The Sega Genesis Mini 2 Launches Overseas This Fall: An In-Depth Look

Sega first revived the magic of its iconic 16-bit console with 2019‘s Sega Genesis Mini. Packed with 42 classic games, the pint-sized re-release became a retro gaming hit. Now in 2022, Sega is following up this success with the Genesis Mini 2 – an enhanced sequel featuring 60 titles and even a selection of Sega CD games.

While unfortunately skipping North America, the Genesis Mini 2 delivers a nostalgia-fueled showcase of the Genesis game library. For both diehard Sega fans and gamers looking to revisit these classics, the Mini 2 makes a compelling case. Let‘s dive into what this new miniature console offers.

Overview: More Games, CD Titles & Updated Display

Set to launch on October 27th, 2022 in Japan and Europe, the Sega Genesis Mini 2 packs in plenty of bells and whistles. It comes loaded with 60 total games, a mix of Genesis cartridge classics as well as titles made specifically for the Sega CD add-on. The inclusion of CD games is a major step up from the original Mini, giving players a more complete library.

In terms of design, the Mini 2 resembles a tiny version of the Genesis 2 hardware revision from 1993. Its curvier shape echoed the aesthetics of the Sega CD attachment. Much like that add-on, the Genesis Mini 2 adds impressive new functionality by tapping into the expanded capabilities of CD-ROM discs compared to ROM cartridges.

The Mini 2 outputs video over HDMI for enhanced graphics on modern displays compared to original composite AV cables. It also adds an updated six-button controller design for fighting titles requiring extra inputs.

Overall the Genesis Mini 2 takes the successful formula of its predecessor and expands on it to better showcase everything Genesis gaming offered. Let‘s look at some key specs:

Sega Genesis Mini 2 Specs:

SpecDetails
Release DateOctober 27th, 2022
Price$99.99 USD
Output720p HDMI
Controllers1 included, supports original Mini pads
MultiplayerYes, 2 controllers
Plays cartridgesNo
Also IncludedPower adapter, HDMI cable, power cable

With a solid spec sheet checking all the boxes, let‘s explore some of the biggest upgrades over the first Genesis Mini.

More Processing Power Enables Sega CD Games

The key ingredient allowing for enhanced Sega CD support lies in the Genesis Mini 2‘s more powerful internals. Its improved 1GHz processor pairing with 512 MB of RAM provides ample overhead for smoothly running the CD-based titles. These games originally pushed the limits of Genesis hardware with detailed visuals and CD quality music that simply couldn’t be matched by ROM cartridges at the time.

Now thanks to solid emulation power, the Min 2 properly runs demanding CD showcases like Sonic CD without breaking a sweat. The bonus selection of 12 Sega CD titles adds excellent variety to an already stacked game list.

Popular picks making their debut include lush RPG classic Lunar: Eternal Blue Complete and campy FMV game Night Trap. Also on offer are enhanced CD versions of Sonic CD and Ecco the Dolphin with full Red Book CD audio. Even the most demanding Sega CD games run flawlessly on new hardware 25+ years later!

Robust Game Library Showcases the Genesis Catalog

With a whopping 60 games, the Mini 2 features an embarrassment of 16-bit riches spanning various eras and genres across the Genesis lifecycle. All entries are different from the first Mini‘s setlist, so you‘ll get a fresh collection of classics.

For action platformer junkies, there‘s a bevy of excellent run ‘n gun entries like arcade perfect Turrican ports, Contra Hard Corps, and rare shmup Truxton. Fighting fans can dig into fluid ports for Fatal Fury 2 and Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo. Those craving more obscure picks are covered too – good luck tracking down Engish copies of shoot ‘em up compilation Star Mobile or Japan-centric platformer Devi & Pii otherwise!

