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SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis Mini

The SEGA Mega Drive Mini (SEGA Genesis Mini in North America) is the first gaming hardware SEGA have produced in house since the Advanced Pico Beena in August 2005. Releasing in September 2019 in North America/Japan and October 2019 in Europe, the SEGA Mega Drive Mini features a compilation of 42 Mega Drive games ported by M2. They are housed on a miniaturised version of the original Mega Drive and comes bundled with a power cable, a HDMI cable for connecting the unit to a television and 2 USB controllers based on the original 3 button Mega Drive controllers. The Japanese version of the Mega Drive Mini was bundled with 6 button controllers instead.

The choice to develop the Mega Drive Mini in house was due to the negative reception previous Mega Drive micro consoles developed by Atgames had received. Atgames’ last officially licensed SEGA micro console was the SEGA Mega Drive Flashback HD which received negative reviews that targeted its poor sound emulation, its tendency to frequently drop frames during gameplay and its cheap build quality. These were common complaints that were frequently levied at Atgames’ output.

M2 would lead development on the system’s software and ports. SEGA have previously worked with M2 on various ‘SEGA Ages’ ports of their retro classics to systems like the PS2, Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch. Famed Streets of Rage composer Yuzo Koshiro was also called upon to compose the Mega Drive Mini’s menu theme which contains a medley of tunes that draw from the different sound fonts of the various games included on the Mega Drive Mini.

While the complete functionality of the Mega Drive Mini is contained entirely within the console itself without the need for ROM cartridges, it does feature a working power switch, volume slider, reset button, cartridge port and expansion slot. The volume slider, cartridge port and expansion port have no actual functionality, but SEGA Japan did release an accessory pack that includes a model 32X, Mega-CD, Sonic the Hedgehog cartridge and Sonic & Knuckles cartridge which can be locked into the cartridge port and expansion slot of the Mega Drive Mini to create the infamous ‘tower of power’. These are purely aesthetic accessories but an easter egg was included in the model Mega-CD. Opening the Mega-CD up reveals a printed version of the Mega-CD’s motherboard and a copy of Sonic CD loaded into the disc drive.

Of the 42 included games on the Mega Drive Mini, 2 are listed as bonus titles. These are entirely new ports of Taito’s original Darius arcade game and SEGA’s arcade version of Tetris. SEGA infamously developed a version of Tetris for the Mega Drive to be released in April 1989 but had to cancel the release and destroy the copies they’d already produced as Nintendo held the rights to produce console ports of the game. A very small number of surviving copies have made their way into the wild and have become one of the rarest Mega Drive titles in existence.

Specifications

Operating System
Linux kernel

System-on-a-Chip Used
ZUIKI Z7213

Memory
256mb of RAM

Storage
512mb of flash memory

European Mega Drive Mini Images

Japanese Mega Drive Mini Images

These images were kindly supplied by Mark Hughes

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