Travel back in time with Sega's first official retro console, the Genesis Mini

PHOTO: Sega

Emulators and retro consoles have been all the rage for the past few years, but this is Sega’s first proper effort. There are many like it (like AtGames’ sub-par third party Sega Genesis Classic emulator), but this one’s legit.

Meet the Sega Genesis Mini (also known as the Mega Drive Mini), packed with 40 games and coming to an online retailer near you later this year. The legendary games company could use a hard win right now, especially with the Sonic the Hedgehog movie backlash that overwhelmed the internet earlier this year.

Sega rolled out the Genesis Mini at E3 2019 last week, with appropriately nostalgic features like a “real” cartridge slot (non-functional cartridges will eventually be sold, but only in Japan) and mechanical on and off buttons. This may seem trivial to younglings, but part of the charm of using these old consoles was the analog experience. The developer, M2, even went as far as to leave in cheat codes and bugs. Ah, childhood!

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The Mini isn’t just fan service, nor is it a lazy cash grab — Sega also views it as a means of digital game preservation. For instance, one of its pre-loaded games is the old-school Japanese arcade version of Tetris, which never made it to America. There’s also Monster World IV, which used to be available on the now-defunct Wii Shop.

Other games on the list include Virtua Fighter 2, Golden Axe, both World of Illusion and Castle of Illusion, Alisia Dragoon, and the special champion edition of Street Fighter 2. Depending on where you are in the world (or rather, what language you speak), the system will adjust itself accordingly.

For instance, if you’re outside North America, it’ll switch to calling itself the Mega Drive Mini, and if you switch to Japanese, you’ll be able to play Japan-exclusive versions of certain games. The game library is beautifully organised by box art, which will surely appeal to hardcore collectors and retro game art enthusiasts.

Given this writer’s personal experience with AtGames’ third party Genesis Classic console — which I almost lit on fire and threw into a dumpster — the Genesis Mini looks like living proof that if you want to do something right, you have to do it yourself.

Sega has plans to release the Mini globally on September 19, so keep an eye out for it on your favourite e-shops. It’ll be priced around US$79.99.

alexisong@asiaone.com