Sega's confirmation that it is bringing its classic games to Switch as part of the AGES range was pretty incredible, if only for the sheer potential of such a move; Nintendo's erstwhile rival may be a very different company to the one that launched the Mega Drive, Saturn and Dreamcast these days, but it sits on an astonishing treasure trove of titles, and hopefully we'll get to see a great many of these vintage classics come to Switch in the fullness of time.
Sega has already confirmed that the first five games will be Sonic the Hedgehog, Phantasy Star, Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Thunder Force IV and Gain Ground – all of which will be ported by emulation experts M2 and will boast additional features which are exclusive to each title. Sega has also revealed that this range won't be limited to just the Master System, Mega Drive and arcade – Saturn and Dreamcast games will also be coming in the future.
With that in mind, we thought it prudent to start wishing for particular titles we'd personally like to see come to the service, arranged neatly by hardware generation. A couple of things to note before you venture into the comments section with your flaming torches and pitchforks because we've missed out one of your favourites: it would seem that the AGES range is limited to first-party titles or titles to which Sega now owns the rights (such as Thunder Force), so we've restricted our picks accordingly. We've also avoided including titles that are already available as part of the Sega 3D Classics line on 3DS.
Sega's 8-bit console struggled to make a dent in the market share of the NES in practically every territory apart from Europe and Brazil, and is often unfairly ignored in favour of Sega's other machines. That's a shame, because the system itself was technically superior to Nintendo's 8-bit hardware and showcased some amazing exclusives and stunning arcade ports.
Alex Kidd in Shinobi World
Miracle World may be Alex's most beloved outing, but this unique crossover title is well worth a look too, and has been largely forgotten about over the years. It places Alex in the world of Shinobi, another of Sega's classic franchises, and features action-oriented gameplay to suit.
Based on the Tatsunoko Productions anime series from the '80s, this action adventure has a lot in common with Metroid on the NES; you explore an enemy base, unlocking rooms with key cards and codes while taking down hostile threats.
Golvellius: Valley of Doom
Often cited as the Master System's closest rival to Zelda, Golvellius boasts side-scrolling and overhead sections and ticks all the usual RPG boxes. It's a bit of a grind in places but is still one of the console's most notable role-playing adventures.
This action RPG is often overshadowed by its Mega Drive sequel, Mystic Defender - both of which were known as "Peacock King" in Japan. The mix of role-playing and platforming action works well, and the visuals are a cut above what you'd normally expect from an 8-bit release.
While it might pale in comparison to the arcade original, the Master System port of Shinobi is still a fantastically playable game, with tight controls, fast gameplay and excellent presentation.
Mega Drive / Genesis
Easily Sega's most successful home console, the Mega Drive (or Genesis if you're in the US) offered gamers accurate arcade ports, a flood of sports titles and Sonic; little wonder then that it stormed the North American market, attracting millions of players who had grown up with the NES and now wanted something a little more mature. In Europe it was just as successful, but in Japan it placed third behind the Super Famicom and PC Engine.
Considered by many to be the first "true" real-time strategy title, Techno Soft's Herzog Zwei is quite unlike any other game from this period. You control a robot which can transform into a jet to airlift units around the map; the aim is to destroy your opponent's base before they do the same to yours. In two-player, this is amazing stuff.
Phantasy Star IV
The pinnacle of the Phantasy Star series, and one of the finest Sega RPGs ever made, this fourth installment drastically improves on what has gone before to present a massive quest, stunning graphics and a gripping storyline.
Shining Force II
The second Shining Force game is even better than its predecessor, and gives Nintendo's Fire Emblem a serious run for its money. There are hours and hours of gameplay to be found here.
Treasure's zany platforming epic doesn't get as much acclaim as its Mega Drive sibling Gunstar Heroes, but it's every bit as inventive and playable, and really pushes the host hardware to its limits.
This isometric action RPG was a revelation at the time of release, and even by today's standards it looks and sounds wonderful. We'd love to get the chance to play this again on the Switch.
With Nintendo holding back on its N64 system, Sega perhaps believed it had the market to itself when it launched the 32-bit Saturn – but Sony had other ideas. Despite hosting some amazing games, the Saturn has gone down in history as a bit of a failure; in Japan it held on for longer than expected but in the west it was soundly beaten by the PlayStation.
Panzer Dragoon trilogy
We've cheated a bit here, but it's impossible to choose between these games. The first two are on-rails shooters, a bit like Space Harrier, but the third is an epic RPG which – on the Saturn – spanned four discs. Hopefully Sega can overcome the issue of no longer having the source code for Panzer Dragoon Saga and bring it to the AGES range.
