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New Genesis Flashback

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WRT size, the 2018 version could be a Genesis model 2 and then they could make it smaller AND have it look right. It's not what lots of folks think of when they hear "Genesis" but it'd be better.

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Also, fans seem fine with the wired controllers in the SNES mini. Hyperkin currently manufactures quality aftermarket 6-button Genesis controllers that feel reasonably similar to the originals, so maybe rebadging them would be possible.

Finally, simply having the menu of games scroll vertically and having the user go all the way to the left to switch categories would be better than the current confusing system.

 

I think wireless is the way to go. It's really not cool to be tethered to the console anymore.

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As long as it continues to have 9-pin controller ports, wireless pack-ins are fine with me.

 

Polygon's written review was already scathing, but their podcast on the Flashback is equally hard on the device. This is what I was talking about yesterday - it's going to be compared to Nintendo, and making what sounds like a poor device is really inexcusable these days. https://www.polygon.com/2017/10/19/16505456/sega-genesis-flashback-review-podcast

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WRT size, the 2018 version could be a Genesis model 2 and then they could make it smaller AND have it look right. It's not what lots of folks think of when they hear "Genesis" but it'd be better.

 

True

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Also, fans seem fine with the wired controllers in the SNES mini. Hyperkin currently manufactures quality aftermarket 6-button Genesis controllers that feel reasonably similar to the originals, so maybe rebadging them would be possible.

 

We must be hearing / seeing different things then, because the #1 complaint that I have and that I've seen people have with the SNES mini is the corded controllers; specifically the length of the cord being tiny, and basically requiring purchase of an extension cord (which I did). Wireless would be absolutely optimal, and is a big reason I'm looking forward to this Genesis Flashback...Or the Chinese knockoff. Reviews generally have been very positive on the wireless controllers...plus there's the option to go wired as well. Win Win.

 

 

On a different note...I'm having trouble deciding what I'll do. Not sure if I want the Chinese knockoff or the AtGames one. Most important to me is that it play the games I most need it to (in my case, Rock n' Roll Racing, Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition, Adventures of Batman & Robin, Streets of Rage 2 and 3, Skeleton Krew, Dragon's Fury, Michael Jackson's Moonwalker, Sunset Riders, Gunstar Heroes...and some others I can't think of at the moment). No one is doing reviews that are particularly (or at all) investigative about which cartridge games will and won't work so far. We're getting a bunch of videos saying that a few particular games do or don't work...but unless I'm missing it, nobody's doing lots of tryouts of cartridges on these, and I wish they would. Because I don't have a need for either system (as much as I like the design and what I'm seeing / hearing about them, and respect the efforts) if they won't play the games I most love on the Genesis. But if they WILL...well, I'm Really excited about playing my favorites with a wireless controller in 720p on a sweet looking little console. :)

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On a different note...I'm having trouble deciding what I'll do. Not sure if I want the Chinese knockoff or the AtGames one. Most important to me is that it play the games I most need it to (in my case, Rock n' Roll Racing, Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition, Adventures of Batman & Robin, Streets of Rage 2 and 3, Skeleton Krew, Dragon's Fury, Michael Jackson's Moonwalker, Sunset Riders, Gunstar Heroes...and some others I can't think of at the moment). No one is doing reviews that are particularly (or at all) investigative about which cartridge games will and won't work so far. We're getting a bunch of videos saying that a few particular games do or don't work...but unless I'm missing it, nobody's doing lots of tryouts of cartridges on these, and I wish they would. Because I don't have a need for either system (as much as I like the design and what I'm seeing / hearing about them, and respect the efforts) if they won't play the games I most love on the Genesis. But if they WILL...well, I'm Really excited about playing my favorites with a wireless controller in 720p on a sweet looking little console. :)

What knock-off are you looking at that has HDMI and a bunch more games?

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Finally, simply having the menu of games scroll vertically and having the user go all the way to the left to switch categories would be better than the current confusing system.

 

 

I agree. I haven't seen the menu system so I can't say for sure why it is why it is, but don't see why it couldn't be like Sling TV, or any other menu that makes sense, where you press up to go to change category(channels for sling) and then back down to change games(movies and shows for sling) by scrolling left to right. And if for some odd reason you had to have whatever menu on the left, just put a few option things at the top such as system setting or something, so that while scrolling left to right with games if you want to go to the left menu all you have to do is scroll up, then left a few times to go back down to the left menu. That makes a lot more sense than pressing B or C on the controller. I honestly might not buy the thing if they don't put out a fix for that with an update or something.

Edited by SignGuy81
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What knock-off are you looking at that has HDMI and a bunch more games?

The Fei Hao knockoff is good, has very similar controllers to the AtGames, and supports Everdrive and other flash cartridges. It's a SOC instead of an emulator so it saves (only) to cartridge. Seems very compatible with cartridges except for the usual Virtua Racing issue (which doesn't work on the "official" Genesis 3, either). This machine's main flaw is that it doesn't have stereo sound even through the audio jack, just mono.

