I’m going to go ahead and paraphrase Don Draper from Mad Men here and say the Sega Genesis Mini 2 it’s not just a miniature all-in-one console, “it’s a time machine. It takes us to a place we wish we could go back to.” Don was relying on nostalgia to sell slideshow carousels when he said that, but the whole pitch works just as well for these retro consoles. While this miniature homage to Sega’s beloved 16-bit system is right up there with its predecessor and the TurboGrafx-16 Mini (also from M2) when it comes to the quality of the controller and its menus, it’s still a neat little piece. wonderful piece of technology that “we go to a place where we know we are loved.
Nostalgia: it is delicate, but powerful
The Genesis Mini 2 is the follow-up to the Genesis Mini I reviewed in 2019. I was quite intrigued by Sega’s first trip into the mini-console world and therefore excited by the announcement of a second Genesis, this one. appropriately based on the Sega Genesis Model 2. The Model 2 was a smaller version of the original Genesis released in 1994, the same year Sega released the ill-fated Saturn.
Genesis Mini 2 Gallery
It’s a small nod to the evolution of the Genesis console, and it looks good alongside its slightly larger older brother. Like the Genesis Mini before it, it has a removable expansion slot door so you can theoretically fit it into the purely cosmetic Sega Tower of Power mini. (As was the case last time, this ridiculous but awesome Sega CD attachment was only available in Japan, and it was out of print long before I knew of its existence.)
The cartridge port has little spring-loaded doors that work just like the real Genesis, so if you have any of the miniature cartridges that were available with the Tower of Power (you probably don’t!), you can put them in. Again, they serve no functional purpose, they just look cool.
On the front of the Genesis Mini 2 there is a power switch and a button labeled “reset”, but that’s not really what it does – pressing it brings up a menu screen that allows you to save, load or exit the menu main during the games. . A button with the same functionality is also built into the included six-button wired Genesis controller. It’s nice that it’s a standard USB device, with a cable of about 2 meters, so you can connect it to a PC if you want.
The menu button on the controller is easily accessible and does not interfere in the slightest with the original design of the controller. It’s located where you might expect to find a right shoulder button on another controller, but it’s built into the mold so it doesn’t stick out. At first glance, it’s just an ordinary six-button controller, something that was stolen from us with the 2019 Genesis Mini. The good news is that the proper extended controller is right there, included in the box, and will work with your original Genesis Mini too. The bad news is that the controller sucks.
As far as original replicas of vintage controllers go, the one that comes with the Genesis Mini 2 is passable at best. The buttons feel pretty bad. They have a mushy texture that I found really off-putting, and the D-pad shares the same tactile discomfort. I didn’t notice any lack of responsiveness while gaming, but it feels light and cheap, almost like an afterthought. The three-button controller that came with the original wasn’t great either, but at least there were two in the box instead of just one.
a pang in your heart
The user interface of the Genesis Mini 2 is practically unchanged from the original. The menu screen music isn’t that great, but all the other options I used to love are back, like seeing your “collection” with the spine facing out, as well as some new wallpapers for the menu screens and during gameplay. play. There aren’t a lot of improvements from the start, and honestly, since I don’t really like the music, it’s a little less cool. It’s a shame Sega wasn’t inspired by the TurboGrafx-16 Mini’s superior UI delight. For example, while the Genesis Mini 2 includes a good selection of Sega-CD games, it lacks the TurboGrafx-16 Mini’s extra touch: a custom region-specific animation when you load a cart or CD-ROM game.
In other words, if you loaded a CD from the US interface, it looked like the US version of TurboGrafx, while loading from the Japanese interface looked like PC Engine, while games on the UE resembled the UE version of the PC Engine; it even simulated the sound of a CD drive spinning and reading the disc. It was a cool, very useless, but loving touch that is completely missing from the Genesis Mini 2, and disappointing for me, a grown man who loves dummy sounds.
