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The analog Mega Sg answers why someone would pay $ 190 for a new Sega Genesis

  The Analogue Mega Sg contains none of this. But if you can bring your own games and controllers for the blast processing party, you have a very, very good time.
Enlarge / The Analogue Mega Sg contains none of this. But if you can bring your own games and controllers to your blast processing party, you have a very, very good time.

Sam Machkovech

To start a conversation about the Analogue Mega Sg – a new one, $ 190 Take the original Sega Genesis (born Mega Drive in Europe and Japan), which is available for "preorder" but already started shipping – let's identify a few classic players. This impressive device is simply not for everyone.

Are you a classic Sega fanatic – like the SG-1000, Master System, Genesis, Game Gear and the Sega CD? This is the area that covers this classic gaming box.

Are you the Sega Genesis freak who keeps the gospel of pure, original gameplay as opposed to imitation? The analog Mega Sg has you covered. It delivers the most authentic genesis images, colors, control and sound I've ever seen over an HDMI connection.

Are you already the proud owner of a stack of classic Sega games in their original cartridge shape? Do you just want a way to get their untouched, lag-free action on a modern screen? The Analogue Mega Sg is also for you, because unlike a "classic" Nintendo console – or the disappointing miniature AT Games Genesis – this new hardware does not have a dozen powerful classic library hits preinstalled.

And finally, do you have old controllers sitting in a closet somewhere? The Mega Sg gives you bonus points if you have old Genesis controllers, because the starting price of $ 190 includes zero gamepads.

I start with this list, not to say anyone, but to make it clear that Analogue is a unique kind of retro gaming company. The Mega Sg is the company's third "FPGA" (Field Programmable Gate Array) product, enabling near-perfect replication of an old gaming console experience. This is tailored to the HDMI video standard (scaling up to 1080p resolution, 60 frames per second).

Once again, Analogue has shipped an FPGA motherboard designed to replicate hardware that is no longer manufactured. We've talked extensively about this topic in the past, but let's briefly summarize: An FPGA board simulates the exact speeds and processes of the original hardware rather than emulating old software on newer chipsets. And Analogue does so as an independent console producer despite official support from any console manufacturer of the 80's and 90's.

Therefore, Analogue does not sign any license agreements for your favorite games (or strangely selective ones) "Why is my favorite game missing?". The company does not contract with Sega to produce accurate replicas of old controls. No USB ports are added to support modern controllers or add-ons. When you buy an analog mega-sg, you begin with the basic expectation of a "pure" Sega Genesis experience.

However, when you reach the mega-sg with expectations, almost everything is added to the classic Sega. The experience feels like a bright red, the echidna-shaped cherry on top.

A mega-good time, by default

If you just want to set the Analogue Mega Sg to play old Genesis games, that's easy enough. Connect a power source via micro USB. Connect a screen via HDMI. Insert a cartridge and a controller. Press the on / off switch. The simple, clear design of the hardware makes this clear. The prettier elements include smooth, curved edges and a circle-on motif. The Genesis, however, was always characterized by its bulbous, "aggro" design in the early nineties, and I would have liked more shine, vaulting or Einstellhinweise.

I still think the device looks cool – especially with a cartridge in the top. But I feel like the relatively simple shape and the plain, matte finish that makes the system look a bit too much like the Analogue Super Nt.

After a short startup screen with the Analogue logo you can choose Launch your cartridge, go to a settings menu or play a pre-installed game (we'll talk about it). By default, Mega Sg renders old Genesis and Mega Drive games in a 4: 3 ratio (not all the way up to the top and bottom of a 1080p screen) in a 4: 3 ratio.

(If you're curious, this is a Region-free system so that each cassette will work from any nation, plus games are automatically detected, no option changes are required.)

By default, the Mega Sg provides many of the foundations you would hope for in a $ 190 Sega Genesis. The colors are bright, bold and authentic – nothing is blown, nothing is washed out. Sprites make it crisp instead of being bathed in filters. Music and sound effects are absolutely faithful – every analog sound and peculiarity of the original Yamaha sound chip is translated so sharply that Genesis Diehards may shy away from shimmering. These are not distorted sound effects. They are exactly the opposite.

But Analogue assumes that you do not pay $ 190 to agree on the default settings. And there are a lot of settings that can be crossed out.

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