The Return of SEGA

April 4, 2019
by Alanna Elling

SEGA is getting back into the console market! Well, not exactly. I know quite a few of us SEGA geeks are waiting to hear those words again since the end of the Dreamcast era. Alas this is not new, but it is a celebration of sorts. Almost thirty years ago, the Sega Genesis landed in America. A scrappy underdog taking on the industry giant Nintendo in the console wars of the early to mid 90s.

The Sega Genesis holds a very special place in my heart. I remember when it showed up in my house. An old Model 1 attached to my old 13-inch Sears with faux wood paneling and capacitive channel buttons, I played through a rented copy of ECCO the Dolphin. Which in retrospect, was a real trial by fire jumping in to my foray into the 4th console generation.

In recent years there have been some very poor products put out with the Genesis name on them. Plauged by poor emulation, questionable build quality, and really a poor library choice, the company AtGames was in charge of making the plug-n-play systems carrying the SEGA badge. Especially with how effortlessly the NES and SNES mini sold, it was painful to watch SEGA stumble so hard with their beloved console.

After ending their partnership with AtGames towards the end of last year, they’ve decided to bring the hardware and software in-house. Leaning on M2 Co., the developer responsible for Sega Ages emulated ports for the major consoles and Sega 3D Classics for the Nintendo DS. Also their partnership with Retro-Bit to produce officially licensed SEGA hardware such as the classic Sega Saturn Model 2 controller, which still sees a lot of use today as a fight pad due to it’s perfect d-pad design and button configuration.

Of course, what is a console with out games. SEGA has announced 10 out of the 40 games to be featured. Starting with the ubiquitous Sonic the Hedgehog, but also including gems such as ECCO the Dolphin, Toe Jam and Earl, and Castlevania: Bloodlines. Which that last one should be noted, as it is the first time SEGA themselves have included a third party publisher in one of these types of collections. If that’s any sort of bellwether of the quality moving forward, there’s much to be excited about in the games library.

To top it all off, the console itself is based off of that Model 1 Genesis that I remember oh so much. With the styling on the other consoles of the time, the Model 1 looked like a sports car sitting in your entertainment center as opposed to a child’s toy. All of this style, wrapped up in a retro black and white grid box the early Genesis was known for. In fact, it’s an almost dead ringer for the Genesis/Sonic 1 pack in box when that first launch.

All of this to be had for $80 USD, including two original 3 button controllers (USB), a power supply (which the SNES Mini was lacking for reasons), and launching September 19th. Preorders are open, so check out your retailer of choice to put one in. More info to come regarding features, UI, and complete library listing. To this gamer’s cold and jaded heart, it’s a nice slice of nostalgia for me to get excited for.

 

Written by David Budziszewski

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