SEGA sends out review units of the SEGA Genesis Mini to the media, including some of your favorite youtubers! Here’s what they are thinking!
There is nothing like sit down, relax and see some of your favorite YouTubers from the classic gaming scene review a new retro console that we still can’t get our hands on! Let’s get real, we are not big enough (yet!) to receive some of these review units ourselves when they are about to be released, so we have to rely on our trustworthy YouTube gaming celebrities to know what’s the deal on some new toy that’s coming along!
The actual SEGA Genesis Mini will be released to the public on September 19th, 2019, and it’s being expected to be at least to the level of Nintendo’s NES and SNES mini consoles, so, now that some units are out in the able hands of journalists and YouTubers, what’s the buzz around the unit?
Shane Rerez Details the SEGA Genesis Mini
The first video I saw was from Rerez because honestly it was the first review of the console that popped up on my feed, plus I like the detailed take Shane has on any hardware review, and right there at the beginning of the video he points the pros of the console right away. However, deeper into the review, Rerez shows a few unsettling issues, like sound issues in some games, specially in Kid Chameleon, and a problem with the console’s input, where the controllers twitches slightly when on menus and during gameplay, which makes most games unplayable.
I must say that these particular issues took me by surprise. Being developed by M2, it was expected that the SEGA Genesis Mini would be nearly perfect, specially in terms of game play and overall fidelity compared to the original system. M2 has a long history of porting SEGA’s retro classics with perfection, but if there are issues like these going on, it’s a big letdown to anyone that’s looking into getting one of these, including me.
Rerez also showed that the console sports savestates and showed the limited background options and video modes. The best feature for me was the ability to switch the region of the system between USA, Japan and Europe by changing the system’s language, and see the games change accordingly to their respective regions. Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine turns into Puyo Puyo when you switch to Japanese, and not only that, but the menus, logos and box art changes to match the region. That’s a real cool feature that I wish the Nintendo mini systems had!
As it’s expected from Shane Rerez, a very detailed and insightful review, but a worrisome one to be honest. In the end surprisingly Rerez does not recommend the system if you want to play the games, only if you want it as a collector’s piece. And honestly, If the tiny system has some many faults, it might become a deal breaker to many people.
Unfortunately, while I was watching and analyzing all the reviews of the system and writing this article, he removed the video review from his channel, so I can’t link to it. There’s a link to his channel below, you should definitely check it out.
Pat and Ian Talk About the SEGA Genesis Mini on the #CUPodcast 177’s Intro
Next, I watched Pat Contri and Ian on the CU Podcast. Ian is very straight forward and dry on his comments which gives him a quality that few people on this industry has. He speaks his mind, and it’s very honest about his opinions, which I found valuable when reviewing something like this. He’s the one that played around with the unit while Pat was on vacation on Hawaii (watch the video). Ian liked the unit and did not had any of the issues Rerez pointed on his review.
Ian praised the miniaturized SEGA console all and all, which was, at least to me, a bit of a relief. “It’s cute” was his first praise of the system, but he went on and on commenting on the basic menu features, named the games he tried and so forth. Later on Ian mentioned the sound lagging issue, however, he did not felt it was a big deal and reminded us that even Nintendo’s offerings had similar issues when they came out.
Pat remembered the lack of sports games, but also stressed that not everyone cares about them. I must say, to me, not having FIFA International Soccer or NHL ’94 in there was a big miss, but I understand there might be some obvious licensing issues with these.
If Ian was happy with how the games play on the mini, that’s a good thing. He ultimately recommended anyone that is interested in the SEGA Genesis Mini, to check out Try and Coury’s detailed review on My Life in Gaming YouTube channel, and we did.
Mike Matei from Cinemassacre and the Gang!
You can’t go retro without checking Cinemassacre, the home of the “Angry Video Game Nerd”, and see what either James Rolfe or Mike Matei have to say. Like always, Mike talked about the unit alongside Ryan instead of James. That’s proper, since they have reviewed all these mini iterations from Nintendo and Sony that went out in the market so far, so it was cool to see them talk about this one too. However, to me the best was Kieran’s participation.
