The Sega Genesis Mini, Sega’s latest retro mini console, is set to launch in one month, on Sept. 19. Pre-orders are currently available at Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, and Walmart, for $79.99.
This isn’t Sega’s first foray into the nostalgia-fueled mini console market; the company previously worked with cheap hardware manufacturer AtGames on licensed throwbacks. However, once the NES Classic and SNES Classic hit shelves, those AtGames plug-and-play systems couldn’t compete with the carefully considered design of Nintendo’s classic consoles.
The retro mini console market is currently dominated by Nintendo. The NES Classic and SNES Classic were massive hits when they launched and sold out on subsequent restocks. Currently third-party resellers are listing Nintendo’s classic editions for as much as $120 — up to a 50% markup. Meanwhile, Sony’s PlayStation Classic was a disappointment, with a bare bones interface, decidedly-not-classic game selection, and $100 price point.
Now that Sega has brought production in-house for the Sega Genesis Mini, our initial impressions suggest that it could finally be giving Nintendo a run for its money. The hardware feels authentic, down to (non-functioning) cartridge ports and volume dial. The games selection is impressive, with 42 titles ranging from beloved must-haves like Sonic the Hedgehog to overlooked gems like Contra: Hard Corps.
From our pre-review, timed to the Sega Genesis’ 30th anniversary: “[Sega has] made a best-in-class retro console with excellent games, excellent emulation, original controllers, and a price tag that seems fair.”