If you've been keeping an eye on international gaming hardware news, Sega has announced the follow-up to their 2019 Genesis (Mega Drive) Mini that will, much to the delight of retro gamers everywhere, emulate Sega CD titles.
However, it isn't quite what I predicted back in 2019.
I envisioned a miniature standalone piece of hardware that does its best to look like an actual Sega CD to plop next to your Genesis Mini chock full of Sega CD titles. What Sega is apparently putting out is another Genesis (Mega Drive), this time mimicking the Genesis Model 2 hardware.
The Model 2 Genesis was what we now call a "slim" incarnation of a console - a more cost-effective, scaled-back version of the original hardware with a smaller form factor. The original was released in 1993 and eliminated the headphone jack, used a smaller AV-out, and ran off a simpler, cheaper board.
However, separating the new Genesis 2 Mini from its predecessor will be the inclusion of a preinstalled library of 50 different titles from the 42 games that came on 2019's Genesis Mini, among these several Sega CD exclusives such as Sonic CD and Popful Mail.
While the entire list is yet to be finalized, Sega is promising the inclusion of more 3rd party titles this time around and some of the more hardware-intensive Genesis titles like their 1992 home arcade port of Virtua Racing.
It looks to aim for around a $79 MSRP (the same as the 2019's asking price) and, while it will include 7 additional games, will only include a single 6-button controller this time compared to the former's inclusion of a pair of 3-button units.
The confirmed games list so far:
Here's where things get interesting. While the unit itself may again look like a miniature Genesis, Sega plans on offering a miniature Sega CD add-on that can attach, to look just like the original Genesis/CD combo (complete with replica cartridge for the slot and disc for the drive). This will, of course, all be non-functional as the board inside the Genesis will be responsible for the game emulation but collectors will likely appreciate the ability to have a complete miniature for nostalgia. The add-on will cost $35.
I'm really thrilled that Sega is going to continue on with producing miniature incarnations of their legacy hardware and have felt all along that after the Genesis, the Sega CD was a very natural course of progression. I'm not, however, thoroughly convinced the way they are approaching it will be entirely clear to users. The idea of being able to purchase the mini CD drive add-on is neat but it would have made more sense to me to either produce the unit out of the box with the two combined or even just make this unit a miniature CD attachment that hooks up to 2019's Genesis Mini. And while it's cool they are mixing and matching titles from both platforms, I think it would have been even better if it just included 50 Sega CD titles.
The Sega CD is one of those systems that is falling away to obscurity at an alarming rate, some purity in its Mini incarnation would have been very welcome here.
All such minor complaints aside, that Sega is returning to the retro mini ranks like this is a very encouraging sign that fans may get a Saturn and Dreamcast Mini yet.