(First, assuming there’s anyone who actually comes in looking for my usual Thursday morning article, sorry about the lateness this week. I’ve been in bed sick for the last several days, and only now felt like I could do this piece some semblance of justice.)
In 2016, Nintendo would release their Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition to the world. It was an instant success, the fervor for the unit absolutely trouncing their conservative estimates of how much of a market there would be for such a device. As such, following the 2017 release of its successor, the Super NES Classic Edition, Nintendo would also bring the original back into circulation during the summer of 2018.
Just over a week later in Japan, however, Nintendo would also release something else: A special edition version of Japan’s equivalent, the Famicom Mini, designed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump manga magazine. Sporting a golden color, this version featured only 20 games versus the original’s 30, most of which were based on or related to Shōnen Jump properties, such as Dragon Ball, Saint Seiya, Kinnikuman (better known in the west as M.U.S.C.L.E.), and for good measure, Dragon Quest, whose rise to fame was aided by Weekly Shōnen Jump early on.
People went for it. While the quality of the games… varied (Dragon Ball: Shenlong no Nazo was released on the NES as Dragon Power, and is considered something of a tire fire among fans, even without taking into account localization concerns), people were eager to pick up what Nintendo and Shueisha were putting down. Within just two days, 110,000 of the Limited Shōnen Jump Edition Famicom Mini had been sold.
More recently, SEGA has been following Nintendo’s lead with work on their upcoming SEGA Genesis Mini. As games began to be announced, there were some truly staggering inclusions: Konami’s Castlevania Bloodlines and Contra: Hard Corps, which — growing up as a Nintendo fan — had frustratingly never been re-released anywhere else (until Konami’s own Anniversary Collections earlier this year, go figure). Capcom’s Mega Man: The Wily Wars, which had not only never had a re-release (we’re not counting AtGames), but never even really had a release, only being available to play in North America digitally through the SEGA Channel.
Those were surprising, but before the last-minute additions of Tetris and Darius, the most shocking of all might have been the inclusion of Castle of Illusion and World of Illusion. The reason comes down to their stars: Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.
And that got me thinking.
Those two games were far from the only Disney titles SEGA had developed and published. What if SEGA and Disney were to collaborate on a special edition of the SEGA Genesis Mini, featuring a smorgasbord of Disney-branded SEGA titles? There are layers upon layers of potential here.
For starters, there are the obvious ones, such as the aforementioned Castle of Illusion and World of Illusion, as well as the sadly omitted Quackshot (which would be an ideal inclusion, given the recent DuckTales reboot). Ariel the Little Mermaid, TaleSpin, and Bonkers would help fill out the package further, and since Virgin and Disney are reissuing Aladdin (which SEGA published on Genesis) and The Lion King, maybe those are on the table? Of course, Fantasia — which should never have been made (that’s not a knock on the game’s quality, though it apparently doesn’t help) — is probably a long shot, but these days, who can say for sure?
But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s the thing: Back in their heyday as a platform holder, SEGA had their thumbs in a lot of pies, and Disney? Well, they’ve been buying a lot of pies lately.
Case in point: Unlike when the games were published, Disney now owns Marvel. So you can now add Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin, X-Men, and X-Men 2: Clone Wars to the package. Oh, and Disney just bought Fox and has some interest in Home Alone, which SEGA just happened to develop and publish the Genesis games for. Oh, and they got LucasArts at some point — maybe Instruments of Chaos starring Young Indiana Jones could work, too?
Disney themselves have dabbled in game development and publishing over the years, too. Maybe they’d be willing to dig up Gargoyles and Toy Story for old time’s sake?
That’s 20 games right there, and we haven’t even gotten into the prospects of any third-parties who might be willing to make a quick buck, such as Capcom with The Great Circus Mystery Starring Mickey & Minnie, a part of their Magical Quest trilogy.
There’s just so much potential here. While the Limited Shōnen Jump Edition Famicom Mini was cool, this crossover of brands just makes so much more sense — too much even, to not happen.
The only question is, will the right wheels turn to make it?