SEGA Mega Drive & Genesis Classics gets a VR overhaul

Mega Drive Collection

It’s not often worth talking about old console emulation packages here, but Sega have pulled out all the stops with this one. Once just a loose collection of old ROMs wrapped in a crunchy emulator shell, the Mega Drive & Genesis Classics collection is now a high-budget VR-era production, all thanks to a free update. It now boasts online multiplayer, leaderboards, challenge modes, new graphics options and – most impressively – full VR support, allowing you to play around with virtual cartridges in a digitally recreated messy ’90s bedroom.

One of the coolest features introduced with this new edition is the Challenge mode, presumably inspired by Nintendo’s NES Remix collection. Through some clever little tweaks to ROM and RAM alike, each game has a bonus goal to complete, like squeaking through the first level of Revenge of Shinobi with only 1 health point left, or for Streets of Rage 2, completing the second stage without picking up a single item. I’d like to see them add more of these, but it’s great that they’ve added content at all to such venerable old titles.

Online leaderboards and multiplayer are great features too. While you’ll ideally want to be playing with a friend in the same country so as to keep pings to a minimum, there should be only the barest hint of input lag if you’ve got a buddy relatively close to home. Now you can relive those childhood memories without the pain of digging out the old hardware and finding it doesn’t work on your modern TV anyway after inviting your friends round from half the country away.

The collection still retains full Steam Workshop-assisted mod support, meaning that you can play the likes of Sonic 3D Blast: Director’s Cut (created by the original lead developer of the game – read more about it here) as authentically as possible. While I don’t have a headset to try the VR stuff at present, it looks like a pretty natural fit, and hopefully the relatively low pixel density on current-generation headsets won’t affect the graphics too badly.

The SEGA Mega Drive & Genesis Classics collection is available on Steam in its entirety for £25/$30, or you can buy the games individually for under £1 in most cases. The full patch-notes for this update can be found here.

14 Comments

  1. napoleonic says:

    This is a good collection, and there’s a brilliant article at the cheery fanzine [https://www.pcgamer.com/sega-chill-meet-the-modder-who-makes-arcade-classics-easierusing-his-feet/] about a disabled modder who has made lots of great mods for these games. I recommend both the collection and the article.

  2. titanomaquis says:

    One annoyance I’ve run into is that the save data does not cross-apply between the simple launcher and the Game room. I play the game room on my desktop and the simple launcher on my laptop. Also, only the game room has cloud saves.

    I was hoping they would address some issues with the Simple launcher when I heard they were going to update it, but it seems like they left it alone.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    Hm, the VR thing reminds me of that one horror game about the guy in the dog costume.

  4. Moonracer says:

    I wonder how different the VR experience is from New Retro Arcade: Neon.

  5. Baines says:

    Forget the features. The two important questions:

    1) Have they improved the emulator? The original emulator had emulation issues such as improper sound. It was playable, but there were better free alternatives.

    2) Is the room hub still an absurd resource hog? The original version of the room hub was badly written, and could reduce even a higher end system into a sluggish, stuttering performance.

    • kalirion says:

      Don’t you understand that they’re simply simulating the experience of you getting hammered and then rummaging around the attic for a cart before sticking it into the Genesis?

  6. kalirion says:

    I just wish they’d come up with a way to quickly launch the game I want to play. Is that so much to ask? I don’t want to scroll over my entire Sega Classics library in whatever weird order it’s in, looking for Sonic 3 or whatever I feel like playing.

  7. DanMan says:

    Also Linux support.

  8. Spacewalk says:

    I was hoping they’d do something like order all the graphics layers in a way that they’d pop out at you to get a similar effect to the 3DS classics range rather than a dumb VR bedroom.

  9. satan says:

    There are some videos up on youtube of the online play, looks kinda laggy :(

  10. melancholicthug says:

    My room was pretty much like that back when the Genesis was new, that interface never fails to make me sad and happy.

  11. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    I still can’t believe people had televisions in their bedrooms. Kids those days…

Comment on this story

HTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>