Opinion

Hopeful Perspective #2 – A look at the Sega Mega Drive Mini

2-Sega Mega Drive Mini

“There’s nothing as exciting as a comeback – seeing someone with dreams, watching them fail, and then getting a second chance.”
-Rachel Griffiths

 

 

SegaMage1 copy“The following is a contributor post by the Hopeful Sega Mage.”

I’m not a really a fan of the ‘mini console’ phase that gaming seems to be going through at the moment. While I can appreciate having versions of classic consoles that can play on modern TV’s, I don’t like having a selection of games curated for me and I think these machines are capable of holding a lot more games, as emulators have shown. Truthfully, I think these machines, as well designed as they are, are just another example of developers drip-feeding us retro content and making us pay for it all over again.

At games

That said, those thoughts went out of the window when I heard the Sega Mega Drive was making a comeback with the Sega Mega Drive Mini being released in September. Not just the usual inconsistent third party license job, but a mini console made by Sega themselves. I haven’t ordered a Mega Drive Mini…yet. However, I have a feeling that seeing the Mega Drive Mini in the shops is going to take me back to being a kid at Christmas 1994 and asking for Santa to bring me one.

It’s one of the reasons I decided to write this preview to be honest – I wanted to research the Sega Mega Drive Mini and see if it was worth me spending my pennies (read; buy less ice cream and chocolate) to pick one up. I’m glad Sega had seen the success that Nintendo had with their own mini consoles and decided to get involved directly, but I’m kind of on the fence at the moment. While I have faith in Sega to make a quality product, there needs to be more than nostalgia to get me to splash (trickle?) the cash.

Mk 1

That said, Sega have based their Mega Drive Mini on the classic Mega Drive 1 design and it looks great. It looks like it’s a third of the size of the original Mega Drive 1 and even has the volume slider and cartridge slot for cosmetic effect. I wish the cartridge slot was a working cartridge slot – that would make the Mega Drive Mini a day one purchase for me, the chance to go hunting for random Sega games in the wild too much to refuse. I know that a functioning cartridge slot would probably push the price of these mini consoles up, but I think it would be a huge feature as it would render games lost to licensing issues viable again.

Japanese Mega Drive Mini

Looking at the contents of the Mega Drive Mini, it looks pretty straightforward, which is definitely the appeal of retro consoles. No battery packs the size of a caravan and no pads that need to be coerced to sync with the console. All you get is the mini console, a power lead, an HDMI lead and two pads. The pads included in the UK bundle are three button pads, which seems odd to me. I guess Sega saw the three-button controller as the iconic Mega Drive controller, but I’m sure most players would rather have had a six-button pad, especially for Street Fighter II. Sure, you can buy a six-button pad for your Mega Drive Mini, but that’s an extra £40 for two pads, which is frustrating. Irritatingly, in Japan, the Sega Mega Drive Mini comes with two six-button controllers…

alexkiddenchantedcastlecover

Moving on to the games… I think it’s a very mixed selection. Sega are as guilty as Nintendo for rehashing the same retro games over and over across each generation and there is an aspect of that on the Sega Mega Drive Mini. Most of the usual subjects are here, present and correct. While the likes of Sonic 2, Streets of Rage 2, Golden Axe and Gunstar Heroes are fantastic games that Sega fans remember fondly, there are some games that made me groan upon seeing them included. The likes of Altered Beast and Alex Kidd in Enchanted Castle are two games that Sega really don’t need to release again…

Super Fantasy Zone

It’s when you move past the usual suspects that the Mega Drive Mini begins to appeal. There are some mouth-watering inclusions here that Sega deserve full credit for.  Super Fantasy Zone is one that really appeals to me personally – I love the Master System original and could never get hold of Super Fantasy Zone back in my collecting days. It’s also great to see games like Alissa Dragoon, Castle of Illusion and World of Illusion as part of the Mega Drive Mini’s game library – these are some fantastic games that deserve to be experienced again.

 

Sega deserve credit for negotiating with other publishers too – they’ve grabbed some great unexpected titles. From Konami (Castlevania: Bloodlines, Probotector) or Capcom (Ghouls N’ Ghosts, Street Fighter II, Mega Man: The Wiley Wars, Strider) to even EA (Road Rash 2), there are some fantastic games there. To me, these games are the main draw of the Mega Drive Mini – they are games that I never thought would be accessible again. That said, if Road Rash 2 is missing the original soundtrack, like the EA Play (PSP) compilation version, then I’ll be annoyed as I love that soundtrack!

 

Everyone will be able to think of games that they think have been included. I’m personally disappointed that Super Hang On and Outrun didn’t make the cut as they are favourites of mine and fairly synonymous with the Mega Drive. It would have been cool to see Sega try and get the rights for more games from its third party publishers too. For example, we could have had Rocket Knight Adventures and Sunset Riders from Konami. I could personally make the case that we could have more than forty two games on the Mega Drive Mini…there are so many more great Mega Drive games that could have made the cut.

