Today, Sega of Japan announced a new mini console, though it might not be the one that fans really wanted. The Mega Drive Mini 2 is a miniature version of the Mega Drive 2 (known as the Sega Genesis 2 in North America). It's not just a reskinned Mega Drive Mini, though: the new console will feature 50 games from both the Genesis and Sega CD library, as well as an improved UI. No worldwide announcement has been made yet, but it does look pretty sweet.
The Mega Drive Mini 2 will include 50 games in total: 20 CD games and 30 cartridge games. Only 11 have been announced so far, with more announcements coming in the future. These include:
- Silpheed (Mega CD)
- Shining Force CD (Mega CD)
- Sonic CD (Mega CD)
- The Story of Yumemikan (Mega CD, known as Mansion of Hidden Souls in English markets)
- Popful Mail (Mega CD)
- Virtua Racing (Mega Drive)
- Bonanza Bros. (Mega Drive)
- Shining in the Darkness (Mega Drive)
- Thunderforce IV (Mega Drive)
- Magical Taruruto-kun (Mega Drive, a platformer based on an anime and manga, and developed by Game Freak)
- Fantasy Zone (Mega Drive Mini 2 Exclusive)
Bonanza Bros. for Sega Genesis
Of the 11 games announced so far, Bonanza Bros. is the only one confirmed to be co-op. Bonanza Bros. is a split-screen stealth action game that originated in arcades. It was ported to the Sega Genesis, Sega Master System, PC Engine, and home computers. The arcade version is included on the Sega Astro City Mini.
The original Sega Genesis Mini included two exclusive games: Darius and Tetris. The Mega Drive Mini 2 will feature a new version of Fantasy Zone. The new Fantasy Zone is listed as supporting 1-2 players, but the listing probably means that the game will support 2-player alternating play rather than simultaneous. It would be awesome if it supported co-op... We'll keep you informed!
The Mega Drive Mini 2's software is once again developed by the emulation wizards at M2. Some of the new mini console's features include:
- Dimensions: 120.8mm x 32.3 mm x 116.5 mm (Sega Genesis Mini dimensions are 154 mm × 39 mm × 116 mm.)
- New interface
- Sound processing can be switched between Mega Drive and Mega Drive 2 styles.
- The function of the Mode button can be customized (tap to access the main menu, hold for 1 second, hold for 3 seconds, or disable).
- Compatible with existing Japanese Mega Drive Mini controllers (NOT the English and European controllers)
Sega will also sell an optional Mega CD 2 add-on called the Megadora Tower 2. The add-on (including the mini Virtua Racing cartridge) is purely cosmetic in function. it can be used with the original Mega Drive/Sega Genesis Mini as well via a spacer. The door of the Mega CD 2 Mini will open, revealing a mini disc inside.
If you're wondering why Sega chose to make a new Mega Drive Mini rather than a mini Saturn or Dreamcast, the answer is revealed in an interview with Yosuke Okunari, father of the Mega Drive, at Famitsu. It comes down to expertise and cost. Sega can use the same board as the original Mega Drive/Genesis Mini and can even use the same controllers with the new model. Miniature Sega Saturn and Dreamcast consoles would require stronger internal hardware, so they would be more expensive to manufacture. Let's hope Sega makes those mini consoles happen eventually!
The Mega Drive Mini 2 and Mega CD 2 Mini will release on October 27 in Japan. The Mega Drive Mini 2 currently costs ¥10,978 (~$84 USD) to preorder at Amazon.jp. The Mega CD Mini 2 has a product page at Amazon.jp but is currently unavailable to preorder. It will cost approximately 4,500 Yen (~$35 USD).
Will Sega announce these products for North America and Europe as well? We'll let you know if they do. Update: The Sega Genesis Mini 2 has been officially announced!
Thanks to Jake McNeill of the Sega Mini Classics group for his help with this story.