Review: The Sega Genesis Mini

September 19th finally arrived and the Genesis Mini was released to much anticipation. In what is now a trend, the mini consoles of yesterday's technology are popular due to their strong nostalgia, and the fact that the kids who grew up with the original consoles are now gainfully employed with disposable incomes. Nintendo, Neo Geo, and Sony have entered the mini console market in recent years.
Prior to this release, Sega had licensed their back catalog to At Games, who have been making plug 'n play consoles for years. The difference is, those At Games systems were meant to be budget priced, end-cap fodder. The quality of the emulation and gameplay were less than good, and so they remained budget items. This recent release is Sega's effort in earnest, at producing a mini console that matches up to the standard set by the NES Classic Edition.

The controller is just as big as the console itself

First impressions of the hardware itself are strong. The detailing of the console, its nooks and crannies, movable switches, and controller are spot on. The power switch and reset button are functional. The cartridge flap opens, but it is purely aestheitc; there's no circuitry, and same for the cd expansion slot underneath. Still, the fact that Sega actually went ahead and added these accouterments shows the love that went into making this.

Upon powering on the unit, you are first asked to select a language, which can be toggled back and forth later as well. The menu screen pops up, and the 42 games available are selectable by a slightly twitch bracket icon. Games can be sorted by name, release date, genre, and number of players. The menu music is a seamless medley of melodies and motifs from the included games, arranged by the most famous of Sega Genesis composers, Yuzo Koshiro.

The gameplay emulation was programmed by industry-leader M2, and this is exactly what hardcore followers wanted to hear. Had Sega produced this console with At Games, the reception and anticipation would probably have been lukewarm at best. After putting the games through their paces, I think the emulation is fantastic. Nearly everything runs like original hardware, except for a few little issues. On some games, there is a sound effect delay. I did not notice this myself, it was pointed out in some YouTube videos. Also, a few games have slightly different video resolution that result in a shimmering effect as the screen scrolls. 

The transparency of the lighting in the bar stage in Streets of Rage 2 is not the same
The Genesis, like all retro systems, had certain tricks to pull off more impressive graphical feats back in the day. An example is the expansion of the color palate by altering the shades of brightness for each color. Another is the transparency trick, which is designed with CRT televisions in mind. Since this console outputs 720p HD resolution, the lack of certain tricks is apparent to those who remember them.

Like the mini consoles before it, save states are available, which actually improves the experience of some older games that take way too long to complete in a single sitting (Kid Chameleon, for example). To save, just hold the start button for 5 seconds and select a slot.

The Japanese Mega Drive game select screen
Another perk is the ability to play the rom from a different region. When selecting the language from the settings screen, you are also selecting the region for the game rom. While this seems superficial, it actually can change the gameplay experience. For example, the Japanese rom for Contra Hard Corps is a lot easier than the domestic version, since the Japanese rom allows three hit points per life, instead of instant one-hit kills.

Those boxes underneath shot type represent hit points you can take before dying
As far as Game selection, 42 games are included. Two of the games, Tetris and Darius, never saw release on any version of the Genesis. Tetris was Sega's arcade version, and Darius was ported from the ground up, based on Taito's arcade. Mega Man: The Wily Wars was available in North America only on the Sega Channel, which was a game download service in the 90's. Monster World IV was also unavailable in the west. The additions are great, and offer something new to longtime collectors.

The included retail games are generally good, with some standouts like Castlevania Bloodlines, Contra Hard Corps, Shinobi III, Streets of Rage 2, and Thunder Force III. There are expected games, which are found on nearly every Sega game compilation: Sonic The Hedgehog, Golden Axe, Vectorman, Columns, Altered Beast, etc. There are also missed opportunities. I was really hoping for MUSHA. Revenge of Shinobi, Thunder Force IV, Raiden Trad, and Gaiares. I understand that licensing fees can become prohibitive, but Sega owns the Thunder Force and Shinobi franchises. Instead we got clunkers like Alex Kidd, Eternal Champions, Virtua Fighter 2, Space Harrier II, and Sonic Spinball. In some way, including these marginal games dilutes the experience. Its true that you can't please everyone, but come on. At lease load up on your own best franchises and add the rest of the Streets of Rage, Phantasy Star, Golden Axe, and Thunder Force games.

