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List of Sega controllers

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The following is a list of video game control pads for Sega game consoles. Other peripherals existed for each console, but were secondary to the main control pad.

Master System[edit]

Two versions of the Master System controller, including an early model with a joystick d-pad

The Master System controller is visually similar to the competing Nintendo Entertainment System controller of the same third generation. Although button placements and layout is the same, the Sega variant lacked an independent start button and omitted a separate select button. A pause button was included on the console, although it is possible to move this button's function onto the controller by custom modification.[1][2]

The earlier models included a mini joystick attached to the d-pad, a feature that was removed in later revisions. A third-party alternative pad named the SG Commander control pad was released exclusively for Europe and Japan in 1988, featuring turbo fire switches above the A and B buttons.[3]

Genesis/Mega Drive[edit]

Original controller

Sega completely redesigned its controller for the fourth generation Genesis/Mega Drive console, adding a separate start button and an additional button C placed in sequence with the A and B buttons. The pad was designed to be backwards compatible with the previous generation Master System, although some (such as Shanghai) are not compatible and only work with the original Master System control pad.[citation needed]

Unlike the controller of its Super Nintendo counterpart released later, the Sega controller lacked shoulder buttons and was functionally comparable to the previous generation NES controller, having the same number of buttons. The majority of games released on the Sega system were not impacted by the fewer number of buttons compared to the Super Nintendo and the few that were would use alternate button combinations to achieve what an additional button may have. For example, the game Syndicate incorporated additional triggers and actions beyond what the controller could natively support and instead would assign some actions to multiple button presses to overcome this.[4] Other games, including street fighting games ported from the arcades, benefited from the use of additional buttons which would lead to Sega developing a revised controller.

Later version of the controller, featuring 3 additional X-Y-Z buttons plus a mode button

The six-button control pad was released in 1993[5] and became the de facto controller until the console was discontinued, replacing the standard 3-button control pad internationally.[citation needed] Two different sized variants of the pad were released, with a smaller pad sold in the Asian markets.[citation needed] The pad is functionally identical to the original pad, with the addition of three additional face buttons, X-Y-Z. Some earlier games were not compatible with the new controller due to the difference in its operation. Sega included a mode button to overcome this, which when pressed upon boot-up, would revert the pad to the 3-button operation. One particular game which made full use of the additional buttons was Street Fighter II,[5] which documented usage of the additional buttons, as well as the alternative approach to utilise the actions on a 3-button pad.[6]


First revision North American pad

The original control pad for the Saturn console was visually and functionally similar to the previous generation Genesis, retaining the A-B-C, X-Y-Z button layout, with the addition of two shoulder buttons and the removal of the redundant mode button.

Saturn 3D control pad, featuring an analog stick

A 3D control pad was released alongside the game Nights into Dreams in 1996, which included an analog stick (referred to as a 3D Directional Pad) similar to that found on the Nintendo 64 controller which followed, whilst the controller was a rounded design which meant all buttons were accessible from a single held position.

Like the Genesis 6-button controller, the 3D control pad had some compatibility issues with earlier games and a switch was included below the start button to change between Digital and Analog modes (digital mode being functionally the same as the original controller, while analog enabled support for the analog stick). The original Playstation controller similarly did not include analog sticks, and later revisions which did, such as the Dual Analog Controller, added an Analog button to disable the feature for incompatible games in a similar way to the 3D control pad.


Dreamcast controller with the VMU accessory

Sega's final console, the Dreamcast, featured a controller visually similar to that of the Saturn's 3D control pad, with a familiar rounded shape and button placements, including the analog stick and d-pad placement, although dropped two face buttons. The controller featured two individual expansion dock slots for the addition of accessories, such as the Visual Memory Unit memory card.



  1. "Pause-Button Mod (SMS)". 2004. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  2. "Sega Master System Pause Button Modification". YouTube. 26 August 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  3. "SG Commander control pad". Sega Retro. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  4. "Sega Genesis Game: Syndicate (Manual)" (PDF). Sega. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Loguidice 2014, p. 174.
  6. "Sega Genesis Game: Street Fighter II (Manual)" (PDF). Sega. Retrieved 6 April 2020.


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