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The Sega Genesis Turned Tiny For Capsule Toys

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The Sega Genesis Mini is small, but these capsule versions are even smaller. Sure, they don’t play games, but they’re tiny and cute.

Over the years, numerous game consoles have been miniaturized for capsule toys. As IT Media points out, what makes this latest line so interesting is how extensive the peripherals and add-on versions are. 

Source: Kotaku.com

Sega Genesis Mini: The Kotaku Review

Sega was always more loved than it was successful. At no point was the maker of the Genesis and Dreamcast the worldwide leader in video games. When it succeeded in America, it fell short in Japan, and vice versa. The Genesis Mini is an encapsulation of that moment when it came closest to victory—a reminder of what the Genesis was, but also what it could have been.

To be released on September 19, the $80 Sega Genesis Mini includes 42 classic games from the 16-bit system’s lifespan. That’s a hefty amount, exactly double that of Nintendo’s SNES Classic. It also includes two of the classic three-button Genesis controllers, an HDMI cable, and a USB cable with AC adapter—in other words, everything you need to play right out of the box.

The hardware is a thing of beauty, a perfect little recreation of the 1989 launch model Genesis. The Genesis Mini goes a step further than other classic mini-hardware with interactive elements. The volume control slides up and down, the spring-loaded dust-cover flaps covering the cartridge slot open and close, and you can even remove the cover for the port that would connect the real Genesis to a Sega CD.

Here’s one of those photos you always have to have in these reviews, with a picture of a Mini on top of the real thing.
Photo: Chris Kohler (Kotaku)

None of these things actually function, of course. You can’t play Genesis cartridges on this machine, nor is there a proportionally-sized Sega CD attachment that will let you play Sewer Shark (although surely we can all agree that we would immediately buy such a product). But they make the Genesis Mini itself into a fun little toy even before you turn it on.

The included controllers feel like exact replicas of the original, massive, croissant-shaped pads that shipped with the first model of the Genesis. This is where you may feel that Sega has made a misstep with the Mini, since it includes these 3-button pads and not the 6-button controllers that were produced later. In Japan, the 6-button pads are included; here, they are an extra $20 purchase. Most of the games only use three buttons anyway, but for the ones that offer 6-button support (most notably Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition), you’ll have to pay up.

Even though the controllers use USB, you can’t just plug in any old USB controller and have it work on the Mini—you’ll need an officially licensed controller from Retro-Bit. Sega sent samples of the 6-button controllers, which were excellent. They were helpful even for games that don’t need six buttons, since you can press the “Mode” button to open the system menu. To get to the menu with a 3-button pad, you have to hold down the Start button for three seconds, which is annoying.

Shining Force.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Sega)

So was it a mistake to include 3-button pads? I’m leaning toward “no.” The appeal of a mini-console like this isn’t just the gameplay; it’s also having that little replica of the thing itself. Most people who played the Genesis back in the day used these controllers. It completes the nostalgic circle to boot up Sonic the Hedgehog again and feel one of these big chonky bois in your hands just like you remember.

Like Nintendo’s classic systems, the Genesis Mini has original menu-screen music composed in classic chiptune style. Unlike Nintendo’s systems, the tune here is composed by the king of 16-bit music himself, Yuzo Koshiro (Streets of Rage and Actraiser among others). The new music is what the kids today call a “bop.” I enjoy just letting it run and listening to it. They even timed the boot sequence of the Mini to the music. That’s attention to detail!

The Mini is low on software features. It’s got the obvious stuff: You can choose to either view the games in their proper 4:3 aspect ratio or be weird and stretch them out like a wacky carnival mirror across your whole TV. You can turn a “CRT filter” on and off for fake scanlines, and you can apply one of two different wallpapers to the blank space around the 4:3 image. There’s a “save anywhere” feature with four slots per game. And that’s about it. I would have really liked to see a Rewind feature like the SNES Classic’s.

Wonder Boy In Monster World.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Sega)

But all this would be meaningless without some games to play, and at 42 titles, Genesis has the most of the major minis. When you think about your childhood playing the Genesis, what game do you immediately flash back to? NBA Jam? Joe Montana Football? Aladdin? Mortal Kombat?

