The announcement of this retro all-in-one console didn’t hit me as hard as the NES/SNES ones did, as I barely touched the Genesis in my childhood. Yet there was a lot of strong word-of-mouth and good reviews behind it, and so I splurged on the Genesis Mini to add to my growing collection of retro consoles.
I think it was a pretty decent purchase. Our family has had a lot of collective fun with the NES and SNES (you’d be surprised how much effort my kids have put into games like Metroid, Earthbound, and Star Tropics), and right away I loved the fact that there was about 12 games that had a two-player option here. My kids argue over turns a lot, so letting at least two of them play at a time helps alleviate that.
I’d been saving it for a rainy night, and last week was that night, as most of us were laying around with colds and generally feeling blah. I hooked up the Genesis Mini and had it running within a couple of minutes, and right away I could see that it was a solid product. The menu screen and options were spot on, and the fact that there were 42 games here meant that we had a lot of exploring to do.
I had the right as the owner to indulge in first dibs, so I loaded up a half-dozen of the games to try them out quick. Road Rash II felt a little clunky, Ecco was… weird, Castlevania was surprisingly bloody, and Sonic was the same old Sonic I’d played for the last few decades. The hit of the night was tied between Mickey in the Forest of Illusions and Gunstar Heroes. The former had a lot of personality and charm to it, while the latter was an intuitive two-player co-op.
Also, my seven-year-old son figured out that you could grab the other player and chuck them across the screen, and that was it — that’s all he did for the next ten minutes, laughing like a madman until I thought he was going to throw up. He was laughing so hard that we ended up laughing at him laughing, it was that sort of thing.
From the brief night one survey of the titles, I noticed a few missing that should’ve been there and very few RPGs or schmups, but with 42 games, I don’t think we were going to get bored any time soon. It’s nice to have to rotate with the other consoles, giving my kids a lot of choice without having to switch discs or paying for new games. And I might get the odd moment of enjoyment here and there (I have my eye on Phantasy Star IV, a game that caught my attention as a kid but frustrated me due to no way to play it).