Despite reports circulating to the contrary, the Nintendo/Sega console rivalry isn’t flaring back up in miniature form. Nintendo’s upcoming mini-NES is a brand new device. AtGames’ Sega-branded mini-Mega Drive is a shoddy emulation box that’s been around for years.
We’ve gotten several tip emails asking us about “Sega’s new mini console,” so we felt it best to clear the air. Chinese company AtGames has been putting out its Mega Drive since at least 2012.
The device, which does not contain genuine Sega Genesis internal hardware, has gone through several revisions over the past four years, the latest being a box due out in October featuring the Sonic the Hedgehog 25th Anniversary logo.
I’m guessing the logo is what spurred various outlets to declare this system competition or a response to Nintendo’s mini-NES. It really isn’t. This is the same sad hardware that’s been lightly revised over the past several years.
Hardcore lovers of Sega Genesis games hate this thing, complaining of sluggish controls (a combination of bad wireless signal and the lag of upscaling to HD from AV cables) and horrible sound distortion. Yes, it will play Mega Drive/Genesis cartridges. Will it play them well? Sometimes.
AtGames’ latest model mixes up the included game lineup from the previous one slightly, but it’s still pretty much half real Sega games, half shovelware nonsense.
See all the smaller screens? Those aren’t Sega Genesis or Mega Drive games. That’s the sort of fluff you get in third-party knock-offs, even if they’re licensed.
So no, Sega isn’t releasing a mini-Mega Drive to compete with Nintendo’s mini-NES. The Chinese company that licenses the Sega Mega Drive name is updating its box to capitalize on Sonic’s 25th anniversary.
If Sega does decide to release a mini-console packed with perfectly-emulated Genesis games and an HDMI out, we’ll be the first to let you know.