After several hours with the SEGA Genesis Mini, I can pretty confidently say that this is a lovely little piece of technology, and while anyone could try to cobble together a list of 42 video games that should have been included, it's hard to argue that the vast majority of what's on the machine doesn't belong. It doesn't play like I remember my own SEGA Genesis back in the day, but that's almost certainly because my memory is hazy rather than any fault of the miniature console, which is inherently nostalgic, but also a blast to use.
Classics like Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Streets of Rage 2 make for an incredibly fun time with a friend, and the fact that there's two controllers right out of the box is extremely useful. Speaking of, the cord length on the controllers -- which was an issue on other retro mini consoles like the NES Classic -- seems fine for most configurations, and I had no trouble playing comfortably in my office or living room. Even so, there will likely be third-party extensions out there for those folks that need something even longer.
If there's one serious complaint to be had about the SEGA Genesis Mini, it's that only a fraction of the included games feature some kind of multiplayer. It's basically the perfect device for sitting around on your couch with a friend, but more multiplayer-focused games would make that experience even more fun. That didn't stop me from having an unreasonably good time "accidentally" hitting ComicBook.com's Brandon Davis in Streets of Rage 2, but it would have been nice to have even more options.
As you can see in the above video, we had an extremely difficult time getting between games, and it turns out: that's on us. If we'd read the instruction manual prior to trying to play, we would have seen there in black and white that holding Start would eventually get us to a menu that would allow us to back out and start up another game. As it is, I instead threw caution and my microphone to the wind and got out of my seat to hit the miniature Reset button on the console, which did basically the same thing.
While I won't pretend to be some kind of expert that can dive into the hardware, but there were no glaringly obvious problems with the SEGA Genesis Mini during my time with it so far. Compared to, say, the obviously lacking PlayStation Classic, the SEGA Genesis Mini holds up on all counts. The games are easy enough to navigate, so long as you're familiar with the controls in the first place, and while there's no significant bells or whistles here, there doesn't need to be. It's a little box with a whole bunch of old video games on it, and it succeeds at that. So far, it seems to be worth the price of admission.
The SEGA Genesis Mini is scheduled to launch on September 19th for an MSRP for $79.99. Pre-orders are available online at a number of retailers.