Demonstrating once again that it’s always just one step behind the rest of the games industry, Sega didn’t get the memo that PC and emulation gaming handhelds are in and miniature game-filled replica consoles are out. Today, Sega Japan announced an updated version of its Mega Drive revival that now includes Sega CD games.
Companies like AT Games were creating miniaturized, licensed, plug-and-play versions of classic retro consoles like the Genesis and Atari 2600 long before Nintendo itself jumped on the bandwagon with the first-party NES Classic Edition and SNES Classic Edition consoles. Both of Nintendo’s offerings were excellent throwbacks, but also felt limited when Sega followed up a few years later with its own first-party Sega Genesis Mini (called the Mega Drive in several international regions) console stuffed with 40 classic 16-bit titles.
Three years later, Sega Japan has just announced a follow-up to its tiny Genesis with the Mega Drive 2, which currently appears to be limited to a Japan-only release. The Mega Drive 2 has a slightly smaller footprint than its predecessor, but thanks to three years of revolutionary storage advancements, it now comes with 50 games, including several Sega CD titles. For those lucky enough to not be in the know, the Sega CD was a Mega Drive and Genesis CD-ROM add-on that introduced graphical enhancements and sound and video improvements, enabling the development of games like Virtua Racing and Sonic the Hedgehog CD. It also had some less than stellar support later in its life, and combined with the 32X add-on (which was an attempt to keep the Genesis relevant into the early Playstation-era) to make your Genesis look like a toilet.
Both the Sega CD and the 32X also got non-functional, Japan-only mini-versions for use with the original Genesis Mini, but this is the first time Sega CD games will be playable in a first-party plug-and-play format.
When officially available in Japan starting on October 27, the Mega Drive Mini 2 will cost 9,980 yen, or about $75, and will include a single six-button Fighting Pad 6B controller: a step-up from what the original Genesis Mini included. And for those demanding the utmost in authenticity (who are also happy to turn a blind eye to the console’s miniaturization) Sega will also sell you a 4,500 yen (about $37) non-functional but matching Sega CD add-on. The purely cosmetic Mega Drive Tower Mini 2 looks slightly different from the previous non-functional mini Sega CD, and comes complete with a tiny Virtua Racing cartridge and Sonic the Hedgehog CD disc.