Geek Guide: Which Version Of Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Mini To Buy

Every now and then, a relic of the past will see a revival. Nintendo’s NES and SNES consoles have been repackaged into the Classic Edition a while back, with the PlayStation Classic’s 20-game library set to relive the good old days of retro gaming. Even the Neo Geo Mini joined in the revival party earlier this year.

SEGA is the latest party to join in the renaissance party, as the accomplished video game publisher prepares for the launch of its Sega Genesis Mini entertainment system (otherwise also known as the Mega Drive Mini) on September 19, 2019 worldwide. But with three different iterations available – the US and Europe versions, the Japanese edition, and the Asian variant –, things can get pretty confusing, which is where our guide will come into play. From the complete games list to purchasing platforms for each of them, we’ve got your backs covered.

Left: The original 3-button controller from 1989, Right: The 6-button controller released in 1993.

Originally released in 1989, the console came with a 3-button controller. It was only in 1993 where Sega released a 6-button controller, which is essential for games such as Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. Interestingly, the “Genesis” versions will come with the 3-button controllers whereas the “Mega Drive” versions will come with 6-button controllers. This might be another big deciding factor for some.

Is this Sega Mini Console worth buying at all?

Considering the continued existence of unofficial, lazy clones of the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive, the scepticism and doubt expressed over the team’s upcoming console is certainly understandable. However, it is worth noting that Sega has put a leash on the project, which means the same mistakes committed by previous licensing attempts are very unlikely to be repeated.

Throw into the mix the combined talents of software developer M2 – who worked on the Sega Ages and Sega 3D Classics series – and renowned music composer Yuzo Koshiro, and its promise is evident. It’s difficult to know for sure if the console will become a commercial success or failure, but that shouldn’t stop retro gaming fans from forking out their money.

For those who are sitting on the fence, here’s a quick lowdown of what the package entails, so that you’ll (hopefully) be able to reach a decision.

Genesis Mini (US/SG/MY/ID/PH/TH) / Mega Drive Mini (EU/UK)

Slated for release in US, Europe and Asia, the Western version of the Sega Genesis (US/SG/MY/ID/PH/TH) / Mega Drive (EU/UK) Mini package is set to include the console, two classic kidney-shaped three-button controllers, a power cable, USB power adapter (except Asia), and HDMI cable. A total of 42 titles is expected to be in the game library, with the full list as follows:

  1. Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (region exclusive)
  2. Altered Beast (region exclusive)
  3. Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (region exclusive)
  4. Earthworm Jim (region exclusive)
  5. Ecco the Dolphin (region exclusive)
  6. Eternal Champions (region exclusive)
  7. Kid Chameleon (region exclusive)
  8. Light Crusader (region exclusive)
  9. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master (region exclusive)
  10. Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball (region exclusive)
  11. ToeJam & Earl (region exclusive)
  12. Vectorman (region exclusive)
  13. Virtua Fighter 2 (region exclusive)
  14. Alisia Dragoon
  15. Beyond Oasis (The Story of Thor: A Successor of the Light)
  16. Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
  17. Castlevania: Bloodlines
  18. Comix Zone
  19. Columns
  20. Contra: Hard Corps
  21. Darius
  22. Dynamite Headdy
  23. Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
  24. Golden Axe
  25. Gunstar Heroes
  26. Landstalker
  27. Mega Man: The Wily Wars
  28. Monster World IV
  29. Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
  30. Road Rash II
  31. Shining Force
  32. Sonic the Hedgehog
  33. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  34. Space Harrier II
  35. Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition
  36. Streets of Rage 2
  37. Strider
  38. Super Fantasy Zone
  39. Tetris (a rare find!)
  40. Thunder Force III
  41. Wonder Boy in Monster World
  42. World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck

Should the above collection be enough reason to pre-order, interested parties may head over to Amazon (US$79.99) to reserve a copy. Meanwhile, UK-based gamers can get their retro fix over at GAME (£69.99). Singapore retailer Qisahn has also started pre-orders for the Sega Genesis Mini at just S$115 (US$85).

Mega Drive Mini – Japanese Version

True aficionados will settle for nothing less than an almost-identical import replication of the good old days. The Japanese version of the plug-and-play console swaps out the three-button controllers found in its Western counterpart for a six-button one, and comes with a decent spread of rare and well-known games. The complete line-up can be found here:

