While some may say the the 32X is the worst idea to ever come out of Sega, I can’t help but admire the ingenuity and ambition for trying to make an add on to improve the graphics of a console. I know the 32X was one of the key factors in the growing consumer and developer mistrust in Sega during the time, but I have to admit, I kinda like Sega’s quirky little add on for being the weird failure that it was. Oh 32X, your life was too short, and we barely knew ye.
EDIT: Some of the information on this page is incorrect. I have re-done this mod and made a new article, which you can find HERE.
I originally bought my 32X as a way to fix the video on my broken Sega Genesis. The Genesis in the image was the one I grew up with since I was young, but the video started degrading nearly 10 years ago, to the point of only outputting static. I could always replace it, but I really wanted to keep this one if possible. I started researching fixes, and decided that if I wanted good video quality from a model 1 Genesis, a modded 32X would be a good way to go.
From what I understand, the model 1 Genesis (which is what I have) does not have the best video encoder. The video encoder is what takes the image that the Genesis rendered, and converts it into something the TV can understand. However, when a 32X is connected to the Genesis, the video from the genesis is sent to the 32X before it’s encoded. The 32X then does the encoding, and some say it creates a superior picture.
Here’s a video I found showing the Genesis picture quality vs the 32X. Some may actually prefer the slightly brighter colors on the Genesis, but since my Genesis was broken, I would be happy with ANY picture at this point!
Skip to 2:40 to see the actual comparison, including a good example of the notorious “rainbow banding.”
When I got my 32X from eBay, I was happy to see that I was able to play my Genesis again! However, I knew that it was possible to mod the 32X with S-Video, and I wouldn’t be satisfied until I tried it.
I started off with this diagram and the following two sites for some good information.
32X PROTIP: Actually, when I got my 32X in the mail, it didn’t work at first. It produced a strange distorted image. The eBay listing said it worked before it shipped so I did some quick Googling. It turns out that the 2 white cables in the 32X can easily get corroded or bumped. I simply removed the 2 big white ribbon cables and then put them back in, and it worked!
After being reunited with my Genesis games, I got to work on the 32X to add s-video and make them look even better!
The 3D games of the 32X don’t benefit that much from s-video (Virtua Racing, Virtua Fighter…), but the 2D and Genesis games are really sharp, and really stand out!
So where is the Genesis/32X now? It’s sitting in my museum next to its old rival the Super Nintendo. It still works just fine, except for the Sega CD that died about a week ago, but that’s a post for a different time 😉