It was only a matter of time. When the NES Classic and SNES Classic broke sales records everywhere, console manufacturers decided to throw their hat into the mini console craze. Unfortunately, most of them just had trouble with competing with the quality of Nintendo’s mini systems. As much as I love the original Sony PlayStation, the PlayStation Classic’s selection of games were quite underwhelming. The NEOGEO Mini hamstringed themselves by designing it to look like a teeny arcade cabinet and not allowing two people to play out of the box, a stunning oversight considering that the system comes packed with several fighting games.
Well, it looks like Nintendo’s original archenemy wants to beat Nintendo at their own game, so to speak. SEGA, who has been out of the console manufacturing business for a good, long while now, are coming back to try their hand at the new min console craze with the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive Mini system that’s coming out soon!
So far, SEGA hasn’t hit the same snags that Sony and the NEOGEO had. The SEGA Genesis Mini (I’ll be calling that instead of Mega Drive because… I just like the name Genesis a whole lot more) will be bundled with two controllers. It is still rather dumb that the controllers won’t be the “updated” 6-button controller since the system will have Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat, two games that you can’t play on the “standard” 3-button one. Or is it the other way around? As in it’s stupid to include Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat since the SEGA Genesis Mini will use the 3-button controller? Anyway, it’s a minor quibble, especially since I will always picture the 3-button SEGA Genesis controller to be the “classic” controller.
But the thing that has impressed me is the lineup of games they’ve revealed as of now. There are some venerable classics like Streets of Rage 2, Ecco the Dolphin, Sonic the Hedgehog, Space Harrier 2 and Shining Force. They are also some games that no one expected like Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse, Contra Hard Corps, Castlevania: Bloodlines, Phantasy Star IV and Comix Zone. And that’s just from the games they’ve revealed so far! SEGA has only announced 30 of the 40 games that will come with the SEGA Genesis Mini! There are still 10 more games that we don’t know about!
This leads me to my request to SEGA. While I know that you’re focusing on bringing your cartridge based games since that was your bread and butter during the SEGA Genesis era, I think you’re forgetting the rather revolutionary add-on you had for the system and, more importantly, the games that add-on had. SEGA, you should really think about putting in a couple of the SEGA CD games in the SEGA Genesis Mini.
For those who aren’t in the know, the SEGA CD was a, to be frank, ridiculous add-on for the SEGA Genesis system that allowed you to play games that came on CDs. This was revolutionary at the time but, sadly, CD technology was still in its infamy and the gamers had to suffer through long load times just to play a level. Also, because game developers had no idea what to do with all the storage space the CD had when compared to cartridges, most SEGA CD games utilized a lot of video clips, which is why we have “classics” like the Make My Video series, Corpse Killer and Sewer Shark.
“If the SEGA CD is a terrible add-on, why would I want those games to be included in the SEGA Genesis Mini?” you may ask. Well, that’s because not every SEGA CD game was terrible. There were a lot of hidden gems that were made for it and are frequently overlooked today because they were on the SEGA CD.
For example, everyone gamer in the world knows who Hideo Kojima is. He’s the brains behind the Metal Gear games and is known for making games feel like full-fledged movies. Well, he’s also the same guy behind the cult classics Snatcher and Policenauts! Although both games did have various releases on other systems, most Western gamers are probably familiar with the SEGA CD version. So, why shouldn’t SEGA include them? Personally, I would just be fine if they included Snatcher because I’m a big Blade Runner fan.
Right now, the SEGA Genesis Mini is lacking on the RPG category, with the only notable ones being Phantasy Star IV and Shining Force. Well, there are two really fantastic RPGs that came out on the SEGA CD and they would be both Lunar games, two of my favorite games of all time. While the Lunar games would eventually be re-released and updated on the PlayStation Classic, they first came out on the SEGA CD. I will admit that the updated versions of Lunar, specifically the Working Designs version that came out on the PlayStation, puts the SEGA CD versions to shame in terms of, well, everything. I do think it would be kind of a good history lesson to see where these games came from, though.
While the SEGA CD was known for full-motion video shovelware, there are probably one or two hidden gems that do use the video technology well. One such game would be Dragon’s Lair. This game definitely stood out in arcades as it used real animation, something that couldn’t be done on consoles at the time. But it was definitely possible on the SEGA CD thanks to the storage capacity of CDs. The animation would look incredibly grainy but, like I said, it would be a good look at how video game technology has evolved.
Also, the SEGA CD games would not fall into the pitfall that made most of them terrible: loading times. The original SEGA CD used a single-speed drive and this certainly played a factor in the crappy video quality most of the full-motion video games had. But this also made loading levels an arduous experience as you had to stare at that “Now Loading” screen for minutes at a time! This wouldn’t be a problem today.
CDs used to seem so large but, by today’s standards, they seem very small, don’t they? We have portable flash drives that can not just fit the proposed 40 games but the SEGA Genesis’ entire 915+ catalog of games as well as the 200+ SEGA CD games there for good measure! I wouldn’t see the problem of storing 1 or 2 select SEGA CD games in the SEGA Genesis Mini because of this.
Yes, I will agree that the SEGA CD was a hotbet of crappy games. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few standout games on the platform. So why not include the really good ones on the SEGA Genesis Mini? It just seems like the right thing to do.
Do you know any other standout SEGA CD games? Let me know what they are in the comments section below!