Growing up as mostly a Nintendo kid, I have always had somewhat of a fascination for the friends that did have a passion for Sega during the 8-bit and 16-bit generations. I was never an evangelist for any particular game company as a kid, though, so I never missed a chance to play any Master System or Genesis (Mega Drive for us down in Brazil), I took it. Even so, I always liked Nintendo’s offerings as I was growing up. Until the Dreamcast, Sega was my second banana, but once I got ahold of their then ultimate, cutting edge machine, I took it upon myself to explore their extensive historical catalog with different eyes, and in that, really got to see the fantastic offerings that I would have missed had I remained cornered out by simply sticking with a single company.
It’s because of that that products like the Sega Genesis Mini are such a good idea. They have the potential to bring these games to people like me who might have missed some during their initial run for whatever reason, or heck, not even born when they were out originally. So it’s also a great thing that Sega is apparently doing such a fantastic job with that thing in the first place. I got to try it out during E3 and boy, it’s a pretty darn impressive little piece of technology. At first glance, it already impressed me thanks to how close the small box looks in comparison to the original version, and lo and behold, the menu interface is much friendlier to the eyes than anything that has come out to this point.
I had a pretty lengthy demo session with it, and during that time, I couldn’t really tell if there were any issues with the emulation whatsoever. On the HD display that Sega had put in a lovingly prepared demo space that was decked with a bunch of 1980s and 1990s stuff, including posters for old Sega games. The other side of the booth, ridiculously enough, even had a gigantic and fully functional giant controller than people could try and play some games with. Along with a friend, I played through some of Gunstar Heroes and Streets of Rage 2, some of the best Genesis (if not all-time) co-op experiences you could get, and it damn it if that wasn’t a blast.
The overall build quality of the system couldn’t really be analyzed as it was encased in glass, but I obviously got a good look at the controllers included, and they felt exactly like what the original system’s did, which doesn’t surprise me, considering this is an official Sega release. It looks like they’re finally doing their fans justice after the lackluster mini system that was released by Atgames before got it so wrong. I’m very much looking forward to getting my hands in one of these once they’re finally out, and thanks to Sega’s fantastic booth at the show, I got to get an early taste to whet my appetite.
The Sega Genesis Mini is set to come out on September 19th in the US and will bafflingly include two three-button controllers instead of the six-button and much superior version that Japan is getting. Good luck playing Street Fighter 2 with that — not fun having only three buttons for special moves, let me tell you! Outside of that, this re-release looks great. Anyway, the 40 games that will be included along with it are:
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle, Alisia Dragoon, Altered Beast, Beyond Oasis, Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, Castlevania: Bloodlines, Columns, Contra: Hard Corps, Comix Zone, Darius, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, Dynamite Headdy, Earthworm Jim, Ecco the Dolphin, Eternal Champions, Ghouls ’n Ghosts, Golden Axe, Gunstar Heroes, Kid Chameleon, Landstalker, Light Crusader, Mega Man: The Wily Wars, Monster World 4, Phantasy Star 4: The End of the Millennium, Road Rash 2, Shining Force, Shinobi 3, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, Space Harrier 2, Street Fighter 2: Special Champion Edition, Streets of Rage 2, Strider, Super Fantasy Zone, Tetris, Thunder Force 3, ToeJam & Earl, Vectorman, Virtua Fighter 2, Wonder Boy in Monster World, and World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.