I grew up a Sega kid. When I had appendicitis during summer camp, I came home and my dad bought me a Sega Master System with SegaScope 3D glasses and 3D Zaxxon. It was all Sega from there on in: the Master System, Genesis, Saturn and Dreamcast. Even -- yes -- the Game Gear, 32X and Sega CD.
That's why I was immediately drawn to the Sega Genesis Flashback, the upcoming $80 retro console that bundles 85 old Sega games with two wireless controllers, HDMI video output and save game slots.
Along with the updated Atari Flashback, the Genesis unit is one of the latest offerings from AtGames, which has been churning out these sort of retro mini consoles for more than a decade -- long before Nintendo jumped on the hardware nostalgia train with last year's NES Classic and the upcoming Super NES Classic.
Why I'm excited
I haven't yet had a chance to see or try the Genesis Flashback in person. But as a longtime childhood Sega fanboy, here's what I like about the specs:
Game selection: The Flashback includes 85 games. Some of those games are random, not-really-Genesis shovelware. Others are Sega Master System or Game Gear titles, thrown into the mix. Sadly, it doesn't include the game called Flashback, a fantastic title from Delphine (which also made Another World). Still, there are still plenty of classic Sega Genesis picks in the bunch: Altered Beast (meh), Golden Axe, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Phantasy Star 2 and 3, Comix Zone, the Shining Force games and Shinobi III.
HDMI video and save game slots: Earlier AtGames retro consoles were limited to composite video and often monaural audio output. The Flashback takes a page from Nintendo's book and adds 720p HDMI output and built-in game saves. That makes for easy single cable connection to modern TVs, as well as a much more forgiving approach to gameplay. (These old-school games are far more difficult than their modern equivalents.)
Wireless controllers: Nintendo stuck with wired gamepads for the NES and SNES Classic. AtGames includes two wireless controllers with the Genesis Flashback.
Cartridge support: The Genesis Flashback also supports original Genesis cartridges. If that actually works, then this could double as an HDMI-equipped way to play old games, maybe like a less expensive Analogue NT Mini.