Sega’s gone ahead and announced some really good news about its latest plug and play console, the Sega Genesis Mini. There are already tons of shoddy Sega Genesis clones on the market, many coming from At-Games, but following the success of Nintendo’s NES and SNES Classic Edition consoles, Sega announced that they're going to make something a little more high-end. That quickly turned sour though, as they announced At-Games would be making the thing. Fans weren’t pleased, so Sega delayed the project promising to make things right.
And they sure as heck did! The system will be arriving on September 19, 2019. It will be handled by Sega’s M2 studio, the fine folks behind the spectacular Sega Ages and Sega 3D classics lines, HDMI out and two 3-button controllers included, (Kinda bummed it’s not the 6-button, but whatever), menu music composed by Yuzo Koshiro (Streets of Rage, ActRaiser), and a whopping 40 games included in the box for $79.99.
It seems that Japan and the US are going to see different game selections, but not knowing much about the Japanese Mega Drive market myself, I’m going to focus on what’s coming to the US. They’ve announced the first 10 titles, which are:
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Gunstar Heroes
- Castlevania Bloodlines
- Ecco the Dolphin
- Space Harrier II
- Shining Force
- Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
- Toe Jam & Earl
- Comix Zone
- Altered Beast
That’s a pretty nice-looking list of games, but what really sets my toes a-tappin’ is the inclusion of Castlevania Bloodlines. That magnificent little gem there hasn’t been re-released ever before, so its inclusion here not only leads me to believe Konami might actually include it in their Castlevania Anniversary Collection later this year, but that Sega isn’t shying away from grabbing the best 3rd party games the Genesis had to offer.
So I put together a list of the games I think are going to show up on the system. This was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I don’t usually write about Sega stuff because I wasn’t really a Sega kid back in the day. But when I started going through the list of great games the Genesis had to offer, even picking 30 started becoming troublesome. That said, I knocked some of the Genesis’ very best off the list because of licensing reasons. 3rd party is one thing, but Disney is quite another. So unfortunately, I don’t think stuff like X-Men, Aladdin, Jurassic Park, NHL 94, Sportstalk Baseball, or any of that wonderful licensed stuff is going to show up. I also knocked off Mortal Kombat because while it was all the rage back then, playing the Genesis version of any Mortal Kombat games is hardly what I’d call a pleasant experience today. (I’d argue they weren’t any good back then either, I was staunchly a SNES guy, but that’s a different article entirely).
Now that we’ve got the ground rules out of the way, here’s what I think/hope is going to land on the Sega Genesis Mini.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 - This one’s a no-brainer. It’s probably the most prolific Genesis game there is. It’s also already announced as being on the Japanese console. I’d be genuinely shocked if this one didn’t make the cut.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 - This one’s a little more difficult. I can’t say with 100% certainty, but it seems the music of Sonic 3 has been tied up in some legal issues for a while. I think the last time Sonic 3 made its way into the world of re-releases was the Wii Virtual Console. But I don’t think this is going to last forever. I’m betting Sega will have it all worked out in time for the Genesis Mini’s release. And with good reason, Sonic 3 is one of the best in the series!
Sonic & Knuckles - This game sits in a similar boat as Sonic 3 since it’s technically just the rest of that game, but if they can get one, I can’t imagine they wouldn’t make both available. This would also allow them to include the whole Lock-On Technology thing, enhancing Sonic 2 and 3 with Knuckles if you so choose.
Sonic Spinball - It may not be anyone’s favorite Sonic game, but Sega does love trotting it out. It’s hard to make an argument for it being here over something like Streets of Rage 3, but I’m going to guess that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
Rocket Knight Adventures - If Konami is willing to let Castlevania Bloodlines on this thing, I see no reason why they wouldn’t just open the floodgates and put Rocket Knight Adventures on there too. It’s such a phenomenal game, and it does such a great job of showing off what the Genesis could really do. Aside from the Sonic games (because Sonic is Sonic) I’m guessing Sega’s going to avoid sequels on here. One, because it allows more room for other non-represented titles, and two, Sega does what Nintendon’t. If this thing is a success, you better believe they’ll make another one. So let’s hope we see Sparkster there.
