Tonka's abject failure at marketing the SMS caused Sega to rethink its
marketing strategy regarding its 8-bit console.
In 1990, not long after Sega's 16-bit Genesis began its destruction of
Nintendo's market monopoly, Sega of America reacquired the SMS marketing
rights from Tonka.
It then retooled the system and released the redesigned console as the
Sega Master System II.
Harkening back to its SG-1000 roots and bearing a striking resemblance to
the subsequent Genesis Model 2, the SMS 2 was for all practical purposes a
cartridge box and nothing more.
It had no Game Card slot, no power light or reset button, no expansion port,
nor the fancy BIOS (with its built-in instructions and hidden mini-game) of
This time around, Sega tried to do everything that Tonka had failed to do in
terms of product support - better advertising, better acknowledgement of
developers and licensees, better videogame packaging - but the effort was
doomed to failure from the start.
The days of 8-bit technology in the U.S. console market were by now obviously
over, even though the NES was still stumbling along largely due to sheer
While the SMS itself may have died a rather unnoble death in America at the
hands of Nintendo's wildly popular 8-bitter, its technology was even then
being revived in another form - one that was smaller, portable, and again
pitted it against an old and familiar foe.