Just when I had a mind to sell off my old, lesser-played console games and devote more time to my two main gaming devices, a reason to keep them has appeared–Los Angeles-based maker of retro game consoles, Hyperkin’s, newest project is a handheld console that can play original Sega Genesis and Mega Drive cartridges, which is a tongue-wagging prospect indeed.
Dubbed the ‘Mega 95,’ the console is just a prototype for now, but it does have me chomping at the bit to once again tussle with Robotnik on the mighty Death Egg in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 like I did at friends’ houses when I was just a scrawny, dotty-faced teenager (I never owned these devices–I was more of an Amiga 500 guy to be honest), but on a device that can do a lot more than either of those consoles could do. Suffice to say, it’s a Sega fan’s dream.
The Mega 95 will most likely (the ‘how’ is yet to be confirmed) take original Sega game cartridges directly into the top of the chassis and will sport dual functionality so you can hook it up to any display or play directly on the console itself. The controls resemble what you will see on most handhelds with a D-pad on one side and action keys on the other, although unlike the Nintendo Switch, its controllers won’t be removable. It features a 5-inch screen, which can be used in either a classic 4:3 aspect ratio or an expanded 16:9 ratio. Switching between the two modes is possible via a simple button operation.
The console’s connectivity will be slightly better than Hyperkin’s already released SupaBoy line of handheld consoles, which are compatible with Super NES and Super Famicom cartridges, in that it will come with a Type-C display dock that outputs to a TV or monitor at HD (720p) via a HD cable. The two controller inputs will also accommodate external controls to make co-op and competitive gaming possible on a big screen. The console will also sport an Li-Ion rechargeable battery that will provide up to 10 hours battery life for gaming on the go.
While no official release date or pricing has been locked in as yet, a final product can’t be too far off if Hyperkin’s announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week is any indication–heck they’ve even got impressive images which show off the prototype console’s design, which slightly harks back to the classic Sega Genesis Nomad console of old. Waiting for a retail version is never easy, but the upside is that at least I have a little more time to visit flea markets and car boot sales for old Sega cartridges now.