Game selection aside, bonus points are earned by being compatible with RetroBit's excellent 6 button pad (officially licensed by Sega). It makes Street Fighter 2 Champion Edition playable. I know that many people are disappointed that the domestic release of the Genesis Mini does not come with the 6 button pads, and the Asian releases do, but keep in mind that the Asian 6 button pads are smaller, and different than the ones we are used to. I find Retrobit's offering to be excellent.

Overall, the Genesis Mini is great. It is just as good if not a tad better than the SNES Classic, in my opinion. It's perfect for those who want a simple way to play the classic Genesis games of yesteryear. Hardcore fans will still like it for its attention to detail. Get one while you can.

1989 and 2019

Top Ten Genesis Two-Player Cooperative Games

The Sega Genesis mini is due to come out in a few weeks, and I can't wait to see one of my favorite console replicated in miniature form. I love that it is coming with two controllers, so we can hit the couch co-op right away. In the spirit of the event, I thought I'd conjure up my top ten Genesis co-op games.

Contra Hard Corps
This game is chock full of explosions

The only Contra offering on the Genesis is also one of the most hectic and difficult. The graphic design, the music, and the frame rate are all examples of the hardware's capabilities at its best, and it is a console exclusive. There are four different protagonists to choose from, each with unique weapons and abilities. New to the series are branching paths, building in more replay value, as if the character-building difficulty didn't already do that. Grab a player two, because the you'll need all the help you can get. This would have been rated higher, if not for its crushing difficulty. Incidentally, the Japanese import version of the game gives three hit points per life, greatly reducing the frustration and making the game tremendously easier.

Forgotten Worlds
Wearing jetpacks means its too hot to wear shirts

An early Capcom arcade conversion, Forgotten Worlds is a shoot' em up of the flying humanoid variety. The two players operate similarly despite being different colors. You rotate your player to shoot in all directions, and flay all over with a jet pack. Defeated enemies drop currency which can be used to purchase power ups in the shops that sporadically appear, ala Fantasy Zone. Weapon upgrades are a must, as well as body armor and life-restoring elixirs (you have hit points instead of lives). The difficulty is high, but manageable once you remember the enemy patterns. Also, the voice acting is incredible*.

Captain America and the Avengers

Pick between Captain America, The Vision, Iron Man, and Hawkeye and take on The Mandarin and his cronies in this wild quarter-munching beat'em up. Each player has their own dedicated moves, like Iron Man's repulsor beam, Cap's shield throw, Hawkeye's arrows, and Vision's laser beam. As cool as those sound, they are nominal in effectiveness, and you may just end up mashing away at the attack button. There is some stage variety in the flying shoot'em up stages, which is unusual for a beat'em up. It's a difficult, but manageable game, made easier with help from a friend. The voice sample clips are bad in a good way. The Genesis port is much more agreeable than the nearly impossible SNES port.

The Punisher

An edgy beat' em up, play as either the Punisher or Nick Fury and you punch and blast your way through an urban war zone. Anyone who has read the Punisher comics knows that he doles most of his punishment from the barrel of a gun. Even though the gameplay is mostly fisticuffs, there are plenty of opportunities to pick up guns and blast away. The arcade versions is better, as to be expected, but the Genesis rendition is no slouch.

Sunset Riders

This western-themed run'n gun evokes the ethos of Contra, and as such, is just as fun. Ported from the arcade, it is often compared against its counterpart on the SNES. You have the choice of two players, which carry different weapons (single shooter vs. shotgun). The action is quick, and boss fights are challenging, but not so challenging as Hard Corps. The game boasts plenty of humor, a great soundtrack, and great control. It's definitely one of the most fun co-op games for the Genesis.

