With the NES Classic Mini–also known as Nintendo Classic Edition, depending on where it’s sold–Nintendo seem to have struck nostalgic cords of many retrogamers. It has proved so popular that Retrogamers have been clambering over themselves to get hold of the much publicized and popular mini Nintendo 8-bit console. Could the release of a Sega Mega Drive / Genesis Flashback enjoy similar success, and which games should it come with?
Excitement is starting to build up about the release of a new Mega Drive / Genesis machine from AtGames. News of a possible Mega Drive Flashback first appeared on the Atari Age Facebook page, where a screengrab of the box packaging–detailing the machines’ main hardware specs–was posted. This was then picked up by the Atari Age forums, where Sega Nerds caught wind of the news and published their own news post about it. No doubt, many other websites will catch on to this news–like this one you’re reading right now.
Some readers might be saying “there already is a mini Sega Genesis” (if they’re from North America), or “there already is a mini Mega Drive” (if they’re from anywhere else in the world). While there have been mini Mega Drive or Genesis machines released in recent years–most notably the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Classic Game Console plug & play range from ATGames–they are all lacking in hardware spec or quality. However, this one does look promising–no, really. There are concerns, though: there is no official announcement from AtGames themselves, and any trace of the Mega Drive Flashback packaging has been removed from their website.
If it does come to fruition, the Mega Drive / Genesis Flashback will not be like previous AtGames’ Mega Drive or Genesis releases, as this time around, the features show a huge improvement. First of all, the Mega Drive Flashback will take the Model 1 shape (a wise move as the classic sleek black Mega Drive Model 1 design is one of the best). Also of interest is the mention of an HDMI (720p) output port, which was sorely missing from previous releases. As the new machine is based on the original Model 1 Mega Drive casing, it comes with a cartridge slot (interestingly, a feature which the NES Classic Mini doesn’t have). There are also two 2.4G Wireless controllers noted, which is a huge improvement on the previous Infra Red controllers used. According to the French website, Reference Gaming, where the machine is advertised as the ‘Mini Megadrive’, it is slated for a September 2017 release, with pricing at around 89.99 EUR (approx. $95 USD or £77 GBP), although a limited pre-order price of 79.99 EUR is also listed.
There are no details on how the interface will look or work, but it should have the usual menus that you would expect: main dashboard, settings, games profile pages… It would be nice if each game could also come with a save function; something also lacking in these recent non-Sega packages.
Last, but not least, is the games. While the list of built-in games advertised for the Mini Megadrive is not definitive, it still leaves room for improvement. Wouldn’t it be great if the chosen games were only the finest from the console’s original run. We don’t want to see a bundle of cloned games from third-party developers such as the ones that plagued previous ATGames’ machines. Obvious choices should be Sega’s very own games, but it shouldn’t be limited to just Sega published titles, either. And while there always seems to be an ongoing copyright issue with some games, these must be sorted out–censor the game if need be–so that it can be included in any ultimate package of Sega Mega Drive / Genesis games.
In alphabetical order, here are the top 50 games that should be included on any ultimate Mega Drive or Genesis hardware–let’s top the games list on the NES Classic Mini.
Alex Kid in Enchanted Castle (Sega, 1989) The only Alex Kidd title to appear on the 16-bit Sega console. A side-scrolling platform with the original Sega mascot, Alex Kidd, in the title role.
Alien Soldier (Treasure, Sega, 1995) A late release for the console. A ‘hard as nails’ run and gunner developed by Treasure, who were responsible for other classics such as Gunstar Heroes and Dynamite Headdy.
Altered Beast (Sega, 1989) A decent enough side-scrolling beat ’em up arcade port and probably fondly remembered as the initial pack-in game with the Mega Drive/Genesis.
Columns (Sega, 1990). Nintendo had Tetris, and the Mega Drive / Genesis had Columns. An addictive tile-matching puzzle game.
Comix Zone (Sega Technical Institute, Sega, 1995) Another late entry into the console’s lifetime, and probably underrated because of that reason. A superbly designed game mixing comic strip story with beat ’em up action.
