The Sega Genesis Mini Doesn't Suck

The Sega Genesis Mini Retro Console is, in many ways, nothing new. We've seen mini consoles before, ranging from Nintendo's superb SNES Mini to Sony's woeful PlayStation Classic. There's always been a robust market for third-party consoles that run retro games too, like Hyperkin, and a thriving emulator scene. Playing the games of yesteryear is almost as easy now as it was then (easier in some cases) so each retro console that comes along needs to offer something special. And the Sega Genesis Mini is no exception.

sega genesis mini 1
Newsweek // Rocco Marrongelli

A handful of quality-of-life improvements, mostly saved games, are added on top of this hefty games list:

Sega Genesis Mini Games List:

  • 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
  • Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
  • World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck
  • Thunder Force III
  • Super Fantasy Zone
  • Shinobi III
  • Streets of Rage 2
  • Earthworm Jim
  • Sonic The Hedgehog 2
  • Contra: Hard Corps
  • 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
  • Tetris
  • Darius

I've been playing my Sega Genesis Mini for about a week now, and it's my favorite of any mini console so far. I'm 35 years-old, so right in the sweet spot demo wise. I absolutely loved my Sega Genesis as a kid (I even had Sega Channel) and quite a few of my favorites are featured in the new library. I encourage everyone to check out Road Rash II, a motorcycle racing/melee mashup that has yet to be duplicated in the modern era.

sega genesis mini 2
Newsweek // Rocco Marrongelli

I was equally enamored with Phantasy Star IV, an RPG classic that was too sophisticated for my pre-teen gaming tastes but now perfect for stodgy adulthood. Unfortunately, I had no access to any game manuals during my preview and quite a few of these titles (including Phantasy Star IV) require the manual to fully grok what's going on. There's plenty of simple button mashing to be had though. Streets of Rage 2 holds up, and was my personal fave for mindless fun.

The easy access to save files also makes these titles far more enjoyable, and I found myself running a little gameplay loop of Streets of Rage 2 - Road Rash II - Phantasy Star IV - repeat. For anyone looking to introduce their kids to their childhood games, Castle of Illusion and World of Illusion provide great entry points thanks to the iconic characters and colorful graphics.

As a piece of hardware, the Sega Genesis Mini is light and dainty. It faithfully recreates the classic console, minus a working headphone jack (bummer). And the controllers feel spot on. Once again, though, we get a mini console without wireless controllers. The Sega Genesis Mini controllers have about 6-7 feet of cable, a decent length but still not enough to reach my couch from my TV. We don't play our games on 20" TVs from two feet away anymore. A wireless controller would've really helped the Sega Genesis Mini stand out, although the excellent library certainly helps.

We'll have a deeper review of the Sega Genesis Mini closer to its Sept. 19 release date.

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