Game GenreNotable Titles
Arcade PortsOutrunners, Space Harrier II, Golden Axe II
ShmupsTruxton, Thunder Force IV, Silpheed
Action PlatformersRanger X, Splatterhouse 2, Mickey Mania
RPGsShining Force CD, Lunar Eternal Blue
Local MultiplayerPuyo Puo Sun, Virtua Racing, Streets of Rage 3

With such diverse entries spanning beloved classics to underappreciated hidden gems, the Mini 2 library triumphantly showcases the range of stellar Genesis software.

Unboxing the Mini 2 – via Sega Memories on YouTube

Enhanced Display Features Support Modern TVs

The Genesis Mini 2 outputs over HDMI for flawless image quality, a marked upgrade from original hardware limited to composite AV cables. Games display in crisp 720p resolution that modern HDTVs can easily process, with accurate colors and minimal input lag.

Playing these classics on a giant 4K screen really allows you to admire the pixel art in all its glory! Sprites and backgrounds hold up great thanks to integer scaling options that preserve original resolution. Tiny details barely noticeable on fuzzy CRTs finally get a chance to shine.

The Mini 2 also allows adjustment of display settings like screen borders and blur reduction filters for further visual tweaking. Players can dial in their preferred retro presentation befitting their display setup, ideal for marathon gaming sessions.

In-Depth Review: A Nostalgic Powerhouse

With its robust game library and thoughtfully designed enhancements, the Genesis Mini 2 makes revisiting these 16-bit classics an absolute joy. Both casual fans and devoted Sega enthusiasts will find plenty to enjoy across the diverse collection of titles. Emulation and presentation also set a new retro compilation bar that feels fitting for one of gaming‘s most iconic consoles.

That said, the Mini 2 is not without some limitations. At $99.99 USD, it sits at a premium price point compared to alternative ways to access the Genesis library. And some odd favorites like Sonic 3, Gunstar Heroes and Ristar are still mysteriously absent.

But weigh these nitpicks against the sheer nostalgic power that radiates from this little love letter to the Genesis. Let‘s break down the pros and cons:

Pros

  • Massive 60 game library with stellar variety
  • Robust Sega CD support finally playable on Genesis hardware
  • Perfect arcade ports plus ultra rare exclusives
  • Updated controller with 6 face buttons
  • Pixel perfect emulation and display options

Cons

  • No North American release planned
  • $99.99 price may deter more casual buyers
  • Odd omissions like Sonic 3 still missing
  • Potential for Mini 3 with 32X support?

For diehard Genesis fans, the Mini 2 is clearly worth importing to experience this lovingly crafted hardware showcase. More mainstream gamers though may be just as well served by the abundance of Genesis collections already available elsewhere.

Standout Games: the Hidden Gems

While any self-respecting Genesis fan surely recognizes big name favorites like Sonic and Streets of Rage 2, the Mini 2‘s selection of lesser known cult classics deserves highlighting too. These hidden gems get a second chance thanks to the curated setlist here:

  • Truxton – A brutally challenging vertical shmup set in a dystopian future. Its trippy visuals and relentless enemy patterns set the gold standard for shooters on Genesis.
  • Crusader of Centy – A vibrant, cheery action RPG with gameplay reminiscent of classic Zelda titles. Chock full of humorous dialog and varied environments to explore.
  • MUSHA: One of the priciest cartridges for Genesis, this horizontally scrolling shooter commands $500+ today. Finally affordable to enjoy on the Mini thanks to top-notch arcade conversion.
  • Fatal Fury 2: Before Street Fighter consumed the fighting genre, SNK‘s Fatal Fury put up an impressive battle complete with lush backdrops and flashy special moves.
  • Shining Force CD: Expanded port of Sega‘s epic fantasy tactics franchise with full anime cutscenes and CD quality soundtrack. The extra content here brings this 16-bit saga to life unlike ever before.

For gamers who missed out experiencing these in the 90s, the curated setlist offers some of the deepest cuts the Genesis and Sega CD had to offer.

