Psst – we’ll let you in on a little secret. Everyone knows you can emulate ROMs on something like a Raspberry Pie or even using your PC but this knowledge hasn’t slowed the demand for retro mini systems down any. The reason? Well there are a few that come to mind – first playing on a box that looks and feels like the original (especially with a near-perfect replica of the original controller) goes a long way in recreating the experience. Secondly, and perhaps most important, these are licensed devices. That means when we buy them, the original manufacturer receives our vote loud and clear – and that the developers of the software included get a cut of the proceeds. To us, that’s a very important reason to support these things alone.
Sega has finally released the Genesis Mini 2 through Amazon exclusively and the initial feedback has been very positive. Perhaps even more fascinating, the inner box flap of the Japanese edition includes a QR code that leads to a survey asking buyers if they’d like Sega to continue producing retro minis and if so, which console they would like to see done next. The options include all of the usual suspects – Saturn, Dreamcast but the list also extends back to Sega’s earlier hardware entries: The SG-1000, 1000 II and the Mark III (Master System to we American types).
If given my vote, I’d be all for the continued Sega evolution: Saturn, Dreamcast and it would be great if they pulled a Nintendo and gave us the 8-bit Master System as well. Another option was for a Genesis 3 Mini; as, after all, the original Genesis did end up being offered in three different hardware packages and a library of games (especially when sprinkling in offerings from the Sega CD and 32X) large enough to fill at least three minis.
All of this to talk not just about Sega but about an interesting little system we almost got just prior to the pandemic.
This device was going to be called the PC Classic from a company called Unit-e. In 2018 they built the prototypes and attempted to go through the crowdfunding route of realization.
This particular retro system targeted PC games (as the name suggests) of the DOS era – think Commander Keen, Jill of the Jungle, Doom, and Quake II. The software list, as is often the case with these systems, was far from finalized, though many suspected it would contain other classics of the era such as Oregon Trail, Civilization, Myst, etc.
Sadly, the system was set to debut just as the pandemic swept the world and the resulting economy/ global chip shortage has left Unit-e struggling to devise a strategy to get the machines to the public. The project has not been canceled, however.
Here’s hoping as the world settles into a new rhythm and chips become increasingly more available, the PC Classic will come to join the ever-expanding fray of retro mini plug ‘n plays.