After some initial teasing, Sega Forever has been officially revealed and has launched with its first selection of games.
Sega Forever offers retro gaming fans an ever-expanding collection of classic Sega games, playable for free on their mobile devices. Sega Forever will also come complete with offline play, leader boards and bluetooth controller support. Sega plan to add more games to the collection every two weeks. Sega also plan to add games from every console from the SG-1000 all the way up to the Dreamcast.
So how does it work? Well, the games are free to download but feature advertisements at the start of the game when you launch and again when you save. If you want to avoid advertisements or play offline you pay $2.99 per game (at the moment). There are rumours of a subscription service coming into play when the collection expands.
The first 5 games releases are:
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Phantasy Star II
- Comix Zone
- Kid Chameleon
- Altered Beast
The games are curated on the app store and once launched feature an option of JP/EU/USA cover art and cartridges, which is a nice touch.
Sega is using the game engine Unity to emulate games from the SG-1000 up to Megadrive. But for Saturn and Dreamcast games they will be ported (ie rebuilt) due to their complexity. In this interview with The Verge Mike Evans, Sega’s chief marketing officer and development lead on Sega Forever, said “I’ve got two decades worth of classic gaming content, everything as far back as the SG 1000 Mark I through to Master System, Game Gear, Genesis, Saturn, and Dreamcast.”
The real question is, how well do these classic games play on mobile devices, given they were designed for consoles? Some will ultimately play better than others. Virtua Cop for example (Sega’s Time Crisis) would be fantastic as a touch screen game in lieu of a light gun. Games that require a 6 button controller and shoulder buttons may work less intuitively and will likely play better with a controller synced.
Either way, if their talked about subscription service does in fact come into play, it would appear Sega want to create the Netflix of video games. And who knows, if it goes well maybe an app for consoles could be on the cards in the future. Atari is planning on creating new hardware, part of me wanted Sega to do the same, but maybe they don’t need too.
Here is the launch trailer, it is all kinds of retro-tastic.
What games do you think would play best?