Bottom line: The Sega Genesis Mini is going to be a hot commodity this holiday season, just as the NES Classic and SNES Classic were in previous years. Hopefully Sega does its due diligence and manufactures enough inventory / doesn’t artificially limit supply.
Nintendo unexpectedly created a classic console reissue frenzy with the launch of the NES Classic Edition in 2016. Nintendo followed it up a year later with the even more popular SNES Classic Edition and it seemed like miniature retro remakes could do no wrong.
It’s not that mini consoles with pre-bundled games were a new idea – they’d just never been done by the original manufacturer with enough attention to detail to make them worth your time or money.
Sega by that time had already announced plans for a miniature version of its 16-bit Genesis console but considering the company hadn’t put out any meaningful hardware in nearly two decades (the last was the Dreamcast in 1998), most knew better than to get their hopes up.
Fortunately, it seems as though Sega may have surprised us all.
Sega’s Genesis Mini doesn’t arrive until next month but we’re getting a preview of the system today, in celebration of the console’s 30th anniversary North American launch. And by all accounts, the system “excels at everything it seeks to do.”
As Polygon highlights, Sega is handling all of the hardware and that’s a good thing. Sega painstakingly recreated the look and feel of the original console, down to the (non-functioning) volume slider, cartridge slot and expansion port. You also get two USB-powered replica Genesis controllers. If you’re big on originality, know that Sega has hit a grand slam here.
For software emulation, the company turned to longtime partner M2 which, thankfully, has baked in save states (but curiously enough, not a rewind feature). The library of 42 games has been known for some time now and while it’s impossible to make everyone happy here (licensing issues ensure that), Sega did a respectable job of mixing and matching popular titles in with some more obscure and rare games.
We'd love to share more information about the console now but unfortunately, review embargos are making that an impossibility right now. The Sega Genesis Mini arrives on September 19 priced at $79.99 and is available to pre-order from writing.
All images courtesy IGN