Documents in bold are those generally known as most up to date or accurate.

Note that wiki pages are generally more complete/accurate.

General System Documentation

Document Author Description
SMS/GG hardware notes (2002/11/12) Charles MacDonald General and very complete documentation about the SMS/GG. See also "SMS VDP Documentation" by the same author.
Sega SC-3000 Hardware Notes (2004/07/29) Charles MacDonald Very complete notes on SC-3000 and related systems
Sega System E Hardware Notes (2010/05/27) Charles MacDonald Notes on the Sega System E arcade board
Sega Master System Technical Information Richard Talbot-Watkins General and very complete documentation about the SMS
Official SMS/GG documentation Sega The real thing. Note that it's less detailed and accurate that some newer documentation. It is still an interesting read.
Sega Master System and Game Gear Architecture (1.0) Marat Fayzullin (OUTDATED) Incomplete but covers quite a few interesting things
Jon's Technical Documentation (1991/11/23) Jon (OUTDATED) Very old document covering many aspects of the SMS/GG
Super Majik Spiral Crew's Guide to the Sega Master System (0.02) Super Majik Spiral Crew (OUTDATED) General documentation about the SMS
Game Gear Documentation Unknown (OUTDATED) Covers video ports, video registers, and inputs ports
Full port 3F and controller port details Asynchronous (OUTDATED) Forum post regarding SMS port $3F
Mail Extract #1 James McKay and Neon Spiral Injector (OUTDATED) Miscellaneous issues
Sega Game 1000 (SG-1000) Information (Draft) Omar Cornut (OUTDATED) Stripped down SMS documentation covering only SG-1000 specifics
techdoc.txt PolestaR (Jason Starr) (OUTDATED) Notes on CodeMasters games, Light Phaser, Paddle, 3-D Glasses
Sega Master System Schematics Gringoz Sega Master System Schematics

Z80 Processor

Document Author Description
Z80 Family CPU User Manual Zilog Official Z80 User's Manual (Zipped PDF document)
The Undocumented Z80 Documented (0.91) Sean Young Excellent document covering some of the less known Z80 aspects
Zilog Z80 Product Specification Zilog Official Z80 documentation
Zilog Z80 Documents Various Miscellaneous collection of Z80 documents documents


Document Author Description
SMS VDP Documentation (2002/11/12) Charles MacDonald Excellent document covering the SMS and GG VDP hardware. See also "SMS/GG hardware notes" by the same author.
TMS9918A Data Sheet Texas Instruments Official specification of the TMS9918a Video Display Processor (VDP) (used by SG-1000/SC-3000, and in legacy video modes on the Master System)
TMS9918 Arizona Technical Symposium Draft Karl Guttag, Texas Instruments Semi-official discussion of the TMS9918a design and operation
Portar (1.5) Mayer Very complete MSX documentation (MSX uses a TMS9918 video chip)
TMS9918A Document Sean Young Description of the Texas Instruments TMS9918a Video Display Processor(VDP)
Super Majik Spiral Crew's Guide to using their code (0.00) Super Majik Spiral Crew (OUTDATED) Primitive documentation regarding the tile format and the palette
Sony CXA1145 Data Sheet Sony Official specification of the Sony CXA1145 Video Encoder (used in many Master System consoles)
Sony V7040 Data Sheet Sony Official specification of the Sony V7040 Video Encoder (used in early Master System consoles)
Fujitsu MB3514 Data Sheet Fujitsu Official specification of the Fujitsu MB3514 Video Encoder (used in some Master System consoles)
ROHM BA7230LS Data Sheet ROHM Official specification of the ROHM BA7230LS Video Encoder (used in the Mark III)
Motorola MC1377 Data Sheet Motorola Official specification of the Motorola MC1377 Video Encoder (used in early Brazilian Master System consoles)