Contra: Hard Corps (Konami, 1994) The first in the run and gun series to appear on a Sega games console, and very good it is, too.
DecapAttack (VIC Tokai, Sega, 1991) An underrated Western conversion of the platform game Flying Turbo Adventure.
Desert Strike (Electronic Arts, 1992). An isometric strategic shoot ’em up war game where the player flies a chopper in war-torn Middle East, taking out enemy installations, buildings, enemy leaders, rescuing hostages, and more.
Disney’s Aladdin (Virgin, Disney, Sega, 1993) A great platform action game based on the hit Disney movie, and received plaudits for its animated film like visuals.
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (Compile, Sega, 1993) A reworking of the falling puzzle game Puyo Puyo, but with characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog series. A fine puzzle game at that.
Dune: The Battle for Arrakis (Westwood Studios, Virgin Interactive, 1994) Innovative real-time strategy game, loosely based on the 1984 film Dune.
Dynamite Headdy (Treasure, Sega, 1994). One of Treasure’s outstanding entries, and probably their lesser known one. However, the game is as fast-paced and visually impressive as their other games. Side scrolling platform action with a wacky sense of humor.
Earthworm Jim (Shiny Entertainment, Playmates, 1994). At a time when Sonic was ruling the platforms, and every other pretender failed badly, Earthworm Jim successfully carved his own little hole through the soil. A superb side scrolling platform, fused with inventive shoot ’em up action and great humor.
Ecco the Dolphin (Novatrade, Sega, 1992). A real change of pace for a videogame, what with its more relaxed settings, naturalistic action, and environmental message. A unique underwater adventure… with a dolphin.
Flashback: The Quest for Identity (Delphine, U.S. Gold, 1993) A fantastic arcade adventure known for its incredible visuals, cut scenes, and animation. The game successfully fuses its sci-fi setting with classic movie influences and engaging gameplay.
Golden Axe (Team Shinobi, Sega, 1989). One of Sega’s early arcade hits on the Genesis, and one of the best one or two player co-op hack ‘n slash side scrollers around.
Global Gladiators (Virgin Games, 1992) Overlooked platform action game from the makers of Earthworm Jim and Disney’s Aladdin. Platform shoot ’em up action with environmental undertones.
Gunstar Heroes (Treasure, Sega, 1993) Often regarded as one of the best run-and-gun on the Sega machine, if not on any machine. Also remarkable, considering this was Treasure’s first game.
Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (Sega, 1989) Sega did a superb job converting Capcom’s platform arcade game, so much so, that the game was regarded as a milestone in the machine’s early days.
Landstalker (Climax, Sega, 1993) An action adventure RPG from the makers of the Shining series and was well received by gamers.
Madden NFL ’94 (High Score Productions, Electronic Arts, 1993) A high point in the Madden series that built further on its previous entries in the franchise. This was the first Madden game with the official NFL team license and a full season gameplay feature.
Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker (Sega, 1990). The inclusion of Michael Jackson’s famous tunes and dance moves turns an otherwise average game into a fantastic gaming experience. Some clever attacks and special moves.
Micro Machines (Codemasters, 1993). A superb little overhead racer with the player driving various vehicles through many familiar household settings such as the kitchen, garden, and bathtub. The two player mode is also a killer.
Mortal Kombat II (Probe, Acclaim, 1994) Often regarded as the best in the series, Mortal Kombat II was a hit on the Sega 16-bit machine.
Monster World IV (Westone, Sega, 1994 [Japan only release]) The last Wonder Boy game to see a release, although this was a Japan only release with the Western gaming audience seeing a release on the Wii’s Virtual Console in 2012.
NBA Jam TE (Iguana, The White Team, Acclaim, 1995). While EA Sports may have had the other sports markets sewn up, it didn’t quite have the basketball game sussed out properly. Enter NBA Jam then. Here we have smooth fast play with hectic end-to-end multiplayer dunks.
NHL Hockey ’94 (High Score Productions, Electronic Arts, 1993). EA Sports were the kings when it came to recreating the fastest game on ice. The ’94 edition–with its full NHL branding and introduction of special moves–is often regarded as the best version on the console, and we would agree with that.
