STOP being excited for the mini Sega Genesis and portable systems
Plug and Play technology was all the rage in early 2000s fitting any retro game they could find and license on a creatively shaped piece of plastic, a circuit board, and some AV cables and power supply. Anything from Pac-Man, to Madden, to even entire collections of retro games have been produced in the past. The Sega Genesis is no stranger to these products, as they have been licensing their games in various formats including Plug and Play devices for years. Somewhere down the line, Sega hired ATGames to produce their Sega Genesis plug and play and portable devices. Eventually, models were produced that included a cartridge slot where users could plug in their existing Sega Genesis cartridges and play just like they used to in the 1990s. To the average consumer, this is a great alternative to tracking down a working original system and all of their individual cartridges they would want to play. Most people want to play very popular games like Mortal Kombat II and Sonic the Hedgehog, and this works great for them in a casual setting. ATGames has been doing this for years, and these devices have recently gained traction ever since the Mini Nintendo NES was announced.
But here is the thing, inside these ATGames Sega Genesis devices is a cheaply made emulation on a card with flash memory to store the games. It's shoddy at best, leading to incompatibilities, poor sound and performance issues. Don't believe me? See for yourself with a game that almost all of us are familiar with, the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Here is Sonic as we know it emulated correctly or played on an official Sega Genesis Console:
Now, here is the ATGames plug and play version:
It's pretty obvious which is better, the sound alone gives it away. It makes the games sound tinny and cheap, something that the Sega Genesis arguably did BETTER than the Super Nintendo. Can you imagine if the ATGames version was put out in competition with Super Mario World back in the nineties!? The cartridge slot has issues as well. Remember awesome games like Phantasy Star II with a battery backup to save your game? Forget about it, there is no way to save your games on these systems. Users report input lag making some games even more difficult to control, and scaling on modern TVs distorting the graphics. The other main issue I have is the marketing. ATGames has been claiming that it boasts over 80 games to play! Just on quantity alone that should make it worth the price right? However what they don't tell you is that only 43 games are actual Sega Genesis games, and the rest are cheap flash games with names like "Bulls and Cows" and who doesn't remember the classic Sega smash hit "Mr Balls" (I can't make this stuff up.)
Honestly, if you are wanting a true Sega Genesis experience, spend the extra dollars and pick out a clean working Sega Genesis unit from your local video game shop (Not Gamestop.) or pick one up online off of eBay. Most of the time you can get great lots that include many of your favorite cartridges and multiple controllers. The ATGames versions are cheaply made and are strictly produced as impulse items in department stores, and even places you would think that have nothing to do with video games like Bed Bath and Beyond. Hopefully the mini NES does not follow this cheaply made trend and brings a quality retro gaming experience this holiday season.