E3 2019: Sega Genesis Mini Is About Preserving a Piece of History

Thursday, June 13th, 2019 7:17 am

With 42 games, including one brand new release, Sega is answering the challenge levied by rival-turned-partner Nintendo.

Preservation is one of the most challenging aspects of digital, interactive media getting older. Every time console hardware goes out of production or an online game’s servers are taken offline, we’re losing a piece of history. Some games from the industry’s earliest days have all but vanished amid licensing concerns and missing code.

Sega’s Genesis Mini (Mega Drive Mini in Europe) is the latest in the growing family of microconsoles. While the fad didn’t start with Nintendo’s NES Classic, consumers started taking notice when it was released. With Nintendo’s success with that device and the follow-up SNES Classic, it only makes sense that Sega is getting in on the action.

Source: Sega

The difference here is that Sega has licensed out previous microconsoles to a company called AtGames, which didn’t deliver a compelling package. This time out, the effort is entirely in-house, with a focus on presenting 42 games almost exactly as they appeared on the Sega Genesis.

Each of these includes exploits and bugs found in the original games for an authentic feel (though anything game-breaking has been fixed). Every game includes its original release date and a short blurb about the title and its relevance.

Source: Sega

Included on the list are the following re-releases:

  • Sonic The Hedgehog
  • Ecco the Dolphin
  • Castlevania: Bloodlines
  • Space Harrier 2
  • Shining Force
  • Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
  • ToeJam & Earl
  • Comix Zone
  • Altered Beast
  • Gunstar Heroes
  • Earthworm Jim
  • Sonic The Hedgehog 2
  • Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
  • World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck
  • Contra: Hard Corps
  • Thunder Force III
  • Super Fantasy Zone
  • Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
  • Streets of Rage 2
  • Landstalker
  • Mega Man: The Wily Wars
  • Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition
  • Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
  • Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
  • Beyond Oasis
  • Golden Axe
  • Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
  • Sonic The Hedgehog Spinball
  • Vectorman
  • Wonder Boy in Monster World
  • Road Rash II
  • Strider
  • Virtua Fighter 2
  • Alisia Dragoon
  • Kid Chameleon
  • Monster World IV
  • Eternal Champions
  • Columns
  • Dynamite Headdy
  • Light Crusader

The roster also includes the surprise addition of Tetris and Darius, ports of their original arcade releases. Each of the 42 games was developed for the Genesis Mini by M2, the port studio that Sega trusts with its Sega Ages re-releases.

Source: Sega

While some of these games would benefit from a six-button controller, the Genesis Mini will ship with two three-button gamepads. A six-button controller will ship later this year for those that want to play Street Fighter II in its full glory.

The user interface feels slick, with a number of sorting options (alphabetical, release date, genre, and number of players). Additionally, the device features multiple save states for each game, a quality of life convenience that is welcome on this nostalgia-filled device.

The gamepads feel like I remember them, which drastically improves upon the previous AtGames offerings. The controllers are comfortable, and the buttons and gamepad are perfectly responsive.

The Sega Genesis Mini, like the NES Classic and SNES Classic before it, are time capsules. They are worth cracking open from time to time to root around in gaming’s past. Whether you owned a Genesis when it was the new hotness or have been curious about its excellent library, the Genesis Mini is worth a look this fall when it releases on September 19 for $79.99.

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