Analogue Announces The Mega Sg, A Sega-Focused Retro Console Coming In April 2019
The king of high-end retro consoles is back.
A new retro game console is on the way from Analogue, the company behind the Nt Mini and the Super Nt. The upcoming Mega Sg ($189) will play classic Sega Master System, Genesis, and Mega Drive games over HDMI, and there are plans to sell cartridge adapters for other systems down the road. The Mega Sg is also fully compatible with the original Sega CD add-on out of the box. Analogue claims 100% compatibility across all supported platforms. The console is available to pre-order now, and is scheduled to ship worldwide in April 2019.
Like Analogue's two most recent consoles, the Mega Sg is the brainchild of Kevin Horton, who is widely regarded as an expert when it comes to recreating classic gaming hardware on FPGA chips. Compared to software-based emulation, a properly configured FPGA results in a technically more accurate gameplay experience than a traditional emulator. The differences aren't massive, but for enthusiasts, the devil is in the details, and that's where Analogue and Horton have historically come out on top.
It's worth noting that the FPGA development scene has picked up steam with hobbyists, and the ongoing MiSTer project exists to help coordinate development around the Terasic DE10-Nano FPGA platform, which uses the same FPGA (Altera Cyclone V) as the Super Nt and the Mega Sg. There are many cores (systems) that currently function at varying degrees on MiSTer, including the Genesis, but with its support for cartridges and original accessories, including the Sega CD, the Mega Sg is poised to be the most practical FPGA-based Genesis around.
Analogue is pitching the Mega Sg as a reference-quality system, meaning that it offers clean audio and video signals without distortion or lag. Considering that the quality of Sega's original 16-bit hardware fluctuated wildly from one model or motherboard revision to the next, and that other third-party systems consistently fall short, the promise of clean audio from the simulated Yamaha YM2612 sound chip is high on the list of Mega Sg's feature set.
Thanks to the headphone port on the front, you will also have the option to connect directly to the system. Video options for the Mega Sg include the usual set of features for an Analogue system: scanline options, scaling and position adjustments, and HDMI resolutions of 480p, 720p, or 1080p.
The Mega Sg is being offered in four different color schemes, including white, in addition to versions that match the original Mega Drive and Genesis consoles released in Europe, Japan, and North America. Controllers aren't included, but you can use vintage controllers, or the newly announced wireless M30 controllers ($25) from 8BitDo, which will start shipping in February 2019.
Every Mega Sg will come packaged with a Master System cartridge adapter, and Analogue has plans to release additional adapters in 2019 for Mark III, Game Gear, Sega MyCard, SG-1000, and SC-3000 cartridges.
In discussing the upcoming console with Analogue founder Christopher Taber, we learned that the only apparent unchecked box is support for 32X games, via the original add-on hardware or otherwise. With the original 32X in mind, the necessary passthrough ports don't exist on the Mega Sg, and while Taber believes the device could be replicated on the FPGA inside the Mega Sg, he acknowledges that it isn't feasible in time for launch.
Taber also mentioned that the company's previously announced A/V digital-to-analog converter--used to connect the Super Nt and the Mega Sg to analog displays--remains in development. For a growing portion of the vintage gaming community, the ability to play old games on CRT displays is an important step towards authenticity. Nevertheless, if the Mega Sg lives up to the high-bar set by the Super Nt, it could be the first choice when it comes to playing authentic Sega cartridges on modern displays when it ships next year.
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