DON'T BUY the Sega Genesis Flashback HD from At Games

I picked one of these up today at a big box retailer and couldn't wait to get it home. I'd read the reviews and I knew the console had some issues, but I told myself that I had realistic expectations and I knew the strengths and weaknesses of the system, so I'd just appreciate it for what it was and overlook what it wasn't.


The Sega Genesis Flashback HD has some real problems. Out of the box, this unit froze repeatedly, and during different games! Sonic Level 2.1? Not happening. And it's not the kind of freeze that you can just press a menu button and go back to a previous screen. I'm talking total system failure, get up and turn off the system, then turn it back on. I played for MAYBE 45 minutes and this happened repeatedly, making for an impossible gaming situation. I mean, the entire job of this thing is to play Sega Genesis games. How can you not even do that without crashing?

Sad trombone.

Everything else that's been said about this on YouTube, in reviews from outlets like CNET and IGN, and in the Amazon reviews is true. The frame rate is choppy, not smooth like on the actual Genesis. I don't know how many FPS this thing is pulling, but it's not very high. The controllers aren't horrible, and the lag isn't that bad, but everything does feel clunky and cheap. The user interface is wonky, making it hard to browse through games (you use the B and C buttons instead of the up and down arrows on the D pad). I knew a lot of this going in, but when you combine all these negative strikes against it, it's hard to justify even the discounted price of 69 dollars. REAL HARD. 

It would be one thing if we knew that this kind of thing couldn't be done better, but Nintendo has proven that you can market a plug-and-play system with great games, no lag, loaded features, and durability. I'm not a shill for Nintendo (still haven't picked up the Switch), but I gotta admit that Nintendo does repeatedly set the standard for quality with their products. 

It's a shame, because I was really cheering for this system.The game selection is solid, even without the Streets of Rage series (which is inexplicably missing), and AT Games has made some other products that I enjoy, like their Atari Flashback ports for the Playstation 4. Those collections run flawlessly (albeit on a much more powerful system) and have digital versions of the manuals and box art. Those Atari compilations are a lesson in how to successfully introduce classic games to a new audience. Unfortunately, that's just not the case with the Genesis Flashback. This is definitely not competition for the SNES Classic Edition. It's not even competition for an actual Sega Genesis from thirty years ago. How can three-decade-old technology run circles around something brand new? So many corners must have been cut with this product. 

I've already packed this thing back up to return it tomorrow for a refund, but I wanted to write this "review" while the disappointment was still fresh. There is no hyperbole here; it's that bad. The Sega Genesis Flashback HD doesn't seem to be able to do the one thing a game system should do: play games. 

Such a bummer.


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