So in conclusion, will I be getting a Sega Mega Drive Mini? My heart says yes, but my head is telling me to wait. There are some great games on the Sega Mega Drive Mini and I do like its design, but it may be worth waiting until it drops in price. Once the initial demand is satisfied, mini consoles are easy to pick up cheap – if you don’t believe me, Twitter is full of people who have recently treated themselves to a PlayStation Classic fairly cheaply.

I’d love to hear your opinions though – are you thinking of picking up a Mega Drive Mini and if not, why not?

 

The Hopeful Sega Mage is a Sega obsessive who shouldn’t be approached by members of the public. However, he can be found on Twitter at @carrythegary and here at The Well-Red Mage, if you wish to discuss Japanese Mega Drive artwork and the greatness of Altered Beast.

 

Did you enjoy this post? Consider becoming a Warrior of Light and join us in promoting honesty and quality to games writing through thoughtful, long-form critiques. We’re building a future for games writers to get paid and find a fairer and happier alternative to mainstream coverage and culture. See our Patreon page for more info!

becomeapatron2

21 replies »

  1. Okay here’s my question – if I bought the ‘Sega Genesis Collection’ for my console, and don’t have much nostalgic feelings for the Genesis/MegaDrive hardware itself, should buy one of these? I’m a fan of the ‘mini-consoles’ in general, but the Genesis collection released last year has 50 games on it, with quite a bit of overlap. I’m leaning towards ‘no’, but is there enough difference in software to make it worth my time and money?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d lean towards ‘no’ too…but there are a few gems that you are hard to (legally) get. Castlevania Bloodlines, Castle and World of Illusion, Super Fantasy Zone, Strider….it depends what you think of them really

      My answer would be ”wait till the New Year sales’.

      Like

  2. Great review! I was kind of on the fence about it, but I think now I might get it on getting a mini. Hopefully, this will lead to future expansions such as The Sega CD Classic or Saturn Classic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope we do get a Saturn and Dreamcast Mini – two systems with a largely unexplored games library that deserve more attention. I think they would do well too.

      Not sure we’ll get the Mega CD Mini, I don’t think demand is too high for it. Would rather have a Master System Mini first!

      Like

  3. This definitely looks like one of the better minis. So part of me wants to nab it. On the other hand, Sega did put out an ultra massive collection recently (Steam/PS4/Switch/XB1) with more titles on it for less. I don’t doubt it will do gangbusters though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it will be easy to grab a Mega Drive Mini – it will do Ok, but not as well as the Nintendo minis. I think Sega fans (me included) already own a lot of the games on various compilations so might not be too bothered.

      If it had 200/300 games, I’d be interested, but 42 games, around half I already own? It’s a tough sell.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Haunting is a good shout – unique to the Mega Drive and EA did reissue it on the EA Replay compilation, so there is no reason why they wouldn’t do it again.

      Fun game too, can’t think of many games like it.

      Liked by 1 person

        • You think there would have been more games along those lines though…it’s a great premise.

          EA have a ton of unloved IPs just hiding away, it’s a real shame

          Liked by 1 person

          • It really was. There have been so many ghostly films and the suchlike too, it would have made sense to have a few more games.
            Yeah; whenever people talk about issues with EA now I can’t help but think of how different they were in the 16 bit era. The had some great releases. I am glad we’re getting Road Rash on there. That’s a franchise that I still think would do well today if they built a new game properly.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Road Rash 2 is a favourite of mine….but if they’ve removed the original soundtrack to save a few quid, it ruins the game imo. The replacement soundtrack on PSP was super generic and took me out of the game…

              EA were great once. It’s a shame to see what they’ve become. The signs were always there. Remember, they only got involved with Sega because they learned how to get round the Mega Drive’s security checks…Sega cut them a deal, rather than have EA sell their Mega Drive games independently.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I hadn’t realized they changed the soundtrack. I keep meanign to grab the EA UMD for my PSP. B.O.B. was another by them that I enjoyed.

                I actually didn’t know that. It really is quite a fall from grace though. It’s a shame when you look at the previous quality of their output.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Yeah, that soundtrack change ruined EA Replay for me. FIFA makes billions every year, surely you can afford the soundtrack for Road Rash 2?!?

                  Some of the IPs EA have buried are heartbreaking. Burnout (in favour of Need For Speed), Sim City, Command and Conquer, Ultima and Road Rash off the top of my head…

                  B.O.B is a decent shout, shame it couldn’t have been included. I wish Sega had got more third party games for the Mega Drive Mini.

                  Liked by 1 person

                • I would have removed quite a few… Alex Kidd, Altered Beast, Columns to start with. All have their fans, but Sega have re-released them several times.

                  Aero would have been something different at least.

                  Liked by 1 person

                • Agreed – really like that game, deserved to have been released much sooner.

                  Super Fantasy Zone was my favourite. Wish it was on PS4.

                  Liked by 1 person

                • I’ve not played it myself sadly but it looks like a souped up version of the Master System original, which I loved!

                  Liked by 1 person

Kindly leave a civil and decent comment like a good human being

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s