Oh. Well, um, none of those are on this.

There’s an obstacle for the Genesis Mini that the SNES Classic doesn’t really have to deal with. If you look at the best-selling games for the SNES, most of the games in the top 20 are on the SNES Classic. But look at the best-selling games for Genesis and you can see the problem: sports licenses, movie licenses, and fighting games that would earn this box a “Mature” rating.

Going hard after hot licenses and pumping out games branded with big-name movies, pro athletes, and sports franchises was all part of Sega’s game plan in the 1990s. And it worked! But it also left modern-day Sega with a library of software that’s practically unreleasable today. This means that if, like many American Sega fans, you did a lot of sports gaming on your Genesis, you won’t find that experience here.

Sega definitely made an attempt to get some games made for Western audiences onto the Mini, like Earthworm Jim, Vectorman, and Road Rash II. But by and large, we’re looking at a lineup of stylish Japanese action games, JRPGs, and shmups. It’s almost like the sort of Genesis collection you’d find in the home of someone who prefers the Super Nintendo. It’s a Genesis collection for me, in other words, so I’m not complaining.

Contra: Hard Corps.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Sega/Konami)

Here’s the full list of games. I have played each of these games, some of them for hours (Shining Force), some of them for a couple minutes (Earthworm Jim). I will hereby arbitrarily and irrevocably arrange them into four tiers: A Tier, B Tier, C Tier, and Virtua Fighter 2 For The Genesis Tier.

A Tier

  • Castlevania: Bloodlines
  • Shining Force
  • Gunstar Heroes
  • Shinobi 3
  • Contra: Hard Corps
  • Beyond Oasis
  • Phantasy Star 4: The End of the Millennium
  • Wonder Boy in Monster World
  • Strider
  • Monster World 4
  • Alisia Dragoon
  • Dynamite Headdy

B Tier

  • Sonic The Hedgehog
  • Ecco The Dolphin
  • Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
  • Comix Zone
  • Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
  • World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck
  • Thunder Force 3
  • Streets of Rage 2
  • Sonic The Hedgehog 2
  • Landstalker
  • Street Fighter 2: Special Champion Edition
  • Ghouls ’n Ghosts
  • Golden Axe
  • Tetris
  • Darius
  • Columns
  • Super Fantasy Zone

C Tier

  • Space Harrier 2
  • ToeJam & Earl
  • Altered Beast
  • Earthworm Jim
  • Mega Man: The Wily Wars
  • Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
  • Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball
  • Vectorman
  • Road Rash 2
  • Kid Chameleon
  • Eternal Champions
  • Light Crusader

Virtua Fighter 2 For The Genesis Tier

  • Virtua Fighter 2

As you can see, no matter where you’d personally rank these games, the Genesis Mini has a deep bench. To give the console a wider variety, Sega decided to follow a one-game-per-series rule, with limited exception. While I appreciate the effort at diversity, I don’t think they should have been so strict about it. I would have preferred to play the original Streets of Rage, or Shining Force II, instead of—let me just pull one out of a hat here—the Genesis version of Virtua Fighter 2, a game that probably shouldn’t have ever even existed and really didn’t need to be resurfaced here.

Darius.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Sega/Taito)

But in general, the lineup is strong. Previous small Genesis consoles didn’t truly represent the best of the best that the platform had to offer. Here, finally, we have top-tier action games like Gunstar Heroes and Castlevania: Bloodlines. We skip to the end of the Wonder Boy in Monster World series to get to the two that are basically side-scrolling JRPGs, underappreciated in their own time but still sharp today.

SNES Classic featured an unreleased game from the 1990s, Star Fox 2, so of course the Genesis Mini had to double that count as well, adding the unreleased Genesis version of Tetris and a hardcore fan’s ported version of the arcade game Darius. Since we’re throwing back to the 1990s here, I’m going to reach back into my turn-of-the-century video game enthusiast magazine vocabulary and pronounce these a “mixed bag.” Darius is lots of fun but this port of Tetris is fairly anemic. SNES Classic wins the “unreleased game” wars, but that’s probably because only Nintendo would have ever shitcanned a perfectly good game in the first place.

