Why SEGA GENESIS’ 6-Button Controller Was Way Better

The new Sega Genesis Mini will let fans of the classic 16-bit system relive their childhood, including being upset over how many buttons are on the controller.

At the end of March, Sega announced the upcoming release of their new Sega Genesis Mini (which we first heard about at Polygon). Due to hit stores this fall on September 19 ($79.99), this replica of the original 1989 console (at roughly half the size) will feature 40 old school games and come with a USB power adapter, a power Cable, an HDMI Cable, and two controllers. It’s everything an original Sega owner like myself could want.


For the second time in my life, 25 years after I thought I had solved this problem forever, I will need to buy a special controller to play my favorite Sega games, because the American version of the controllers will only have three buttons. While that’s what the original Sega controllers had, the company released a vastly superior six-button controller in 1993. This was the only special controller I have ever cared about in my life; I can still remember going to Toys ‘R’ Us to get, because I needed it for one very specific, very important reason: beating people up.

Why SEGA GENESIS’ 6-Button Controller Was Way Better_1

Those extra three buttons didn’t make a difference when playing games like Sonic the Hedgehog, but they were crucial for fighting games like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Streets of Rage. One row of buttons was for different punches, and the other row was for different kicks. With the old controller you had to switch back and forth, either punching or kicking. The six-button controller not only made it easier to do combos, but you were guaranteed to have the right attack ready without the risk of a clumsy toggle. Now the new mini will have the same old problem: kicking OR punching, but not both at the same time.

Sega actually is remaking the superior controller (and if you disagree and prefer the original controller I challenge you to a Trial by Mortal Kombat where you can use your precious three-button controller), but not releasing it with the system in the United States. Only the Japanese version of the Sega Genesis Mini actually is getting the six-button version.

It makes me so mad I could punch something. Or kick it. But what I’d really like to do is punch and kick something at the same time. So, please, Sega, give us the six-button controller too. I don’t want to replicate playing Sega Genesis games in 1989, I want the 1993 six-button experience.

Image: Sega

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