What the Genesis Mini 2 shares with the TG-16 and the original Mini is how the list of games changes to reflect the language setting. Choose “Japanese” from the language options menu and the whole experience will change. It’s not just changing the language of the on-screen prompts in the UI, it’s changing the box layout, the language of the game, even the UI changes to reflect the region. I much prefer the Japanese Mega Drive packaging and visual design because of how aggressively 1990s it is, and simply switching to Japanese in the language menu gives me what my eyeballs crave.
It’s not just the UI and language that changes, but also the game’s box design, but sadly in the US we didn’t get the full list of games found on the Japanese version of the Genesis Mini 2 Magical Taruruto-kun, for example, is on the Japanese console, but not on the Japanese version of the Genesis Mini 2 sold in the US. It’s a colorful and super cute side-scroller, perhaps most notable for being developed by Game Freak, who you might know from Pokemon. We’re also missing a Sega CD Captain Tsubasa game that never made it to the west, and the original Shin Megami Tensei. It’s kind of weird, honestly, because you can’t actually buy a Genesis Mini 2 here in the US. You have to import it from Amazon Japan. It’s an odd omission, especially considering the Turbo Grafx-16 Mini had all the games no matter which country you bought it from.
The reason I’m not giving up hope on the full list of Japanese games is because M2 is basically a bunch of cheat gods. This company absolutely fascinates me. He is responsible for some of the best game preservation projects and has set the bar for video game preservation and restoration. This team could have built a custom emulator and UI, copied and pasted in some ROM files and called it a day, but that’s not how M2 works. Not even close! No, the developers at M2 not only went ahead and added some unreleased games to the Genesis Mini 2, they ported some older arcade games to the Genesis. Great! They didn’t have to do that, but they did, just as a flex, but there’s more! Space Harrier II, an arcade classic from Sega, originally got a Genesis port, but M2 said, “Yeah, but what if the Genesis had sprite scaling support?” and it just went ahead and did one thing, but also added the same sprite scaling support for the Genesis version of Space Harrier. So you get a bonus game, one that I personally quite love.
In addition to creating ports where none existed before, M2 has made some tweaks to its bundled games. Phantasy Star II, one of the most legendary 16-bit RPGs of yesteryear, has quality of life improvements similar to what M2 did with the Sega Ages version of the original Master System version of Phantasy Star. made more palatable to play in 2022 thanks to an “Easy Mode” and increased walking speed. Trust me, you’re going to want to enable it. Walking speed in those early Phantasy Star games is tough.
In addition to the “new” games, there are plenty of other great ones here, for a total of 61. It’s got Sonic 2, which all the coolest kids I know agree is the best, and Sonic CD. There’s also Ecco the Dolphin and its sequel, both for Sega-CD. If you feel like beating up 16-bit weirdos, you’ve got Streets of Rage 3, Final Fight CD, and Super Street Fighter II. For RPGs, there’s Phantasy Star II, Shining Force CD, Shining in the Darkness, and more. It’s packed with games from pretty much every genre of the time, with the exception of sports games.
Compared to the original, it’s hard to say if the Genesis Mini 2 has a better selection of games or not. I would put them in a deadlock and say that the game selections are complementary to each other.
Literally ‘The pain of an old wound’
There are also some weird games like Ooze, which I have never played or heard of before. After a few minutes with Ooze, I probably won’t play it again, and there are definitely quite a few flops here. Bonanza Brothers is not a game I enjoyed at all, The Ninja Warriors seems like it was added because the license was cheap, and Virtua Racing for the Sega Genesis is the least of all the versions of that game. However, in the case of Virtua Racing, it makes sense from a historical perspective to add it to the Genesis Mini 2 because it was awesome at the time, but now it’s just clunky and not fun. Night Trap is another one of those games that is just plain awful, but might historically be the biggest game on the list. None of the other games in the Genesis Mini 2 can claim to have incurred the wrath of the legislative branch of the US government. It would be a shame not to have it included, even if it is a pretty bad FMV game.
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