There’s one other important bonus feature that exemplifies how the Genesis Mini feels like more of a passionate fan project than a bland marketing tool. You can set the menu to display in many different languages, which changes the entire menu design. The menu’s look will match that region’s Genesis logo and design, switching to the “Mega Drive” name for Europe and Japan. And if applicable, the games themselves will play in that language, using alternate ROM files. Beyond Oasis actually had, for example, a French-language version.

Some games differed in more than just their languages. If you switch the language to Japanese, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine will revert back to its original Japanese version, Puyo Puyo. Other differences are more subtle but still significant, like how the Japanese version of Contra: Hard Corps gives the player a three-bar life meter instead of one-hit kills. Or you could just play the Japanese version of Street Fighter II because you want “M. Bison” to be named “Vega.” I’m not here to judge. This extra-mile approach makes Genesis Mini a much more thorough exploration of the era than competing tiny boxes.

The Genesis Mini’s menu screen when the language is changed to Japanese.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Sega)

One wonders, on the eve of this very cool device’s release, if Sega has missed the window on the mini-console craze. The market was positively flooded with copycat devices in the wake of the NES Classic’s huge success, and the bad taste of the ill-done PlayStation Classic still hasn’t fully washed out of our collective mouths. Will people line up to buy another tiny console this holiday and reward Sega for its Herculean, if belated, efforts here? Those who do add another Mini to the pile will, at least, not be at all disappointed with this one.

Source: Kotaku.com

The Genesis Mini Makes Up For Years Of Crappy Sega Clones

Photo: Chris Kohler (Kotaku)

Sega did mini consoles before mini consoles were cool. For well over a decade you’ve been able to buy plug-and-play Sega machines filled with Genesis classics. Of course, they all pretty much sucked, full of emulation problems and mediocre games. But the Genesis Mini is almost here, and it’s ready to restore Sega’s good name in the field of tiny retro consoles.

Releasing on September 19 for $80, the Genesis Mini is a first-party Sega product, not a licensed offshoot like all the rest. I’ve had one for a few days now, and it’s excellent so far. The software is done by M2, a group of emulation experts obsessed with quality and accuracy. The device’s 42 games are a selection of some of the best games that Sega’s 16-bit console had to offer.

The game selection was the real sticking point with 2017’s Genesis Flashback HD, the last tiny Genesis on store shelves. The emulation was OK, and the hardware was fine, but the game selection could hardly have been said to be the cream of the crop. There was a lot of B-tier stuff on there. Sure, it had Sonic the Hedgehog, but where was Gunstar Heroes, Castlevania: Bloodlines, or Streets of Rage 2?

Screenshot: Kotaku (Sega)

Well, here they are on the Genesis Mini. While it is the nature of these tiny consoles that someone will always be able to quibble about this game or that one being missing, the list here is quite strong. Pick a game, any game, and you’re unlikely to come away disappointed. Yes, the emulation’s great, but more importantly so are the things being emulated.

What makes the Genesis Mini appealing beyond the game selection is that it’s so much fun to play around with. In its quest to replicate the exact look of the original console, Sega even replicated the volume control knob, the cartridge port, and the expansion slot on the bottom. You can push the volume control up and down, stick your finger into the cartridge slot to move the spring-loaded flaps, and take the expansion port cover on and off. None of these things actually do anything. They’re just little interactive bits on a toy. But they make the hardware itself that much more fun.

You gotta give them credit for going out and licensing Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse for this thing.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Sega)

Plug the Genesis Mini in, and you’ll probably end up poking around all the menus before you play a game. Unlike the Flashback HD’s unintuitive and clunky menu screen, the Mini’s interface is smooth and enjoyable to mess with. You can sort the games by release date, alphabetically, number of players, or genre. You can view the front of the box art or line the games up by their spine art.

You can also pop into the settings menu and change the system language, which is more interesting than you might think. Change it to Japanese and the whole menu changes to the Japanese Mega Drive. The box arts switch to the Japanese versions, and even the game versions change. Switch to European languages and you’ll see the same thing; the PAL region Mega Drive aesthetic and European versions of the games.

Screenshot: Kotaku (Sega)

While most games only had minor differences between regions, that isn’t always the case. Play the Japanese version of Contra: Hard Corps, and you’ll get a three-bar life meter and unlimited continues, unlike the U.S. version’s one-hit kills and limited retries.

