The Sega Mega Drive Mini had 10 more of its 40 game roster announced this week. The poor reputation previous licensed plug-and-play Sega systems has put a lot of pressure on the Mega Drive Mini to be a clear improvement. The dismal performance of the Playstation Mini showed that producing a successful miniature console is not quite as easy as Nintendo made it look. With two-thirds of the games on the system now announced it seems a good time to ask if the Mega Drive Mini looks like it will be worth buying.
The Appeal of Mini Consoles
There are perhaps two main reasons why the SNES and NES Mini proved so successful. First of all there’s nostalgia. Sega should have no issues here. The Mega Drive was hugely popular in its own right. Speaking from the UK I feel like I know more people loved the Mega Drive more than any Nintendo console. The other big factor is the availability of the games and their contribution toward the overall package. The best example of this is the fact that the SNES Mini had a game that was never released before with Star Fox 2. Nostalgia was out the equation – this was a device that provided your only opportunity to play that game.
Equally, much of its library was comprised of rare or region-specific titles. Games like Earthbound and the Super Mario RPG were not available in the UK. Even in the US you would have to lay out many times the SNES Mini’s cost to get a fraction of the games. And even if you had them all? The Mini console is still more convenient for actually playing them. Many of them were released to the now defunct Wii shop but beyond that there’s no easy play of playing these games.
There Already Are Cheap Sega Compilations
With the Mega Drive Mini this appeal is lessened. There already are cheap and convenient ways of playing most Mega Drive classics. Sega have a long history of releasing very generous compilation discs. Even the Sega Mega Drive Collection for the Playstation 2 had 25 of the Mega Drive’s most solid first party titles. The most recent version, Sega Mega Drive Classics, is available for under £30 on every current console. It boasts 50 games. And a double-sided poster.
The Mega Drive Mini Has ‘Unique’ Stand-Out Titles
The good news is that Sega seem to be aware of this, and have gone above and beyond with the titles on the Mega Drive Mini. Right out of the gate the list of the initial 10 included Castlevania: Bloodlines. An expensive title to buy, and one not previously present on Sega’s collections. The second batch of games included the much-loved Earthworm Jim. There were also two essential Mega Drive titles revealed; The Castle of Illusion and The World of Illusion. The addition of these two Mickey Mouse games may not sound enticing, but they’re some of the best and best-loved games on the console. Its very encouraging to see two Disney games being licensed for re-release this way.
The third party titles continued with this latest announcement. Street Fighter 2 is another title you’d not previously have seen on Sega’s compilation discs. The real gem of this latest wave of titles is Mega Man: The Wily Wars. Incredibly expensive, and not release on a cartridge in the US, it may prove to be the killer app for any gamers on the fence. Providing the same dedication and effort goes into the emulation and production as has gone into curating the games the Mega Drive Mini could be something rather special.