REVIEW: The Sega Mega Drive Mini will cause you to overdose on nostalgia
We imagine this will be filling a lot of Christmas stockings later this year...
Now over 30 years since it was first made available to home players, the Sega Mega Drive (or Sega Genesis, depending on which part of the world you grew up in) is guaranteed to be a hit for players of a certain vintage who are looking for that ever-more-profitable hit of nostalgia.
But much like, well, life, the passage of time has changed our perspective on these things, and not always for the better.
When you unpack the box, the first thing you notice is just how small the console itself is. And not in a "Oh, I've got older, my hands are bigger" kind of way, but it is quite remarkably scaled down, but still possessing all of the same buttons and now-defunct slots of the original.
On the other hand, the two pre-packaged controllers feel huge, especially since they effective only have the D-pad and three buttons, as opposed to current days' controllers, which have every available centimetre filled with a potential usage.
Once you plug everything in and turn everything on, with a brand new (but still real old school) tune provided by the guy who produced the still killer soundtrack to Streets Of Rage, you'll notice the home screen in filled with 42 games to play, which will go some way to killing a few days and evenings after these have been invariably unwrapped around Christmas time.
All of the obvious classics are in place - Sonic, Golden Axe, Earthworm Jim, Street Fighter, Shinobi, and obviously Streets Of Rage 2 - but it is right around here that the nostalgia whacks up like you've stood on a rake hidden in a pile of old leaves.
Sure, some of them have weathered the tests of time and maintained their brilliance; there is no way that Sonic The Hedgehog can be anything other than a perfect platformer. Ditto for Streets Of Rage 2, which is still endlessly replayable and hugely entertaining, despite essentially just being "Walk right forever, punching things."
But... gosh, we really have been spoiled in the current age of gaming, haven't we? These games were difficult, although admittedly, not always just because the game was hard, but sometimes the games were hard to play.
The old school controller, and the available on-screen movements to go with it, often means that your ability to aim at things was either right in front of you, or right above you. If something was heading your way at any kind of diagonal, then tough luck. You either have to move and put yourself in a direct, chess-board, line-of-sight aim with it, or you were getting a face full of baddie.
Same goes with the forced perspective, such as with Golden Axe, forces you to kind of guess that you are in fact punching someone standing in front of you, and not punching someone who is a few inches closer to the screen that you thought.
None of this is the Mega Drive's fault, as all the games here went to war with the software that they had (although there is no forgiving the borderline unplayable Eternal Champions), but it does obviously show up just how much we have progressed in gaming in those three decades, and shows how much early gamers accepted as part of the norm.
Live systems that knocked you out of the game if you died three times? Modern gamers would have their brain snap in half at the stress of that.
Also, some of the additions on here - Tetris? Columns? Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine? Sonic Spinball? - feel like filler, a poor man's version of a very basic game that modern mobile games have completely blown out of the water.
So, in short, should you get it? Well, that depends. It is an almost perfect recreation, a specific time-travel device to bring you 30 years back in gaming, and maybe that rush of nostalgia is enough for you.
But did you get the PlayStation One Mini when it was released around this time last year? If yes, how long before you stopped playing it completely? Not a huge amount of time, we'd imagine.
Chances are you'll play the Mega Drive Mini for longer, but only because the majority of the 42 games themselves are that much more difficult to actually finish.
The Mega Drive Mini will be available from Friday 4 October, with prices at €74.99.
Clip via SegaAmerica