Pirate Hardware: Scorpion 16 (Sega Megadrive Clone)

The image of the Scorpion XVI has been burnt into all British gamer's minds after it was shown off on the TV show Bad Influence. Despite recieving that coverage, very few gamers today could say they have seen a Scorpion 16 in the flesh.

As there isn't much information or pictures on the internet regarding the Scorpion 16 (also refered to as the Scorpion XVI) a pirate version of the Sega Megadrive, RetroCollect wants to fill that gap and show you the ins and outs of this fabled console.

A Pirate Sega Megadrive

When the Scorpion 16 was first made available (at an unknown date from an unknown origin), its unique selling point was it's 'Universal Cartridge System' feature. Unlike Sega's licensed product, the Scorpion had the ability to play Sega Megadrive games from any region worldwide without requiring a soldering iron or file.
The cartridge slot is sized ready to take any Megadrive game, while hidden inside the expansion port flap are two carefully placed switches allowing you to select the region needed from the Universal Cartridge System.

Considering this a clone of the Sega Megadrive, it deserves some credit where build quality and performance is concerned. The Scorpion doesn't feel like a knock off system at all. The controllers are responsive, the hardware works just as well as an original Megadrive and the actual system itself feels like the real deal.
The Scrpion also offers a direct Composite Video & Audio Out signal, something which required special cables to do on a regular Megadrive.

A Bad Influence

The clip from Bad Influence, as seen here, for a lot of gamers back then really opened their eyes. A dodgy knock off of one of the current consoles seemed like an impossible task. How possibly could you clone brand new hardware and get away with it?

Whats more interesting is how different standards were back then. Today, if a TV station promoted a bootleg Xbox 360 console, their TV station would most likely suffer major consequences. Inevitably, the clip was about as far as the Scorpion got to the majority of gamers, but for the few that were lucky enough to get hold of them (whoever they were), now own a small piece of British gaming history. Hold on tight!

From the small snippets of information scattered around the internet. Rumour has it that this console was available for a short time in the UK via the small model/entertainment branch Beatties. Supposedly retailing for much less than a Sega Megadrive at the time.
It is also rumoured that the Scorpion 16 does work with the Mega CD and can be adapted to use the Sega Megadrive 32X too.

The last thing RetroCollect has to say about the Scorpion 16 Megadrive is to make sure you buy it if you do manage to see it on your travels. It is without a doubt one of the rarest Megadrive items available. It holds a nice piece of British gaming history behind it while being able to play nearly every Megadrive game released without a problem.

Estimated Rarity: 8 - 9

Estimated Value: Console Only - £50, Complete in Box - £100+

Scorpion 16 / XVI Photo Gallery

scorpion01 scorpion02scorpion05

Last Updated ( 02 December 2010 )  


Better known as Adam offline, Cauterize is one of RetroCollect's final bosses with an unhealthy addiction to pixels. When he's not out searching the web for the latest retro gaming news or creating content for RetroCollect, he'll will most likely be found working on his Sensible Soccer skills.

Other recent articles:


(Link to this comment) woody.cool 2010-04-23 12:14
I actually remember seeing that episode of Bad Influence and really wanted a Scorpion 16 at the time.
I'm still going to look out for one of these. I'm not bothered so much about the lack of 32X compatibility as I've never been very bothered about the 32X anyway (and I have a few proper Mega Drives anyway)
(Link to this comment) Liamh1982 2010-12-16 14:06
Didn't remember this even though I watched Bad Influence. Interesting bit of kit but it doesn't really do it for me cos I don't have any import carts.
(Link to this comment) JoeMD 2011-01-04 00:10
That's pretty darn cool. I'd love to get something that could play import games as I'm not game enough to attack my MD with a soldering iron.
(Link to this comment) tekaotaku 2011-01-06 11:13
I remember seeing one of these in our local computer shop around 1994/1995, a little independant store, but back then they wanted £150 for it!!! I couldnt afford it, and it was so close to the playstation launch....nice article.
+1 (Link to this comment) readyletsgo 2011-01-17 16:24
God, I remember in 1992/3/4 my mam got me one of these in Dublin, I think we got it in Petes computer store, I rememeber the sales guy saying it could play any game from any region! I didnt know what this ment at the time as i was 11 or so and just wanted to play Sonic, but I do remember the MD was a lot more costly than the Scorpion so thats why me, and prob a lot of irish kids in Dublin got a Scorpion instead of a Megadrive lol.

I didnt realise people dont really know much about this system. Wish i could find it now, i think i gave it away to charity years later or something.
(Link to this comment) Iwan 2011-09-05 21:58
Have a scorpion remote and didnt even know, thought it was just a generic sega MD remote.
(Link to this comment) trendyface 2014-12-20 22:18
rare as hell the scorpion xvi , this black standard edition not as rare as the gold box limited edition the last in the line before the big lawsuite by sega they only released a few hundered n only so many got to the public less than 600 in the limited gold box edition , i have the gold box editioin ,CIB aswell in near mint , would be mint if it was not for a ripped flap on the box , at the most i was offered 700 pounds for it a wile back , only ever seen one sell on ebay too about 8 years ago and it sold for 998 and som pence , id love too know how many actually exsist now CIB and mint .
(Link to this comment) trendyface 2014-12-21 00:02
my scorpion xvi limited gold box edition

(Link to this comment) trendyface 2014-12-21 00:07
(Link to this comment) oldgamerz 2016-01-20 12:45
Nowadays it is much easier to get a mega drive console for less money/pounds. I got my Mega Drive all cleaned, polished and ready to go for $40.00 American over Amazon's website last year 2015

Retro Game Database Search

Retro Gaming Podcast

Join the RetroCollect Squad as they discuss our gaming past in the all new RetroCollect FM - Retro Gaming Podcast.

Retro Gamers Online

Retro Games on eBay now

About RetroCollect

RetroCollect is your one stop for everything retro games and retro gaming. Featuring the latest classic gaming news around, informative reviews and an ever active forum, you'll feel right at home with other retro gamers.

RetroCollect FM - Retro Gaming Podcast

Join the RetroCollect Squad as they talk their way through the wonderful world of retro gaming.

Listen to RetroCollect FM - Retro Gaming Podcast

Join RetroCollect on the web