Gunstar Heroes

One of the most heralded games on the Genesis needs no introduction. Game developer Treasure's first outing is arguably their finest. The level of on-screen action is on par with Contra Hard Corps, as explosions, enemy sprites, and bullets litter the screen. The humor embedded in enemy behavior is palpable. You have a life meter, which is pretty forgiving, and thus easier for newcomers to pick up and play. You can throw your partner across the screen to wipe out enemies, without taking damage. The weapons can be combined for a myriad of options, and your firing stance can be set to fixed-in-place or free moving. Also, it's loaded with charm. It's simply one of the best games for the system, let alone for two-player.

Gain Ground

A surprise entry on this list, Gain Ground is very much under the radar when it comes to Sega classics. Originally an arcade game, it was ported very faithfully to the Genesis. Part a run'n gun game, part strategy, this game requires on the fly decision making as well as quick reflexes. The story is absurd, essentially you need to get from point A to point B on a single screen. The sheer variety in this game is immense, from the available protagonists, weapon types, enemies, stage designs, and bosses. Co-op play brings the fun factor to new levels as the two of you try to figure out how to accomplish the seemingly simple task of crossing the screen.

Golden Axe

When Sega observed the success the Double Dragon was having in the arcades, they wanted their own brawler that people lined up to play. Changing the theme and setting so as to not appear as a direct copy, they produced Golden Axe, which I feel is the superior game. Character inspirations are clearly drawn from the Conan the Barbarian franchise. At the time there was no other game like it. Kleptomaniac dwarves, rideable beasts, magic spells, dash attacks, and a fantastic soundtrack are all part of the package.

TMNT Hyperstone Heist
TMNT Hyperstone heist is often overlooked relative to its SNES rival, TMNT IV: Turtles in Time. It's true the games are very similar, but the Genesis outing has enough differences to make it less a port and more its own game. It sports some of the best hit detection and pacing on the system. The voice samples do suffer a bit, but that's the only issue I find with the game. Grab some pizza and get ready to kick some shell.

Streets of Rage 2
What Final Fight? The premier first-party series on the Genesis peaked with this second entry. SOR2 offers variety in four selectable characters, each with strengths and weaknesses. Attack combos are now present that increase the satisfaction in dispatching thugs. The gameplay is balanced and fair, and the time flies when playing with a partner. The soundtrack is perhaps one of if not the best on the Genesis. This is a shining example of what can be done with the Genesis sound chip if programmed by the right people. If you have never played this game, you don't know what the Genesis is capable of.

So all in, the best two-player co-op games seem to fall into the vein of beat'em ups and run'n gun games, in my opinion. There are a bevy of sports titles that I left out, as those are primarily versus games, with head to head gameplay. I was surprised when I realized that although the Genesis is known for its quality shoot'em ups, almost all of the good ones are single player only! I'm sure I left off a bunch that others would argue belong on this list, but hey, it's my list.

In conclusion, if you like playing couch co-op, check these out. You won't be disappointed.

Blast-16 (the almost front end for Sega's forthcoming Genesis/Mega Drive Mini)

Ever since Sega announced their plans for a Genesis/Mega Drive Mini, fans have been eagerly anticipating its arrival. I posted about what games I would have included here. The unit was originally to be developed by notorious retro-butcherers At Games, a decision that received universal derision. Hearing how the fans reacted, Sega immediately reversed course and fired At Games. To our immense joy, it was later confirmed that renowned retro masterminds M2 would handle the port duties. With that great news, we just have to wait to see how it all comes together on September 19th.

The final list of all 42 games to be included was released, and naturally, you can't please everybody, myself included. I am particularly disappointed in the exclusion of MUSHA, Thunder Force IV,  and Revenge of Shinobi on the North American version. There are also some questionable inclusions, like Virtua Fighter 2, Space Harrier 2, and Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle. We normally assume these mini consoles will be hacked in time, and the ability to add more games is inevitable. This was the case with all of the mini consoles that came before. Something about this one feels different, as I have very high regard for the skill set of the programmers at M2, and I'm not so sure their work will be as simple to crack open. Maybe I'm wrong, time will tell.