  1. Dyna Brothers 2 (region exclusive)
  2. Lord Monarch (region exclusive)
  3. Madou Monogatari I (region exclusive)
  4. Party Quiz Mega Q (region exclusive)
  5. Rent A Hero (region exclusive)
  6. The Hybrid Front (region exclusive)
  7. Yu Yu Hakusho Makyo Toitsusen (region exclusive)
  8. Assault Suits Leynos (JP and Asia only)
  9. Game no Kanzume Otokoyou – a Japan-only Sega Channel compilation featuring the following twelve games: 16t, Flicky, Putter Golf, Hyper Marbles, Shi no Meikyuu, Medal City, Paddle Fighter, Ikasuze! Koi no Doki Doki, Penguin Land MD, Pyramid Magic, Robot Battler, Teddy Boy Blues and Aworg (JP and Asia only)
  10. Langrisser II (JP and Asia only)
  11. MUSHA Aleste (JP and Asia only)
  12. Wrestleball (Powerball) (JP and Asia only)
  13. Puyo Puyo 2 (JP and Asia only)
  14. Puzzle & Action: Tant-R (JP and Asia only)
  15. Slap Fight MD (JP and Asia only)
  16. Snow Bros. (JP and Asia only)
  17. The Revenge of Shinobi (The Super Shinobi) (JP and Asia only)
  18. Alisia Dragoon
  19. Beyond Oasis (The Story of Thor: A Successor of the Light)
  20. Castlevania Bloodlines (Vampire Killer)
  21. Comix Zone
  22. Columns
  23. Contra: Hard Corps
  24. Darius
  25. Dynamite Headdy
  26. Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (Daimakaimura)
  27. Golden Axe
  28. Gunstar Heroes
  29. Landstalker
  30. Mega Man: The Wily Wars (Rockman: Mega World)
  31. Monster World IV
  32. Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
  33. Road Rash II
  34. Shining Force
  35. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  36. Space Harrier II
  37. Street Fighter II Dash Plus: Champion Edition
  38. Streets of Rage II (Bare Knuckle II)
  39. Super Fantasy Zone
  40. Tetris
  41. Thunder Force III
  42. World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck

Pre-orders for the console are available solely on Play-Asia, but do take note that there are two different variants – the Mega Drive Mini W (US$104.99), and the Mega Drive Mini (US$84.99). What’s the difference you ask? The “W” version apparently comes with two control pads, while the other cheaper alternative comes with only one control pad.

Mega Drive Mini (HK/TW/KR) – Asia Version

Primed for launch in Asian regions outside of Japan, there will be “Asian” versions of the mini console. One thing to note is, the Asian consoles will not come with a USB power adaptor.

Sega Mega Drive Mini (Asia)

The Asian console iteration, will enjoy the same stable of games with a healthy mixture of titles from both the Japanese and Western mini consoles, alongside five regional exclusives – as listed in its full game library below:

  1. Alien Soldier (region exclusive)
  2. Puyo Puyo (region exclusive)
  3. Out Run 2019 (region exclusive)
  4. Shining Force II (region exclusive)
  5. Sword of Vermilion (region exclusive)
  6. Alisia Dragoon
  7. Assault Suits Leynos
  8. Beyond Oasis (The Story of Thor: A Successor of the Light)
  9. Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
  10. Castlevania: Bloodlines
  11. Comix Zone
  12. Columns
  13. Contra: Hard Corps
  14. Daimakaimura (Ghouls ‘n Ghosts)
  15. Darius
  16. Game no Kanzume Otokoyou
  17. Golden Axe
  18. Gunstar Heroes
  19. Landstalker
  20. Langrisser II
  21. Mega Man: The Wily Wars (Rockman: Mega World)
  22. Monster World IV
  23. Musha Aleste
  24. Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
  25. Puyo Puyo 2
  26. Puzzle & Action: Tant-R
  27. Road Rash II
  28. Shining Force
  29. Slap Fight MD
  30. Snow Bros.
  31. Sonic the Hedgehog
  32. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  33. Space Harrier II
  34. Streets of Rage II (Bare Knuckle II)
  35. Strider
  36. Super Fantasy Zone
  37. Tetris
  38. The Super Shinobi (The Revenge of Shinobi)
  39. Thunder Force III
  40. Wonder Boy in Monster World
  41. World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck
  42. Wrestleball (Powerball)

While the Asia version does not boast as many exclusives as its other two siblings, the addition of Shining Force II and Alien Soldier does help to increase the overall appeal factor. Interested enthusiasts may head over to Play-Asia to place their orders for the Sega Genesis Mini (Asia) or Sega Mega Drive Mini (Asia), where the console is priced at US$84.99.

Having compiled all versions of the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Mini, it appears retro gaming fans have plenty to look forward to. Naturally, the final decision will be based on one’s individual preference and personal favourites – and SEGA sure looks set on delivering an enjoyable, memorable experience. Considering the relative success of Nintendo’s Mini Classic consoles, we’re expecting the sales for SEGA’s consoles to take off and end on a successful note as well – old is gold, after all.

If you want to go all out with the nostalgia trip, there’s even an option to upgrade your Sega Mini console with the “Sega Tower of Power” accessory.