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Sega's retro answer to the SNES Classic, hands-on

The Flashback looks just like the Genesis (mostly), and does HD... mostly.

Scott_Stein.jpg
Scott_Stein.jpg
Scott Stein
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Scott Stein
Sega Genesis Flashback
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Sega Genesis Flashback

Sega Genesis Flashback is the latest AtGames retro console, revamped to go against Nintendo's Super NES Classic.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

It has one big advantage: It actually plays old cartridges.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

It also has two wireless 2.4GHz controllers.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

Luckily, we had some old games lying around to try.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

The system looks like a lot like an old Genesis system, and is a similar size.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

It comes with an HDMI cable, because... this connects via HDMI!

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Sega Genesis Flashback

The construction feels flimsy, though: This power switch slid under the chassis (yikes).

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Sega Genesis Flashback

The Flashback works with old Sega controllers, if you have them.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

The included wireless controllers have six buttons (like later Genesis controllers) and extra buttons to go back to the main menu... and even rewind games.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

Some of the many, many games included. There are 85. but only 57 are actual games for Sega systems. And of those, 45 are Genesis games. 

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Sega Genesis Flashback

Cartridges don't pop in as satisfyingly as they used to.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

Comparing the Genesis Flashback to the Atari Flashback 8 Gold (left) and Nintendo NES Classic (right).

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Sega Genesis Flashback

The Atari Flashback 8 Gold, side by side.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

The controller feels lightweight.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

The interface? Not so elegant. But functional?

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Sega Genesis Flashback

Games look OK when still, but don't have great frame rate.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

Sonic and Knuckles!

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Sega Genesis Flashback

Each game has a title card with some instructions.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

Remember Vectorman?

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Sega Genesis Flashback

Good old Sega logo.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

Toejam and Earl aren't included, but plug in a cartridge and they can be.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

But when we did, the cartridge loaded and dumped these weird files on our system.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

Ah, the memories.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

Just a heads-up: Opinions were mixed.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

This didn't feel as good as it should have.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

For $80, it should feel better.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

In-game menus can pop up to save games.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

Golden Axe didn't age well.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

Cartridge games "load" a bit before starting.

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Sega Genesis Flashback

I loved Phantasy Star games. They also didn't age well.

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