Contra: Hard Corps - Speaking of Konami, this wonderful game sits right next to Bloodlines as one of the most important forgotten games they’ve ever made. It’s one of the best Contra games out there, pushes the Genesis to its limits, and absolutely needs to be on this system.
Chakan: The Forever Man - I think Sega is going to take some deep dives into its library with this one, and I think that means we’re going to see some more off-beat Genesis classics. Chakan is a pretty memorable game, and one that’s never seen much in the way of re-releases. This does sort of break my licensing rule since it’s based on a comic book property, but I can’t imagine this is an expensive license to get.
Earthworm Jim - EWJ was one of the biggest games on the Genesis, and one that most people believe to be superior to its SNES cousin. Even when the game hit Wii Virtual Console, it was the Genesis version that made the cut. I’m not entirely sure who holds the rights anymore, but figuring it out would definitely be worth the effort.
Eternal Champions - I feel like this game was a pretty big deal in its day, but for whatever reason it never really saw a proper sequel. There was the Sega CD game and a couple of spinoffs, but Sega never really ran with this one. As far as I can tell, they own it outright, and it would probably make more than a few people happy to see it on the Mini.
Forgotten Worlds - You didn’t think Capcom was going to just let this system be released without dropping some of their games on it, did you? They’ll pop up more on this list too, but Forgotten Realms was one of their earliest hits on the platform, so it stands to reason it should show up here.
Ghouls n Ghosts - Of course Ghouls n Ghosts will be here! While it pales in comparison to the SNES masterpiece Super Ghouls n Ghosts, the Genesis game is certainly no slouch. It’s great-looking, and a true Genesis classic.
Jewel Master - Like Chakan, Jewel Master is another sort-of offbeat pull, but I think it has a chance. This is one of those Sega games that seems to have been lost in the shuffle over the years. It isn’t some long-lost masterpiece or anything, but it’s a fun game that Sega owns. I expect to see it.
Kid Chameleon - This is one of those games I always thought I should love, but I don’t. Regardless, lots of people do, so I think its chances of making the cut are pretty high.
MUSHA - MUSHA is one of the most expensive Genesis games out there, which is a shame because it’s also one of the coolest games on the platform. Considering how much attention to their fans Sega seems to be putting into this console, it wouldn’t surprise me if they went ahead and found a way to include this guy on the list.
Mega Man: The Wily Wars - If Capcom only allows one game on this thing, it has to be this one. It’s only ever been released in the US two different ways. First as part of the Sega Channel, and second on some of those weirdo At-Games consoles. If you’re unfamiliar, Wily Wars is a sort of Mario All-Stars take on the first 3 NES Mega Man games. They’ve all been beefed up to 16-bit graphics, but it’s not a sloppy Ninja Gaiden Trilogy sort of affair. The games have been carefully recreated to look right with the higher graphical power behind them, the music has been rearranged with the Genesis’ abilities in mind, and it’s even got some brand new robot masters and levels in the mix!
Road Rash - I’m not sure how willing EA is to be involved in these sorts of things, but Road Rash is such a seminal Genesis game it would be hard to imagine it not being included. I don’t think there are any sort of external licensing deals to contend with, it’s just EA. Not that EA isn’t a hurdle, but it’s not like they’re trying to get a Madden game.
Streets of Rage - Streets of Rage 4 is coming out. Yuzo Koshiro is doing the menu music for the console. The question isn’t whether or not Streets of Rage will be there, it’s how many will make the cut. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see all three, but I can also see Sega holding back 2 and 3 for the eventual Genesis Mini 2.
Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition - This is a touchy one because of the controller. Street Fighter plays like crap on the Genesis with just a 3-button layout, but Street Fighter is Street Fighter. It’s been included on many a Genesis clone over the years, and it is functional with a 3-button controller. It would make a ton of sense to keep this one in their pocket for the eventual Genesis Mini 2, but dropping this one here gets them the name on the box, and still leaves Super Street Fighter II for next time.
Super Hang-On - I’m honestly torn between this one and Outrun, but I feel like Super Hang-On is more closely associated with the Genesis for some reason. I guess I just don’t hear folks talk about the Genesis port of Outrun very much. Whichever route they go, Sega’s got racing games covered.
Super Thunder Blade - Shooters are always a good thing to have in your library, and Super Thunder Blade is a mighty fine choice to fill that slot. It’s a bonafide Sega property, it’s got a relatively recognizable name, and it’s pretty fun to boot.
Super Fantasy Zone - Speaking of shooters, Super Fantasy Zone would be a really cool pick for the Genesis Mini. For starters, it’s a really great Fantasy Zone game. But it also just so happens to have never made it to the American Genesis. We didn’t see this one until it hit the Wii Virtual Console in 2008, and it’s really freaking good. Fantasy Zone needs more representation, and this is the perfect way to do it.
Vectorman - Another game I wish I liked more than I do, Vectorman has popped up on multiple Sega collections, and with good reason. It’s a great-looking game, and it’s definitely earned itself a cult following over the years.
Golden Axe - Come on. It’s Golden Axe!
Phantasy Star IV - If they’re only going to put one Phantasy Star on here, it should probably be IV. Though I could easily see II being in its place if the eventual Genesis Mini 2 becomes a thing, IV seems to generally be regarded as the best in the series, standing next to the likes of even the legendary SNES RPGs like Chrono Trigger, Super Mario RPG, and Final Fantasy III.
Beyond Oasis - One of two Genesis games that’s often compared to A Link to the Past, Beyond Oasis is a shoe in for the Mini. It may not be nearly as good as the games it’s often compared to, but it’s still a pretty cool adventure game. And hey, Yuzo Koshiro did the music, too!
Landstalker - The other Zelda-like that Genesis fans tend to bring up as a counterpoint to Nintendo’s classic, Landstalker has been re-released several times on different platforms. I don’t think Sega owns it outright, but they did publish it and its follow-up Timestalker for Dreamcast, so it seems likely getting it included wouldn’t be too much trouble.
Shinobi III - Just like Phantasy Star IV, Revenge of Shinobi would be just as likely if they wanted to save III for the Mini 2, but either way, Shinobi has to show up on here. Heck, I’d even take Shadow Dancer if it came to it, but I don’t think it will.
Ristar - It’s not Sonic, but it’s still a pretty cool platformer. It’s bright, colorful, has a cult following, and inexplicably never got a follow-up. This is another one I’d be genuinely surprised to not see make the cut.
Alien Soldier - With Gunstar Heroes always making the rounds on these collections, I think this is a great time to toss another of Treasure’s Genesis games on there, especially since it’s another Sega Channel exclusive. If you’ve never seen or played it, it’s super hard but incredibly cool. This one is high on my wishlist.
Herzog Zwei - I’ve never played this game, but I know people think it’s pretty great. It’s such a uniquely “Genesis” game, and I feel like strategy titles tend to get the short end of the stick in compilations like this. Sega published the game in America, so I’m going to guess this shouldn’t be much of a challenge, and it would do a lot to showcase just what made the Genesis special to begin with.
The Genesis library is definitely more impressive than I give it credit for sometimes. I’ve always been a Nintendo guy first and foremost, but I’ve always had a healthy respect for the Genesis. Of course I’d love to see more offbeat stuff like Blaster Master 2 or Mega Turrican, and licensed stuff like Quackshot or Cool Spot, but these 30 games were the best I could come up with. So what do you think? Which games are you hoping will land on the Sega Genesis Mini? Will you be buying one?