Even if you don’t want to play games from around the world, it’s fun to see what changes when you switch regions in the Genesis Mini’s setting. Did you know Beyond Oasis had a French-language version called La Légende de Thor? I didn’t, but I’m impressed that Sega and M2 dove so deeply into the archives to find and include it. It’s not just a bundle of ROMs; there’s a sense that this is something that was deeply curated by experts. Every little detail of the Genesis Mini feels like it was obsessed over; it’s the quality revival that the Genesis has always deserved.

Source: Kotaku.com

The Genesis Mini Is A Beautiful, Tiny Time Machine

Photo: Kotaku
E3 2019It’s time for the biggest gaming show of the year. We’ve got articles, videos, podcasts and maybe even a GIF or two.  

Putting your hands on the controller for the Sega Genesis Mini is like traveling back in time, mushy D-pad and all.

The Sega Genesis that I had growing up was actually my older brother’s. He wouldn’t let me touch it unless he wanted to play Sonic 2 or NBA Jam in our shared bedroom in the house my family rented. As a child, it seemed like that box was magical. Sometimes, the sprite art looked almost three dimensional! Clearly, video games were the work of powerful wizards.

The pull of nostalgia is difficult to ignore when you start playing games on the Mini. Representatives from Sega told me that curating games for the Mini came down to three things: They wanted to make sure to have classics that people remember from their childhoods, games you can play with people so parents can introduce these old games to their children, and a few things that you hadn’t seen before.

Preserving classic games was also a huge concern according to these representatives, and it’s why the original Japanese arcade version of Tetris is on the console, as well as Monster World IV. That version of Tetris was never released in the States, and while Monster World IV did eventually make it over here on the Wii Shop, the Wii Shop is now inaccessible.

Photo: Kotaku

If your memories of gaming aren’t from the U.S., then there’s a few cute Easter eggs. When you change the language to Japanese in the menu, all the box art changes to the Japanese versions, and the Japanese version of the game (if one existed, that is) will play if you select it.

The same is true if you change the language to Italian, or other languages in European countries. The name of the console itself also changes on the screen, from Sega Genesis to Mega Drive.

Photo: Kotaku

While I really enjoyed tooling around with Sonic 2 and finally being able to play it on my own, without my brother hovering, the game that fascinated me most was Alisia Dragoon. It’s a game that didn’t sell well upon its initial release in 1992, but has since gained a cult following. It’s a game that followed in the footsteps of Metroid, asking you to backtrack to older areas once you had new powers. Also, you’re a warrior princess with several pet dragons, who can also shoot lightning from her hands. What’s not to love?

Playing it, I realized I was being extremely rude to the Sega staff in the room. They were talking to me, but I wasn’t listening. For a moment, I actually was transported back to my childhood self, lost in a game, and fantasizing about my own pet dragon.

Source: Kotaku.com

Genesis Mini’s Version Of Darius Looks A Lot Like A Fan’s Port [Update]

Screenshot: Sega

Sega has revealed the final batch of games on its Genesis Mini, and there’s one particularly surprising inclusion: a game that’s never been seen before on Genesis, seemingly made by a fan. It’s a beautiful-looking port of the 1987 Taito arcade shoot-em-up Darius, which never had a Genesis version back in the day.

Update, 2:56 p.m. Eastern: Sega has told Kotaku that the version of Darius on the Genesis Mini is a totally new version ported by the developer M2, and not based on the fan work. However, since the Mini version bears striking similarity to the fan-created port, it still seems possible that there is a connection between them. We have updated the headline and first paragraph of this story. The rest of our original story is below.

The developers of the Japanese Mega Drive Mini revealed the new game on a livestream early this morning, and Sega of America confirmed that it would also be included on the Genesis Mini as well. The livestream panel noted that this version of Darius uses a 32-megabit ROM size, which would have made for an incredibly expensive cartridge back in the late ’80s or early ’90s. (Its sequel Darius II, which was ported to Genesis back in 1990, used an 8-megabit ROM, which was considered large for the time.)

