If you’re a fan of all-things ‘Sonic’ related, then you’ll love our ultimate list of the best Mega Drive accessories. We can’t get enough of retro consoles, as you probably will have guessed by now, and the early SEGA machines are some of the best. That classic controller shape, button-mashing on Taz: Escape From Mars and Bomberman; they were the days that dreams were made of. And thanks to the retro gaming community keeping the brand alive with new accessories and well-preserved second-hand ones, there are still a tonne of different gadgets that you can buy to pimp out your old console.
A brief note to first time SEGA players or people who might have never come across this console before – the SEGA Genesis and the SEGA Mega Drive are the same machine. The Mega Drive was ‘The Mega Drive’ outside of North America and ‘The Genesis’ in the States. Despite the consoles themselves being locked to their respective regions, all of the best SEGA Genesis games are region free, meaning you could play them in multiple consoles with the right adapter or a bit of jiggery-pokery and some gaming-hardware knowledge.
There were so many peripherals designed to upgrade and enhance your SEGA gaming experience, and with companies such as Hyperkin doing their bit to keep retro games alive, modern-day gamers can experience a true piece of gaming history up on their 5500″ HD 4k Super Wide TVs. We’ve made a list of our favourite gadgets, old and new, that you should consider adding to your collection. As always, we’ve got an honourable mentions section at the very end for the items that were either too rare or too crazy to make the cut. If you have any of those in your gaming arsenal, then you’ve already achieved retro enlightenment.
1. Retro-Bit Official SEGA Controller
It’s unusual that we start these lists off with a brand-new licensed product for a retro console, but that’s exactly what the first controller on our list of the best Mega Drive accessories is! Say hello to the classic 6-button arcade pad in a brand new, never-before-seen style! Retro-Bit has reimagined the controller that changed the way we game with a new button layout and a cool blue colour-scheme that stands out from the crowd. It comes with a 3m cable and works with the original Mega Drive/Genesis and most third-party consoles.
Apart from looking exactly like the little robot that flew around in Jet Force Gemini (one of my best N64 games of all time), this thing has an exceptional build quality and has that trusted SEGA logo on the box. At under £15, it’s an absolute bargain and the perfect accessory for anyone who has just got into SEGA games or someone who wants that super-sleek retro touch. This controller is slimmer than the original Mega Drive remote, and we love it.
2. Flytise 8BitDo Wireless Controller
Of course, if you want to drag your console kicking and screaming into the 21st century, then the next item on our list of the best Mega Drive accessories is one that you should order straight away. Wireless gaming is something that all of us have come to expect from our consoles, and while being tethered to your console has that retro appeal, it’s not 100% practical. This wireless Flytise 8BitDo remote plugs into your Mega Drive and lets you play your favourite games from all the way across the other side of the room, WaveBird style!
We have so much respect for companies that allow us to experience new ways of playing our favourite retro games (check out the Hyperkin Wireless N64 Remote in our list of the best N64 accessories!). This wireless controller has a built-in rechargeable battery and uses 2.4G wireless technology. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to kick back and play on the sofa or while walking around looking for ingredients to make a sandwich and has a strong, reliable signal.
3. SEGA CD
If you want to add some of the best SEGA CD games to your collection, then you’re going to need the SEGA CD add-on for your Mega Drive. The MEGA CD II was the slimmer add-on for the Mega Drive II, looking more like a compact-disc player than a full-on sub-woofer. It attached to the side of your console and played CDs rather than cartridges, some of which used SEGAs FMV technology. The MEGA CD went on to have its own stand-alone console that cost more than the Mega Drive and the add-on put together, and the whole thing was a bit of a commercial flop, which makes it an extremely collectable and intriguing item!
I’m not gonna lie; some of the games for this thing are absolute pants, but it’s worth buying the system for Sonic CD alone, arguably the best Sonic game ever made. As the system mounts onto the Mega Drive, you can still use your original controllers or one of the remotes that we have listed above. While the FMV games never caught on due to their strange gaming style and theme, they are a significant ‘trial experiment’ in gaming history and should be experienced at least once in your life.
4. Sega Mega Drive Mini
The next gadget on our list of the best Mega Drive accessories is a Mega Drive itself, it but not as you might know it. The SEGA Mega Drive Mini falls inline with the ‘classic mini’ console series alongside the upcoming GameCube Mini, N64 Mini, and Dreamcast Mini. It features 40 of the best SEGA Mega Drive games pre-installed and comes with an HDMI cable and two classic controllers. Play Ecco The Dolphin, Streets Of Rage 2, Earthworm Jim, and many more amazing titles right out of the box without a game cartridge in sight!
This classic mini console is perfect for anyone who wants to experience the world of retro SEGA gaming without having any old hardware passed down from cousins or parents. The HDMI cable makes it perfect for hooking up to modern HDTVs, and the whole system is small enough to fit in a TV cabinet or games cupboard. It’s a shame that the new generation of gamers will never experience blowing the dust out of a game cartridge to make it work, but at least they can experience the wonders of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 without feeling like their eyes are going to explode – 16bit machines and widescreens do NOT mix well!
5. True Blue Mini – 813 Games
If you just checked out the Mega Drive Mini above and thought that 40 games was a little bit of a cheap offering, then the next item on our list of the best Mega Drive accessories should solve that problem pretty quickly. The True Blue Mini is a USB stick with 813 games preloaded directly onto it. It plugs straight into the front of your Mega Drive mini and boasts save files for certain games too. Simply plug your controller in, and away you go!
