Mega Sg: A Console’s 1-UpDecember 4, 2019
If you grew up with a particular video game console as a kid, you may be struck with the urge to revisit it as an adult. Unfortunately, aging could lead to several reasons restricting access to a dose of nostalgia. The console is broken or thrown away; the games have gone missing. Buying a used console online or from a second-hand store is expensive and unreliable. While companies have released product capitalizing on this need- the NES Mini from Nintendo, for example- it still has a limited library. Fortunately, Analogue has just the- well, analogue.
Enter: the Mega Sg. Seattle company Analogue specializes in creating FPGA (field-programmable gate array) systems modeled after consoles and handhelds of yesteryear. The Mega Sg is their take on the Genesis, Mega Drive, and Master System, capable of playing every title released for those systems. Everything from the original Sonic the Hedgehog to Gunstar Heroes is playable, provided you have the cartridge. It even works with the original Sega CD and other accessories.
In a way, this does make it somewhat inferior to the updated rereleases Sega itself has put out. The Sega Genesis Mini comes preloaded with 42 games, no cartridges required. However, the Mega Sg is superior in sheer breadth of its library. 42 is sizable, but still a paltry sum of the console’s full library. Furthermore, the Sg also boasts access to two (three, if you count the Sega CD) whole other libraries of games.
It beats out the Mini in tech specs, too. The Mega Sg follows in the footsteps of Analogue’s other products and features 1080p graphics and high-fidelity sound. The promise of zero lag and the ability to play with a wireless controller is also extremely tempting and a staple for modern gamers. Analogue has partnered with 8BitDo to build a specialized wireless M30 controller (available to Mega Sg buyers for a discount).
Unlike emulators or compilation systems like the Mini, the Mega Sg is categorized as a “reference quality system.” This means it exists as a way of preserving the games from Sega’s systems, almost like a library or archive. For this reason, it offers multiple video resolutions, scanlines, ratio preservation- everything to make the experience as enjoyable and accurate as the player wants.
Perhaps the biggest selling point is the inclusion of Hardcore. For reasons unknown, publisher Digital Illusions canceled this triple A title in 1994 despite it nearly being complete. The only copy of the source code was stored on a single hard drive- dead and nearly impossible to recover. Nevertheless, Analogue found a way, and Hardcore is included as a digital title with each Mega Sg. The name has been changed to Ultracore, however, for legal reasons.
The Mega Sg is more than a console. It’s an archive of a system many look back at with fond memories. It’s a way to revisit iconic and beloved games in the modern era. It’s a passion project that will remind others of their passions, both former and current. It’s a revitalization of an age gone by.