Next in Line for the Retro Mini Treatment from Sega?
In my last column I talked about the Sega Genesis Mini and the fact that Sega actually managed to trump its arch rival of years past (Nintendo) in a few key areas of the retro mini market. In the time since, the Genesis Mini has been released to the masses and has been doing quite favorably by both the press and public alike.
As is humanity’s nature (and thanks to the added acceleration of social media), many people out there on the interwebs are voicing requests for Sega to follow up with a Dreamcast Mini. Now let me just say right here I am in full support of this concept. Sony has proven that larger, more hardware-taxing ROMs can be translated to the mini componentry just fine and Sega holds tens of thousands of titles that have been doing nothing but gathering dust for the past couple of decades.
However to have them just jump ahead from the Genesis to the Dreamcast would be a terrible move. In case nobody noticed, there is a natural progression going on with these things. The NES Classic Edition was followed by the SNES Classic Edition. If Nintendo were to do another one, it would be the N64 and not the Gamecube or Wii Classic. Once a company jumps ahead in the release order, it would be a terribly tricky sale to get customers excited about reverting.
As such Sega would be wise to continue on the retro mini path much as they originally advanced with hardware back in the day. Follow up the Genesis with a Sega CD Mini. Follow that with a Saturn Mini. Then work on a Dreamcast Mini.
Just to be clear, Sega has not made official that they will be producing ANY of these systems but it is certainly fun to imagine what they’d be like. I have been spending a lot of time imagining what a Sega CD Mini would be like. I suspect they would want to develop a case that mimicked the Model 1 design (just like they did with the Genesis) – only with USB controller inputs so that the Genesis Mini’s controllers would be fully compatible even though it would be an entirely stand-alone unit (the Genesis Mini is such that functioning add-ons will not be possible).
While the system was supported for a mere 4 years (1992-1996), it managed to amass a surprisingly robust library of 153 titles in North America alone. It went on to sell 2.24-million units globally making it the most successful peripheral for the Genesis; a system known for its multitude of add-ons.
So if I were in charge of the project, what games would I select to pack into this theoretical Mini? Well even though the Genesis Mini contained 42 games, we’ll say that for the argument of the additional memory CD-based titles demand that Sega would come in closer to what Sony did with the PlayStation Classic and lower that number a bit. The PlayStation Classic crammed 20 games so we’ll say 25 for the Sega CD Mini. But which to pick? Thankfully the Sega CD library is nowhere near as expansive as original PlayStation’s. Even still, doing better than Sony did shouldn’t be asking for too much. Here are the 25 games I would include were it my task:
1) Sonic CD – Considered by many to be one of the finest Sonic games of all time, this one would be a must-include title.
2) Sewer Shark – Considered by many to be a terrible game and a relic of the FMV era passed, this one has to be included simply because it was the pack-in game with the system and for many of us original fans, the first taste we got of that sweet CD-ROM potential.
3) Ecco The Tides of Time – Sure Ecco was an acquired taste on any of Sega’s hardware choices, the fact is it has never looked better than on the CD and the time travel element complements Sonic CD really well.
4) Lunar: Eternal Blue – This critically acclaimed role-playing masterpiece had the distinction of being developed exclusively for the Sega CD platform. It would later get ported to the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation but before that it was one of the exclusive Sega CD killer apps.. Long before that was a saying.
5) Eternal Champions: Challenge From the Dark Side – Just a prettier port of the Genesis title you say? Increased playable character lineup (from 9 to 25), tighter controls, more balanced game play and many more combo moves say otherwise.
6) Snatcher – This one was released very late in the Sega CD’s life cycle and was developed by none other than Hideo Kojima (of Metal Gear Solid fame). Described as a bit of an interactive comic with a complex plot and rich character development, the Sega CD was the only platform to ever get an English release.
7) Shining Force CD – This one represents another wonderful Sega CD RPG selection but with a bit more emphasis on the strategy element.
8) Silpheed – Sega was always good with their shooters and the Sega CD did get a few really good ones. Silpheed was a solid 2D entry.
9) Final Fight CD – Considered by many to be the absolute best home version of Capcom’s arcade beat em up, this one was another strong reason to own a Sega CD back in the day.
10) Flashback – Yes the Sega CD actually received PC ports back in the day because it had the storage media possible to handle it. Flashback played well and looked excellent.
11) Secret of Monkey Island – Another PC port, this one is more of a point-and-click experience but a memorable one nevertheless and a pretty fun look back to how a lot of hot PC games of the time played.
12) Mortal Kombat – It didn’t look a whole lot prettier than its Genesis counterpart but the audio was the closest to the arcade of all the home ports. Plus the blood was in tact.
13) Night Trap – FMV died out in this era and arguably for good reason. They were barely playable. However Sega couldn’t release a Sega CD Mini without including a few of them. Night Trap was one of the better ones and if that one was a bit too touchy for today’s politically correct society, Ground Zero Texas could pinch hit.
14) Wonderdog – In terms of cartoony 2D platformers, the second most popular behind Sonic CD would have to be Wonderdog from JVC. Amazingly it was developed by JVC exclusively for the Sega CD back in the day and was then ported to the Commodore Amiga.
15) Star Wars Rebel Assault – Like Money Island, it’s unlikely Sega would be able to get Lucas Arts to sign over this one but if they could manage it, this stiff-playing gem was the closest thing we Rebel-wannabes had to taking on the whole Empire ourselves back in the day. And on a personal note the reason I had to have a Sega CD after playing the game on my cousin’s then cutting edge PC.
16) Mickey Mania – This cartoon platformer came to a lot of home consoles (including the Genesis) but the Sega CD version’s audio may as well have been ripped straight off a Disney theatrical picture.
17) Earthworm Jim Special Edition – The anthropomorphic worm came to the Sega CD with its trademark platforming/ shooting in style and like most properties that shared cartridge versions, the audio enhancement alone made them worthy of picking up.
18) The Amazing Spiderman Vs The Kingpin – Yes well before the PlayStation 4, Spidey was doing his thing in 2D form with a great soundtrack on yet another Sega CD exclusive.
19) Heart of the Alien – The cinematic sci-fi adventure from Interplay was moody, rich and games like this really don’t exist anymore.
20) Robo Aleste – The excellent follow-up to M.U.S.H.A. on the Genesis and a shooter considered by many to be the strongest in the Sega CD’s entire catalog.
21) Dune – Frank Herbert’s science fiction masterpiece actually got a strategy title from Virgin Interactive for the Sega CD.
22) Puggsy – Long before they were known for pumping out Lego games by the dozen, Traveler’s Tales was doing puzzle platformers for the Sega CD.
23) Wild Woody – Boasting a name that must have had parents all sorts of squeamish when kids asked for it back in the day, this was another Sega CD exclusive that arrived late in the system’s life and made pretty nice use of the hardware’s potential. It was about a pencil, ya pervs.
24) Popful Mail – Weird name, great game. Somehow Working Designs combined platforming with role-playing and did so with some of the best cut-scenes on the Sega CD.
25) The Terminator CD – Imagine if Contra involved invincible cyborgs and the ability to keep things faithful to the movies (there were far fewer of those then), you’d have The Terminator CD and let’s just say a certain Tommy Tallarico made certain the riffs were ripping.
So there you have it, my choices for 25 titles that would come bundled into a Sega CD Mini. Do you agree? Disagree? Think others would be better fits? Feel free to sound off in the comments; one thing for sure though is a Sega CD Mini would make for a retro classic edition like no other.