The upcoming NES Classic Edition / Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System is undoubtedly a cool little product. Its tiny form, accompanying controller, HDMI support and 30 pre-installed games will likely make it a Holiday hit for the big N.
One thing we pointed out in an editorial shortly after the announcement is that this is a concept SEGA's been utilising for years. In fact, go to Amazon in your country and search Mega Drive or Genesis, and you'll see small and clone systems with lots of pre-installed games and arguably a little more flexibility than Nintendo's new NES, such as the freedom to run ROMS and so on. SEGA doesn't make these systems itself in the way Nintendo is the mini NES, but it does license them and therefore make them official products (in a sense).
Like the systems themselves, then, there's some old news that's actually 'new', as fresh models of mini Mega Drives / Genesis are currently up for pre-order; once again they're licensed by SEGA but produced by a third-party, with the angle being that they're celebrating the Sonic 25th Anniversary.
Sites like Funstock Retro are taking pre-orders for both the TV and portable versions. In both cases there are SD card slots to run ROMS, as highlighted before, while the TV version has the added bonus of running original cartridges too. Unlike the mini NES though these are retro in their connectors, using an AV cable.
As mentioned above, SEGA only gives permission via licensing for the brand to be used, and that can be reflected in the quality of the systems. They're a bargain (about £49.99 in the UK, similar to the mini NES) in that they have more games, can run cartridges and have an SD slot, but they can be iffy in the final reckoning.
Still, it's fun to contemplate that - in a sense - the '90s console wars are being re-lived in miniaturised form. What a time to be alive.