He’s mostly known for the Rental Movie Reviews with Rolfe, but here he talked a lot of SEGA Genesis history, with many interesting facts and insights. The best to me was when he mentioned the SEGA Genesis sound, in comparison with the SNES at the time, and I share his opinion that even though the SNES had a “realistic” sound, the Genesis “metallic” sound was really cool and added to the whole 16-bit gaming experience, while talking about Earthworm Jim being on the SEGA Genesis Mini. I felt the same back then, and I still do to this day when playing these retro games on my old Genesis. I like both the sound and the color palette of the SEGA Genesis better than the SNES, for some reason. It feels more “arcadey”, I think.
Ryan and Kieran also debated the fact that the system lacks Electronic Art’s sports games likely due to licensing but Kieran reminded him that Electronic Arts allowed Road Rash on the unit, so it’s not an EA thing, but most likely that FIFA, NBA, Madden or NHL games were not allowed in the system due to licensing related to sports teams, associations and athletes. Still, it was weird Desert Strike or even the Mutant League games from EA weren’t added, since EA has full control over these licenses and they were really beloved back in the day.
Mike Matei even said something that really made me thinking, that the system, even though being an interesting snapshot of what the Genesis was, it misses that important component of variety that made the Genesis the magnificent machine it was, with the Desert Strike and Jurassic Park series being the main misses in his opinion.
The trio discussed a lot about games that were included and not included for quite some time, and imagined how the system might have looked really different with some of the missing ones and if some of the included ones were actually not there. Mike would replace Megaman for Ristar, and I agree it would have been a better choice as well.
They compared the SEGA Genesis Mini with AT Game’s SEGA Genesis Flashback clone consoles. Their controllers and they lamented that the system does not come with the 6 button controller, but with the original 3 buttons instead, making games like Street Fighter II almost unplayable. If you want a 6 button controller, you can buy Retrobit’s 6 button arcade USB controller, and it will work like a charm (click here to get one from Amazon).
I also noticed that no one complained about the issues mentioned by Rerez but Mike Matei stressed that this is still an emulation box, and there’s lag on most games he tested.
At the end, Mike trashed the system for what it is while Kieran defended it’s quality, coolness and number of games included, and some chaos ensued, I wonder if that was scripted! Watch the video!
Happy Console Gamer is Really Happy About it
It’s a delight to see Johnny Millenium’s reviews on anything. His positive outlook on all things retro with a good dose of nostalgia is always fun to watch, so I could not pass on his opinion of the SEGA Genesis Mini.
Johnny started with an unboxing. It was odd that none of the previous YouTubers did an unboxing, so it was cool to finally see it. He compared the unit to the other minis on the market and to the original SEGA Genesis on how they look and their size. By the looks of it, I can say it’s about the same size as RetroFlag’s SEGA Genesis case for the Raspberry Pi 3.
I must say, it’s a welcome addition that it comes with 2 controllers, like the SNES Mini. They are identical to the original 3 button ones, but of course, they are USB, so not compatible with an original system and vice-versa.
Johnny says he played all the games and all of them played perfectly. He did not sense any lagging on any of the 42 games included. Johnny showed better images of how the main menu works, and you can sort the games by genre, alphabetical or even by release date, which is also another cool addition to me. I think that when doing his review he did not see that by changing the language, the menus and the versions of the games changed, because I think he’d love that feature and would have talked about it enthusiastically.
Johnny thinks this is a great way for the new generations to enjoy classics like Sonic and Streets of Rage for the first time on a HD TV. When I finished this review I started to think that Shane Rerez’s review unit might be defective, as he’s the only one that pointed the issues with the controllers twitching on the menu and gameplay, and the only that thought that his games were unplayable.
As always, Happy Console Gamer’s reviews are quick and to the point while providing a lot of information. You can catch it on the link below.
Game Sack Puts Another Great Review on the Sack!
Very few YouTubers are so enthusiastic about any SEGA product as much as Joe Redifer from Game Sack is. Joe praised the aesthetics of the unit and showed how the top slot of the unit opens like on a real SEGA Genesis, and it even includes an expansion slot – that of course does nothing – but it’s cool to have because it improves the overall look and feel of the tiny unit.
One of his controllers was dead out of the box. Maybe we are facing some quality control issues? Hopefully this will be restricted to the Review Units! Joe showed the board with one of those cool animations that Game Sack is famous for, with the console getting disassembled and the parts moving out of it, and noticed that he does not recognize any of the chips included on the board.
