Last April, Sega said it would release a miniature Genesis (or Mega Drive, as it’s known outside the U.S.) to celebrate the console’s 30th anniversary this year and capitalize on the classic console craze. Those plans have been delayed until 2019, however, so for now the company is partnering with Amazon to release some games on Fire TV devices instead.
The Sega Classics bundle costs $15 and includes 25 games. It’s a respectable selection, with Sonic the Hedgehog (1, 2, and CD), the Streets of Rage trilogy, and the Golden Axe trilogy among the bigger hits. There are also some inspired picks such as Decap Attack (starring a mummy that can smack foes with his disembodied head) and the acclaimed run-and-gun Gunstar Heroes. While playing, you can even switch background images, change aspect ratios, and choose from several visual effects such as the scanlines of older tube TVs.
Purists might want to wait for the actual Genesis mini, though. On a Fire TV Stick 4K with review code provided by Sega, I found the controls to be noticeably laggier than other devices emulating the same games, to the point that certain twitchy action games were nearly impossible to play. And with the Sonic series, Sega only offers “remasters,” which have some different menus and gameplay mechanics than the source material. Besides, playing Genesis games with a modern game controller or Fire TV remote just doesn’t feel the same as using a classic-style controller. At least in terms of rereleases, Nintendos do what Segas don’t.