The Sega Genesis or Sega Megadrive as I knew it was my first real game console.
When I say “Real” I mean as in I was old enough to give a damn, we did have an Amiga in my house and borrowed a SEGA Master System but I was busy learning to walk at this point.
When I got to about 4 or 5 years old and began to appreciate gaming is when we got the Megadrive.
We did not get another console in my house for a few years so I really got to know Sega and its brilliant library of 16-bit games, so this console has high nostalgic value for me. I was lucky enough to play a lot of games for the Megadrive as we owned most of the popular ones but eventually, we did sell the console and some of the games.
So, when I found out years later that it was possible to play those old games that I loved so much on a modern-day computer I was all about that life. That is thanks to the Sega Genesis / Megadrive emulator called Gens.
What is Gens?
From what I’ve been able to find in my research Gens is described as “cardware” by it’s developers.
Yeah… cardware what’s that? I had to look it up myself and apparently its software that can be distributed freely as long as it is not modified (shareware) on the condition that you send the author a postcard.
Sounds weird to me and I’m not sure if this is something people still do in 2017 at the time of this post and considering the development files show software updates as early as 03/02/2000 maybe this was a thing back then.
Other than that Gens allows you to play Sega Megadrive, Sega 32X, and Sega CD / Mega CD games on your computer.
This also allows for net play so you can play these games with your friends online too which is incredible.
So How do I use it?
There are many ways to play Sega Megadrive games these days. Despite Gens, you can play Sega games on tables and mobiles thanks to services like Sega Forever.
Gens is very simple to setup and doesn’t take many configurations, you can really be up and running in about 10 minutes. You just install the software, set your controls and run the game.
Here is a breakdown of the PC requirements:
- Pentium 200Mhz+
- 32MB of RAM
- 2MB Video Card with DirectDraw
- DirectX 7.0 or above
- Pentium II 300 Mhz or above
- 32MB of RAM or more
- A good video card like a TNT
- DirectX 7.0 or above
It was nice of the developers to leave this information for users so they don’t have to guess what will work with the software and where they stand but it did take some digging through their files.
In terms of the setup, all you would need to do is find the software on the internet download and extract it to your computer. You will then see all the files from the software and you would launch the application file.
Once you launch the software you would then use the navigation menu to set your controls, display settings, sound and then launch the game from the “File” menu.
The game should then open and you’re all set, however with the 32X or Sega CD additional settings will need configuration such as bios which can be a bit tricky.
Growing up I never had a Sega CD or a 32X hell I never knew they existed until maybe 2005 sadly but it awesome to know these options are available if you’re willing to go through the setup.
You can use a gamepad to play the games so you won’t just be restricted to your keyboard. From what I’ve seen this works with modern PC controllers that have an analogue or D-pad.
You can also simulate the classic 3 buttons or 6 button controllers and even the turbo buttons too.
I’ve only seen Gens running Megadrive games so I can’t confirm how well it runs Sega CD or 32X games and to be honest the bios needed to get those games to work on this emulator might be very rare these days.
That said the games I have seen games run are just like the original if not better with no slow down or glitches at all. Games like Sonic 2, Rocket Knight Adventures and Micky Mania look and sound amazing, behaving just as responsively as the original console.
Save state is also handled very well here including keyboard shortcuts, so you can save your game at any point. This is great for games like Sonic 2 that did not have a save feature.
Game cheats seem to work just fine as the emulator also seems to have a Game Genie built in. This allows you to enable special cheat codes you can find online, however, I’ve not tried this or seen it work.
There are a few visual touches that looked pretty cool too. When you launch the application, it has a wavy effect of a tv screen. There is also a cool icon in the top corner of Sega’s blue blur Sonic the hedgehog which is both nice touches.
I really enjoyed the Sega Megadrive back in the day and I feel that emulators like these keep it alive. It’s only this year (2017) that Sega has finally caught on to the idea and started giving out old Sega games for free to be enjoyed on different hardware but thanks to developers this was already possible back in the year 2000.
So young kids who missed the console can still enjoy the classics years later which I believe is really important.
I would recommend this emulator to someone looking for 16-bit gaming goodness. I will say there are other Sega emulators that handle Sega CD or 32X games easier.
So that’s pretty much all I have to say on Gens, be sure to share this someone you feel would be interested or comment below to let me know about your time with Sega or your experience with my recommended hardware if you happen to own it and check out the other great content on the site.