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    Sega Genesis Mini Review: Like A Time Machine To The '90s

    This thing will zap you right back to the '90s. Not literally, though.

    Hi, I'm Andy, and like many children of the '80s and '90s, I'm frickin' obsessed with video games.


    Now maybe you've heard and maybe you haven't, but there's a new mini console on the market: the Sega Genesis Mini. Sega provided BuzzFeed with a console, so we got to try this sucker hands-on.

    Andy Golder / BuzzFeed

    Everything about the console is a major nostalgia bomb. For example, take a look at the original Genesis box, and compared it to the Genesis Mini box above. They're almost identical, and it gives you that "Christmas morning in 1989" feeling right off the bat.

    The console itself is a faithful recreation, albeit a tiny one. This thing is super small and light.

    Andy Golder / BuzzFeed

    It has two ports on the back: one HDMI (display output) and the other micro USB (power). There are two USB ports in the front for controllers. The USB ports are a big win over the SNES Mini, which has those Wii controller ports. This should be much more flexible in the long run for third-party controllers.

    There's even a little volume toggle and a fake headphone port. They don't do anything (the reset button is just for show, too) but you can move the volume slider anyway.

    Andy Golder / BuzzFeed

    (The power switch is legit, and is how you turn the console on and off.)

    You can even open the cartridge slot! Is it pointless? Yeah, but honestly when I got an SNES Mini I was kinda disappointed that you COULDN'T do this, so props to Sega.

    Andy Golder / BuzzFeed

    Obviously it doesn't actually take cartridges, but maybe you could store some Q-tips or a very small Chapstick in there or something.

    Size-wise, it's super compact. Here it is compared to my SNES Mini (and Switch for scale):

    Andy Golder / BuzzFeed

    The controllers are also a faithful adaptation looks-wise, but as with other mini consoles, they feel a little lighter and cheaper than the original controllers. IMO, the controller is the only major area where the console falls short (figuratively and literally...the cords are a bit on the short side at 6' long).

    Andy Golder / BuzzFeed

    The controller felt fine in my hands, but I did experience some double-presses with the D-pad. Playing a game like Sonic the Hedgehog or Comix Zone was fine, but playing Tetris was tough. I found that my button presses felt either a tad slow to respond, or were over-responsive.

    Of course, some of this might just be an adjustment back to old software for someone who hasn't played a Sega console in years and is used to the very snappy Tetris 99 on Switch. Also, I just kinda suck at Tetris, so...

    Booting up the system for the first time, you just pick an operating language and you're all set to go. You're greeted with a list of 42 games, including some absolute classics.

    Andy Golder / BuzzFeed

    Obviously you get Sonic and Sonic 2, but there's also Altered Beast, the very creative Comix Zone, Earthworm Jim, Street Fighter II, and a bunch of other classics. What's especially cool is that switching the operating language to Japanese will change the whole UI, and even add the Japanese-only Puyo Puyo to the games list!

    You can check out the Genesis Mini site for the full list of games. There are a few glaring omissions, such as Mortal Kombat or Disney's Aladdin, but overall the list is pretty great.

    The system solves the aspect ratio problem by putting this border around the game (and yes, that Sonic silhouette is there during any game, not just Sonic games).

    Andy Golder / BuzzFeed

    Other features include a "save state" system, where you can save at any point during any game and load it up later. As of yet, the Genesis Mini doesn't have the "rewind" feature that the SNES Mini has.

    One of my absolute favorite things about the console is the power adapter, which is just a USB cable and this tiny block. The block is so slim and compact that I could plug it into a surge protector between the power blocks for my router and modem! That's a huge win when you have a bunch of consoles and crap plugged into the same area.

    Andy Golder / BuzzFeed

    It also makes the whole system that much more portable. Honestly, the controllers will probably take up more room than anything.

    So, is the Sega Genesis Mini worth the $79.99 price tag? If you're a fan of classic Sega games and you can't play them elsewhere, then the answer is almost definitely yes.

    Andy Golder / BuzzFeed

    Even if the controllers bother you, there will inevitably be a bunch of alternative options, including wireless. In fact, 8bitdo already has a wireless controller.

    Now, go forth and get your Sonic on. Or your ToeJam & Earl on. Whatever you like.


    Note: Sega provided this console free of charge but BuzzFeed was under no obligation to review it.

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