32X and Sega CD games are playable

Recently is was discovered that an independent developer has created a frontend for the Raspberry Pi in the spirit of the Genesis mini, called "Blast 16". Rumor has it that it was submitted to Sega, and they really loved it, however due to time constraints they had to turn it down as their own production was was nearing completion. Whatever the case may be, it's presentation, menu, and simplicity channel Nintendo's interfaces on their recent classic consoles, which is a good thing. The average user is not a hardened emulation expert, so a simple, intuitive interface is welcome.

This image allows for playing games for Genesis/Mega Drive, Sega CD, 32X, Master System, and Game Gear. This is clearly a Sega-centric concept, as Nintendo already has a stellar Mini-lineup.

For those who want to try their hand at creating their own Genesis mini, this is perhaps the simplest Raspberry Pi install that I have ever seen. The website had the image available for download, as well as other extras like a thorough instruction manual, boxart and downloads. Really, its an easy install, just follow the instructions.

To help make the experience match the spirit of a Sega Genesis, the Retroflag MegaPi case is a perfect match to house your Raspberry Pi, so much so that the author of the program included their script for the safe shutdown and reset buttons on the case. Other accoutrements are the officially branded Retrobit USB Sega Genesis controllers. These are identical in build quality to Sega's original controllers, and updated with extra buttons for increased compatibility.

I have an original model-1 Sega Genesis, with RGB scart cable through an OSSC, Mega Everdrive X7, as well as Analogue's Mega SG. Even with having those superior options, there is a one primary reason why this Blast-16 build appeals to me: Visual save states. I absolutely love the ability to save a game at any point, and return to the game later and see a snapshot of where I was in the game. To me, it is the supreme convenience.

Four save slots are available per game 

Other features of note include customizable emulation settings, regions settings, the ability to delete games from the menu, and much more. I know that Retropie offers options by the truck load, but they can be somewhat nonintuitive to access for most. I find Blast-16 to have the perfect balance of options and simplicity.

The gameplay is emulation standard, with the option of Genesis Plus GX or Picodrive as provided cores. These of course allow for 32X and Sega CD gameplay, further adding to the appeal. The 32X ports of After Burner II and Space Harrier are arcade perfect, in my opinion, and must adds.

As far as emulation settings go, I recommend the integer scaling turned on, as it will prevent the "shimmering" of graphics when the screen scrolls, providing cleaner visuals. This is more noticeable is some games compared to others, but it generally looks better with the integer scale turned on. Autoload will have you pick up right where you left off when you select a game. The TV filter softens the picture to represent an old CRT. I personally am a fan of scanlines, so I have mine turned on.

This build is so aesthetically appealing, designed with the Genesis grid pattern, black and white color base, and snappy music to boot. I would be perfectly happy to have this as the official Genesis mini front end, but it wasn't meant to be I guess. Now it can be your unofficial front end for your Raspberry Pi. I highly recommend giving it a try, and building your own customized Genesis mini.

Complete Rom Sets? Or Hand-Picked Favorites?

When it comes to emulation, there are a multitude of platforms to choose from. You can emulate on PCs, broad band devices like the Nvidia shield, single board computers like the Raspberry Pi and Odroid, min-consoles like the NES Classic...the list goes on. One of the first thing someone does once they decide to emulate is to seek out the roms for games. These have been made available online for years for every platform. Not only can you find almost any game you are looking for, you can download complete sets of roms. It is crazy to think of how far gaming has come in the past 30 years. If you told 10-year old me that I could play every single NES game ever made, I would have flipped out. This would be anyone's reaction who grew up in an era where video games only came at birthdays and holidays.

As a kid I remember spending summer days on end, mapping out Brinstar in Metroid (only to find that I messed up my map and had to start over), replaying Punch-Out!! to learn the nuances and tells of each boxer, and replaying Contra over and over again, to the point where I no longer needed the Konami code. With few games and seemingly infinite time, we were up to the NES challenge.
Fast forward to today, and now we are adults with responsibilities and families. For people like you and me, who still have interest in retro games, finding time for a hobby among life activities is a challenge. When time does present itself, it comes is swaths of 45 minutes to an hour. There is not enough time to take on the challenge of longwinded games like RPGs or simlar adventure games.
As a result, I find myself exploring newer games less and less frequently. My instinct is to gravitate to the old classics. They are like comfort food: enjoyable and satisfying, if not flashy.