 

Mine came bundled with an 18-in-1 cartridge for $70 shipped (slow boat from China shipping was $25) and there are $30 600-in-1 flashcarts for $25 (free shipping) from the same AliExpress shops.

 

https://segaretro.org/Fei_Hao_HD_Retro_Game

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At the time I expected the Flashback to be better. Lol

 

I just really want something that works right with minimal latency. I've figured out that HDMI on a PC monitor is the way to avoid latency so now I need something that doesn't add latency to plug into it. Maybe I shouldn't have been so harsh.

Edited by derFunkenstein
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So, lets say for the sake of argument... if I had a bunch of Genesis carts, an HDTV, and no Genesis... would this be an ideal purchase for me... compared to a real Genesis+framemeister or a Retrofreak?

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So, lets say for the sake of argument... if I had a bunch of Genesis carts, an HDTV, and no Genesis... would this be an ideal purchase for me... compared to a real Genesis+framemeister or a Retrofreak?

Honestly I'd go real Genesis and a Component cable. That's what I run and you'll never beat it for quality, convenience and value. Framemeisters are awesome but massively pricey if you just want to play the odd Genesis game. As for Retro Freak and Retron 5, both are good systems but I wouldn't rely on the cheap cart ports for very long...

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Here's my wish list for the next version:

 

1. I'm hoping for greater Master System compatibility in the future. It may be too expensive to go the cartridge slot route and others have already mentioned SD card support, so I'm thinking adding SD card support to the SMS side of the emulator would be the easiest way of doing this?

 

2. Some way to switch between NTSC/PAL modes for better compatibility in PAL regions. The console war was arguably more one sided in certain parts of Europe, with the MD outselling the SNES, so surely it would make good business sense to keep PAL gamers happy where nostalgia is high for Sega's consoles?

 

Most of the well known fan made emulators have 50hz modes and I know even some previous Atgames Mega Drives had region PAL/NTSC switches. Hyperkin and Retro-bit also produce clone consoles with PAL/NTSC switches to help improve compatibility (it doesn't have to be a physical switch of course, just a selectable menu option for loading PAL cartridges or SD card roms).

 

3. Aesthetics. One of the great things about the NES/SNES minis is the fact that they come in miniaturised versions of their original packaging. The machines themselves look great too, mimicking their older predecessors almost exactly. All of this adds to the warm nostalgia we get from these devices, which is partly what these plug and play systems are all about. So why can't Atgames do the same?

 

I can't get those nostalgic feels for a console that doesn't really look like my European PAL model 1 Mega Drive (understated and classy, it's the best looking model imho). Instead I'm going to get a system modelled on an inaccurate US model 1 Genesis that, because of the way the logos were printed, still fails to satisfy US gamers with its looks.

 

Yes, the new Flashback is a huge improvement in terms of looks from the generic famiclone boxes of previous generations, but there's still something a bit off about the design. I agree with others who think copying the model 2 is the way to go. That way, it would also be really easy to localise each console for each region (swapping out black buttons for red ones and printing the region appropriate logos). They could also reduce the plastic they use by making it smaller altogether and they wouldn't have to mess around with the controller port locations because they're already accurate (it kinda bothers me that they're not where they should be in the Flashback).

 

4. An expanded library of Sega games and no bonus games at all. Revenge of Shinobi, Super Hang-on, Space Harrier II, Outrun, Super Fantasy Zone and the Streets of Rage series should all be on the flashback.

Edited by aliensyndrome
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The biggest issue overall is the emulation quality (or lack thereof) in it. AtGames still can't learn how to do system emulation properly, whereas Nintendo seems to somewhat improve on the accuracy of theirs (the FDS audio from that version of Zelda II is night and day between the Wii VC and 3DS VC). That, plus the compatibility with physical carts is horrific. Even with the A/V issues, the GamerzTek SNES clone actually does a better job (though it also has a few bits of reverse-engineered SNES hardware in it).

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If Atgames are short of inspiration, I found a review on youtube for this adorable looking clone called the MD Compact. I'm sure they can "borrow" inspiration from the form factor. This is really what the original Atgames Mega Drive should have looked like. And it would be very easy to localise for each region too, with red buttons for PAL, black for North America and all the logos in the right place (I know Atgames have a big Asian presence, but do they release in Japan?).

 

From the video, it clearly has better sound reproduction than the "official" clone, too (I sometimes wonder if Atgames intentionally borked the sound to keep Yamaha off their back, especially now those Brazilian guys came up with a fix for the sound issues).

 

I'd snap one of these up if it had HD capability or better PAL compatibility (It's obviously not intended for our market), but I can't justify the purchase of a SD MD clone when I still have a perfectly functional original, no matter how much I might like it.

Edited by aliensyndrome

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From the video, it clearly has better sound reproduction than the "official" clone, too (I sometimes wonder if Atgames intentionally borked the sound to keep Yamaha off their back, especially now those Brazilian guys came up with a fix for the sound issues).

