I always forget how light old videogame controllers were until I hold one. It always feels flimsy compared to modern ones, like I could break one with my hands if I tried really hard. But that doesn't mean they are bad.
There's something comforting about these old controllers, as they are much simpler. Sometimes old shapes are the best.
I imagine this kind of thing as I try out the Sega Genesis Mini, a new miniature console manufactured by Sega that comes preloaded with a selection of their best games, following the model popularized (but not invented) by Nintendo's NES and SNES Mini consoles. While this is only a preview unit, I cannot give my final take on it yet, but I must say:
So far, it feels pretty good. It is a fusion of nostalgia and discovery, the kind of thing that both brings me back and makes me realize just how much I have yet to discover.
The Sega Genesis was a magical, mysterious world to me as a kid since I never had one. I only saw glimpses of it at friends' houses or at my cousin's, where I tried a few games here and there, but never enough to feel satisfied, to feel like I understood it. I grew up playing Nintendo
And I still do, on an intuitive level. Sega is still a mystery to me. Their library is fascinating and eclectic, which I just didn't take advantage of.
To me, the Genesis Mini represents a thrilling opportunity to catch up. The 40 games on the console are easy to use and familiar to anyone who has used a Nintendo system. Plug it in, connect it to a TV, and you're good to go.
It's easy to control the volume right from the console, which is meant to be near you. Upon turning it on, you'll see a list of available games. You can play around with some granular settings, including screen sizing and the CRT visual effect, and each game features save files to make progress easier to get.
Mostly, it's just the games, from the eclectic and obscure to Sonic the Hedgehog and, of course, Tetris, because retro isn't retro without tetrominoes.
It's coming out next month, on September 19, for $79.99, and I know what I'm going to be doing until then: exploring, soaking up games I've never touched, and seeing how deep the Sega rabbit hole goes.
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