Twenty years ago there were two dominant video game consoles during the 90’s: The Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis. We played these games for hours on end, drinking tons of soda and staying up way past our bedtime. These are the old-school nostalgic games that 90’s kids grew up with before smartphones came into play. You may not be able to find any games from the Sega Mega Drive console, but that is all about to change soon.
Sega announced that they are releasing tons of games from the Mega Drive console that you can play on Steam for free. The release of Mega Drive games, initially called the Sega Mega Drive Classics Hub, will be released on April 28th on Steam. This old-school video game hub will allow you to immerse yourself into the nostalgic world of 90’s gaming.
The hub itself was designed to look and feel like a kid’s bedroom during the 1990’s. Anyone who collects at least one game from the Mega Drive system will be able to explore the hub for free. This 3D hub even has that old CRT-TV that we all used to plug our video game consoles in!
A trailer was released to showcase the first look of the hub. At first glance, we see a dark and cramped bedroom with a small nightlight lighting up a bookcase full of Mega Drive games. The camera cuts to a shot of the old CRT-TV standing on a small box with a Sega Mega Drive console plugged into the TV. We then see the overall design of the bedroom where you take a game from the cartridge library to insert into the console to start the game. You can create your own personal library from the pool of games to choose from. In the end, we see the title designed with shiny retro 90’s graphics.
Sega remarked that they were going release tons of their old titles back in 2011, but they wanted to add unique features that would enhance that retro-gaming atmosphere. Players can modify and share their favorite games with other people through the player-content portal. Other additional features for the Mega Drive Hub include local co-op option for games that support it, optional graphic enhancement filters, the ability to save at any point of the game, and controller/keyboard support. Many of their featured titles that will be released for the hub include Ecco the Dolphin, Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master, Sonic the Hedgehog, Virtua Fighter 2, Streets of Rage, Phantasy Star II, Ristar, and many other classic games.
The Sega Mega Drive was released in the United States on August 14th, 1989 in New York City and Los Angeles. It was released under the name ‘Sega Genesis’, constructing their marketing campaign around Sonic the Hedgehog as their mascot. Sega was trying to market themselves as the ‘cooler’ alternative to the Super Nintendo, appealing the older audiences that were looking for edgier content.
One example of this marketing technique was the secret code programmed into Mortal Kombat. On the game’s start screen, players had to press A, B, A, C, A, B, B to unlock the blood and gore content for the matches. Because of the violent content, Mortal Kombat received more favorable reviews on the Sega consoles than the Super Nintendo and outsold the game 3 times as much.
Steam’s unique idea to release nostalgic games from the Mega Drive is a great way to tap into the millennial generation. What enhances this project is that 90’s retro hub that you play your games in, immersing gamers back to that simpler times in life before we all grew up. Before we played Candy Crush through our smartphones on our way to work, we had to invite our friend over if we wanted to play Sonic the Hedgehog. Who knows, maybe Steam will work with Nintendo to release games from the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. If that were to happen, the 90’s home console war between Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis will arise once again!