 

No, it was just an unintentional design flaw. Most likely this will be the last year for the long-in-the-tooth SD technology that AtGames has been using.

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If Atgames are short of inspiration, I found a review on youtube for this adorable looking clone called the MD Compact. I'm sure they can "borrow" inspiration from the form factor. This is really what the original Atgames Mega Drive should have looked like. And it would be very easy to localise for each region too, with red buttons for PAL, black for North America and all the logos in the right place (I know Atgames have a big Asian presence, but do they release in Japan?).

 

From the video, it clearly has better sound reproduction than the "official" clone, too (I sometimes wonder if Atgames intentionally borked the sound to keep Yamaha off their back, especially now those Brazilian guys came up with a fix for the sound issues).

 

I'd snap one of these up if it had HD capability or better PAL compatibility (It's obviously not intended for our market), but I can't justify the purchase of a SD MD clone when I still have a perfectly functional original, no matter how much I might like it.

 

 

HD version

PAL + SD version (where SD = both "standard definition" and "secure digital" card)

 

The clone scene is HOT right now.

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It certainly is! But it was the dinky form factor as much as anything else that attracted me to that particular clone. I've found one at £45 for sale here in the UK, which is almost cheap enough to get on impulse (regardless of the compatibility issues).

 

But anyway, I think Bill is right. These clone makers will probably all have to move over to some form of HD output eventually. My preference is for something more like the RetroN HD. I know a lot of people here trashed it, but despite some issues with sound, colour, build quality and compatibility (So yeah... Everything) I don't think it's all that bad. In concept at least, it should be the best of both worlds. I guess I like the option to use a console on an old CRT as well as on a new HD display. I know there are some compromises with this approach, but I honestly think the picture coming out of the RetroN HD is decent enough (weird colour notwithstanding) and the lag doesn't seem to be as bad as some people make it out to be. Sadly, few clones seem to tick all my boxes: HD + SD, PAL compatibility, actually works as well as the real thing and isn't crazy expensive. Maybe the Super Retro Trio plus will do the job?

 

Anyway, I'm still waiting to see how the Mega Drive version of the Flashback fairs. Hopefully won't be too long before somebody in a PAL territory can test out some carts (that somebody might even be me). Worst case scenario: it doesn't play region locked games at all (most likely I think it will play them, but they'll be glitchy because they're running at 60hz).

Edited by aliensyndrome

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Well, some of my PAL games are region locked and optimised for PAL hardware (meaning they will have issues running in NTSC hardware). And some of them are getting rarer and more expensive by the day, though I don't think I spent more than £20 on most of them when I bought them, so it wouldn't be easy to replace them with NTSC versions. I'm not spending £40-100 on a copy of Contra Hard Corps when I have a perfectly good copy of Probotector already.

 

It's not that I want to restrict myself, it's just that I'd like to be able to play my optimised PAL games alongside the unoptimised PAL games that will work fine at full NTSC speed (Like Golden Axe, for example), all with the same machine. If the Flashback can do that, I'll buy one. I'll be stunned if it does. An emulator that Atgames have programmed in a year (maybe two) can't possibly be as feature rich as fan emulators that have been in development for over a decade, can it..? It could be NTSC only like the SNES mini's emulator (which is fine for a plug and play with a set number of games).

 

Single chip Hardware clones, like the NES compatible RetroN HD, can play some of my PAL optimsed games but not all of them (it has trouble with Rare developed games). But at least it can play some of them. With emulation based clones, this incompatibility shouldn't be an issue if Atgames have put in the effort.

Edited by aliensyndrome

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That doesn't do PAL either. But I've watched a few reviews of it and it seems pretty neat.

 

Anyway, I learned something interesting about the new Flashback that I'm not sure many are aware of. According to youtuber RoXolid Productions, this console actually has a microUSB port on the board inside the case. He contacted Atgames concerning some performance issues he was having with a Flashback he was able to buy ahead of the official launch and they apparently sent him a firmware update, which he then used to update the software via the microUSB on the console's board. If this is true, then it means hackers may find ways to add more games and features to the Flashback, much in the same way the NES and SNES minis have been hacked.

 

Suddenly this console's become a lot more exciting.

Edited by aliensyndrome

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That doesn't do PAL either. But I've watched a few reviews of it and it seems pretty neat.

Oh, dang. I thought the O/J switch on the back would work for that, but it seems ...

 

 

 

However, despite having an HDMI output, dual audio jacks on the rear, and a headphone jack on the front, the console only outputs mono sound. It also only outputs an NTSC video signal, and while a region switch allows users to select NTSC-U and NTSC-J releases, PAL region-locked games are not compatible.

I don't have any PAL games because I'm a filthy colonist.

 

That USB port on the Sega Flashback sounds interesting. I'll bet the thing could be made into a Super Nintendo emulator or something, heh

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