Rejoice! The Sega Mega Drive (or Genesis to our American friends) is back in business this holiday season. As you'll know if you read our review of the gorgeous little thing, the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Mini finally does justice to a console and catalogue that has suffered some appalling treatment over the years, with a variety of substandard efforts tarnishing its good name.
With that in mind, it has come to our attention that budget supermarket chain Lidl will be putting out the 'SEGA Mega Drive Flashback' this December in Ireland, and presumably elsewhere, in an effort to hoover up your hard-earned cash. Unfortunately, this is not (repeat, NOT) the same device as the lovely Sega Mega Drive Mini that released back in September.
No, the device advertised is one of AtGames' sub-par efforts. Despite the fact that it boasts a larger roster of games (including, oddly, a dozen Master System titles) and the ability to run original cartridges, the emulation in this console is distinctly disappointing - far from the gold standard achieved by M2 on the genuine article. Here's a pic of the packaging of the two consoles so you know which one to pick up (and which to avoid):
On the left, the Good One™; on the right the Bad One™ - don't get caught out!
To add insult to injury, the SEGA Mega Drive Flashback reportedly costs €69.99, more or less the same as the newer, infinitely superior offering of 16-bit nostalgia. If it were drastically cheaper you could be forgiven for considering it as an alternative, but at that price there is absolutely no question as to the mini console you should be picking up this Christmas.
We speculated in our Mega Drive Mini buyer's guide that unscrupulous retailers might try to offload old AtGames stock on unsuspecting customers, and it seems we were right to be suspicious. Imagine the face of Tiny Tim when he rips the paper off his Mini Mega Drive only to discover it's the Flashback one...
Why would you do that to Timmy? Take our advice and don't get lumbered with a turkey this Christmas.
This has been a Sega Life public service announcement. Carry on.