If you want to play Sega’s classic Genesis games, that’s easy to do in the modern era. Grab a Sega Genesis Mini or pick through an a la carte catalog of classics like Sonic the Hedgehog, Streets of Rage, and Gunstar Heroes on Steam, smartphones, and consoles. (There are overkill options, as well.) But Sega’s other classic libraries can be much trickier to access legitimately, which is one reason I pounced on an official product that went on sale exclusively in Japan earlier this year: the Astro City Mini.
This miniaturized arcade cabinet is modeled after the popular modular arcade cabinet of the same name, one that you’ll find at any Japanese arcade worth its weight in yen, and it comes packed with 37 original Sega arcade games—some of which have never been ported to consoles or PCs. At an Amazon JP cost of ￥13,511, or $130, that’s a somewhat steep per-game cost compared to other recent miniaturized retro consoles—though it also includes a built-in screen, arcade-caliber controls, and HDMI-out capabilities.
My hardware arrived late last week, and in great news, it’s a perfect fit for the primary reason I bought it—as a new centerpiece for my retro-mini console collection, to be positioned on my toys-and-dolls shelves. I am particularly fond of the Astro City cabinet’s design language, and Sega’s plastic reproduction gets everything right. Stickers are neatly and evenly placed, all with bold, accurate colors. The body’s off-white shade is accurate, and it works as a great foil for the primarily green color motif for other elements. And even with the power off, the sheer act of mucking around with the joystick and buttons is an utter delight, thanks to responsive, loud clicking.