RETRO: The Sega Mega Drive Mini 4will be released in September.
RETRO: The Sega Mega Drive Mini 4will be released in September. Contributed

Nostalgic 90s console and games set for release

RETRO gaming is hugely popular at the moment, which is mildly surprising to those of us who were there at the time when these classic consoles were state of the art and represented the cutting edge of video gaming technology.

There were some undeniably classic games from the 1980s and 1990s though, with lounge rooms across the world sporting consoles like the Sega Mega Drive, Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) or, later on, the original Sony PlayStation (PSX).

As with now, choosing the right console then was serious business. Fortunately, I grew up in New Zealand, where the only real option in the early 1990s was the excellent Sega Mega Drive.

Given the current craze for "mini” versions of retro consoles - you can get a Mini SNES, a Mini PSX and a Mini Commodore 64 - it was only a matter of time before someone brought out a Mini Sega Mega Drive; that time is September 19 this year, and that someone is Sega themselves.

Being released to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the iconic console (which debuted in 1989), the Sega Mega Drive Mini is a miniature version of the machine, loaded with 42 classic games and coming with two controllers.

It's not the first time the Mega Drive has been reissued - a company called AT Games made a licensed, full-size version a few years ago with wireless controllers - but this is the first time the console has made an appearance in "mini” form, and from the original manufacturer.

At the recent E3 Expo in Los Angeles I was able to get some hands-on time with the Mega Drive Mini, and the first thing that impressed me was the quality of the controllers.

I remember Mega Drive controllers being pretty solid things, which was just as well considering how likely they were to end up angrily despatched to the floor after being bested at Mortal Kombat or NBA Jam, and the Mega Drive Mini controllers felt just as solid and exactly as I recalled them from those decades ago.

The second thing I noticed was the number of games I'd actually heard of - and in some cases even reviewed, back when I first became a gaming writer - included with the system.

Seeing big titles like Road Rash II, Earthworm Jim, Toejam and Earl and Streets of Rage II brought back some fond memories indeed, and getting a chance to put them through their paces again on the show floor brought back some lovely nostalgic memories (helped by the delightfully retro theming accompanying the consoles).

While I only had about 30 minutes to play with the setup, the buttons were responsive, the games looked good (given their age) and the overall experience I had was positive - I'm certainly looking forward to having a proper play with the system when it comes out in September.

Royce Wilson attended E3 as a guest of Ubisoft.



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