Sega fans, prepare to be delighted. Analogue, known for such hits as the Super NT and Nt Mini, is following up on its Nintendo based success with a complete Sega solution. The Mega Sg is no one-trick pony; not only will it support games from the venerable Mega Drive and Genesis, but also a whole host of other Sega platforms from the third and fourth console generation thanks to adapters both included and sold separately – all via sweet, sweet FPGA hardware goodness too.
FPGA stands for field-programmable gate array and is a special chip (here called the Altera Cyclone V) that allows for an accurate recreation of the original hardware. It should be stressed that this is not emulation, but instead, the real-deal thanks to amazing engineering. The love child of one Kevin Horton (known online as “Kevtris”), who has spent 12-months implementing it for Genesis use – introducing support for the Yamaha YM2612 sound chip, for instance. Not only will the gameplay output be highly accurate, but will also enable lag-free 1080p output via HDMI. If you think it sounds nifty, you’d be correct. The Altera Cyclone V has already proved its self in previous Analogue incarnations, after all.
What really makes the Mega Sg stand out, however, is the wide range of Sega it supports. Genesis/Mega Drive games are of course a given thanks to the cartridge slot on the top, but the Sg is also compatible with the Sega and Mega CD hardware add-ons by a built-in edge connector. Sadly, the 32X is not supported due to weird wiring on Sega’s behalf, but that’s about the only thing that is incompatible as Analogue is also releasing a bunch of adapters that support just about everything else Sega related you think of from the 80’s and early 90’s. For one, a Master System adapter is included in the box, but additional adapters sold separately will support the Game Gear, Mark III, Sega MyCard, SG-1000 and even the SC-3000. Holy Sega compatibility, Batman! These will only cost $10 each too and include the full support and benefit of the Altera Cyclone V.
It should be noted, however, that no controllers are included. But as an aside, Analogue is again in cahoots with fellow manufacturer, 8BitDo and are also selling 6-button variants of the Genesis pad that are wireless via 2.4GHz. That does mean that the controller won’t be useful for any other device – however, this is a cost-cutting measure as they’ll only cost US$24.99 compared to the same 8BitDo Bluetooth enabled SuperNT controllers from last year that cost US$39.99.
If you’re still hankering for Bluetooth, an adapter for 8BitDo’s DIY kits should be available soon. Naturally, your original gamepads are all compatible, along with any other hardware accessory it seems. The Game Genie is one such example cited.
There are a few other pointers to note too: it will be released in four colours, region free and even include a front-facing headphone jack – because as Analogue’s potty-mouthed founder, Christopher Taber told Polygon; “It’s got an analogue headphone jack because that’s Sega as f**k and there’s no way we couldn’t do that”.
While there are no games included, this should not be compared to ‘mini’ nostalgia consoles that have been prevalent in the market these last few years. This is a faithful recreation, plain and simple, and is designed for the original games to be played in the best possible way. Analogue is asking a reasonable US$190 for a pre-order, with shipments expected April next year.