Remember when Sega used to have a decent library of classic games that, while not quite on par with Nintendo, can still get those nostalgia nerves tingling?
Well, they remember. And they want to remind you of that without you having to pay a dime, so long as you don’t mind watching a couple of adverts.
Sounds too good to be true, right?
Well, it kind of is and it kind of isn’t, all in one very confusing, rose-tinted tornado.
Sega’s new initiative is called Sega Forever, where they plan to port a plethora of their “best” titles from the past to your favourite mobile device. They come with full Bluetooth controller support, with a new game releasing every month for free or a charge of £1.99 per game in the UK to remove ads and unlock extra bonuses in some games.
Five titles were available at launch which were Sonic, Kid Chameleon, Altered Beast, Comix Zone and Phantasy Star 2, with Virtua Tennis Challenge released a week ago.
To start with the positives, these games are absolutely free. The ads that run on them aren’t particularly intrusive, can be cut after around 10 seconds and run relatively well once they are going.
The selection is also nice and varied, from platformers to RPGs to sports games, with both Sonic and Phantasy Star 2 being excellent choices out of the gate.
Paying the dosh to unlock ads gives you a little more too. For example, in Sonic, it unlocks the ability to play as Tails and Knuckles in a game neither were available previously, which is a nice little touch.
However, what did need to be touched on more was the ports themselves. If you like crashes, get ready for a destruction derby of black screens and frustration.
Every single one of the games aren’t particularly reliable, with Sonic crashing almost three or four times before it actually works. It’s also on a device, the Huawei Honor 8, that can run games like Hearthstone, the new Angry Birds game and similar products without a single hitch.
It was also reported that Sega decided against working with a popular, successful porting company and instead going for a cheaper option in order to get content out faster as well.
You know, cause Sega has gotta go fast, it’s the rules.
With RetroArch having emulated plenty of games before and widely believed to one of the best out there, news that they pulled out of a deal with them is troubling.
For that reason, stay away from purchasing them. Do not waste money on something that can’t perform successfully regularly on a high-end handset.
All in all, it’s a good idea that’s got off to a rocky start. It seems like they were testing the water a few months back when Crazy Taxi hit the Play Store, which is a real blast with the old soundtrack too, but there’s much work to be done.
Optimisation has to be the number one fix right now. If they can make it stable every time, and that means every single time, then it’ll be worth tossing them a few quid to get rid of some ads.
Should they then add extra little bits for that to make it worthwhile, then this could be a fruitful endeavour for everyone. In fact, a move to something like the Nintendo Switch seems like a sound idea but whether they have that in the pipeline or the ability to pull off such a move remains to be seen.
The worry is that a lack of a cash stream now might hinder their ability later, which would be almost be an allegory for the company’s entire existence. One step forward only to fall down the stairs.