Sonic Team worked wonders with Nights: Into Dreams but Burning Rangers gets our vote, thanks largely to its impressive visuals and intriguing premise, which sees you rescuing civilians from flaming structures.
Shining Force III
Camelot's final contribution to the series it made world-famous is a masterpiece, but sadly only the first of the three available chapters was ever localised outside of Japan. It might cost a bit of cash, but we'd love to see Sega translated the remaining two chapters, which told the story from the perspective of two different protagonists.
Sega Rally Championship
After the disappointment that was Daytona USA, the Saturn port of Sega Rally restored the faith of many a Sega fan. Insanely fast, incredibly playable and wonderfully challenging, it's still one of the best home console racers ever made.
Virtua Fighter 2
Sega worked wonders porting the arcade smash Virtua Fighter 2 to the Saturn – a system not exactly famed for its 3D prowess. Using the console's high-resolution mode, this conversation dazzled not only with its visuals, but its technical depth, too. If the home port can't make it to the Sega AGES line-up, then we'd obviously be happy to accept the arcade original...
Sega's final throw of the hardware dice is regarded by many fans as its defining console; bolstered by some superb arcade ports and excellent sports titles, the Dreamcast did well in North America and was moderately successful in Europe and Japan, but the company was in such dire straits that nothing less than total market dominance was required to truly save it. In 2001 Sega announced that the Dreamcast would be its final system and that it would be moving into third-party publishing; the arrival of the PS2 put the final nail in the coffin of what remains one of gaming's most underrated platforms.
Recently confirmed for release in remastered form on PS4 and Xbox One, Shenmue's inclusion in this list might seem odd; we could, after all, see the remastered version arrive on Switch in the not-too-distant future. Or maybe Sega's plan is to bring it to the AGES line-up instead?
Ferrari F355 Challenge
Yu Suzuki's obsession with the Prancing Horse began with Out Run, but it is this realistic racer which saw it reach its climax. Created in collaboration with Ferrari itself, this is a challenging yet rewarding speed-fest which used three monitors in its original coin-op configuration.
Skies of Arcadia
Set in a world packed with floating islands and patrolled by noble pirates and a hostile empire, Skies of Arcadia has it all – turn-based combat, hours of gameplay and epic contests between flying battleships. A GameCube port appeared shortly afterwards, and we'd love to see the game on a Nintendo system again as soon as possible.
Space Channel 5
One of the most unique games in the Dreamcast library, this rhythm action title places you in the high heels of a reporter who finds herself in the middle of an alien invasion. This one is ripe for rediscovery as part of the AGES range.
Recently updated on modern consoles, there's a danger we might be growing too familiar with Rez – but then again, it's one of the best on-rails shooters ever made, so you'll forgive us for including it here. As soon as we hear Adam Freeland's 'Fear' over those speakers, we can't help ourselves...
Sega's coin-op history is perhaps more exciting than its home console one; the company was making mechanical arcade units before video games were even a thing, and during the '80s it produced a string of coin-op classics that made its the envy of the world video game industry. It still makes arcade systems to this day.
Golden Axe: Revenge of Death Adder
That we never got a home port of what is unquestionably the best Golden Axe game is a crime, and one that needs solving as soon as possible. This 1992 gem was perhaps too much of a challenge to port to the Mega Drive, and by the time the Saturn arrived in 1994, it was no doubt considered old news – we got the terrible one-on-one fighter Golden Axe: The Duel instead.
M2 has previously mentioned porting Virtua Racing to home systems, so there's a good chance we could finally see an arcade-perfect conversion of the 3D racer which sparked a revolution. Sure, the Mega Drive, 32X and Saturn ports were passable, but we want the real deal.
Once mooted for release on the Dreamcast, Scud Race sadly never made it out of the arcades and it one of Sega's many "lost" coin-op classics. Mixing real-world cars with the amazing tracks that are Sega's trademark, it's one of the company's best efforts in the genre, and we'd love to see it get a domestic debut on Switch.
Yep, it's another arcade exclusive which is ripe for a resurrection on Switch. This 3D take on the Space Harrier template had a chance of getting ported to the Dreamcast, but it never transpired; as a result, very few people have had the pleasure of playing it. Adding it to the AGES lineup could solve that.
Sonic the Fighters
While it's not quite a forgotten classic (it was included on the Sonic Gems Collection on GameCube in 2005, and more recently was released on Xbox 360 and PS3), Sonic the Fighters is an interesting spin-off to the main series; produced by none other than Yu Suzuki, it's half Sonic, half Virtua Fighter, and one of the more unique brawlers Sega has created over the years. It also predates Smash Bros., which took a similar approach on the N64 but with Mario and his chums – so it has historical importance, too.
That's our picks - but what about you? Let us know which Sega classics you'd like to see in the AGES range by posting a comment below.