Can a Sega Genesis Mini Play Cartridges?

Recently, there has been the emergence of an industry-wide trend fueled by an uptick in demand for retro console gaming. Since people are making custom arcade cabinets and using emulators to play retro games, companies like Sony and Nintendo figured they could release official retro consoles. One of those is the Sega Genesis Mini, designed to emulate a selection of original Genesis games ported by M2.

Can a Sega Genesis Mini play cartridges? Unfortunately, no- the Genesis Mini has no connectors inside the cartridge slot and runs games off its internal flash memory (of which it has 512MB). The Genesis Mini is only meant to look and feel like an actual Genesis, but doesn’t use modern USB controllers and runs ports of games designed for ARM SoCs.

If you compare the Sega Genesis Mini to Sony’s PlayStation Classic, it seems like a better console. Sega has included more preloaded games, and these games are of a higher quality. Plus, the console is cheaper compared to Sony’s PS Classic and does a better job of emulating old Sega games.

Can A Sega Genesis Mini Play Cartridges?

No, it cannot play cartridges despite having a cartridge slot with spring-loaded flaps. You can push the flaps down, and all you’ll see is an empty void. There is no physical connector underneath to accept a Genesis cartridge.

Instead, the Mini loads each game from its internal flash memory. It’s a replica console, designed by Sega to emulate the look and feel of the real thing. The Mini is half the size of an actual Genesis and outputs 720p via HDMI.

It can switch between 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios, but most retro enthusiasts will run their games in the old format (4:3). The Genesis Mini also has a power and reset button on the console dash, both of which are functional. Pressing Reset brings up the main menu along with save options.

Each game has four save slots. You can also order your games alphabetically, or by the date on which they were released. The GUI can even display games as box binds sitting on a shelf, which is pretty cool.

Is Sega Genesis Mini Still In Production?

Yes, Sega only planned on making a limited run of these things. So it was a case of first come, first served. Many of the consoles were grabbed by scalpers who are now selling them at inflated prices on Amazon and eBay (the launch price was $80).

If you’re lucky, you might still find one in stock. Visit Sega’s official page for purchase links. Right now, the Genesis Mini 2 is out and that one’s going to be in stock for a while.

Released in September 2019, the Genesis Mini had sold an impressive 300,000 units by March 2020. This may not seem like much when compared to current consoles like the PlayStation and Xbox. But you have to understand that the Mini caters to a very niche market segment.

In fact, it is the first game console designed by Sega since the Dreamcast in 1998. Granted, they weren’t involved in the development of the internal hardware. But it’s still a first-party product from Sega, with the accompanying build quality.

What Is The Hardest Game For Sega Genesis?

The answer to this question will vary depending on who you ask. Everyone has their own pick for the most frustrating game that made them rage quit. Some will say it’s Street of Rage 3, while others will bring up Contra: Hard Corps.

How Many Games Does The Sega Genesis Mini Have?

The Genesis Mini launched with 42 games. Of these, 40 are original games- Gunstar Heroes, OutRun 2019, Phantasy Star IV, Powerball, etc. There are also two bonus games- Darius and Tetris that were never released on the original Genesis.

The best part about the Genesis Mini is that it comes with games from all three original regions- EU, NA, and Japan. You can even switch between regions from the main menu. Not only will this change the box art, but it will also change the in-game sound.

Can You Add Games To The Sega Genesis Mini?

No, you cannot add games to the Sega Genesis Mini. Unless you know of some hardware exploit that lets you hack into the motherboard and reprogram the flash storage.

There is no USB input or SD card slot. You can only connect controllers to the console, and plug it into a display.

Sega’s Last Home Console

Recently, Sega made the Genesis Mini and Mini 2, but these aren’t proper consoles. They are throwbacks to the old days when Sega was one of the big console makers alongside Nintendo. It got out of the console-making business after the Dreamcast.

The Dreamcast, released in 1998, was Sega’s final console. And in many ways, it was a trailblazer. Concepts like online play and DLC were popularized by Microsoft’s Xbox in 2001.

But, Dreamcast already had internet capability in 1998. The first ever online RPG- Phantasy Star Online, was released on Dreamcast. In addition to having an ethernet port, Dreamcast could also play CDs like a PS1.

Despite having all these revolutionary features, the console suffered commercially. It couldn’t keep up with the N64 and PS1. And after the disappointing performance of the Saturn, Sega didn’t want to keep going- so they stepped out of the console market altogether.


While the Sega Genesis Mini is an excellent retro console, it can’t play original Genesis cartridges. Sega wanted to keep costs and size down, so they refrained from adding extra features like that. The slot is just there for the looks.

Sega also didn’t include any 6-button controllers with the console, even though it comes preloaded with games that require a 6-button controller. This is probably due to their partnership with 8BitDo, a company that specializes in retro controllers. You can buy officially licensed 6-button USB controllers for the Genesis Mini from 8BitDo.


As long as I can remember myself I always enjoyed video games. I had amazing moments playing them and that's why I became a game developer, to create amazing experiences for the players. Read More About Me

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