What Sega did not note on its livestream, or anywhere else, was the origin of this new version of Darius. The internet’s most knowledgeable Genesis nerds immediately recognized the port as the work of a hobbyist programmer named Hidecade, who had been publicly sharing updates about the unofficial project as recently as last year. Again, although it’s not confirmed that Hidecade’s port is the one being used here, it is exceedingly unlikely that there would be an entire second port of Darius. Also, the screenshots (including the HUD, which had to be redesigned for the Genesis screen) look identical.

Moreover, it seems that Hidecade has gone through and scrubbed all references to the project from his personal pages, including Twitter, his blog, and YouTube. In the livestream, Sega simply said that the game was being developed by M2, the developer of the Genesis Mini software, and supervised by Taito. (Kotaku has reached out to Sega and will update this story if it returns comment.)

Tetris for the Genesis Mini.
Screenshot: Sega

While it’s disappointing that the apparent fan-based origin of Darius is not being announced publicly (or at least, not yet), it’s not that surprising. Hobbyists tend to work anonymously or under pseudonyms in Japan, so it’s possible that this situation is what is preferred for all parties involved. Either way, it’s very exciting to see a fan-made project embraced, made “official,” and released by the original copyright holder. It would be great to see this happen much more often.

The $80 Genesis Mini will be released on September 19. While Sega originally said that its mini console would have 40 games, today’s announcement actually brought it up to 42. The other surprise game was Tetris, which will not be the unreleased Genesis version from back in the day, but an all-new, better version. Here’s the final list, with this week’s new games at the end.

  1. Sonic The Hedgehog
  2. Ecco the Dolphin
  3. Castlevania: Bloodlines
  4. Space Harrier 2
  5. Shining Force
  6. Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
  7. ToeJam & Earl
  8. Comix Zone
  9. Altered Beast
  10. Gunstar Heroes
  11. Earthworm Jim
  12. Sonic The Hedgehog 2
  13. Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
  14. World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck
  15. Contra: Hard Corps
  16. Thunder Force III
  17. Super Fantasy Zone
  18. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
  19. Streets of Rage 2
  20. Landstalker
  21. Mega Man: The Wily Wars
  22. Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition
  23. Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
  24. Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
  25. Beyond Oasis
  26. Golden Axe
  27. Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
  28. Sonic The Hedgehog Spinball
  29. Vectorman
  30. Wonder Boy in Monster World
  31. Tetris
  32. Darius
  33. Road Rash II
  34. Strider
  35. Virtua Fighter 2
  36. Alisia Dragoon
  37. Kid Chameleon
  38. Monster World IV
  39. Eternal Champions
  40. Columns
  41. Dynamite Headdy
  42. Light Crusader

Source: Kotaku.com

All I Want To Do Is Play 16-Bit Action RPGs

Photo: Chris Kohler (Kotaku)
Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.  

It was about two months ago when, reading the latest updates on the Sega Genesis Mini, I thought to myself: “Wouldn’t it be cool if the classic 16-bit action role-playing game Crusader of Centy was on this? That’s what I’d probably play first.” The next thing I thought was: “Idiot, you have a Mega SG! Just play it!”

So I did. I’d never played more than a few minutes of Crusader of Centy, but it was easy to fall into. A young boy lives in a small village and suddenly finds himself on an adventure that grows in scope until he finally ends up killing God, all from a top-down 2D perspective with Zelda-style mechanics. Ah, yeah. That’s the good stuff.

The 16-bit action role-playing game is like a frozen moment in time, a particular artifact of a very specific era of game design. There were action RPGs on 8-bit consoles, but in general they haven’t really aged well; they’re clunkier and grindier than their descendants. The Super NES and the Genesis were where the form truly came into its own. The controls became more polished, the graphics and music more beautiful.

Then 32-bit and polygons happened, and that was pretty much it for the 2D action RPG. But there was a very specific 6-year period in the early 1990s that I’m now trying to mine it for all of its treasures. After finishing Centy, I played through the similar Super NES classic Illusion of Gaia for the first time in 25 years. Then there was nowhere else to go but its sequel Terranigma, of which I’d played about a third a few years back. I decided to start over and properly finish it for the first time.

