Sega Announces Genesis Mini

Posted on March 30, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Games with 26 Comments

Good news for nostalgic video game fans: Sega announced that it will ship a Genesis Mini retro console in September.

“SEEEEGGGGAAAA!” the official Sega account on Twitter announced. “The iconic Sega Genesis returns September 19, 2019, with our lovingly crafted Sega Genesis Mini for $79.99! Simply plug-in and play 40 of the console’s legendary titles, 10 of which we’re announcing today.”

The Sega Genesis Mini is a miniature replica of the original 16-bit Sega Genesis video game console that took the market by storm in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The firm sold over 30 million units worldwide and the Genesis was Sega’s last truly successful console, thanks in part to Sonic the Hedgehog, the marque video game series.

Right now, details on the Mini are a bit light. The console will ship with Ecco the Dolphin, Castlevania Bloodlines, Space Harrier II, Shining Force, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, Toe Jam & Earl, Comix Zone, Altered Beast, Gunstar Heroes, and, of course, the original Sonic the Hedgehog, plus 30 other titles. And it will include two classic wired 3-button control pads that are modeled after the Genesis control pad, a USB power adapter, power cable, and HDMI cable.

You can learn more at the Sega Genesis Mini website. But if you’re interested in this topic, I strongly recommend reading Console Wars by Blake J. Harris. This is a great history of the video game market during this time period, and Sega and the Genesis factor in quite prominently.

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Comments (26)

26 responses to “Sega Announces Genesis Mini”

  1. Avatar

    scumdogmillionaire

    I want a Sega Master System one. Wonder Boy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Avatar

    hoomgar

    Now this is cool news.  I still have my fully original and fully functional Sega with all my games.  I break it out every other year or so and have fun with it.  Star Control being at the top of my list of favorites.  Remember Fighting Masters?  Good times.

  3. Avatar

    Brazbit

    This one just boggles my mind. There have been Genesis systems like this on the shelves continuously for many years in one form or another. Many of them even accept cartridges in addition to having 80 games built in. Every year they get a little better and Sega may see to it that this one is the most accurate of them all, but still, this is far from an underserved market segment.

    A large part of the success of the NES and SNES classic was that Nintendo had done nearly everything they could to ensure there were no emulation systems on the market and so there was nearly 30 years of no commercially available way to get the games (other than virtual console for $5-$10 per game) and the unites looked exactly like miniature versions of consoles may hadn't seen in decades. Compare that to the Genesis here where you could go to nearly any store with a home electronics section and satisfy your Genesis nostalgia with nearly identical units for at least the past decade.

    • Avatar

      skane2600

      In reply to Brazbit:

      Nintendo did something with their system that we working in the industry a few years earlier assumed was illegal - making it virtually impossible to make NES games without their permission via a lock-out system.

      • Avatar

        Brazbit

        In reply to skane2600:

        The 10NES was something that Bushnell would have included in the VCS in a heartbeat if he had foreseen Activision and the rise of third party developers. The fact that they tried the Tengen end-around on Nintendo was more a case of sour grapes for not thinking of it first than any story given that gaming should not be restricted. I doubt Atari, Mattel, Coleco or any of the others would have even thought to question the legality of locking others out. They didn't hesitate attempting to sue third parties for daring to write for their open systems.

        Nintendo's other actions, punishing retailers for stocking competing systems, limiting the number of games third parties could develop per year were far more worrying than the lockout chip.

        • Avatar

          skane2600

          In reply to Brazbit:

          Bushnell was long gone before the rise of third-party games on the Atari and he was actually in favor of more open systems than the VCS which was one of the disagreements with Warner that lead to his departure.


          The inner workings of these consoles were trade secrets which is how they discouraged third-parties from developing games. Due to it's very primitive and idiosyncratic design the VCS in particular was difficult to reverse engineer. Any lawsuits that these firms filed were based on their claim of a violation of NDA's, not merely suing on the basis of a game being developed. If they could sue on such a broad basis that would have meant that nearly no third-party games would have been sold and we know that was far from the case.


          Nintendo's limiting the number of games third parties could develop, was of course , a strategy that depended on the lock-out, not independent of it.


          I worked at Mattel and we did actually talk about lock-out schemes but this was among developers and we didn't really mix with legal folks, so we had no idea what they thought. One rather simple, low-tech lock-out idea we had was for the console to scan all the code in the game cartridge and only allow it to start if the string "Copyright Mattel Electronics" was embedded in the code. So if a third party created a game without it, it wouldn't run, if they included it, the IP belonged to us. Probably not legal but we weren't lawyers.



  4. Avatar

    yoshi

    Probably the first retro console I'd actually be interested in. I loved my Genesis. But in reality I know I'd never use it after a couple days.

  5. Avatar

    stevek

    https://www.analogue.co/mega-sg/


    Analogue makes several retro consoles that use FPGAs to actually recreate the original hardware; circuit for circuit...so the games are NOT running through an emulator; but running on actual original console circuits; but with some modern improvements; like HDMI ports for example...


