I’m not into emulation. I’m not into clone hardware. I’m not even a fan of compilation discs containing old games. I play Sega Genesis games on my Sega Genesis, with few exceptions. But when I saw the AtGames Sega Genesis Arcade Motion Dual (which I shall shorten to Arcade Motion from here on out) at Wallgreens for $19.99, I couldn’t pass it up.
The Arcade Motion is a Genesis clone based on the Firecore emulation engine. In addition to including 15 Sega Genesis classics, it has 7 “motion” games and 18 “arcade” games. While I’m sure someone put some effort into these extra additions, it’s not something I particularly care about.
But I’m stalling. The reason I bought the Arcade Motion is because it has an SD card slot. That’s right, an SD card slot! As my co-host Austin so elegantly put it, this little console is essentially a poor man’s flash cart. All you have to do is create a “GAMES” folder on the SD card and add BIN files (Genesis roms). From there, you can select the SD card option on the system’s built-in menu and you are good to go.
Now I’m not a big emulation guy. I enjoy the experience of tracking down a real cartridge, playing on an old CRT television, and using the original controllers. But having a clone Sega Genesis with an SD card slot is definitely appealing. There are some games I simply cannot buy due to their inflated asking prices. Games like M.U.S.H.A. are simply out of reach. But there are some legitimate reasons to own one of these as well, such as home brew and rom hacks.
So how good is the emulation? The graphics are spot on. I didn’t notice any graphical glitches or errors at all. I’m sure some more discerning gamers will notice something here or there, but I found it perfectly acceptable. The sound however, leaves something to be desired. It’s generally poor, with plenty of distortion. Most titles are certainly playable, but the Arcade Motion fails to deliver an authentic experience. For some, this will be a deal breaker.
The “console” itself is a very small device, about the size of a standard Sega Genesis controller, and shaped like Sonic the Hedgehog’s spiked head. Up front is a very obvious infrared sensor. In the back is a power supply port (though a power supply is not included) and standard a/v jacks. Sadly, this unit does not output stereo sound. The Arcade Motion unit is powered by 4 AA batteries, which are not included.
Two wireless controllers (each powered by 2 AAA batteries) are included with the Arcade Motion and they are obviously inspired by the Nintendo Wii remotes. They do have a solid, if not small, D-Pad, and 4 face buttons. The controllers are wireless, but it’s of the infrared kind (think TV remote), so you need a direct line of site to the console to use them. They are comfortable to hold, but one end has a hole for accessories to snap into and the sharp edges tend to rub into your hand. The other end of the controller has a non-removable strap, which doesn’t interfere with the feel of the controller.
The included Genesis titles (for the US version) are:
- Alex Kidd in Enchanted Castle
- Arrow Flash
- Bonanza Brothers
- Columns III
- Crack Down
- Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
- Ecco the Dolphin
- Fatal Labyrinth
- Sonic Spinball
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2
- The Ooze
That’s a very solid selection of built-in games.
It’s best to think of the AtGames Sega Genesis Arcade Motion Dual as a novelty item, and not a replacement for your Sega Genesis console. And as a novelty device, it works well. You get a stylish clone system, two usable controllers, 15 built-in Sega Genesis games, and an SD card slot for playing roms. And all of this for $20, it’s not a bad value at all.
But for purists, I’d actually recommend staying away. The Arcade Motion does not deliver an accurate Sega Genesis experience.
Performance – 5/10 Great graphics, flawed audio
Build Quality – 5/10 System feels solid, controllers less so
Value – 6/10 Decent amount of kit for $20
Overall – 5/10 Great for enthusiasts, not for purists