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Gaming: SEGA Genesis Mini game line-up; Black Ops 4 to Alcatraz; More

By Benjamin Bullard
SEGA Genesis Mini console

SEGA’s entry into the retro console market has gotten a release date, a price, and — most importantly — a generous lineup of classic games. The Sonic maker has fully taken the wraps off the SEGA Genesis Mini, and it’ll clock in later this year with 40 throwback titles — all for well under $100. 

The games lineup for the Genesis Mini covers a lot of greatest-hits ground, including Sonic the Hedgehog, Castlevania: Bloodlines, Altered Beast, Gunstar Heroes, ToeJam & Earl, Shining Force, and way, way more. And while it doesn’t promise to fire up every Genesis game in SEGA’s library like the Mega SG, Analogue’s recently-released (and well-reviewed) third-party Genesis emulator, it also doesn’t cost that unit’s $190. Instead, expect to pay $79.99 — not much more than the starting price of a single game on current-gen consoles.

Mindful of the Mini’s powerful nostalgia factor, SEGA sees no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to looks. Anyone who’s familiar with the original system will instantly recognize the Mini’s iconic, if pared-down, silhouette. Updated to play nice with today’s high-def televisions, the new system bundles in two classic Genesis controllers, as well as an HDMI cable.

SEGA’s so far only revealed the first 10 games that’ll come pre-loaded onto the Mini, but it’s already carved out blank space on its website for additional game art, which will be filled between now and September with more titles as they’re revealed. 

Did we say September? That’s right: the Genesis Mini is heading our way this fall. Get ready to escape from the city with Sonic starting Sept. 19, when the Mini goes on sale in the U.S.

Battle royale gaming isn’t going away anytime soon, and neither is Call of Duty. In the first expansion for Blackout, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s free-for-all mode, Treyarch has just debuted Alcatraz, a new battleground map that’s exactly what it sounds like. 

Blackout Alcatraz, says the developer, takes you to the infamous Bay-area prison island “boasting a variety of environments that all lead up to the big cellhouse atop the hill. Requiring new strategies and tactics, players will drop in, gear up and fight through both close-quarters combat and long-range exterior firefights as they battle to be the last squad standing.”

Alcatraz is also debuting alongside the original Blackout map, “so players will have two distinct maps to choose from” when it’s time to go battle royale, Treyarch says. If you’ve spent much time with COD’s Mob of the Dead, then you’ve already seen the game’s take on Alcatraz from a zombie's-eye view. But aside from the overall footprint, the Blackout version looks like a completely different beast — one tailor-made for battle royale.

Alcatraz arrives today for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 for PlayStation 4, with Xbox One and PC players getting access at a later date. PS4 players also can download Blackout, including the original Blackout map, for free until April 30. 

In a cool bit of fan service that’s perhaps a preview of what gaming may end up meaning to those of us who make it past retirement age, Bethesda is basing a non-playable character in The Elder Scrolls VI on Shirley Curry, the 82 year-old YouTuber and avid Skyrim fan who shares her trips through Tamriel with her half-million subscribers.

Bethesda released a cool featurette looking back on its Elder Scrolls history (it’s the only original IP the studio had ever created from scratch, before announcing its next-gen Starfield game at last year’s E3), and Curry’s character mock-up comes in just after the 8:30 mark. Curry also tweeted out her excitement about being a part of Elder Scrolls canon, sharing a cool moment from her recent visit with Bethesda’s Todd Howard.

If there’s a down note in what’s otherwise a cool story, it’s that we’re apparently nowhere close to seeing The Elder Scrolls VI in action. Via GamesRadar+, Howard recently indicated neither ESVI nor Starfield would be featured at this year’s E3, so it looks like Curry — and the rest of us — will be waiting a while before setting out on our next RPG adventure somewhere (but we’re still not yet sure) in Nirn.