For the first time in its history, Sega is to allow fans to legally alter the code of its console games.
While fan modifications of bootleg cartridges were commonplace back in the era of the Mega Drive/Genesis, the practice was understandably looked down upon by the former platform holder.
In the internet age, such fan-made efforts were generally restricted to online ROM hacks for emulators – with the legality again sitting somewhere in the grey area.
However, Sega is now embracing the trend for user-created versions of some of its retro classics by including Steam Workshop support in a new virtual hub for Mega Drive games.
The Sega Mega Drive Classics Hub will allow players to launch a variety of titles in the virtual space, from Golden Axe, Comix Zone and Alex Kidd to Ecco the Dolphin, Ristar, Streets of Rage 2 and Gunstar Heroes.
Decked out to look like a 1990s bedroom, complete with CRT television and shelves full of boxes, the virtual space is free to any player that owns at least one of the supported games.
According to Sega’s announcement video, every Mega Drive game released on Steam will include Steam Workshop support, letting players freely share their creations through the service.