With retrogaming at peak popularity, there are vendors looking to cash in, selling pre-made emulation solutions on eBay, Etsy, and so on. They will advertise how their setup contains complete sets of every platform, containing thousands of games. This sounds good, because isn't more better? I understand that these will sell because most people are not interested in investing lots of time in learning how to do this; it is worth paying the money to have it readymade.

When I built my first RetroPie image, I loaded it with just the games that I physically owned. As I tinkered more, I started to embellish with more and more roms, eventually using entire romsets. It sounded like a good idea at the time. What happened was I found myself spending more time skipping through pages of games just to get to my same old favorites. There were just too many games to wade through. I knew I wasn't going to play all of them, so what was the point in having them clutter up the game lists? I decided that less was more, and I learned to value quality over quantity, as I did with collecting physical games. Even though it doesn't cost any less to fill an SD card with fewer games, I find it to be a more appealing approach. Its the same idea as a greatest hits list for a certain band. When you want to listen to a band, you have a few songs in mind, you don't want to scroll through their entire catalog. Here's another crude analogy: imagine going to a buffet where there were only 50 items, but you loved every single one. Wouldn't that be a better experience than a buffet with thousands of items?

When I have a longer period of time to play, I prefer to do so on original hardware. Often I will use an Everdrive cartridge if I don't feel like plugging carts in and out. Similar to emulation, entire romsets are the norm with these as well, since they fit on standard SD cards. I decided to make a few extra folders in my root of the Everdrive SD card, that contained only my favorite games, organized by genre. I still have the entire set of roms on the card, they are pushed back in a different folder and I can call them up when I need to try something new, but for 90% of my Everdrive usage, I like to have short lists.
curated genre folders take the frustration out of game finding

It is easy to forget how much shovel-ware there is for each system. Licensed games have a reputation for being terrible, and rightly so. Publishers looking to cash in on a recent movie or toy trend will put out anything, hoping to dupe kids out of their money. These games plague every console. I'd just rather leave them off, and reduce the amount of scrolling and searching when I want to call up a game. Perhaps the worst offender is the Wii. There was a point in time where I'd swear that there were more food item related games on the Wii than there were total games on the N64. This may be hyperbole but you catch my drift.

When Nintendo released their classics line of min consoles, there were people who felt like more games should have been included. After all, 20 or 30 games preloaded doesn't sound like much considering there were hundreds of games released. I think they got it right. A product that contains 30 games, and at least 25 of which are universally admired presents better than a product with hundreds of games, where the average person only knows about 50 or so.

So what do you think? Do you prefer full romsets? Do they bother you like they bother me? Let me know your opinion, and I hope you enjoyed reading this.

Review: Psikyo Shooting Collection Volumes 1 & 2 and Flip Grip

Developer Psikyo is not a household name to gamers, even retro gamers. They mainly produce 2D shoot'em up games like Strikers 1945, Gunbird, Cannon Spike, and Zero Gunner, to name a few. These games are some of my favorites. The company's previous incarnation was Video System Inc., and they produced the Aerofighters series. If you play an Aerofighters game and then play Strikers 1945 you will immediately see the resemblance.

While hard core shoot'em up fans may deride the Psikyo games as too simple, I find them to be perfect. My appreciation for shoot'em ups is a bit different than that of the hardcore shmup fan. I find many modern shoot'em ups to emphasize the sheer number of bullets, resulting in a tapping strategy that is claustrophobic. Old school shooters rely on waves of popcorn enemies, environmental hazards, and lack of weapon power. Psikyo strikes a balance right in the middle. I like the Psikyo games because they are a blend of old school aesthetics with lots of action, minus the blinding clouds of bullets for the sake of having clouds of bullets.

