Nintendo Classic Mini vs. Sega Mega Drive: Best Retro Console?


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If you pay attention to gaming news you could be forgiven thinking we’ve gone from being well into the second decade of the 21st century and instead jumped back into the 1990s.

That’s because not only is Pokemon one of the biggest games again, Nintendo has announced it’s reviving its old Nintendo Entertainment System console, and now news comes that the Sega Mega Drive is also making a comeback!

Nostalgia is big business these days. People hark back to simpler days before Google, Xbox and smartphones.

Millions of people grew up playing these consoles and emulators for both platforms are immensely popular on Android and iOS, so it’s something of a no brainer that Sega and Nintendo have decided to try and cash in on this.

I’m looking forward to testing both out; I only had a NES when I was younger, but a good friend of mine had a Mega Drive and I have found memories of questing on Golden Axe and the like.

What’s REALLY cool about these systems, though, is the price. Neither is priced stupidly.

Nintendo and Sega know they’re dealing with pure nostalgia enthusiasts here, so hasn’t made the price too prohibitive. They’re cheap enough to buy as a gift for someone’s birthday, for instance, or as a housewarming present.

I’ll be very interested to see just how many are sold and whether this might lead to similar things like a re-release of the N64, which, in my opinion, was one of the finest gaming consoles EVER created!

So, now that the NES and Sega Mega Drive will be competitors once again, which one of these retro relaunches are the best? We compared them to find out.

Nintendo Classic Mini vs. Sega Mega Drive: Console

Both consoles are mini versions of the original.

The pint sized editions do have some differences between each other.

The first is that while both now feature onboard storage to hold their included games, the Nintendo Classic Mini can’t actually accept old NES cartridges.

On the other hand, the Sega Mega Drive can take old Mega Drive and Genesis cartridges.

Other differences include controller technology, which we’ll talk about more below, but know that the Sega Mega Drive comes with 2 controllers while the Nintendo Classic Mini only comes with one.

Nintendo Classic Mini vs. Sega Mega Drive: Games

There is no doubt about it, the Sega Mega Drive blows the Nintendo Classic Mini out of the water. That’s because the Nintendo offers 30 games while the Sega offers 80 games–almost three times as many!

Here’s the 30 games Nintendo Classic Mini includes:

  • Balloon Fight
  • Bubble Bobble
  • Castlevania
  • Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
  • Donkey Kong
  • Donkey Kong Jr.
  • Double Dragon II: The Revenge
  • Dr. Mario
  • Excitebike
  • Final Fantasy
  • Galaga
  • Ghosts’N Goblins
  • Gradius
  • Ice Climber
  • Kid Icarus
  • Kirby’s Adventure
  • Mario Bros.
  • Mega Man 2
  • Metroid
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Pac-Man
  • Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
  • StarTropics
  • Super C
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Tecmo Bowl
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

And here’s the 80 games the Sega Mega Drive comes with:

  • Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
  • Alien Storm
  • Altered Beast
  • Arrow Flash
  • Bonanza Bros.
  • Chakan: The Forever Man
  • Columns
  • Columns III
  • ComixZone
  • Crack Down
  • DecapAttack
  • Dr. Robotnik’sMean Bean Machine
  • ESWAT: City Under Siege
  • Eternal Champions
  • Fatal Labyrinth
  • Flicky
  • Gain Ground
  • Golden Axe
  • Golden Axe II
  • Golden Axe III
  • Jewel Master
  • Kid Chameleon
  • Phantasy Star 2
  • Phantasy Star 3
  • Ristar
  • Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi
  • Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
  • Sonic & Knuckles
  • Sonic Spinball
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Sonic the Hedgehog II
  • Sonic 3D Blast
  • Sword of Varmilion
  • The Ooze
  • Vectorman
  • VectormanII
  • Mortal Kombat I
  • Mortal Kombat II
  • Mortal Kombat III
  • Adventure in the Park
  • Cross the road
  • Jack’s Pea
  • Jewel Magic
  • Curling 2010
  • Plumbing Contest
  • Wall-Breaking
  • Bubble Master
  • Break a Fireline
  • Mahjong Solitaire
  • Warehouse Keeper
  • Chess
  • Memory
  • Snake
  • Air Hockey
  • Spider
  • Naval Power
  • Mr. Balls
  • Cannon
  • Fight or Lose
  • Bottle Taps Race
  • Bomber
  • Checker
  • Hexagonos
  • Whack-A-Wolf
  • Mirror Mirror
  • Panic Lift
  • Black Sheep
  • Flash Memory
  • Brain Switch
  • Mega Brain Switch
  • Hidden Agenda
  • Dominant Amber
  • Hide and Seek
  • Jura Formula
  • Lost World Sudoku
  • Meatloaf Rotation
  • Mya Master Mind
  • Skeleton Scale
  • T-Rex Memory Match
  • Yawning Triceratops

But wait! There’s more! The Sega Mega Drive Doesn’t only beat the Nintendo Classic Mini because it has more games. As mentioned above, the Sega Mega Drive also still has the original cartridge slot, which means if you still have any original Sega Mega Drive or Sega Genesis cartridges they’ll work in the retro console. The Nintendo Classic Mini, on the other hand, does NOT allow other games to be played on or added to the console.

Nintendo Classic Mini vs. Sega Mega Drive: Controllers

We already mentioned that the Nintendo Classic Mini only comes with one controller, while the Sega Mega Drive comes with two out of the box. But the Sega Mega Drive beats the Nintendo Classic Mini on another controller front: its updated controllers are wireless, where the Nintendo Classic Mini controller is still corded.

Nintendo Classic Mini vs. Sega Mega Drive: Compatibility

I now, until now the Sega Mega Drive seems to have beat the Nintendo Classic Mini in every category.

But when we get to compatibility, the Nintendo Classic Mini comes out on top.

Why? Because the Nintendo Classic Mini can be plugged directly into modern televisions via an included HDMI cable.

Bafflingly, the Sega Mega Drive can only connect to a TV via old-fashioned AV cables, which means if your modern HD television doesn’t have an archaic AV connection, you’ll need to buy a separate third-party AV-to-HDMI adapter to use it with.

Nintendo Classic Mini vs. Sega Mega Drive: Price & Verdict

The Sega Mega Drive will ship in October for a price of £49.99.

The Nintendo Classic Mini will ship in November for a price of £49.99 as well. So, which should  you get?

Well, a great deal of that choice comes down to the games. While the Mega Drive offers three times as many, it’s only a good choice if you like some of its games (like the Sonic series, Altered Beast, or Mortal Combat).

Likewise for the Nintendo Classic Mini with series like Super Mario Bros. and Castlevania.

Also keep in mind that while for the same price the Sega Mega Drive comes with two wireless controllers and the Nintendo Classic Mini only comes with one wired controller, you’ll most likely need a third-party AV-to-HDMI adapter to plug in the Mega Drive to your modern TV.

Then again, the Mega Drive also does offer backwards compatibility with old Mega Drive and Genesis cartridges, while the Nintendo Classic Mini isn’t capable of adding more games.

Ultimately it seems like the classic battle of the ‘90s is back too: which is better? Nintendo or Sega?

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