Sega announce the Mega Drive Mini, could this be the return of Blast Processing?

Posted on April 15, 2018

Sega fans may want to hold off on that (horrible) ATgames Mega Drive, at least for the moment. At Sega Fes 2018 Sega have announced the Mega Drive Mini and this time they are taking care of business themselves. Sega plan to release their Mega Drive Mini later this year however given the news is hot off the press there is currently no information on a specific release date or price. What we can safely assume is that it will follow in the vein of Nintendo’s mega successful series of classic consoles, likely pre-loaded with games for play on modern television sets. Interestingly, 2018 is the 30th anniversary of the Sega Mega Drive which released in Japan in 1988.

The original Sega Mega Drive was their first international success, with the power of Sonic the Hedgehog, strong back up from third parties, and some nifty marketing (blast processing?). Sega was able to wrestle market share from Nintendo in the USA and become the market leader globally, if only for a short while. Sega’s comparatively third party friendly policies led to a huge lineup of successful games in its time, it was the definitive destination for sports titles from EA and there was blood in Mortal Kombat. As for titles included with the Mega Drive Mini, Sega is seeking fan feedback as to which games should be included, implying that key decisions have yet to be made.

This could go a couple of ways and Sega have a couple of potential problems to overcome. One is that they have recycled the same core collection of first party Mega Drive games multiple times across the last few generations of consoles. Even this year collections are due on PS4 and Xbox One that heavily resemble the same collection from the last generation. It would be incredibly disappointing if the new Mega Drive Mini collection of games boils down to simply a cute box with the same titles.

The second is that the Mega Drive’s success at the time was heavily built on third party releases that were not necessarily exclusive. There are literally hundreds of examples but just a few being the the X Men titles, Road Rash even Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker. To be honest as much as we all love Sonic and Sega titles, they have all been re-released so many times already. If Sega really wants to make a splash and present a point of difference they need to give us something new. The only way to do that will be getting some curated third party classics in the box or building in a cartridge slot so fans can pick some up on the cheap online.

As a known advocate of Sega, I hope they do this right. But I have also been a fan for long enough to know that getting too excited is fraught with danger. The likely outcome is a solid collection of games that are already available by other means. But the optimist in me hopes they do something different to make the package special. The worst possible outcome is that they will distribute a redesign of the ATgames Mega Drive. Time will tell.

What were some of your favourite Mega Drive Games?