Game companies often peddle in nostalgia. Nintendo continually sells access to its classic titles via the Virtual Console (except on the Switch) or the short-lived NES Classic Edition. Atari is making its first home console since the Atari Jaguar was released in 1993. And now Sega's getting in on the action with Sega Forever, a program through which it plans to bring games "from every console era" to iOS and Android devices.
Sega Forever will start with five games originally made for the Sega Genesis: Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast, Phantasy Star II, Kid Chameleon, and Comix Zone. In a press release, Sega said that it plans to expand the program to "include both official emulations and ported games that pan all SEGA console eras, each adapted specifically for mobile devices while remaining faithful to the original games."
All of these games will be free-to-play and (you guessed it) ad-supported. You do have the option to purchase each game for $2, however, which is less than you'll pay for mobile versions of other classic games. Sega also built controller support, leaderboards, and cloud saves into the games, and the company said you'll be able to play them offline, so those cloud-based features shouldn't bother you while you're playing.
It's hard to fault Sega for this approach. The company doesn't have its own console anymore, but for a while it was Nintendo's primary competitor. Series like Sonic the Hedgehog, Shining Force, and Streets of Rage were all found on Sega consoles, and Sega Forever could be the first chance many people have to experience these games for themselves. Everyone else can treat themselves to a cheap hit of nostalgia.
Sega said as much in its press release:
“Above all else SEGA Forever is a celebration of nostalgia. It’s about allowing fans to reconnect with past experiences and share them with family and friends in an accessible and convenient way,” explains Mike Evans, CMO of SEGA’s Mobile Division in the West. “Join us on a journey of rediscovery as we roll out two decades of classic games free on mobile. Create your own ‘SEGA Forever folder’ and collect your favorite classics. Enjoy moments of nostalgia on the go, or sync a Bluetooth controller to enjoy a console-like experience in your living room. SEGA Forever democratizes retro gaming, and seeks to change how the world plays, rediscovers, and shares in classic game experiences.”
New titles are expected to be added to the Sega Forever collection every two weeks. You can find download links to the first batch of games on the program's website, and Sega's encouraging people to share the games they'd like to see next via the Sega Forever page on Facebook. The options won't be limited to Genesis titles--Sega said it's also planning to revive games from the Master System, Dreamcast, and other consoles.