“Sega Genesis: Classic Console Deluxe” by ATGAMES (Plug n’ Play)
When it comes to console boxes this particular one is definitely one of the better ones that I’ve seen. The art on the box as well as the pictures of the contents were appealing, and definitely looked like something SEGA would support. It was made of higher end cardboard, and was glossy with well organized, and well printed images relating to the Sega oriented products that were included within. Upon closer examination of it though I found a couple of details that were disheartening. One of these more hidden details was a disclaimer stating that it may not play all of the SEGA cartridges that were made. This was both disappointing, and misleading. Not having the disclaimer in bold print, and it being placed in an obscure area on the box made it a detail that would be easily overlooked by anyone not paying close attention to the writing on the box. The second detail which was a letdown in it’s on way was the fact that the only thing related to SEGA at all was the provided software used within the console. It was more, or less a ROM filled with accessible Sega Genesis games.
Upon opening the box, and first seeing it’s contents I thought everything was packed well, and that everything inside looked durable enough. Looks can be deceiving though. As I began picking items out of the preformed cardboard I began to realize that this “Console” was something more along the lines of one of those cheap $20 “Plug n’ Play” games. When it came to quality the actual console part felt about as cheaply made as it gets. It was hollow, had a cheap made wireless censor up front, and small electronic components inside. I checked the sticker on the bottom of it, and sure enough there stamped in bold letters was the makers mark stating the obvious, “Made in China”. At that point I was thinking what a load of !@#$%.
Other things included in the box were a basic yellow & white video/audio cable (it was pretty damn cheap too), a cheaply made plug-in adapter, an instruction manual, a SEGA cartridge with 12 cheap off brand dinosaur games, and two wireless controllers. Out of everything included the controllers were about the only halfway decent products as they felt heavier than the console unit, and seemed to be more durable. As disappointed as I was at that point I thought to myself I might as well check the software, and console/controller functions before writing it off as garbage. After all there were some fairly good games listed on the box.
Being the professional tester, and journalist that I am I decided to test the console in two different ways. First with a standard tube TV, and secondly on my HDTV. Following the instructions I hooked everything up to my old 20 in. tube television, and turned the power on. Upon seeing the starting menu I cringed a bit, remembering something someone said about the NeoGeo remake. The images shown were of the poorest quality even for a retro console. Things like the after images that followed each 16bit word, and image made the listed games, and accompanying screenshots look like !@#$%. Oddly though as I accessed my first game the problem seemed to fix itself, and the more I played the better, and more SEGA-like things began to appear. It was definitely a first for me.
As far as the games go there were a lot of them, and most of them were recognizable. Some of the more notable games listed in the collection included “Sonic the Hedgehog 1-3”, “Sonic Spinball”, “Sonic & Knuckles”, “Sonic 3D Blast”, “Streets of Rage 1-3”, “Altered Beast”, “Eternal Champions”, “Chakan the Forever Man”, “Vector Man 1-2”, and “Golden Axe 1-3”. The rest of the games were alright except for the cheaply made extras that looked worse than an amateur indie game. After playing through a handful of my favorites I began to see the retro goodness that I had once enjoyed many years ago return in it’s former glory. The Sonic series was just as good as the original, and “Chakan the Forever Man” was just as badass, and metal as I remembered. Having controllers that actually did their job decently also helped the enjoyment to be realized, somewhat. It was definitely odd playing the SEGA knock-off with a wireless controller, but overall the control pads held up well against the strain, and repetitive use. The only downside to the control pads were that the censors in front were excessively large causing button presses to fail as your finger crosses the path of the infrared censors. It’s definitely something that takes getting used to.
Following my testing of the console unit on the standard television I briefly took it to the HDTV to see what the difference was, if there was any. Surprisingly the graphics were improved a little. Having my HDTV set to widescreen though presented a slight problem. In order to get the fullscreen image to display I had to simply change the screen size via my HDTV settings menu. While it was a little bothersome it was an easy fix. On the plus side of things it’s pretty darn Awesome that the console can be hooked up to an HDTV that has standard audio/video ports.
Aside from those things you’ll find that the controller layout, and the console buttons are a good bit different from the original SEGA Genesis offerings. The controller does have the original six face buttons, and a DPad, but the select button in the middle of the controller is replaced with what is called a “Menu” button. This button is also located on the console as well. It’s function is to basically take you from a currently selected game to the initial game listings. The feature makes the console react just like a ROM modded console, and is about as unprofessional as it gets. Does it work? Yes, but it doesn’t look all that impressive doing so.
I also went a step further in my testing to see if the console, or the plug-in adapter
would get hot while playing, and for the most part each component remained cool. Keep in mind that I only played for about 30 minutes though. With the system being made so cheaply there’s still the high possibility that something could break, or malfunction during usage.
While the sound quality was decent on the standard television it was more like the original 16bit soundtracks when played on the HDTV. Surprisingly the sound was this consoles greatest feature – 9/10
Graphics on this knock-off console were strange. Never in my time as a gamer have I seen poorly rendered graphics improve like they did with this retro remake. The more I played the better the display looked. With that being said some games did look better than others to begin with though. The Sonic games, Chakan, and Vector Man series were definitely the best in my personal opinion. Overall graphics were impressive enough, and definitely outdid the poor craftsmanship of the core unit – 5/10
Unfortunately seeing how cheaply made this thing actually was concerns me about it’spotential life span. While nothing is confirmed as of yet the poorly crafted console unit, and the half-assed controllers will no doubt wear out in due time. Having a console that lasts is what collectors are looking for, and sadly this console will more than likely not provide that longevity – 2/10
For $40 there are plenty of other video game related items for sale out there that are better crafted, and more worthy of your money. Even though this is an exclusive, and even though it has some impressive retro games the console’s ROM based construction voids any hope of this thing making up for it’s steep cost. I suggest spending your hard earned money on something else. Not this pitifully made excuse for a retro console.
Original review by: Otaku Gaming Inferno