Crusader of Centy.
Screenshot: Atlus/Sega (MobyGames)

What’s so enticing to me about action RPGs is summed up in the name. You have to attack and dodge enemies in real time, and maybe also do some light platforming. You can also boost your power by killing more enemies, finding better items in chests, or collecting money to buy better stuff. It’s this combination of elements, of scraping by in a battle thanks both to your own reflexes and having put in the time and energy to grind and get more powerful, that produces a feeling that I find more satisfying than a pure action game or a turn-based RPG. There’s some weird alchemy there that I love.

What I had forgotten about Illusion of Gaia in the past two decades is just how few RPG mechanics it actually includes. It has a lot of the surface-level trappings that we associate with an RPG, like extensive storyline sequences, a world map, and items hidden in chests. But your character’s progression is locked in place: There are no extra weapons or armor to find, and your stats only go up once you clear out all the enemies in a room for the first time. This means you can’t grind to become more powerful than the game wants you to be at that moment.

Crusader of Centy is similar; like Zelda games, you can only boost your HP by finding extra life containers scattered around the world. You can’t grind out extra power by slashing up mobs of enemies. In these cases, the games feel more like RPGs thanks to the emphasis on story, but when you start looking at what’s under the hood, they’re more like story-heavy nonlinear action games.

Terranigma’s RPG bona fides, though, can’t be argued, since your character does level up by defeating enemies, can find better weapons and armor, and can grind out cash for upgrades. You have to do this at certain parts of the quest or you won’t be powerful enough to defeat certain bosses—you’ll only do 1 hit point of damage per attack, making your success highly unlikely.

Terranigma.
Screenshot: Nintendo/Square Enix (MobyGames)

The thing I like best about Terranigma is its commitment to freedom of movement and thrilling action gameplay. Where many action RPGs simply let the character attack by swinging his sword, Terranigma lets you combine dashing and jumping with attacks to create a variety of different moves. You can jump while attacking, fling yourself through the air while dashing, or do the ultimate move by running, leaping into the air, and pressing attack, which will send you down in a flying slide kick that does the most damage of all your basic moves.

What all of these games have in common is beautiful pixel art, catchy chiptune soundtracks, and that endearing sort of prototypical video game story where you can see the ambitions of the writers straining to escape the restrictions of low-resolution graphics and the limited ROM space they can fill with text. You don’t see games like this made anymore. This type of game, which seemed like such a big part of the gaming world during my late adolescence, was, in retrospect, limited to one brief technological era.

This is all to say that I need some recommendations for other 16-bit action RPGs to play. Don’t suggest Secret of Mana, which I’ve played quite a few times already. But what should be next?

Source: Kotaku.com

Streets Of Rage 2 Champ Pulls Off Nigh Impossible No Death Mania Run

Speedrunner Anthopants is one of the best Streets of Rage players in the world, but even he couldn’t complete Streets of Rage 2 on Mania difficulty as the character Max without dying…until this weekend, that is, when he downed the final boss with a mere sliver of health left. His reaction upon becoming the first to ever accomplish the nigh-impossible feat is priceless.

Anthopants has been breaking Streets of Rage speedrun records for years. He’s a fixture at the top of Speedrun.com’s Streets of Rage 2 and 3 charts, and he showed off his skill during last year’s Summer Games Done Quick event. Beating Streets of Rage 2 on its highest difficulty is easy for Anthopants, but beating it without dying is another thing. He managed to pull off the feat for the first time with the character Axel in November of 2018.

Compared to Max, however, Axel is easy mode. He’s got the fastest punch in the game, as well as the best blitz super move, the “Grand Upper.” Speaking to Kotaku over email, Anthopants explains why beating the game without dying as the wrestler Max is so much more difficult.

“Max is the hardest to play the game with. You need the fastest reflexes, most knowledge of enemies timing, you have to use his entire move-set and know, in real-time on the spot, when to use what when,” said Anthopants. “You have to think ahead 10 steps, get to step 1 and instantly think ahead a whole new 10 steps when things don’t go as you planned (they never do). Once you get good with Max it pays off in big ways, he’s the fastest to speedrun the game with due to his massive damage but he’s also the easiest for enemies to hit due to his big hitbox, slow walk and punch speed.”