Joe went through the menu as well and showed that you can switch the view from front of the box to spine while browsing, which I mentioned already, and it’s really cool because it fits all games in the screen without the need to scroll.
Joe noticed that games like Phantasy Star 2 that originally had in-game saves can be used in conjunction to the system’s save-states feature. One way you can save right into the game, and on the other way, you can press RESET on the system or hold the Start button on the controller for a few seconds to bring the menu in and save where you are on the game. Very handy.
Joe stated that the games actually run faster on the Mini than on real Genesis hardware, which are clocked at 59.92 Hz, while the Mini has frequency of 60.24 Hz, but that’s something it’s not noticeable by the human eye when actually playing the games. Joe complained a bit about the sound and music quality, noting it’s not as bad as the AT Games versions of the system, but it’s a bit off on the Mini compared to a real SEGA Genesis, with music being a bit too “bassy” and sound effects being a bit laggy, about 11 frames late in general.
Joe went through every single game on the second half of his review, commenting each one. It was nice to see all 42 games in action on the system.
Finally, My Life in Gaming Gives The Final Say on the SEGA Genesis Mini
Marc “Try” Duddleson started stating that the review would be a more casual one, like a conversation, which, honestly is a format I enjoy more, since he did not had the opportunity to actually test the unit thoroughly, while Coury Carlson actually did had that opportunity and did all the tests we are accustomed to see “My Life in Gaming” do.
Coury actually liked that the controllers were 3 button ones. It gives the entire package a more “retro” feel, and also stated how they are, for the most part, spot-on compared to the real ones. He also said the controllers have longer wires than the Nintendo units, which is a plus for everyone!
The systems outputs at 720p according to Coury, and while he also enjoyed the interface with the box art and all, he also noticed that the interface is kinda twitchy, and it’s easy to skip several games while browsing, just like Rerez did. But he did not mentioned the twitching happening during game play.
Coury reminds everyone that this unit brings a permanent English version of Monster World 4, which previously was only available digitally on the XBOX Live. Collectors and preservationists can have that game now in a physical form, which was not possible before. The same goes for Megaman and Darius.
Try actually thinks the Asian market version that comes with “Alien Soldier” – another title that was only available through the SEGA Channel system, and never came out physically on the United States – is a better deal.
Back to Megaman, Coury says that the game has some weird input lag, but he thinks this is normal in systems like this. He did not say that all games suffered from input lag, or even any kind of twitching, like Rerez did.
Try was a bit disappointed that there were only a 4:3 screen option as well as the stretch mode, but both Try and Coury praised a bit the scanlines mode, which every other youtuber though it was not good. They said it looks better in person, and it makes the image looks a bit more PVM-ish, which is not something bad. Myself, I love some scanlines, even if it makes the image a bit darker. They also praised the fact that M2 allowed the system to have just a black border / background, while the SEGA Ages on the Nintendo Switch has a gradient black/grey background which is a bit unsettling.
Coury mentioned sound delay as well, and he too thinks the Mini missed the mark on the sound, but also reminded us that SEGA Genesis sound emulation is not perfect anywhere, not even on the Analog SG, the awesome FPGA system that runs Genesis / Mega Drive stuff.
Try concluded saying that this is a great option for the casual gamer that wants to relieve memories, but for purist gamers of original hardware like themselves, it’s a good option for the most part if you can overlook the small little flaws.
Their biggest complain is that the system, although is made with quality in mind, M2 did not went above and beyond with the features as it was expected from them, like they did when working on other SEGA stuff in the past, like Phantasy Star 2 on the Wii, or the SEGA Collection for the 3Ds. It just looks like they threw the ROMs in there in an emulation hardware, without too much concern for accuracy, serving very little for the actual collector, but great for the public in general.
I strongly recommend you to take a look at their video, as they have a complete run down of all the technical aspects of the tiny little system, even though they are doing it in the form of a casual conversation.
Well, that’s it. Other YouTubers will probably put out reviews, but those are the first ones out of the gate that we follow, and I think all of them covered the system pretty well. It’s a shame Rerez removed his video review from YouTube, but maybe he though some information he provided there was inaccurate, since some of his complaints were not addressed by other reviewers.
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