The Games of the SEGA Genesis Mini: Part 1

A couple of years ago, Nintendo made a big splash with their NES Mini and SNES Mini consoles.  Now SEGA is joining the bandwagon with a mini version of their most popular console, the SEGA Genesis.  But there have already been mini Genesis consoles with pre-loaded games on them, and Genesis collections on consoles, so what’s the big deal with this one?  Well, mainly SEGA is making this one themselves, and they’re taking Nintendo’s approach to how they include which games will be on it.  So what does that mean?  Well you’ll just have to find out in this blog series.  We’re going to take a look at the games on this mini console, but there are so many that we are going to split this up into three sections, one a week this month.  For this first part, we’ll take a look at the Genesis Mini itself, and a few of the expected games on it.  Don’t worry, we’ll get to the good stuff soon!

So there have been Genesis Minis in the past, and I even own one.  So why did SEGA make their own, and why should you be glad they did?  Well, first off, other companies made previous Genesis Minis, and the emulation was HORRIBLE!  And even though they claimed to have lots of games on them, only half were actual Genesis games, the other were mostly pirated crappy junk.  But this SEGA-made Genesis Mini has good emulation from what I can tell, and it took Nintendo’s approach to including games.  So it has a wide variety of popular Genesis games, and even some third party stuff.  There are even some super rare games on here, which we’ll go over later in future blogs.  Here is a bigger picture of the front of the box.

And here’s a bigger picture of the back of the box.  You can see all the games on here.

Here is the console itself in the palm of my hand.  There is even a flap for cartridges, but I don’t know how you can fit any in there!

The Mini even comes with two full sized Genesis controllers, which is nice.  I only wish they were the six button ones, as there are games on here that would make full use of them.

I’ve never really been a big fan of the Genesis controllers.  The D-pad and buttons always felt smushy to me, and the same goes for these.  I’ve always preferred the SNES controllers much better.  Anyway, since we’ve spent some extra time talking about the console, the first batch of games we’ll go over are just the ones you’d expect to be on here, and have been on Genesis collections in the past.  Like I said, we’ll get to the good stuff later.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Of course they’re going to put the game that put the Genesis on the map on here.  Sonic’s featured prominently on the box and everything.  But as much of a cultural icon as Sonic is, I never understood the draw of his first game.  It looked nice graphically, but whenever I would play this at demo stations as a kid, I would always ask myself, “This is better than Super Mario World…HOW?!?”  I’d always see these commercials comparing Sonic to Mario and them claiming Sonic was better.  Never understood that.  Luckily the Genesis Mini lets you save four spots per game, perfect for those games like this one that never let you save.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

The sequel was certainly an improvement over the first game, but not enough to get me to want a Genesis.  The one thing that caught my attention in the sequel was Tails, who is now my favorite SEGA character.  (second and third place go to Ulala and Ristar).  I liked how a second player could pick up a controller and move Tails.  It gave the younger siblings something to do, which is more than what Nintendo was doing at the time.  Too bad they didn’t put Sonic 3 on here, as that’s one of the few Sonic games I actually really like!  And speaking of Ristar, I’m disappointed they didn’t put that on this collection as well.  I personally think that Ristar is a better game than Sonic.

Sonic Spinball

When I played the Casino Night pinball zone in Sonic 2, I thought, “They could make a whole game out of this.”  And well, they did!  It’s a bit rough around the edges, but this is another one of the few Sonic games I like.

Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine

We all know the story on how this is actually a Japanese puzzle game called Puyo Puyo.  I do like how in Sonic Mania, one of the bosses is just a round of Puyo Puyo against Dr. Eggman.  I’d rather just play Kirby’s Avalanche, though.

Comix Zone

This came out late in the Genesis’ life and it shows.  It’s a beat ‘em up set in a comic book, with word balloons, panels, and everything.  It’s pretty impressive even to this day, but the only problem is it’s way too hard.


Since it came out early in the Genesis’ life and right after Tetris, it’s a bit slow.  But it’s still an OK puzzler.

Altered Beast

Did you know that before Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast was the pack-in game for the Genesis?  I guess they wanted to showcase how close it was to the arcade game, but I never thought the game was that good, as it felt slow and clunky to me.  I did like how your guy would power up and turn into a muscleman before being a beast.  Always cracked me up.

Alex Kidd and the Enchanted Castle

Before Sonic, Alex Kidd was one of SEGA’s mascots.  I don’t know how they thought he’d compete with Mario.  This game is horrible with awful hit detection.  And since you die in one hit, it’s even worse.

Ecco the Dolphin

I never had a Genesis as a kid, and most of the time I was OK with that.  I was perfectly happy with my SNES.  But every once in a while a game would come out on the Genesis that would make me want to try it, and this was one of those games.  In a time where every 2-D game had to have a cartoon mascot with attitude, it was refreshing to see a relaxing underwater game starring a realistic dolphin.  Unfortunately once I did play it and discover it had very unclear goals, I didn’t like it as much.  But it was still pretty innovative for the time.  You know what I think the best Ecco game is?  Ecco Jr.  It didn’t have those unclear goals, it was pretty fun, and you could learn some facts on sea life, too.  I liked how SEGA made games for younger kids back then, too.  Nintendo didn’t do that as much.

Golden Axe

I wish they would’ve put Golden Axe 2 or 3 on here instead, as I like those a bit better, but I can understand why they would put this on here.  It was certainly one of SEGA’s signature series.  I think the first one is a bit too clunky and slow, but it’s still not bad.  Can you guess who my favorite Golden Axe character is?

Kid Chameleon

One thing I like about Genesis collections is that since I never had a Genesis as a kid, a lot of these games I didn’t play to death like I did the games on Nintendo collections.  And sometimes I could discover a game that was better than I thought it would be.  This is an example of one of those games.  It’s not the best, but it is a pretty decent little hop and bop platformer.  The story is totally from the 90s in that you’re a cool kid with sunglasses and a leather jacket who must save other kids from a VR hologram game in an arcade.  You can collect power ups that change your appearance and skills, hence the name.

Shinobi 3

Back in the day, Shinobi was SEGA’s resident ninja and starred in a lot of games.  I guess this one is the most playable one on the Genesis, but it’s too bad the Mini didn’t have the one that had music done by Yuzo Koshiro.

Streets of Rage 2

And speaking of Yuzo Koshiro.  Since I never had a Genesis as a kid, I totally missed out on this one.  Most of the time, when I would play a Genesis game, I wouldn’t be that impressed.  I’m a SNES man after all.  But once I played this on one of the early Genesis collections, I was totally blown away.  This game was actually really good!  Of course it had the fantastic music, but the gameplay was spot on, too.  One of the few times a Genesis game really impressed me.  Too bad we didn’t get the other Streets of Rage games on here as well, but if they had to pick just one, 2 is the way to go.  I can’t wait for Streets of Rage 4 which comes out next year!


This game uses pre-rendered graphics and was to compete with Donkey Kong Country, which came out that same year (or the year before, I can’t remember).  But this game is nowhere near as good as DKC was, so why even bother?  And as a run and gun game, I’d rather play something like Earthworm Jim instead.  So I never understood the draw of this one.  At least the sequel had impressive lighting effects, I’ll give it that.

And that’s all for now.  Check back next week for more games on the Genesis Mini.  I promise they’ll be some more interesting ones on there.  Later!  –Cary

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment

Tired of typing this out each time? Register as a subscriber!