    They just released their Genesis version which is the link I put in above; but they also have ones for Original NES and SNES. Their primary developer also released alternative firmware for them that allows you to reprogram them to be other consoles as well; like Master System; or 2600; etc...


    If you really are into the retro games; this is the right way to go; than any emulator type system that can have input lag...even if its a prepackaged emulator.

  6. Avatar

    skane2600

    It's too bad that none of these retro devices allow you to play games beyond what is embedded in the device itself. One wonders if the original binaries are even running inside or if they are some kind of port.

    • Avatar

      Brazbit

      In reply to skane2600:

      Actually it is exceedingly easy to get most of them to run any ROM you want. Atari Flashback 9, NES and SNES mini, etc... are all easily upgradable with patches made by the community that permit them to run virtually any ROM.

      The games are straight ROM dumps, not ports, although a few of them are such as: Space Invaders, PacMan and Frogger on the Flashback systems. Licensing issues (music in Frogger) and other such complications caused AtGames to use alternatively sourced copies of the games (but if you load the original ROMs they run fine).

      • Avatar

        skane2600

        In reply to Brazbit:

        I was just pondering based on the fact that these devices didn't support running additional games out-of-the-box. If they use fully-compatible emulators it makes sense that they should be able to run all the games as you say.

    • Avatar

      ChristopherCollins

      In reply to skane2600:

      Most are just Pi like devices running emulators. I too have wondered why there isn't a USB port so they can sell you more 'game packs'. I'm about to just build a retro pi machine and run all the emulators. I haven't done a lot of work with those devices, so it will be a fun learning experience. A friend of mine built an awesome coffee table like gaming station. Player 1 & Player 2 are at opposite heads of the table. It's pretty neat, but he is also into woodwork in addition to tech.

  7. Avatar

    dcdevito

    Yawn. I've had a Raspberry Pi running RetroPie with every single Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Genesis and Commodore game for nearly 5 years now.

  8. Avatar

    JerryH

    Do these type of things really have much of a market? It seems like they are targeted at old folks like me (this one was too late for me; I was a kid when the Atari 2600 came out and played Intellivision at other people's houses). So I was pretty much done with video games in 1990 as I got my first real job then. So a few old folks who have long since given up gaming buy these and quickly see the games haven't aged well and set them aside again? I guess I just don't see the business plan. Maybe it is genius. But it doesn't seem like it.

    • Avatar

      Patrick3D

      In reply to JerryH:

      The NES Classic, as an example, sold over 2.3 million units in it's first 5 months. Source = https://www.denofgeek.com/us/games/nintendo/264320/nintendo-reveals-how-many-nes-classic-editions-they-sold

      It came close to outselling the Nintendo Switch at the time. Many young people would much rather buy a mini system like this that provides a "greatest hits" collection built-in rather than buy the original system and games then have to deal with getting the original system to work on a modern TV. As an older gamer I would rather have the original system and games to collect them and "build a library" to preserve my past.

    • Avatar

      maethorechannen

      In reply to JerryH:


      Maybe you gave up gaming when you got your first job, but a lot of us didn't. My first job payed for my Mega Drive, Mega CD and 32X.


      One of the target markets for the PS1 was people who were in thier 20s and had grown up with video games. Some of my best gaming memories are coming back from a nightclub and playing Wipeout with friends.


      I had wanted a Saturn, but the PS1 had better games.



    • Avatar

      evox81

      In reply to JerryH:

      If the other minis that have been released lately are any indication, these will be a relatively small production run and they will sell out almost immediately. And as a pure nostalgic cash grab, it's genius.


      The NES, Super NES and PlayStation Minis all used pre-existing emulators to run the games on off the shelf ARM hardware. and this will likely do the same. That means there's practically no development cost and the production cost will be very low.

    • Avatar

      CaymanDreamin

      In reply to JerryH: You're going under the assumption that only a certain age group games, that once someone gets a "real job", it requires them to give up gaming. It's a hobby, people are not required to give up their hobbies just to be a responsible member of society. I'm in my 50s and I still game and it's something we enjoy as a family. My 16 year old daughter has original old systems in her game room. She has my old NES, Nintendo 64, Wii, PS1, PS2 and PS3 sitting beside her Xbox One. They're all hooked up with the exception of the PS1 that doesn't work anymore but she keeps it on display because of its history (and the old smiley face sticker from PS Magazine). Plus a 3DS, PSP and a Switch for handhelds. Sure, some of the older machines don't get used as much and the graphics can't compare to the new stuff, but there are games that are still fun and that's what it's about. A hobby gives us a place to escape from "real jobs" and to relax whether individually or as a family. When I saw the article, I actually thought about getting it for my mother who is in her 80s because of the fun times we had playing Sega together when I was a kid.


  9. Avatar

    Chris Payne

    Typo in 3rd graf: "the marque video game series."

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