Memory System

Document Author Description
Sega 315-5208, 315-5235, and 315-5365 Master System Memory Paging Chips S8-Dev Team Description of 315-5208, 315-5235, and 315-5365 paging chips and their use in homemade development cartridges.
SMSArch Documentation Eric Quinn Covers memory map and paging registers
Mail Extract #2 James McKay (OUTDATED) Covers paging registers Microchip 93C46B serial EEPROM document (used on some GG games)
NEC D4168 Data Sheet NEC Official specification of the NEC D4168 8KB XRAM (used for RAM and/or VRAM in many Master System consoles)
Samsung KM6264B Data Sheet Samsung Official specification of the Samsung KM6264B 8KB SRAM (used for RAM in some Master System consoles)
Sanyo LC3664B Data Sheet Sanyo Official specification of the Sanyo LC3664B 8KB SRAM (used for RAM in some Master System consoles)
Hitachi HM65256B Data Sheet Hitachi Official specification of the Hitachi HM65256B 32KB PSRAM (used for VRAM in some Master System consoles)
Sony CXK3864 Data Sheet Sony Official specification of the Sony CXK3864 8KB ROM (used for the BIOS in some Master System consoles)


Document Author Description
SN79489 notes Maxim Excellent document covering the SN79489/SN76496
YM2413 Application Manual (HTML) Yamaha / Maxim Programmer's manual for the YM2413 sound generator, converted to HTML and with redrawn diagrams
YM2413 Application Manual (PDF scans) Yamaha / Ricardo Bittencourt / HansO Programmer's manual for the YM2413 sound generator, converted to PDF
YM2413 Application Manual (Scans) Yamaha Programmer's manual for the YM2413 sound generator
YM2413 Programmer's Manual (PDF) Yamaha Programmer's manual for the YM2413 sound generator
Project SMS OPLL Leonard Silva de Oliveira Schematics and mail extract about Leonard's successful attempt to adding a YM2413 for his non-Japanese Master System.


Document Author Description
SC-3000 Tape Format Notes Sega Four scanned pages from manual with notes about SC-3000 tape format.
NEC μPD765A Floppy Disk Controller manual NEC Manual for the FDC used in the SF-7000.


Document Author Description
Game Gear Pinouts Unknown Standard GG cartridge pinouts
European - Japanese Master System connector & MasterSystem - GameGear converter Sankichi Export/Japanese SMS pinouts, GG pinouts
SG-1000/SC-3000 pinouts Skyhigh SG-1000/SC-3000 pinouts and mail extracts
SMS Gender Adapter Instructions (v.03) Mike Gordon / Omar Cornut / Mike Cukan Picture showing how to build a simple gender adapter to plug a cartridge on the expansion port. It is especially useful to play export games on a Japanese Master System.
SMSArch Documentation Eric Quinn Include SMS pinouts

Development Tools

Document Author Description
SMS 512K Flash Memory Cartridge Charles MacDonald Instructions to modify a SMS cartridge to accept a Am29F040 flash memory chip
128k EPROM modification for 315-5208 based SMS cartridges Mike G. Procedure for creating a 1 Megabit re-programmable development cartridge.
Homemade Devcarts, Chapter 1 Flavio Morsoletto Introduction to creating homemade SMS development cartridges


Document Author Description
JavaGear Final Project Report Chris White Final project report submitted by Chris White to his computer science school. Covers the development of the JavaGear emulator.
JavaGear Specification Chris White Original project specification of the JavaGear emulator.
Game Gear Sound Fix Instructions Ky Crout Instructions to fix the sound problem happening on many Sega Game Gears.
S8-Dev Standards Committee (SDSC) Eric Quinn & SMS Power! An attempt at creating standards for Sega 8-Bit console software development. More or less aborted in 2001.

Also check variety of technical tests and tools running on native hardware in the Homebrew section.


Document Author Year Description
Programming the Z80, 3rd Ed Rodnay Zaks 1980
The Art of Computer Game Design Chris Crawford 1982
The Z-80 Microcomputer Handbook William Barden, Jr. 1985
Z80 Assembly Language Subroutines Lance A. Leventhal & Winthrop Saville 1983

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