January 25, 2008 – A new platform has entered the family of classic consoles that makes up Nintendo’s Virtual Console download service. Sega announced today that it will begin shortly distribution of Master System titles on the service.

Sega currently distributes via the Virtual Console a large library of classics for its once successful 16-bit Mega Drive (aka Genesis in America). Master System is the 8-bit predecessor to the Mega Drive which was released opposite the NES and, while popular in Europe, failed to take the spotlight from the Nintendo console elsewhere.

In addition to games that were originally released for the Master System platform, Sega’s Virtual Console Master System distribution will also include titles for the Sega Mark III and Game Gear platforms. Mark III was a Japanese predecessor of sorts for the Master System. Game Gear was, of course, Sega’s answer to the Game Boy.

Master System titles will begin appearing on the Japanese Virtual Console some time in February with Fist of the North Star (600 Wii points) and Fantasy Zone (500 Wii points).

Sega also plans on distributing Master System titles on the Europen and North American VC services. We’ll have details as soon as they’re available.