The Sega Genesis Mini Has A Michael Jackson Problem

Sega Genesis Mini – Thumbnail Image30 of the 40 games for the Sega Genesis Mini have been announced. It looks like Sega is working really hard to making this retro console the best it can be. With games like Wily Wars (Mega Man 1, 2 & 3), Streets of Rage 2 and Earth Worm Jim, I’m already looking forward to the September 19, 2019 launch date. Not since the Dreamcast 9/9/1999 launch – two decades ago – have I been excited about a Sega system launch. Although, with 10 game announcements to go, Sega has a tough decision to make. What to do about Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker?

After the “Leaving Neverland” documentary, the pop icon’s legacy is marred in controversy. Some radio stations have even stopped playing his music. While Moonwalker was one of the greatest games of the system, how will gamers respond to it today? Will they be nostalgic or offended? Assuming Sega could get the green light to include the classic game on the Sega Genesis Mini – should Sega do it?

That’s a tough decision. If Sega is not sure what to do, here are five games that I think are better games for the Sega Genesis Mini.

  • NHL 94 – This is one of the greatest sports games of all time. Also, since the Sega Genesis Mini is a retro system, reliving the New York Rangers Stanley Cup win is super nostalgic.
  • NBA Hang Time – Staying with the sports theme, NBA Jam is one of the most iconic sports games of the early 90s. Hang Time was released later in the life of the Sega Genesis, which gives the game distinct advantages over the previous (NBA Jam & NBA Jam Tournament Edition) versions.
  • Gauntlet IV – This version of the arcade classic is amazing! It would be even more amazing if four people could play together on the Sega Genesis Mini. There might be technical limitations that prevent this awesomeness. But if a USB hub could be plugged into the Sega Genesis Mini, that could sell a lot of extra controllers. Considering Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition works better with a Six-Button controller, it would be nice to give players another reason to buy additional controllers.
  • Alisia Dragoon – With movies like Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman, girl power seems to be all the rage these days. But back in the early 90s, Alisia Dragoon was blasting firepower all across the screen. Even better, she had pet dragons years before Game of Thrones was on HBO.
  • Herzog Zwei – This is a real-time strategy game, which was quite revolutionary in the heydays of the Genesis. With its sci-fi theme and great sound effects, Herzog Zwei has a faster feeling. That sensation is bolstered by the excellent mix of action and planning. With all of the modern RTS games, it’s easy to forget the humble beginnings. That’s why Herzog Zwei would be an honorable inclusion in the Sega Genesis Mini. As a comparison, Populous on the Genesis is a decent game, but it’s tougher to play with a controller than a mouse. Herzog Zwei has a more arcade-like twitchy gameplay, as the main unit is a transforming jet/robot.

Also, it feels like the Sega Genesis Mini should complete franchises. Why have Phantasy Star IV without Phantasy Star II or III? What about the other Sonic games? No Knuckles? No Tails? What about Shinobi? No Shadow Dancer? No Revenge of Shinobi? And while Streets of Rage 2 is the best of the series, why not include 1 & 3? While third-party developers might not play ball, where’s the issue with first-party Sega games? The AtGames Sega Genesis Flashback system may have had problems, but at least it was good at including sets of games.

Basically, 40 doesn’t feel like enough games. That’s why Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker presents a problem. If there were 80 games, Moonwalker could simply be included for historical purposes. It could get lost in the crowd of games. But if Sega is truly limiting the system to just 40 games, that means there are just 10 games to announce. Does that leave any extra room for controversy?

Ultimately, I think that I would include Moonwalker on the Sega Genesis Mini. The music is great and the gameplay is classic Genesis. Would the Sega Genesis have been as successful without Michael Jackson? I’m thinking probably not. I don’t like revisionist history.

So, if it was up to me, here’s what I’d include for the final 10…

  1. NHL 94
  2. NBA Hang Time
  3. Gauntlet IV
  4. Alisia Dragoon
  5. Herzog Zwei
  6. Streets of Rage
  7. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  8. Phantasy Star II
  9. Moonwalker
  10. ???

That last one is tough. There are best sellers like Aladdin and Mortal Kombat II, but do they beat Zero Wing’s memetic significance? 🤪

For true 90s nostalgia, I think Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist is a better pick for the 10th game. In addition to the blast of nostalgia, it’s a two-player co-op game. That can be a lot of fun. Hopefully, team play is what Sega emphasizes with the last 10 games – such as Gauntlet IV with four players! This is just my imagination and speculation running wild. But with less than four months to launch, the final game list for the Sega Genesis Mini should be public knowledge soon.