One has to applaud the brilliant yet childlike and playful creative minds at Nintendo for their lineup of interestingly popular videogame concepts. It was they who kick-started the direction-motion-sensing control scheme thing with its remote controller in 2006, and in 2017 they blurred the line between home console and portable with its hybrid Switch system. But aside from pushing the envelope of future gaming, Nintendo has had an appreciation for classics, as its Classic Mini Editions of the old NES and SNES consoles show. Their old rival Sega seems to have gotten a clue, judging from its latest gadget announcement.
IGN reports that Sega, which had long given up its own videogame hardware development years ago to focus on software, surprised some people (and cause others perhaps to think “it’s about time”) during their annual celebratory Sega FES event. At one point the emcee stood at the stage with a familiar, if smaller-sized, object in his hands. It was a black slab, with radiator grills to the side, a circular area with a cartridge slot, and the words “16-BIT” on top. Yes, Sega has gone and developed the Sega Mega Drive Mini, a scaled-down version of their most famous console.
Photos of the FES presentation, plus a close-up of the console itself, soon spread online after they were posted on Sega’s official Twitter page. And that was pretty much it, perhaps to the disappointment of readers who used to play on the venerable old console decades ago. Aside from the sneak peek, no detailed information was released on the Mega Drive Mini, and what exactly it can do aside from these facts. It will carry a selection of classic games and will be released in time to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original Sega Mega Drive (or Genesis stateside).
Granted, Sega had in the past licensed third-party developers to create authorized clones of the old Mega Drive. One such result was the US-released Genesis Flashback by AtGames, which also made retro consoles for an even older videogame giant, Atari. This time around however, Sega is looking to emulate Nintendo’s runaway success with retro consoles by doing the same small-scale updated audio-visual connections done by the NES and SNES Classic Mini Editions. AtGames also intimated that their hardware is the driving force inside the upcoming Mega Drive Mini. Right now it seems only a matter of time before Sega announces a Mini Genesis version for the US market, but for the moment, the Mega Drive mini is for Japan only.
Photo courtesy of darkhorizons.com