Drop everything and download: Sega Forever

SAAAAYYYY-GAAAAAAA!

Remember those amazing Sega games you used to play? Now they’re back for Android and iOS!

In truth, they never really went away – ever since emulation became a thing, owners of old games have recognised the money to be made in old rope.

But Sega Forever is a new rallying cry, and reportedly the start of something big – an endlessly growing collection of retro hits aiming to hurl you back to the halcyon days of gaming.

What does it do?

According to Sega, Sega Forever “makes time travel cost-effective, convenient”, and is a “re-awakening of archetypal gaming”, along with being “an ode to the deep and diverse Sega catalogue”. Presumably the copywriter got a bit over-excited.

Really, it’s a bunch of emulated games you can stuff on to your Android or iPhone. Initially, there are five Mega Drive titles on offer: stone-cold classic Sonic The Hedgehog, Phantasy Star II, novel fighter Comix Zone, Kid Chameleon, and, for some reason, Altered Beast.

These are all downloadable as individual apps, playable for free (with ads) and offline, using virtual controls or Bluetooth controllers, and with leaderboard support. If you hate ads and/or like throwing money at Sega, each game can be bought for £1.99, which also adds local saves.

Any downsides?

Aside from the fact you can’t angrily rip out a chunky plastic cartridge and hurl it at the wall when Sonic gets impaled for the umpteenth time, there’s the obvious fact these are games designed for gamepads. The on-screen controls can be slippy, and, bar Sonic the Hedgehog, require banana thumbs on a tablet. You can use a Bluetooth controller, however.

Also, the ports aren’t exactly made with love, bar the wonderful remastering work evident in Sonic the Hedgehog (props to Christian Whitehead for that). Still, short of gluing a full-sized Mega Drive to your smartphone, and trailing a huge extension cord behind you, it’s the best option. (Well, the best legal option, emulator fans.)

Then there’s the choice of games. Do we really need Altered Beast again? It was rubbish in the 1980s, let alone now. BUT! Supporting this kind of thing could lead to a rosy future. Sega has a rich first-party back catalogue, from early arcade hits through to modern fare. Just imagine perfect ports of Zaxxon and OutRun 2 rubbing shoulders on your smartphone.

Where can I get it?

You can check out Sega’s full catalogue of games on Google Play and iTunes Preview. Go for Sonic the Hedgehog (Android/iOS) first, because it’s the best of them, and a brilliant showcase for what remasters of classic games should be.