The Sega Mega Drive is coming back from the dead in Sheffield

Martin Bryant, November 25, 2016 2 min read

This article was originally posted on the Tech North website.

Videogames have been around long enough that there’s now a solid market for nostalgia. Whether it’s Nintendo selling a new version of the NES, Sony letting you stream old PlayStation titles on modern hardware, or books and magazines packed with stories and pictures of days gone by, there’s money in old games.

The most hardcore nostalgia freaks take things a step further. There’s a subculture focused on making brand new games for old consoles and releasing them on the original media. Tanglewood is a new Mega Drive game that its Sheffield-based developer Matt Phillips aims to publish on a cartridge that will only work on Sega’s 16-bit console.

A week into his Kickstarter campaign, Phillips has almost raised half of the £48,000 target, so there’s clearly demand for new Mega Drive cartridges. He aims to recreate the feeling of the original games, right down to using the same kinds of plastic and paper for the media, packaging and manual.

Given that nearly 20 years have passed since Sega stopped supporting the Mega Drive, it’s no surprise to learn that Phillips had problems getting his hands on a working development kit. He ended up collaborating with an Australian enthusiast to collect all of the parts needed to get up and running with equipment that most developers will have disposed of years ago.

Living a dream

For Phillips, Tanglewood is a childhood dream come true. He first learned to code games on a Commodore 64, and he’s wanted to make a Mega Drive game ever since he got Sega’s console at the age of 9.

Assuming Tanglewood is fully funded, Phillips doesn’t want to stop there. He wants to start a games studio focused on producing Mega Drive games. After a limited launch on cartridge, each game would then get an HD release for modern consoles.

In a world where multi-million dollar blockbuster titles still dominate the games industry, the more quirky passion projects that can thrive the better. Especially if they turn into successful businesses.

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Sheffield, Yorkshire, App & Software Development