A common trait that Psikyo shooters have is the charge shot, bomb/defense attack, and power up system. Once you pick up a power up, you increases your firepower and gain an option that has its own unique attack. Some fire missiles, some fire lasers, some drop bombs, some home in on enemies, etc. When you hold the shot button, you charge a shot. Every plane/character in these games has a unique charge shot and vary in power. Some are more powerful but take longer to charge, for instance. The bomb attacks all have some defensive aspect, like ascending up into the sky briefly to drop an enormous bomb, or calling in a calvary of support craft that create a defensive barrier for you.  The replay value increases tenfold due to trying out all of the characters and their attack patterns.

Monkey level difficulty is a thing
Another feature that is in all of their home ports is the ability to customize the game settings, such as number of lives, difficulty, etc. This makes the games far more approachable to newcomers (try the monkey setting!) while still offering insane difficulty on the higher settings.

In recent years there has been a resurgence of retro collections for modern consoles. Psikyo decided to get in on the action and release two collections for the Nintendo Switch. Each collection has four games.
Collection 1 features Strikers 1945, Sol Divide, Samurai Aces, and Gunbird.

Collection 2 features: Strikers 1945 II, Tengai (Sengoku Blade), Dragon Blaze, and Gunbird 2.

Each collection is about $35 USD. To be honest I think all eight of these could have been in one collection, but the developers have to eat, right? I would have paid the price of a modern game to get all of the games in one package, and I think everyone in the target audience would do the same.

This is all great, but there's a snag: the games are not released domestically. They can be purchased from It's a reputable online company, I've ordered from them in the past and had no problems, but you are subject to lengthy international shipping times.

The gameplay is pretty faithful to the ports on the Saturn and Playstation. I haven't played the original arcades so I can't comment on those. The accuracy is inherent in the simple gameplay design. The games are simple enough, that there's not too much to screw up. I don't mean simple in a derogatory sense, I'm just commenting on the complexity of the programming. I think this is a shining example of simple is better.

The Flipgrip is a must for those who enjoy shoot'em ups on the Switch

Currently the collection is a Switch exclusive. I would have preferred it on the PS4. There is one fantastic feature that the Switch takes advantage of: Tate mode. Since these were all originally arcade games, they were designed with a tall vertical orientation in mind. This can be experienced to its potential by using a Flipgrip adapter. This fantastic accessory allows you to rotate your Switch screen 90 degrees, and reattach your joycons so that you are in Tate mode, and fully utilizing all of the screen. I don't know if Psikyo knew this was a thing, and kept that in mind when porting the games, but it is a game changer. I have never been much of a fan of hand-held systems, but this is changing my mind.

The only real extras in the standard editions are the gallery modes, which contain cover art, adds, and arcade instruction stickers.

So these collections are intended for shoot'em up fans that own a switch, and are willing to import. Many of these games have been ported to the Saturn, Playstation, and PS2, but primarily in Japan. Some have never been ported to anything at all.

If I have one complaint, its that the Switch had only analog sticks and no directional pad. For 2D games like these, I prefer the precision of digital input over the unnecessary analog input. I looked into the d-pad joycons on the market, but they need to be connected to the Switch directly, as they do not support Bluetooth connectivity. This means I can't use them with the Flipgrip or while hooked up to a TV. Bummer.

Playasia has announced a Shooting Collection Volume 3 to be released this summer, which will contain Strikers 1945 III, Gunbarich, Sengoku Cannon, and Zero Gunner 2. I think this will be the final collection, as that's about the extent of their meaningful catalog (unless you want to delve into mahjong games). I preordered this as soon as I heard about it.

Right as this post is published, I see that Psikyo is reshuffling all 12 (4 from each shooting collection volume) games into two "shooting libraries" that contain 6 games each. This is odd and annoying. Good news for people that did not take the plunge yet, but bad news for people like me who already purchased volumes 1 and 2. That's beside the point, I guess.

All in all, I love the Psikyo Shooting Collections, they're a great way to experience the shooters from this under-the-radar developer. Highly recommended!

