The Mega Drive Mini, a miniature version of the Mega Drive will be released later this year. Announced during Sega Fes 2018 this week, the company revealed their plans to jump on the miniature console bandwagon to celebrate the classic console’s 30th anniversary.
The announcement is an obvious attempt to match Nintendo’s roaring success with the NES and SNES mini consoles, which have both sold millions of units. However, while Nintendo received near universal acclaim the for the quality of their mini consoles, Sega and AtGames have a lot of work to do to prove they won’t be repeating past mistakes.
That's because this is far from Sega’s first venture into retro hardware. AtGames, whose hardware is powering the Mega Drive Mini, have produced a number Mega Drive/Genesis-based products in the past, such as the Sega Genesis Flashback.
In a review of the Sega Genesis Flashback, Polygon called elements of the machine “unforgivable”, adding that the plastic controllers feel cheap, rather than a legitimate recreation of a beloved console.
While Polygon praised that the machine would play any Genesis cartridge, they found that playing the games themselves was a disappointing experience, citing framerate issues due to the emulation software, and criticised the hideous user interface.
That means that AtGames and Sega will need to improve upon both hardware and software in order to reap the full rewards of the console's retro fanbase. With a higher asking price, this is entirely possible, but it really needs to generate good buzz on the product early in order to drive those all important pre-orders.