30 Games I'd Pick For A Genesis Mini

With the reveal of an upcoming Sega Mini-Mega Drive (Genesis), I thought I'd try my hand at deciding on which games would be included, if it were up to me. Never mind the fact that AT Games is the company responsible for developing the plug 'n play console, which by the way is the worst kind of news a Sega fan could hear, based on the level of quality they have become associated with.
This exercise is purely for fun. I'll try to be realistic as far as expired licenses, and take the perspective of what Sega would like their legacy to be. As far as number, I think around 30 is fair.

Beat'em ups:
When you look back at gaming in the nineties, couch co-op was king. That meant beat'em ups were a staple for sleepovers and family gatherings. Sega had two of the best franchises in the genre in Golden Axe and Streets of Rage. I wold have included all three entries for each, but the constraint of thirty games necessitates that only the best appear. Hyperstone Heist is derided by Nintendo fans as a port of Turtles in Time, but that would be an injustice; it has its own nuances, longer levels, and just feels right on the Genesis. Splatterhouse 3 is more than just a brawler; you need to strategize and make the right decisions to get through the game as the time pressure gets intense.

Grand papa! I mean grand upper! (I think)
  1. Streets of Rage 2
  2. TMNT Hyperstone Heist
  3. Golden Axe
  4. Golden Axe 2
  5. Splatterhouse 3
Platformers were perfected in the '90's and Sega's flagship franchise, Sonic, carried it out of obscurity and helped overtake Nintendo (for a brief period) in market share. Rocket Knight Adventures is a unique take on platforming, bringing in the rocket pack mechanic for super fast bursts and platforming challenges designed for it. Castle of Illusion is an early Genesis title, and a masterfully crafted game that has deliberate pacing with spot-on control. Moonwalker would be a great addition, but it is another game restricted by licensing.

These pigs are always so scared

  1. Sonic The Hedgehog
  2. Sonic The Hedgehog 2
  3. Sonic The Hedgehog 3
  4. Rocket Knight Adventures
  5. Castle of Illusion
Action Platformers
The Shinobi franchise, to me, defines action platformer. Thr original arcade game was one of my first, and I wished for a port of it on the Genesis, as the Master System and NES ports were not up to snuff. Instead, we got a trilogy of excellent ninja action games that are challenging, addicting, rewarding, and just awesome to behold. Ninja magic is the equivalent of a shoot'em ups' screen clearing bomb; every game should have one. Bloodlines is one of the few non-Nintendo Castlevania offerings, and truly pushes the Genesis to its litmits. Ghouls 'n Ghosts is an exemplary conversion of the arcade, as is Strider. I love the support that Capcom game to Sega.

Hold still...
  1. Revenge of Shinobi
  2. Shadow Dancer
  3. Shinobi 3
  4. Castlevania Bloodlines
  5. Ghouls 'n Ghosts
  6. Strider
Run 'n Gun
To me, the genre of run'n gun games didn't exist until Contra. The concept of platforming while streaming hundreds of bullets is one that garnered the attention of hard core gamers, as the intensity was often too difficult for the undedicated. True to its name, Contra Hard Corp is ridiculously difficult at first (aren't all Contra games?). Play it over and over repeatedly, and you will gradually learn the stages well enough to not die right away. What's odd is that in the Japanese version you have a three-hit life bar, greatly easing the difficulty. There were some odd regional decisions back in the day, and this was a part of Japan's anti game-renting stance. The logic was that if a game was to easy, Americans would not buy it after renting it and beating it.
Treasre's Gunstar Heroes is the other top dog in the genre on the Genesis, with just as much frenetic action and explosions its easy to see why. It is more forgiving than Hard Corps, as it has a life meter. The game speed is very similar as well, and that may be attributed to Treasure's employees being ex-Konami programers. Mercs is an excellent Capcom home conversion, with added features over the arcade. Rambo III is an underrated title, but I think there would be licensing fees here.

I play the Japanese version with a life bar since I'm not so Hard Corps.

  1. Contra Hard Corps
  2. Gunstar Heroes
  3. Mercs

Shoot'em up
This is where I really had to restrain myself. With shoot' em ups being my favorite genre, and the Genesis being one of my favorite consoles, I could have littered the list with far more entries, but in the spirit of anticipating what is a likely lineup, I had to pare this section down.  I also love Gleylancer, but that was a Japan only release and largely unknown. Fire Shark is another favorite, but not as poplular in general. Including Musha would help sell lots of units as the game itself is one the most expensive Genesis games out there. Thunder Force III and IV are no brainers.

This boss is what the Genesis could like like on all games, when properly programmed
  1. Thunder Force III
  2. Thunder Force IV
  3. Musha
  4. Gaiares
The Genesis was not endowed with the plethora of RPGs that the SNES had, and I'm not by any means an expert on the genre, but I remember Phantasy Star 2 being really good, especially when compared to the original on the Master System. I hear lots of good things about the Shining series, but I have no direct experience with them. Some of these could arguably be replaced by a different RPG, and I'll say that whichever ones get chosen, there will probably only be three.
  1. Phantasy Star 2
  2. some other RPG
  3. some other RPG
The genre that helped gamers shed the kiddie aesthetics of video games, multiplayer sports games help sell Genesis consoles. Sports fans who were not necessarily gamers were eager to play Electronic Arts' sports lineup, that was just as robust then as they are now. I thought a Madden game should belong on the list, but that would require licensing fees, so its more likely that Sega includes a game from their own football franchise, the Joe Montana Football series. NHL '94 is a worthy licensing fee, as it was one of the most played games in the dorms. NBA Jam is the arcade sports title that has broad appeal and everyone remembers.

  1. NHL '94
  2. Joe Montana Football
  3. NBA Jam T.E.

This list was very difficult to make. Keeping the numbers down to 30 involved a lot of bloodletting that went against what I personally preferred, and what was a list more likely to cater to the masses. If I didn't care what was likely then this would have been nearly all shoot'em ups, beat'em ups, and action platformers. As my freshmen year English teacher told me: " variety is the spice of life", hence the potpourri of included genres.

An Additional ten game to include, if we stretch the game limit to 40:

Street Fighter II Champion Edition
Virtua Racing
Mortal Kombat II
Road Rash II
Out Run
Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
Captain America and the Avengers
Tecmo Super Bowl
Raiden Trad

To round out the package, the system should come packed with two controllers. 32X and Sega CD add-ons are not part of the picture here. The Genesis was a fantastic system with devoted fans, and this kind of revival is what Sega fans have been waiting for. Let's just hope AT Games ups their game, seeing the standard that the NES classic has set.

So what do you think? Any major omissions? What definitely should be on an officially licensed Sega Genesis Mini?

1 comment:

  1. I'd really enjoy a mini with your list, but I'd ditch the sports games. Instead I'd add Chaos Engine, Comix Zone and Toejam and Earl.

    If you forced me to have a sports section I'd put in Speedball 2