Anthopants got his first near-deathless with Max in December of last year, weeks after his Axel run. Since then he’s attempted the no death Max Mania run dozens of times. He’s documented the times he came close to his goal in a series of “No Death Fail” videos on his YouTube channel. They’re painful to watch.

Anthopants grinded for his no death Axel mania run for nearly eight months, and then jumped straight into mastering Max. “My problem was that I did it with Axel, but in my heart, I’m a Max player. Max is the reason why I love Streets of Rage 2 as much as I do. Despite all the pain that seven and a half months of grinding with Axel gave me, I jumped back into it so I could get it with Max.”

Now, after all of that pain, he’s gotten the payoff. After battling through an incredibly tense stage seven, he advanced to the eighth and final stage, Mr. X’s office. With maybe one hit’s worth of health left, the machine gun-wielding boss fell. The final battle starts at the 58:30 mark in the video below.

His reaction is intense. There’s a brief cheer, followed by two minutes or so of heavy breathing. In the YouTube description for the video, Anthopants says,“I held some very extreme focus during level 8 for a little too long so I spent the entire end credits making sure I didn’t go into shock.”

Too intense? No worries—Anthopants followed up the victory vid with a version that had commentary, giving him a chance to share the thrill of becoming the first to not let Max die in Mania mode.

What’s next for Anthopants? “If I’m really smart I won’t ever go for a no death again. For now, I’ll put in Max speedruns, which is fast and crazy just the way I like it.”

Source: Kotaku.com

Mega Man, Street Fighter II Coming To Genesis Mini

Mega Man: The Wily Wars.
Screenshot: Capcom (Sega)

Sega has revealed the next batch of 10 games coming to its Genesis Mini console, including Capcom classics like Mega Man: The Wily Wars, Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition, and Ghouls ‘n Ghosts.

Of particular interest is Mega Man: The Wily Wars, an enhanced compilation of the first three games in the series that includes an extra Genesis-exclusive stage. While it was released on cartridge in Japan and Europe, it only came to the U.S. via the early 16-bit online service called Sega Channel. It’s never been rereleased since.

You probably won’t have very much fun with Street Fighter II right out of the box, since the Genesis Mini only includes 3-button controllers, which are sub-optimal for 6-button fighting games. However, Sega also announced today that the currently available $15 6-button Genesis-style USB controllers from the hardware maker Retro-Bit will work with the Genesis Mini. Retro-Bit will also make a $20 6-button controller designed specifically for the Mini, which it will release in August. The Genesis Mini itself will be released on September 9.

Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition.
Screenshot: Capcom (Sega)

The other games announced today include many more Sega favorites:

  • Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
  • Beyond Oasis
  • Golden Axe
  • Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
  • Sonic Spinball
  • Vectorman
  • Wonder Boy in Monster World

Sega will unveil the fourth and final batch of games on June 4. A livestream announcement of Japan’s final 10 games will feature Streets of Rage composer Yuzo Koshiro, who composed the Genesis Mini’s menu music. The original Streets of Rage has yet to be confirmed for the Genesis Mini, so it’s likely that Koshiro himself will make that announcement in Japan. If previous announcements are any indication, the final 10 U.S. games will be announced shortly after that livestream.

Here are the 30 games announced so far for the Genesis Mini in the U.S.

  1. Sonic the Hedgehog
  2. Ecco the Dolphin
  3. Castlevania: Bloodlines
  4. Space Harrier 2
  5. Shining Force
  6. Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
  7. ToeJam & Earl
  8. Comix Zone
  9. Altered Beast
  10. Gunstar Heroes
  11. Earthworm Jim
  12. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  13. Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
  14. World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck
  15. Contra: Hard Corps
  16. Thunder Force III
  17. Super Fantasy Zone
  18. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
  19. Streets of Rage 2
  20. Landstalker
  21. Mega Man: The Wily Wars
  22. Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition
  23. Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
  24. Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
  25. Beyond Oasis
  26. Golden Axe
  27. Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
  28. Sonic Spinball
  29. Vectorman
  30. Wonder Boy in Monster World
Beyond Oasis.
Screenshot: Sega

The Japanese version, called Mega Drive Mini, has a somewhat different selection of games. Most of these are Japan-only releases that wouldn’t make much sense to include on the Western versions of the console, although a few, like the rare shooter MUSHA and Revenge of Shinobi, would seem to be good candidates for worldwide release. We’ll finally know the whole roster on June 4.

