titles and attractive arcade ports. In 1991 the policy was overruled but the damage had already been done.
There is some good news. In Europe and Australia the console did very well and production ran until 1996. As companies weren't bound by Nintendo's only for us policy outside of the US, many more great titles were released, even by US companies.
The SMS II came in two shell colour schemes, grey with a white Pause button and black with a black Pause button. They are identical physically case-wise. The grey version was sold most commonly in PAL region areas, however black shell versions were also distributed (with PAL boards). The grey version was not released in the United States.
Some countries also saw the console released as the 'SEGA Master System III Compact'. Again Alex Kid was the built in game that was later replaced with Sonic.
As an interesting note, the power requirements on the bottom of this console state 9VDC and 500mA, however the power supply that was bundled with the console is rated for 9VDC and 1A. It got me wondering if this was a later model released after a time where they'd realised that the unit actually took a bit more juice and was killing the 500mA power supplies or maybe had a slim fire risk hazard. The 500mA power supply I have does run hot, however it's only a theory.