So, as I (eventually) mentioned in my previous post, I was going to have another go at the Sega Genesis, a console that I didn’t take full advantage of back when the system was current. Being that I sold and traded off all of my Genesis, Sega CD and 32X gear many, many years ago, it’s time to re-stock, and obviously, the system itself is the perfect place to start. (FYI: I don’t really want to incorporate emulation — either of hardware or software — at all.)
So, which model of Genesis do I go for? Other than the first revision of the model 1 Genesis and Majesco’s Genesis 3, I’ve had all the other models. In my opinion, the original model 1 (with “High Definition Graphics” printed on the top) is the best choice. It looks classically badass, and as most Genesis enthusiasts would agree, it also has the best sound chip in it.
While more affordable and far easier to get, the model 2 Genesis is just okay. I always kinda hated the way it looked, and it has an inferior sound chip than the model 1. However, to be fair, some revisions of the model 2 had the sound chip problem addressed, although, they’re kind of hard to find and can be pricey. (FYI: This whole business with the different models and revisions of the Genesis can be quite confusing, however, here’s a fantastic resource online that lays it all out.
I only briefly had the Sega CDX, and well, all I remember, is at that point, I just didn’t really care. I only had it because I had repaired a Tron arcade cabinet for a local videogame store and they paid me in store credit, which I used on all kinds of things I was indifferent about. Not that I really want another CDX, but looking around on eBay, I’ve noticed that they can be considerably expensive.
So, obviously I was going for the first model of Genesis, and while I still have a nice little 14″ CRT for retro gaming purposes, is that really what I want to play on? Playing on my 50-inch HDTV while sitting on the couch would be ideal, but damn…classic consoles look like arse through composite connections on HDTVs. (Not that the Genesis ever had a stellar composite output to begin with.) Also, there’s lag you have to deal with in that setup, and that’s obviously just no good. Of course, with a quality upscaler and whatever else would be needed to take advantage of the Genesis’ native RGB output, that would be a nice solution for HDTV gaming, but man…that can not only be a hassle (reminiscent of the Genesis/Sega CD/32X combo’s Frankenstein’s monster of cables and whatnot), but can be REALLY expensive as well.
As a cheesy commercial actor would say, “There’s got to be an easier way!” As it turns out, THERE IS.
Man, the things you miss when you’re AWOL from the retro gaming scene for a while… I had no idea that retro consoles built around FPGA chips (field programmable gate array – NO emulation!) was even a thing, much less that a company called Analogue was producing high-quality retro machines with reasonable prices, the latest of which is a Genesis/Mega Drive clone called the Mega SG (“SG” for Sega Genesis, of course) that released to near-universal accolades from the retro gaming community. The idea of playing actual Genesis carts with a NEW console on my HDTV with superb performance, excellent audio & video, and no lag was right up my alley. After doing a monumental amount of research, it seemed abundantly clear that the Mega SG was the way to go for maximum Genesis enjoyment in 2021, so I placed my order.
Many things can be said about the Mega SG, but for a good overview of all the features this thing has to offer, I think it’s best to refer you to one of the many excellent reviews on Youtube, like Bob Wulff’s review, for example.
For me, personally, I was extremely impressed with the surprisingly high build quality of the machine, and in actual use, it was everything I had hoped it would be. Paired with 8BitDo’s M3 wireless controller for Genesis, the Genesis gameplay experience is more enjoyable than ever before, and I really dig the retro — yet new — feeling the console provides. It’s weird how the Mega SG kinda makes the Genesis feel like its been officially re-released or something.
I paid my own cash for the Mega SG, so there’s no shady advertising going on here. I just know that the system is absolutely brilliant, and unless you’re a diehard that just has to play on official Sega hardware with a CRT TV (which I totally respect, by the way), this is the best way to enjoy Genesis gaming in the new millennium.
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