Source: Kotaku.com

The Best Sports Event This Weekend Was A Smash Ultimate Tournament

Right after the world’s most blah Super Bowl mercifully wrapped itself up, 124,000 viewers tuned in to Twitch to watch something way more exciting: the Oakland Super Smash Bros. tournament Genesis 6. The event was one hype moment after another, and its players looked so capable that, at times, I wondered what devil they’d promised their firstborn to.

Over the course of the past three days, 2,100 Smash Ultimate competitors went head-to-head, whittling the event’s enormous player pool down to one. Unlike the game’s prior iteration, which by the end of its competitive life was dominated by just a couple characters, a huge variety of Smash Ultimate fighters featured over the weekend. The top eight players chose characters like Pikachu, Fox, Captain Olimar, Peach, Pichu, Lucina, Ike, Wolf and Inkling. Recent data from Nintendo has backed up to fans’ theory that the game is excellently balanced across its 72 fighters and, if you’re still waiting for more proof of that, add Genesis 6 to the pile.

But who won? The tournament finals were between Mexican Ike-slash-Lucina player Leonardo “MKLeo” Perez and California Pichu main James “Void” Makekau-Tyson. Makekau-Tyson arrived at the Finals with an undefeated run through the bracket and a terrifying concentration face. Perez, who had won the prior two Genesis tournaments, had gotten thrown into the losers bracket by Peach player Ezra “Samsora” Morris Jr., who has been raging through local tournaments. Perez annihilated the rest of his opponents in the losers bracket before finally encountering Makekau-Tyson in the finals.

At first, the match looked almost even, except for Perez showing some early dominance by capitalizing on every small vulnerability he could ecke out of Makekau-Tyson. Sometimes, he created the vulnerabilities himself, as in this moment where he broke Pichu’s itty bitty shield:

Pichu often wins when she gets enough damage on an opponent by landing small-damage, relentless combos, after which she can polish them off with a well-timed smash attack. That led to some incredible combo streaks from Makekau-Tyson, which often put him one or two stocks ahead of Perez. Here’s Makekau-Tyson taking two stocks off Perez within the span of just a couple seconds:

Perez’s Lucina, on the other hand, has to be looking for any opening she can to land a big aerial attack—especially when her opponent’s trying to come back onto the stage. Although Makekau-Tyson kept landing delicious combos, Perez almost always found a way to follow up:

In the end, Perez’s consistency won out. Perez won in the grand finals three-to-one, one stock ahead, earning him his third Genesis championship:

Of course, there’s more to a meeting of a game’s top players than the Finals. 15-year-old Zackray, a relative unknown who flew in from Japan, plowed through the tournament with Wolf on a chair so oversized that his feet didn’t even touch the ground. Over the course of the tournament, the crowd fell in love with him. He didn’t drop even one game until he encountered Makekau-Tyson in the winners semifinals. They tied at two and two, with Makekau-Tyson eventually pulling ahead with a lot of difficulty. It was some of the best Smash I’ve ever seen:

Another excellent game was Inkling player Brian “Cosmos” Kalu’s fight against Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby, who was switching between Palutena and Captain Olimar, the latter of which was controversial among fans. No shade from me, though. I live for bonkers recoveries like this:

It’s hard to pick a favorite match from an event this exciting, but mine might be Perez’s match against William “Leffen” Hjelte, a Melee player who, in Smash Ultimate, is playing left-fielder Pokemon Trainer, who can summon Squirtle, Ivysaur and Charizard. Hjelte was pulling off moves with the fighter that most people probably haven’t seen before.

Here’s Hjelte reaping the benefits of a mid-air Pokemon switch:

And here’s Hjelte dodging a huge blow from Perez’s Ike by switching Pokemon mid-air:

Smash fans who missed out on Genesis 6—busy sucking on corn cobs and mourning the fact that, yet again, the worst people won the Super Bowl—should cleanse their palates with these vods.

Source: Kotaku.com