Up until now, all of my blogging has been about Atari 8-bit systems, but I also want to cover other retro game systems in this blog. One of the most popular 16-bit systems was the Sega Genesis. The Genesis was originally released in 1988 and, almost singlehandedly, caused the end of the 8-bit era. Sega sold more than forty million Genesis base consoles between 1988 and 1997. Outside of the US, the Genesis was known as the ’Mega Drive’. The top selling game for the Genesis was ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’, which also became the ‘pack in’ game for systems sold in the US, starting in 1991.
Recently, I picked up the new Sega Genesis Classic Game Console from AtGames. The system includes 80 built in games, but only 40 of these are ‘original’ Sega games. With that being said, some all-time Sega classics are included on this system such as: Altered Beast, Ecco, Golden Axe, Jewel Master, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Streets of Rage. Additional versions of these classics are also built in including Ecco II, Golden Axe II, and Sonic II.
I haven’t had the time to play all of the games on this system, but the ones that I have tried, seem to play as Sega originally intended. Like the Atari Flashback 4, all games run in emulation on an ARM based CPU. The emulation seems to be very well executed on this incarnation of the system. I am not as familiar with Sega games as I am with Atari games, but I didn’t notice any significant play or sound issues. In my opinion, the emulation is nicely done and will satisfy all but the hard core Sega Genesis gamers.
Like the Atari Flashback 4, AtGames includes two wireless controllers. These ’six button’ controllers are infrared based and required a line of sight to the base system, but seem to work really well. The controllers take two AAA batteries each and have a cool auto off feature, so that you can’t accidently leave them on. There are also two ports included if you prefer to use wired controllers, but I think that you will really enjoy having wireless controllers.
The biggest difference between this system and the Atari Flashback 4 is the inclusion of a cartridge port. This allows you to play almost any Sega Genesis cartridge based game. When the cartridge is inserted, the system simply boots to that game. When there is no cartridge in the system, it boots to the internal game menu. I played Madden ’97 for over an hour and was not able to detect any issues or ‘glitches’ in the game play.
Hard core gamers seem to be opposed to these ‘flashback’ type systems. In some of the earlier versions of these systems, the emulation was a little ‘glitchy’, but seems well executed in this version. I was able to buy my system at a local retailer for under $30. For a base system, 40 classic Sega Genesis games, and wireless controllers, I think it represents an incredible value. Having a cartridge slot and being able to play hundreds of additional games is a real added plus. If you are a fan of the Sega Genesis and are looking for some retro game fun at a great price, get yourself a Sega Genesis Classic Game Console!