Review: Sega Genesis Mini

We are definitely experiencing a wave of gaming nostalgia with the latest entrant being Sega Genesis Mini. During the last five years, we have witnessed the arrival of two...
sega genesis mini review

We are definitely experiencing a wave of gaming nostalgia with the latest entrant being Sega Genesis Mini. During the last five years, we have witnessed the arrival of two popular Nintendo Mini consoles and a Playstation classic that didn’t live up to the hype. The future heralds the arrival of TurboGrafx-16 mini and other consoles but Sega Genesis Mini boasts incredible features in a small package, designed to vow the gaming world.

First up the price of $79.99 is pretty affordable when you consider the console’s features including a collection of 42 games. M2 is the acclaimed retro developer who designed Sega’s new console, to resemble the original package in a smaller size. The minimalist design features ’16-bit’ written prominently on top of the console. The weight is definitely light and the manufacturer has mentioned that it weighs 55% of the original model.

The tagline used by the game is unique “All the games you didn’t buy in the 90s, but should have.” The list of games is present on the back cover and you can’t help to appreciate the fact that instead of buying multiple disks you have a fully loaded game at hand right from day one.

The designers have kept true to the original design to enable players to take a walk down memory lane. The cartridge flaps are still there and you have a non-functioning volume button. The bottom portion has a removable expansion port which doesn’t serve any actual purpose. The mentioned cartridge slot opens up and the overall feel is reminiscent of the actual model while featuring the modern USB port and traditional power button.

The actual functioning of Sega Genesis Mini is a testament to the simpler days as the game has a simple plug and play capability. You don’t have to go through regular updates and a lengthy game setup process. The original curved game controllers provide an easy gaming experience and the player is not plagued by a multitude of buttons. The three-button gamepad is supported with a 6-foot wire, which is considered short by today’s standards. The controller is a combination of a solid D-pad, a large plastic shell, and enormous face buttons.

classic sega genesis mini controllers

While we are talking about the 3-button controller, a case can be made for the 6-button version as well. The six-button gamepad is essential for playing games like Street Fighter 2 as without it alternating between punches and kicks requires you to continuously use the start button. A single 6-button gamepad costs $20 but comes equipped with extra wire length and a shoulder button for main menu access. This controller works with Switch and PC platforms, therefore, it is a reasonable investment. However, for most users, the 3-button gamepad will suffice for the majority of games.

The software is spot on and enables the player to save multiple versions of the same game. You can organize game titles by the number of players or release date and the display options include standard view or widescreen. The menu music is brand-new and designed by Yuzo Koshiro, the well-known composer of Streets of Rage. The controller also provides flexibility as the start button enables you to pause the game and head back to the game selection screen. These features were absent from Nintendo’s retro consoles and you had to reach the console for this purpose.

The language options are impressive and contain hidden features live a completely different UI design. Players can enjoy puzzle games like Puyo Puyo, as their alternatives are not available in English. Additionally, games like Contra: Hard corps are also available, which is a relaxed version of the namesake. The new game lineup is supported with colorful Japanese art and provides a unique gaming experience.

The available gaming options deserve a special mention as players can enjoy classic games like Shinobi 3, Sonic 2, Gunstar Heroes, Beyond Oasis etc. The designers have kept an eye on all the major game titles with two-players experiences like Virtual Fighter 2, Street Fighter 2 and Eternal Champions. The smash-em-up games like Golden Axe and Streets of Rage are also available. Puzzle games like Columns and Tetris are still there and you can be assured that the controllers will get a good workout.

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Another classic title that is available to play: Street Fighter II

Since we are talking about two decades of gameplay, the history lesson is evident in the choice of games. Monster World IV was released in 1994, while an earlier exploration game Alex Kid in the Enchanted Castle is also present. The evolution of games towards color display is visible and it is hard to acknowledge that the same hardware supported these changes.

M2 has been at the forefront of Nintendo and Sega game development and Sega Genesis Mini has benefited from their experience. Maximum gaming experience will be glitch-free and the emulation needs to be applauded. This gaming console is ideal if you are looking for a novel experience and want to benefit from multiple classic games. At less than $80 spent, you don’t feel ripped off and benefit from good features like access to games from multiple regions, comforting hardware, and good menu music.

If we were to summarize the discussion, the main features would be:


  • Ease of use
  • Software and hardware do justice to Genesis gaming
  • Exceptionally huge game library as compared to Nintendo and Sony’s retro versions.


  • Controller cord’s length could have been increased.
  • The rewind feature boasted by Nintendo, is not available.
  • A three-button controller is a disadvantage in fighting games like Street Fighter II.

Apart from the abovementioned points, there is a feeling that Sega Genesis Mini has entered the market at a time when Nintendo Mini’s versions have already reaped the benefits, along with a bunch of clones. Additionally, Sony’s venture into the mini-console market has left a bad impression and one wonders at the future potential of this market. If Sega Genesis Mini can overcome these factors, then there is no doubt that their gaming achievement will create renewed interest in this gaming segment.


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