PGA Tour Golf II (Polygames, Electronic Arts, 1993) A huge leap up from the original game, which was a fine game in itself. However, here we have better visuals, better gameplay, and more options.
Phantasy Star IV (Sega, 1995) An epic role-playing game; the last in the series to be released on the platform.
Pulseman (Game Freak, Sega, 1994) Another fantastic game that was not released in the West–not physically anyway as it did appear briefly on the short-lived Sega Channel in North America. This platform game mixes up Sonic and Mega Man elements to great effect.
The Revenge of Shinobi (Sega, 1989) One of the main reasons why the console did so well in its initial release. A fantastic side-scrolling, hack ‘n slash, beat ’em up action game; a superb soundtrack, too. Just need to work around the use of iconic copyrighted characters within the game.
Ristar (Sonic Team, Sega, 1995) A neat little platform game that was released late in the console’s life and didn’t quite reach the heights it should have done.
Road Rash II (Electronic Arts, 1992). All the great elements that made the first game are still here–fast racing action through the highways of North America while taking on fellow racers with brutal violence–but here we were given more, and a superb two player option, too.
Rocket Knight Adventures (Konami, 1993) Another fine platform game that followed in the footsteps of Sonic, and perhaps a little underappreciated because of that.
Shadowrun (BlueSky Software, Sega, 1994) A fantastic RPG action game based on the tabletop role-playing game.
Shining Force II (Sonic! Software Planning, Sega, 1994) The best RPG to appear on the Mega Drive / Genesis. Plot wise, this Strategy Role-Playing game is unrelated to the first game, so can be enjoyed as a standalone.
Shinobi 3 (MegaSoft, Sega, 1993) A fine follow up to the original Revenge of Shinobi with many additions and changes.
Speedball 2 (The Bitmap Brothers, Virgin, 1991). This was originally a hit on the Amiga and has been converted well to the Mega Drive. A futuristic version of handball, but with loads of on-field power ups, multipliers, and injuries. The game also has a strategic element to it, what with the transfer feature and training elements.
Streets of Rage (Sega AM7, Sega, 1991) As with The Revenge of Shinobi, Sega upped the ante in showing other developers how to create a fantastic side scrolling beat ’em up. The visuals, level design, story, and music all are great in their own right, but the two player co-op mode knocks it into a different level.
Streets of Rage 2 (Sega AM7, Ancient, Sega, 1992) Better than its predecessor in every way: visuals, sound, and gameplay were all ramped up.
Sonic the Hedgehog (Sonic Team, Sega, 1991). This game greatly helped boost Sega’s 16-bit console’s success. The game was a revelation when it appeared, what with its speed, colorful graphics, well designed levels, hidden areas, and much more.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sonic Team, Sega Technical Institute, Sega, 1992) Superb sequel to Sega’s most famous game characters. Great two-player action, especially the third person bonus levels. This sequel improved on everything from the first game.
Strider (Sega, 1990) Another excellent early arcade conversion from Sega. An absolute atmospheric stunner; a real visual/audio gameplay experience.
Super Street Fighter II (1994) Arguably, the best one-on-one fighter on the system.
Thunder Force IV (Technosoft, Sega, 1992) With great visual, speed, and audio, this is the best side scrolling shooter on the Genesis.
ToeJam & Earl (Johnson Voorsanger Productions, Sega, 1991) Surreal action adventure starring two hapless aliens. A great game with two-players.
ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron (Johnson Voorsanger Productions, Sega, 1993) A follow up that completely changed from its predecessor. Here we have a more conventional side scrolling adventure with our two favorite aliens.
Vectorman (BlueSky Software, Sega, 1995) A late release on the Genesis, but what a release.
World of Illusion: Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck (1992). The third game in the Illusion series and what a game. Incredible visuals, great soundtrack, and a superb two player co-op gameplay Mickey and Donald.
Zombies Ate My Neighbors (LucasArts, Konami, 1993) A great top-down arcade adventure with one or two players rescuing random neighbors from the clutches of many classic horror characters.