My Console Setup 2019

This past year saw a flurry of tweaks and replacing of consoles and switches. Since I had posted about my console setup at the start of 2018 and 2016, I figured I should continue to note the changes. Notable is the increasing presence of optical drive emulators (ODE) and field programmable gate array (FPGA) consoles. Here goes.

Core Grafx II with Super SD System 3 (SSD3)
The Core Grafx was a revised PC-Engine, which included composite video out, which was an upgrade over the original PC-Engine's RF-video output. This is a moot point, as the attached SSD3 unit outputs RGB video. For those of you who don't know what the SSD3 is, here is an overview. The gist of it is that it allows for playing CD-ROM games and Hu-card games from an SD card. This is different from an Everdrive as it allows for the playback of CD-ROMS where Everdrives only play cartridge games.

Playstation 2 with HDD and Free McBoot
The Playstation 2 generation represents one of the largest leaps in technological power that I can remember. The original Playstation, while revolutionary with its 3D rendering, left a lot to be desired in hindsight. The PS2 exceed my expectations, and made 3D games fun. The FreeMcBoot mod allows for playing games that have been downloaded onto the internal hard disk drive. Getting the games onto the hard drive is a tremendous pain, but once they are there, things run smoothly.

Sega Saturn model 1 with Rhea and Japanese "This is Cool" model 2
I have two Sega Saturns hooded up simultaneously (actually, I have 3 as one is connected via HD Retrovision cables to a Sony Trinitron elsewhere). The Rhea is an optical disc drive emulator that replaces the laser, and gets game information from an SD card. Not willing to ignore my genuine Saturn game collection, I have my translucent "This is Cool" model 2 hooked up alongside it. 95% of my Saturn library are Japanese imports, so I felt a Japanese console was fitting. This seem a bit irrational, but what can you do. I have an action replay cart to bypass region locking, but Japanese startup screen is so much cooler.

Analogue Mega SG
Made by Analogue, known for its near-flawless implementation of FPGA technology to simulate retro hardware, the Mega SG is a dream come true for hardcore Sega Genesis fans. There have been droves of Genesis clones to date, but this is the right way to do it. The crystal clear pixel generation makes the Genesis pop off the screen, and the sound emulation is the closest that ever been produced. Since there is no emulation layer, flashcarts like the Everdrive are compatible.  It is even compatible with the Sega CD via the expansion slot. Unfortunately, the 32X is not compatible as it requires mixing of the analog graphics from the Genesis, and this being an all digital unit does not allow for it. I wasn't a huge fan of the 32X library, so I'm not as irked as others. I do have a Sega CD model 2, but I don't have it hooked up as I don't think it is worth the space, and the when attached, the overall appearance is wonky and misshapen. Recently there was an unofficial jailbreak firmware released, which allows for playing games directly from an SD card, forgoing the need for an Everdrive.

CBox Consolized Neo Geo MVS
The CBox is one of several methods to play actual Neo Geo hardware at home. It contains an actual Mulit Video System (MVS) board that is found in the Neo Geo arcade cabinets. Since the arcade cabinets played MVS cartridges, so can I. Some added features are multiple video options (RGB, S-video, and component), the Universe Bios preinstalled, and Sega Saturn controller compatibility. Collecting Neo Geo carts is not something to take lightly, but the 161 game multicart eases that need.

Sega Dreamcast with GDEMU
Like the Rhea for Saturn, the GDEMU is an optical disc drive emulator that plays games from an SD card. Even though the Dreamcast can play burned game discs with no fuss, the disc laser assembly and motor are prone to breaking down. A solid state option like GDEMU forgoes moving parts, and extends the life of the console in addition to the providing the convenience of SD card rom loading.

Playstation with PSIO
The PSIO is another rom loading solution, but this one communicates through the rear parallel port, and does not replace the optical drive. This means original disc games can be still be played. This is a fantastic mod in that regard.

This gamecube doesn't have anything too special going on, other than the attached Gameboy Player adapter and genuine Nintendo component cables. I am considering selling the cables (which are fairly rare and valuable) and switching to one of the newer HDMI solutions. I don't play it all that much to be honest.