Importing the Hardware: How to Buy the Genesis Mini 2

Since Sega isn‘t launching the Genesis Mini 2 stateside themselves, importing the hardware takes a bit more legwork for American gaming enthusiasts.

The easiest route is to pre-order the Mega Drive Mini 2 (as it‘s known overseas) from either Amazon Japan or Amazon UK. Both will ship to the US, though you‘ll pay slightly more in total due to International shipping fees. I recommend Amazon UK for the best experience:

StoreItem PriceShipping TimeTotal Price (Estimated)
Amazon UK£69.99 (~$83)7-11 days$100
Amazon Japan¥9,578 (~$67)10-14 days$95

While Amazon Japan has a lower upfront cost, longer shipping times and potentially complicated returns offset the savings. Amazon UK provides reliable 1-2 week delivery thanks to extensive logistics networks catering to global customers.

No matter which import route you choose, don‘t delay preordering! Based on the original Mini‘s sales trajectory, Genesis Mini 2 may end up in short supply outside its target Asian and European markets. Cards like the PC Engine Mini sold out in mere hours – claim yours launch day before it becomes marked up by resellers later!

Should You Buy It? Maybe, For the Right Player

Given its niche import status yet bountiful retro software offerings, Genesis Mini 2 suits a specific breed of Sega fanatic. If you are a diehard Genesis collector seeking novel ways to explore this beloved era of gaming, it earns an enthusiastic recommendation. Consider it the ultimate Victor Ultimate Genesis Upgrade!

Meanwhile more mainstream gamers can likely get their 16-bit fix through the multitude of Genesis and Mega Drive collections already available elsewhere. From the Xbox Game Pass vault to Nintendo Switch Online‘s premium expansion pack, many of these same games are playable on modern consoles without importing niche hardware.

Here‘s how the Mini 2 stacks up as an option for getting your Genesis classics fix:

PlatformPriceGame SelectionHardware Requirements
Genesis Mini 2$100+60 titles/Sega CD supportMust import device
Xbox Game Pass$10/month40 titlesXbox console/PC required
Nintendo Switch Online$30/year15 titlesMust own Switch console

Yet the Genesis Mini 2 remains uniquely alluring in its role as an officially licensed and lovingly crafted Sega time capsule. As both a playable museum retrospective and the easiest way to experience bonus Sega CD gems like Sonic CD, it occupies a niche space despite its cost hurdles.

So for the Sega super-fans reading, importing this engineered salute to your childhood may prove irresistible. More budget conscious collectors still get a healthy library to rediscover through Game Pass and Switch Online too!

Closing Thoughts: Speculating on Sega Mini 3

Similar to Nintendo‘s legacy with the SNES Classic Edition mini consoles, Sega is clearly invested in keeping Genesis nostalgia alive for dedicated fans. The Genesis Mini 2 builds wonderfully upon 2019‘s first foray, with more games, deeper cuts, and technological showcases that celebrate Sega history.

In that sense, it feels fitting to view the Mini 2 as a "1.5" iteration honoring the Genesis add-ons that the original could not support. With the Sega CD now properly showcased, could a hypothetical Mini 3 tackle holy grails like 32X support and Virtua Racing Deluxe?

Perhaps a three game variant lineup might look like:

  • Genesis Mini – baseline 40 cartridge games
  • Genesis Mini 2 – Sega CD & bigger game count
  • Genesis Mini 3 – 32X & Virtua Racing ports

This staggered rollout premium product strategy has already worked well for analog console makers. It took three iterations for Nintendo to compile the full Super Nintendo library across the SNES Classic, SNES Classic Jr and eventual Super Nintendo Switch controller.

If the Genesis Mini 2 manages to find sales success overseas, expanding into untapped add-on catalogs via Min 3 down the road seems plausible. For retro enthusiasts though, any opportunity to properly preserve aging 90s software is a win in my book. Here‘s hoping Sega continues catering to their most hardcore fans with potential hardware yet unseen!

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