Revisiting a part of video game history will be nostalgic, but not necessarily cheap.

One of the big trends in video games over the past few years has, ironically, been something small: compact recreations of classic pieces of hardware bundled with a selection of iconic games built in. Nintendo got the ball rolling with its NES Classic Edition, which naturally lead to a Super NES Classic Edition and also convinced two of its old console war adversaries to toss their hats into the ring with miniature versions of Sega’s Genesis/Mega Drive and NEC’s TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine.

With Sega’s 60th birthday taking place this week, some expected the company to celebrate by announcing a mini version of the Saturn or Dreamcast, its two home consoles that came after the Genesis. But instead, Sega has decided to give the mini treatment to the Game Gear.

Chronologically, it makes sense. The Mega Drive launched in 1988, and the Game Gear was Sega’s next hardware release, in 1990. But where things get weird is that the Game Gear was a handheld system, meaning it was already pretty compact, and now it’s become even more micronized. The Game Gear Micro measures just eight centimeters (3.1 inches) across, less than a third of the length of the original Game Gear.

While pretty much all U.S.-spec Game Gears were basic black, in Japan a wider variety of colors were offered, and this is reflected in the Game Gear Micro lineup. For the mini versions, though, the differences are more than cosmetic, though, as each model comes with an entirely different library of games.

▼ The Black version comes with Sonic the Hedgehog, Puyo Puyo 2 (a.k.a. Puyo Puto Tsu), Out Run, and strategy RPG Royal Stone.

▼ The Blue version, billed as the “action set,” provides Sonic and Tails, Gunstar Heroes, action RPG Sylvan Tale, and competitive puzzler Bakubaku Animal.

▼ The Yellow Game Gear Micro is for fans of tactical fantasy adventure, as it’s loaded with all three Shining Force Gaiden games as well as Nazo Puyo: Arle’s Roux.

▼ And last, the Game Gear Micro Red leverages Sega’s owner of formerly independent Atlus by including the first and second Shin Megami Tensei Gaiden Last Bible games (part of the same extended franchise as the Persona series) along with Sega’s The GG Shinobi and Columns.

▼ As is the norm with modern retro systems, save states are allowed.

While that collected game list is a nice selection of must-plays and sleeper hits, it’s surprising to see that Sega is only including four titles per separately sold model. By comparison, the NES Classic came with 30 games, and the Super NES classic with 21.

It’s not like the Game Gear Micro is super budget-priced, either. Yes, with a list price of 4,980 yen (US$46), it undercuts the 7,980-yen Mini Super Famicom (the Japanese version of the Super NES Classic) by a pretty big margin. However, the math works out to paying 1,245 yen per Game Gear Micro game, compared to just 380 yen per game on the Mini Super Famicom. Add in the fact that as a handheld, original hardware Game Gear games were generally cheaper than SNES ones and the Game Gear Micro doesn’t represent a particularly attractive value.

▼ Preview video for the Game Gear Micro

Even Sega itself seems to realize that a mere four games probably isn’t going to keep users entertained all that long, since in addition to individual Game Gear Micro units, it’s offering two packages that includes all four versions, though they’re both actually more expensive than just buying each system individually.

Available exclusively through online retailer Rakuten, the Game Gear Micro Pins & Collection Box will set you back 27,255 yen, a 7,335-yen premium over the cost of the four Game Gear Micro units by themselves. For your extra outlay, you get a set of pins replicating the boxes of the 16 games, a box sleeve in the style of the original Game Gear packaging, and the “Big Window Micro,” a peripheral that attaches to the system to magnify the screen. There was also a Big Window add-on for the original Game Gear, but with the Micro’s screen being just 1.15 inches, the magnifier might be practically a requirement to read the text in the Yellow model’s RPGs.

▼ The Big Window Microw is also being offered as a pre-order bonus to customers who order all four Micros at once.

Sega itself is offering no-pin four-model collectors bundle through its online Sega Store, priced at 25,920 yen. That’s still 6,000 yen more than four individual systems, but in this case you get a decorative (i.e. non-playable) smoked plastic Game Gear Micro.

There’s always a nostalgic factor at play when reissuing retro games and hardware, but in this case it looks like Sega is leaning especially hard into stirring those rose-tinted memories. We’ll get to see how well that strategy works when the Game Gear Micro officially goes on sale October 6, which is also the 30th anniversary of the original Game Gear’s release.

Related: Game Gear Micro order page
Source: Sega

Top image: Sega
Insert images: Sega (1, 2, 3)
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