New, But Retro

The Ultimate Sega Genesis Console for Your Modern TV


April 24, 2019 Tech By Photo by Chandler Bondurant
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Analogue has been making modern versions of retro gaming consoles for years. The advantage of all the company’s consoles is that they upscale games to look and sound better, and they obviously work on new TVs. Recent examples include the Nt Mini and the Super Nt, which play original NES and SNES cartridge games, respectively. This time around, with the Mega Sg ($190), it’s time to dust off your old Genesis games.

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The Good: The Mega Sg is the best way to experience old Sega Genesis games, in all their 16-bit glory, on the TV you currently have, whether that’s an HD or 4K TV. While emulators that play Sega Genesis games have been around for years, the Mega Sg is different. It uses hardware instead of software to upscale games — that’s thanks to a proprietary FPGA chip inside the console — and this allows the console to play more games and with zero lag. The games also look and sound better.

Delving a little deeper, the Mega Sg can play Sega’s full catalog of Genesis games. Additionally, it has an expansion connector so it can link up with a Sega CD (both Model 1 and 2) and can play those 16-bit games. It can also connect to a Sega Master System and play its 8-bit games. Analogue will eventually release adapters that will work with other Sega systems, like the Game Gear.

Who It’s For: Anybody who grew up with a Sega Genesis console and still has a large collection of games. It’s true that you’ll be able to buy a Sega Genesis Mini in a few months time, but if its 40 built-in games aren’t enough for you (or your favorite games are absent), the Mega Sg is the way to go. Plus, the games will still look and sound better than the impending Sega’s impeding miniature console.

Watch Out For: The Mega Sg is fairly expensive and doesn’t come with a controller; you’ll have to buy one separately. There aren’t any built-in games — which is a big selling point for many of these newly-released miniature consoles, like the impending Sega Genesis Mini — so you’ll have to already own the games you want to play. (Also, original Sega Genesis games are pretty expensive online these days.)

Alternatives: The Sega Genesis Mini is coming out in September and will feature 40 games built right into the console. It also promises to be way cheaper than the Analogue’s new console. There are a number of Genesis emulators for Raspberry Pi.

Verdict: How big is your love for Sega Genesis? If the answer is “big,” “huge” or “too immense to be defined,” then you definitely want to check out the Analogue Mega Sg. There a number of factors that will inevitably drive away the casual consumer, such as price and the prerequisite hardware (games) needed. For the Sega Genesis lover, however, the Mega Sg delivers a gaming experience that’s as true as possible — even better — to the original console. If you’re chasing that nostalgia, chase no further.

What Others Are Saying:

• “So while roughly $200 is a lot to spend on a console to play Genesis games, right now, the Mega Sg is the easiest way to get them up and running on a modern TV without sacrificing audio or video quality–the support for Master System and Sega CD games is the icing on the cake. Some people will always prefer to go the route of using emulators, and others may only want to play with original hardware and stick to aftermarket mods. But if you are open to the idea of a third-party Genesis console, and you want the peace of mind knowing that it looks and sounds better than the best original console from Sega, there’s no better option on the market than the Mega Sg.” — Peter Brown, GameSpot

• “Ultimately, the Mega SG is about playing Genesis carts with a Genesis-alike controller on your HDTV. Yes, there are great Genesis emulators available for Raspberry Pi, and for someone uninterested in cartridge support and comfortable with the peculiarities and DIY nature of a Pi, that’s perhaps a better solution. The Mega SG is practically uncomplicated in comparison. I’m qualifying that statement because under the hood, if you’re eager to tinker, the Mega SG has a host of features waiting to be explored.” — Christopher Grant, Polygon

• “The Mega Sg offers an impressive array of options for displaying and playing games. By default, the hardware outputs at 4.5 times the Genesis’s native resolution while mimicking the 4:3 proportions of old-school televisions. You can customize the system’s output by shifting to an integer-based scaler, which can minimize the “shimmer” and distortion caused by uneven pixel upscaling. These issues become especially noticeable when the retro-style scanline option is activated, in which case you can fine-tune the Mega Sg’s output to best suit your display and tastes. Mega Sg also offers a variety of emulator-style graphical filters that smooth the sharp edges of pixels for those who prefer a softer look.” — Jeremy Parish, IGN

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Analogue provided this product for review.

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