Broken Hearts and Classic Consoles
Whenever I flip the hard plastic switch of my Sega Genesis, I know that I’m taking a gamble. It’s not that I’m afraid it’s going to break or that I’m going to get some kind of science fiction-like electric shock that arcs out and zaps me. It’s a gamble because the game I have selected will work, or it won’t work.
There isn’t anything wrong with the cartridges. I’ve checked them all out on a Nomad and they worked fine. I fear that my console just doesn’t make good connections to the chips. So it was for a long time that I played my Genesis sparsely to relive the glory years of my gaming days; true enough, games were simple, extremely difficult, and incredibly addictive. They were, essentially, arcade games that you could play at home, and there was something attractive about that.
Well, I finally decided that I needed to have a third-party console that could play the games reliably. AtGames, a Chinese company I had not previously known, released one recently. Boasting 80 built-in games and a plug-and-play setup, the AtGames Sega Genesis Classic Game Console is a poor imitation of the classic majesty of the original console.
This, however, does not diminish the actual quality of the system. It comes with two wireless controllers that connect via infrared, and has two ports that are compatible with the original controllers if you have them. What really attracted me to the system was that it could also play the original cartridges as well as the emulated built-in games.
There are some drawbacks, however. The wireless controllers, by their nature as infrared-based electronics, have an extremely limit range. The biggest problem with the controllers is that you have to have them pointed directly at the console for them to work. If you’re not really antsy and can stay still for long stretches of time, this shouldn’t pose much of a problem. The lack of cord makes them a reasonable alternative to the original controllers.
I’d also like to nitpick the claim of 80 built-in games. It’s true that it comes loaded with 40 original Sega Genesis games, including perennial favorite Sonic the Hedgehog (and personal favorite Sonic Spinball). I was surprised when it included other favorites such as Vectorman and Kid Chameleon. The other 40 games are, however, in house creations of low quality. A few of them are fun and kind of tricky, but they’re nothing special. I think that memory could have been better used holding a few other Genesis games, like Battletoads, for instance (I lost that cartridge a long time ago and haven’t been able to find one at a reasonable price since). Related to that is the fact that there are some minor sound issues with Sonic the Hedgehog and a few other games that distort some of the sound effects and play the music off-key, but that’s minor.
Other than those two quibbles, the console is a fairly remarkable update. I won’t ever get rid of my original console, but it I want to serious Sonic marathon without the worry of the game freezing if I think bad thoughts at it, the AtGames console is a decent alternative. If you’re into classic gaming and don’t have a good console, it’s a good way to go for the money you spend.