PC-Engine Duo component modded
The PC-Engine Duo was the combined unit of the Super CD Rom drive and PC-Engine. Originally, these units would have to be purchased separately, and joined by an interface unit (shaped like a briefcase), and required various system cards. The Duo unit foregoes the need for those extras, and plays everything (except the arcade card games) without a fuss. I went with the Japanese Duo over the American Turbo Duo since the Japanese library had more games released. The component mod was very necessary as the video output was composite by default. In hindsight, I should have opted for RGB as that would reduce the number of types of video connections I have goin on under my TV.

The Advanced Video System is named as an homage to the original proposed name of the Nintendo Entertainment System prior to its American launch back in the 80's. It is an FPGA clone console, outputting 720p visuals with stunning clarity. There are slots for both American carts and Japanese Famicom carts, so a 60 to 72 pin converter cart is not necessary to play imports. Everdrives are compatible as well, which is no surprise given that it is FPGA. It has four controller ports, for immediate four-player parties with compatible games. It is compatible with the the Famicom Disk System through an expansion port, for those who are interested.

Analogue Super NT
This is the FPGA Super Nintendo clone console. Just as Analogue's Mega SG nailed the Genesis nuances, the Super NT conquered the Super Nintendo's quirks: compatibility with special chip carts, to be specific. Everdrives are compatible, to no surprise. An unofficial firmware jailbreaks was released for this console as well, allowing for SD card game loading.

Playstation 3
It's probably my least played console that is hooked up. Its Ok, but the game library doesn't do much for me. Most of my games are collections of PS2 games remastered in HD. I do like that it is region free.

Playstation 4
I like the PS4 library better than that of the PS3, due to the increased number of indie and retro-aesthetics.

Like the PS4, retro game collections are the bulk of my small collection. I take it on trips to play in hotels and whatnot, but otherwise it is docked at home.

Raspberry Pi
Mine is housed in a RetroFlag Sega Genesis case, with safe shutdown mod. It is a little redundant I know, but currently it is the only way I can play arcade games on my TV.

My consoles are connected in the following manner:

Core Grafx w/ SSD3 --> GScartsw --> OSSC --> HDMI switch --> TV
Sega Saturn w/ Rhea --> GScartsw --> OSSC --> HDMI switch --> TV
Sega Saturn (Japanese) --> GScartsw --> OSSC --> HDMI switch --> TV
Playstation 2 --> GScartsw --> OSSC --> HDMI switch --> TV
Playstation w/PSIO --> GScartsw --> OSSC --> HDMI switch --> TV
Gamecube --> component switch --> OSSC --> HDMI switch --> TV
PC Engine Duo --> component switch --> OSSC --> HDMI switch --> TV
CBox Consolized MVS --> component switch --> OSSC --> HDMI switch --> TV
Dreamcast w/ GDEMU --> VGA cord --> OSSC --> HDMI switch --> TV
Mega SG --> HDMI switch --> TV
Super NT --> HDMI switch --> TV
AVS --> HDMI switch --> TV
PS4 --> HDMI switch --> TV
PS3 --> HDMI switch --> TV
Switch --> HDMI switch --> TV
Raspberry Pi --> HDMI switch --> TV

Means of connectivity:
GScartsw automatic 8 port RGB scart switcher

Impact Acoustics powered component switcher

Open Source Scan Converter

Monoprice 8port enhanced HDMI switcher

Even with all of these updated consoles, I still have my originals stowed away, not ready to abandon them. There may be a day when I want to hook up the originals again. From a game collection standpoint, I have started to focus the collection on only quality games that I truly want and/or know I will play. I kept a few stinkers if there was strong nostalgia for them, but for the most part the filler has been moving out, sold on eBay to finance the hardware changes. I have had an easier time letting go of the extra games since Everdrives and ODE devices have been acquired.

So that's what I currently have hooked up. How about you? Do you opt to have multiples of the same system connected? Are there consoles that you don't feel that you need to have connected? I'm always interested in seeing what other peoples' setups look like.