The SEGA Mega Drive Mini Will Include A Fan-Made Game

The SEGA Mega Drive Mini Will Include A Fan-Made Game
Screenshot: Sega
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Sega has revealed the final batch of games on its Genesis Mini, and there’s one particularly surprising inclusion: a game that’s never been seen before on Genesis, made by a fan. It’s a beautiful-looking port of the 1987 Taito arcade shoot-em-up Darius, which never had a Genesis version back in the day.

The developers of the Japanese Mega Drive Mini revealed the new game on a livestream early this morning, and Sega of America confirmed that it would also be included on the Genesis Mini as well. The livestream panel noted that this version of Darius uses a 32-megabit ROM size, which would have made for an incredibly expensive cartridge back in the late ’80s or early ’90s. (Its sequel Darius II, which was ported to Genesis back in 1990, used an 8-megabit ROM, which was considered large for the time.)

What Sega did not note on its livestream, or anywhere else, was the origin of this new version of Darius. The internet’s most knowledgeable Genesis nerds immediately recognised the port as the work of a hobbyist programmer named Hidecade, who had been publicly sharing updates about the unofficial project as recently as last year.

Again, although it’s not confirmed that Hidecade’s port is the one being used here, it is exceedingly unlikely that there would be an entire second port of Darius. Also, the screenshots (including the HUD, which had to be redesigned for the Genesis screen) look identical.

Moreover, it seems that Hidecade has gone through and scrubbed all references to the project from his personal pages, including Twitter, his blog, and YouTube. In the livestream, Sega simply said that the game was being developed by M2, the developer of the Genesis Mini software, and supervised by Taito. (Kotaku has reached out to Sega and will update this story if it returns comment.)

Tetris for the Genesis Mini. (Screenshot: Sega)

While it’s disappointing that the apparent fan-based origin of Darius is not being announced publicly (or at least, not yet), it’s not that surprising. Hobbyists tend to work anonymously or under pseudonyms in Japan, so it’s possible that this situation is what is preferred for all parties involved. Either way, it’s very exciting to see a fan-made project embraced, made “official,” and released by the original copyright holder. It would be great to see this happen much more often.

The $139.95 Genesis Mini will be released on September 19. While Sega originally said that its mini console would have 40 games, today’s announcement actually brought it up to 42. The other surprise game was  Tetris, which will not be the unreleased Genesis version from back in the day, but an all-new, better version. Here’s the final list, with this week’s new games at the end.

  1. Sonic The Hedgehog

  2. Ecco the Dolphin

  3. Castlevania: The New Generation

  4. Space Harrier 2

  5. Shining Force

  6. Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine

  7. ToeJam & Earl

  8. Comix Zone

  9. Altered Beast

  10. Gunstar Heroes

  11. Earthworm Jim

  12. Sonic The Hedgehog 2

  13. Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse

  14. World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck

  15. Probotector

  16. Thunder Force III

  17. Super Fantasy Zone

  18. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master

  19. Streets of Rage 2

  20. Landstalker

  21. Mega Man: The Wily Wars

  22. Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition

  23. Ghouls ‘n Ghosts

  24. Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle

  25. The Story of Thor

  26. Golden Axe

  27. Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium

  28. Sonic The Hedgehog Spinball

  29. Vectorman

  30. Wonder Boy in Monster World

  31. Tetris

  32. Darius

  33. Road Rash II

  34. Strider

  35. Virtua Fighter 2

  36. Alisia Dragoon

  37. Kid Chameleon

  38. Monster World IV

  39. Eternal Champions

  40. Columns

  41. Dynamite Headdy

  42. Light Crusader

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