Flashback to August 1989. It’s a beautiful summer day and the Sega Genesis has hit the U.S. market. Flash forward 30 years and the Sega Genesis Mini is arriving for consumers everywhere at $79.99. With over 40 games and two controllers, you might find yourself rushing out to buy this mini console.
And no, this isn’t the first retro console on the market or even the first from Sega. Nintendo has a mini NES and SNES, while Sony has dropped a PlayStation Classic mini. And these mini nostalgia-fueled revivals make sense. They bring consumers joy, again and again.
From gaming solo to playing with friends, I’ve spent a chunk of time with the Sega Genesis Mini. Let’s dive into my thoughts.
It’s an adorable design
Like other mini consoles, Sega has done a nearly perfect job replicating the Genesis in mini form. It’s accurate and can likely fit in the palm of your hand. Sega opted for a mostly plastic construction, and as you would expect, the attention to detail is remarkably high.
You have a working volume rocker, which lets you customize the sound. For power control, you have an on and off switch, along with a reset button. This allows you to easily exit a game and go to the main screen — more on that in a bit — but Genesis Mini excels at this better than other recreations.
Another fun note is that the cartridge slot actually opens and closes, but there is no reader on the side. So while it’s fun and a nice touch, it doesn’t serve a purpose.
It also keeps the original design with Sega Genesis, 16-bit and high def graphics branding on the front. It’s a terrific recreation.
What you get in the box
Like other mini consoles, a huge advantage is that you don’t need discs or cartridges. There’s a mini PC that stores 42 games and the system to run them. So everything is preloaded and ready to go.
You also get an HDMI cable, a power cable and a USB-A power brick. It’s great that Sega includes all of this in the $79.99 price point. Two controllers with USB-A ends (that plug into the front of the console) also are included.
With all of this, you’re ready to go out of the box.
Controllers are a blast from the past
The controllers are reminiscent of their original design. The directional pad is on the left side with a set of three trigger buttons (A, B, C) on the right. There’s a Sega Genesis Mini logo in the middle. The controllers are slightly curved on the bottom, making them considerably more comfortable to hold than the controllers that shipped with the NES and SNES minis. And yes, those were modeled off the original ones, but Sega did a nice job with the overall build.
After all, with any gaming controller, you need to make it ergonomic, especially with classic titles like Sonic 2. You never know when you might dive down an hours-long rabbit hole. So having a controller that feels good is crucial. There’s also a start button on the controller for easily pausing and saving.
These connect directly to the console via USB-A ports, but third parties are offering wireless solutions if you’re interested.
There’s a game for everyone
Whether you had the original Genesis or are new to this wide ranging collection, there is a title for you. All of these 42 titles perform well on the Genesis Mini. Sega had M2 handle the porting and emulation process. The result is an easy menu in a bookshelf format or logistical form. You can also choose from a variety of filters like HD or a CRT to immerse yourself in nostalgia.
Rather than go through all the games, here are a few of my favorites. And yes, many support multiplayer.
Brick stacking games like Tetris and Columns are fun, although simple. Despite their simplicity, they have engaging graphics and a solid soundtrack.
Sonic The Hedgehog 2 proves that even after all these years, Sonic is incredibly engaging. From building a speed run to trying to make it through the course in record time, you’ll find yourself racing to get through the side scroller.
Disney fans will enjoy Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Chances are, your children will as well.
At $79.99, you receive significant value with the Sega Genesis Mini. From 42 games to two controllers and all the necessary cables, all you need is a friend to compete against and share your enjoyment.
For fans of the original Genesis, it’s a walk down memory lane, and it’s an opportunity to introduce new fans to over 40 classic games.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.