The True Blue Mini isn’t just for playing your favourite 1-player games though; you have access and the ability to go head-to-head with your friends/enemies to see who is the ultimate gaming champion. The amount of games that this thing has is crazy – there are some that I never knew existed! We recommend giving this beauty a try as it’s a damn sight cheaper (and a lot less hassle) than hunting down all 813 games – just think of the storage space you’d need in your house!
6. SEGA Genesis Nomad
Billed by many as the sequel to the Game Gear, the SEGA Genesis Nomad can play a large majority of your favourite Genesis games. People tend to forget about the Nomad and concentrate on the best SEGA Game Gear games instead, but this is one of my favourite portable consoles and in my opinion one of the best retro handhelds of all time. Push in your favourite Mega Drive games and get gaming – it’s that simple, and while you can’t dock the console and carry on playing without taking the cartridge out, you could say that this was one of the first examples of Nintendo Switch-style portable gameplay with your existing save files.
The Genesis Nomad is a swish piece of kit and feels incredibly nice in the hand; it’s one of the nicest horizontal hand-held consoles that we’ve used other than the GBA and the Switch. Sadly, this handheld was never released outside of North America and was region-locked, but with a bit of tinkering, you can get it to play games from all over the world, so you won’t need to rebuy different versions of your existing games. If you’re collecting the very best Mega Drive accessories, then you owe it to yourself to add one of these into your horde of retro goodies.
7. HDMI Cable
Hyperkin come up with a solution for everything. There are more complicated ways of making your SEGA Mega Drive look good on an HDTV that some hardcore gamers would prefer, but if, like most people, you just want to be able to play Golden Axe in 720p HD and actually be able to see what’s going on on the screen without feeling like you’re having a brain-meltdown, then this is the cable for you. It’s one of the simplest pieces of kit on our list of the best Mega Drive accessories, and it’s certainly one of the best!
Upscaling the signal directly from the back of the console, this HDMI cable gets rid of any doubt as to where to plug your favourite console into your TV and is a super-easy way of getting a clear image on your widescreen devices. It works, it’s cheap, and it’s a perfect solution for the modern-day gamer who has multiple HDMI Switch boxes already set up with other consoles.
8. Arcade Power Stick
I love button-mashing arcade games, and the next gadget on our list of the best Mega Drive accessories brings the thrill of the arcade right into your living room! It’s called the Arcade Power Stick (all good gaming accessories have to have the word ‘power’ in them somewhere) and was both an officially licensed controller and the perfect way to play fighting and beat ’em up games on the console.
The original pad had three buttons, with an updated version boasting six further down the line. The Power Stick itself is a bulky analog-stick that can take a fair beating. The unit is designed for left-hand stick holding and has a hand-rest area so you don’t get RSI while playing a four-hour long session of Streets of Rage. It’s black, it’s sleek, and it’s an all-round great controller without some of the annoying bells and whistles that the other third-party pads seemed to deem essential.
9. Mega Jet Fighter Controller
From a useful arcade pad to one of the weirdest controllers ever made. This Mega Jet Fighter Controller is, as you might have guessed, shaped like a jet fighter. The buttons and D-pad can be found at the bottom of the remote, with the wire shooting off somewhere up near the nose. This might be one of the oddest looking controllers that we’ve ever seen, but I’ve got to admit that it looks pretty good! It even has tinted windows and a tailpiece too – definitely a collectors item if you can get your hands on one!
This remote had four buttons with a turbo mode, and could also be used on the SNES if you had the right adapter. Two consoles for the price of one – not bad, right? The design of the actual controller part does remind of a SNES controller now I look at it, and while Turbo modes have never really floated-my-boat (or kept my plane airborne in this case), this is a gadget that I would like to have in my own SEGA set-up. Click below to grab one before I beat you to it!
10. SEGA Menacer Gun
What happened to the light gun? Modern TVs, that’s what. Still, they, along with classic gadgets like R.O.B (one of the best NES accessories), represent everything that I love about retro gaming. The SEGA Menacer is second only to the legendary SNES SuperScope and comes equipped with a shoulder rest and sniper-scope-style sight, both of which could be removed. It looks the part and came with a 6-in-1 cartridge that had some amazing games that you could blast your way through.
The Menacer ran off batteries, had two Infrared sensors, and featured buttons on the handgrip for mode selection and other in-game commands. It might not look as epic as the SuperScope (or work as well), but it’s the best light gun for the Mega Drive and a must-have gadget for anyone who likes to immerse themselves in their games. Just don’t use it under fluorescent lighting as it won’t be as effective, and always remember to turn it off, otherwise, you’ll be going through batteries faster than a Duracell bunny on acid.
That’s the main list of our best Mega Drive accessories over, but now it’s time for the weird, wonderful, and rare gadgets of legend that only the brave, foolhardy, or rich gamers out there will consider adding to their collections. They might not have made the cut, but they’re still important parts of SEGA’s gaming history, and we salute them (in private).
- Simulator II Action Chair – Pivot in eight-different directions to move your onscreen vehicle. Extra buttons could be found on the hand rests.
- Batter Up – A plastic bat that you swung towards your screen…doesn’t sound like a great idea, does it?
- Aura Interactor – The first commercially available haptic vest that allowed players to feel every punch, kick, and blast.
- Capcom Soldier Pad – A strange-looking controller that looks a little like the device that you use to price-up goods at a grocery store.
- SEGA 32X – An add on for the Mega Drive that bridged the gap between it and the SEGA Saturn, giving the player access to 32-bit titles.
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.