One year ago, retro console maker Analogue unveiled the Super Nt - a premium console designed to play Super NES games on a modern display with low latency and excellent visual quality. At Digital Foundry we reviewed the final unit when it released a few months later and were suitably impressed. The level of accuracy and suite of features on offer is certainly impressive and we feel it's the best option for playing Super NES games on a flat panel. With NES and Super NES now covered by the Analogue line we wondered what might be next.
Well, today, we finally have the answer. Following in the footsteps of the moderately priced Super Nt, Analogue has unveiled the Mega Sg. Coming in at Ł140 or $189 and due to ship next April, the Mega Sg is designed to play just about every pre-Saturn Sega game including Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear, Mark III, SG1000, SC-3000 and more. The Mega Sg ships with a Master System adapter but the older machines will require a separate adapter which will be sold separately. It's even possible to connect a Sega Mega CD to the unit if you happen to own one. The only pre-Saturn console not supported by the Mega Sg is the 32X - though we wouldn't rule it out entirely just yet.
The system will ship in four variants - three based on the primary regions in which the Mega Drive/Genesis was sold and a lovely white unit. Each system is housed in plastic like the Super Nt - a decision which allowed Analogue to pursue a more reasonable price last year. If the Super Nt is anything to go by, however, the plastics should be significantly thicker and more durable than an original Mega Drive console.
This console itself also includes two new connectors specific to the Mega Drive - a 3.5mm audio jack just like the original Mega Drive Model 1 consoles and an original-style edge connector located on the side of the unit designed for use with the Mega CD. We'll certainly be curious to see how this diminutive little console looks sitting on a larger Mega CD unit.
Inside the system, the Mega Sg utilizes an Altera Cyclone V FPGA programmed by the talented Kevin "Kevtris" Horton. As a quick refresher on FPGAs, it's basically an integrated circuit which can be programmed to perform a set of operations using a hardware description language - Verilog, in this case. Unlike the Super Nt, however, the SG supports a wide variety of cores enabling multi-system support.
The main question here is one of audio - few attempts at matching the Yamaha YM2612 have proven successful. Even official variants of the Mega Drive differ in terms of audio quality with certain units commanding a premium specifically for this feature. Thus far, we've heard samples of the Mega Sg in action and the results are impressive - it's sharp and clean with plenty of bass. It's a promising start but we'll need to put it through its paces upon release to determine just how successful the implementation is. Either way, we have high hopes.
Video output wise, the Mega Sg offers the same HDMI output featured on the Super Nt without the option for analog video. The lack of analog video also means that it won't be possible to use an actual 32X console with the Mega Sg due to its reliance on analog pass-through. If an option does become available, it'll have to be an FPGA core.
The Mega Sg is expected to begin shipping in April 2019 and can be pre-ordered starting today . As always, when the unit becomes available, we'll be sure to put it through its paces. The Mega Drive is one of our favourite consoles at Digital Foundry, after all, so we'll be hoping for the best.