These games should be on Sega’s Genesis Mini

We’re less than two weeks away from Sega Genesis Mini’s release, and the retro console is shaping up to be a worthy representation of Sega’s presence during the 16-bit era. Check out our article on Sega Genesis Mini’s list of games here and pre-order Sega Genesis Mini here.

However, no fixed list of titles is going to seem complete to every gamer. Sometimes we give our hearts to certain games, no matter how questionable the decision becomes when we remove the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia. Other instances find a tangled web of licensing issues keeping certain titles away from retro releases like Sega Genesis Mini.

Whatever the reason, these titles have been omitted from Sega’s love letter to the Genesis. I’m not going to harp on overlooked franchise entries (I don’t particularly need every Streets of Rage game, though it would’ve been nice). Instead, I’ll pick out five games that were uniquely important to the Genesis or the generation of games the Genesis Mini pulls from. Grab your Tang and feed your Tamagotchi, because we’re going back to the ’90s!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist

Released during the holiday season of 1992, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist is a side-scrolling beat ’em up that casts players as one of the turtles on a mission to save Manhattan from Shredder, who uses the titular stone to shrink the city borough and take it into custody.

At first glance, Konami’s The Hyperstone Heist resembles the company’s Super Nintendo Entertainment System contemporary, TMNT: Turtles in Time. However, while the pair share a number of sound effects, music tracks, enemies and level design choices, this game features a few tweaks that help set it apart from its better-known brethren.

The Hyperstone Heist’s level count clocks in below Turtles in Time’s 10, with only half as many stages making up the heroes in a half-shell’s first outing on Genesis. The discrepancy is forgivable since The Hyperstone Heist’s five stages are more elaborate than Turtles in Time’s and send players through multiple sections, with franchise mainstays like sewers and city streets leading to more elaborate fare like ghost ships and feudal Japanese castles.

Why wasn’t the game included?
Rights could be an issue here, but with Nickelodeon already licensing both the Turtles’ 1989 arcade game and Turtles in Time to Arcade1Up, The Hyperstone Heist may have been available to Sega. However, even if the title were an option, the cost to license it and the number of beat ’em ups already included with Sega Genesis Mini may have also factored into the decision to leave The Hyperstone Heist in the past.

Bonanza Bros.

Sega’s 1990 arcade stealth shooter was ported to Sega Genesis in 1991 and, through its pseudo-3D graphics, unique gameplay mechanics and Blues Bros. inspired protagonists, Bonanza Bros. carved itself a niche in the Genesis install base.

Bonanza Bros. follows the exploits of brothers Robo and Mobo, a pair of thieves ready to blimp away with each level’s treasure.

During gameplay, players navigate their character along a 2D plane, collecting items while avoiding guards. Their goal? The building’s rooftop, where getaway awaits for the player and their cache of loot.

Why wasn’t the game included?
Bonanza Bros. is a first-party Sega title and has been referenced as recently as last generation’s Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. These two facts make the game’s omission from Sega Genesis Mini perplexing. Maybe Sega wanted a tight roster for their mini console. Maybe they didn’t believe the title was up to their standards of quality. Either way, the best place to find Bonanza Bros. is the recently released Sega Genesis Classics compilation.

Mortal Kombat

The pop culture phenomena known as Mortal Kombat debuted on Sega Genesis in 1993. The franchise would see three other releases on the console—Mortal Kombat II, Mortal Kombat 3 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3—all of which deserving of a spot on Sega Genesis Mini.

Mortal Kombat’s original trilogy pitted super-powered fighters against each other on a 2D plane and featured gratuitous depictions of blood that shot from characters that incurred damage. The game became an overnight sensation with the public due to its included finishing moves, which allowed players to perform character-specific kill animations by inputting post-match button combinations.

The Genesis version of Mortal Kombat didn’t censor the game’s blood effects or fatality finishing moves, while the Super Nintendo version sported blue blood passed off as sweat, as well as less offensive finishers compared to its Genesis contemporary. However, the Genesis home ports of every MK title are considered technically inferior to their SNES counterparts, and the censorship stopped with the SNES port of MKII.

Regardless, the Genesis was the first place many MK fans encountered the franchise, and while technically inferior, the Genesis versions are far from unplayable.

Why wasn’t the game included?
The Genesis Mini already has fighting genre representation from Street Fighter and Eternal Champions, so the lack of Mortal Kombat titles isn’t egregious. The original Mortal Kombat trilogy is already available on Arcade1Up cabinets, digital storefronts and other retro console products, so giving the spot to a rarer game makes Genesis Mini more appealing, too.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Speaking of rare, Zombies Ate My Neighbors’ low sales and cult classic status have cemented its position as one of the most sought-after Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis carts. Since Nintendo decided against including the top-down run-and-gun title in its SNES Classic mini console, it would’ve been great to see Sega offer this title’s fans one more shot at the undead masses.

Developed by LucasArts and released in 1993, Zombies Ate My Neighbors as players a simple question: Zeke or Julie? After choosing which character to send against the forces of death, the not-so-simple part begins. Players take control and embark on a rescue mission to save their many neighbors from all sorts of horror-inspired enemies.

A second player can join in on the fun, which has aged well enough for Zombies Ate My Neighbor’s Wii Virtual Console port to receive critical praise upon its 2009 release.

Why wasn’t the game included?
Zombies Ate My Neighbors should be on the Sega Genesis Mini. This game is a generational gem and, after its SNES Classic snub, is an obvious get. Sega already has titles from each potential rights holder (Disney and Konami) on Sega Genesis Mini, and should’ve included Zombies Ate My Neighbors in those talks.

NHLPA Hockey ’93

I’m aware of NHL ’94’s place in sports gamer’s hearts, but if I didn’t include NHLPA Hockey ’93 I’d be doing younger me a disservice. It was the first hockey game I owned and it started a love affair with the sport that continues today.

NHLPA Hockey ’93 is a deep, nuanced sports experience in an era when sports games were usually neither and hockey games were usually scant. The title featured multiplayer, single game and playoff scenarios, with saving enabled thanks to the included cartridge battery.

Electronic Arts paid for the NHL Player’s Association license and included the names of real National Hockey League players, but team names and logos weren’t included in the deal, hence the game’s title. EA grabbed the NHL license for its 1994 installment, but the developer also removed fighting and blood from NHL ’94—the move prompted a mention in 1996 film Swingers.

Why wasn’t the game included?
Re-releasing a sports game is probably a licensing nightmare, especially for a game that includes so many outdated teams, retired players and overall trademarked assets. In addition, I doubt Electronic Arts is willing to revisit the year they didn’t pay for NHL logos, and I doubt the NHL would take the decision well. Thought it’d probably be EA and the NHL’s preferred title for Genesis Mini, NHL ’94 probably wouldn’t have a better chance for inclusion, either.

Our Take

I may have spent an entire article talking about what Sega Genesis Mini isn’t, but first impressions from the critical community are praising it as a fulfilling trip down memory lane. I’m excited to get my hands on one Sept. 19, and this article certainly shouldn’t deter you from doing the same.

Are there any games you think this console is missing? Leave a comment and let us know!


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