It was Sega’s attempt at trying to allow Genesis Owners a cheaper means of having 32x gaming capabilities and to bide their time until the Saturn would be released. It had originally been intended to be a separate console of it’s own called the Sega Neptune which would be a combined Sega 32x and Sega Genesis.
Sega Prototypes were built, only one however (as shown in the image above) has ever been found and it resides today at the US Video Game Museum in Dallas, Texas.
While reception of the 32X was originally positive was a failure commercially. Due to being released 6 months before the Saturn, and the rather small Game library (45 games) It never reached the potential it could have.
Retrospectively the biggest problems with the 32x is that it is a hilariously bad design overall. Looking like a tumor coming out of a Genesis 1, and a Mushroom cloud coming out of a Genesis 2.
Like with the Sega CD, The 32x originally came with extra pieces. an RF shield that would permanently open up the Sega Genesis Cartridge slot so the 32x could stay in permanently. and an extra black piece of plastic that would make it sit better on a Genesis Model 2.
Both pieces like the expansion covers for the Genesis usually go missing. The RF shield is something that can be left off but the plastic piece to make it sit better on the Genesis Model 2 is required if you do have a Genesis Model 2. Otherwise you need to remove the 32x to put cartridges into it then put the 32x back into the genesis.
The 32X, like the Genesis and the Sega CD, Required it’s OWN power source. As the Angry Videogame Nerd best put it, “It looks like the Genesis is on life support.”