Released in 1988 in Japan, 89 in US and ’90 in PAL regions the Mega Drive and Genesis (USA) was the first 16-bit console to enter the market. It become a smash hit and alongside the SNES dominated the console video game market.
As of today, the Mega Drive/Genesis is still very popular, especially now that kids who grew up on it are adults, the ease of access of emulators and the release of the Classic consoles with HDMI output. Many games are speed ran lead by Sonic the Hedgehog, Streets of Rage and the like.
Streaming Mega Drive/Genesis games on Twitch is a great idea, there’s a huge catalogue of games and it’s dripping with nostalgia which is a good way to get views. As it’s not a totally dominated niche, it’s a great place to start if you have no friends or simply want to grow your existing channel.
But, what is the best way to stream this classic SEGA console?
3 Ways To Stream Mega Drive or Genesis on Twitch
Streaming through PC is significantly easier than origin model 1 or 2consoles – they’re reliable, there’s less hardware involved but there’s a legal grey area. For copyright law, you should own the game that you are emulating, but there is a ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ spirit in the community.
As for which emulators to use, KEGA Fusion and Genesis Plus GX are often brought up. The MEGA SG is often labelled with emulators but there is no emulation done with that.
After you have the emulator and your Mega Drive ROMs ready, it’s just a case of using software such as OBS.
Pros – Cheap, easy
Cons – Legal grey area (see: emulators on Twitch guide)
Streaming on your original model 1 or model 2 Sega Mega Drive/Genesis is where it becomes tricky but ultimately accurate and glorious. It isn’t cheap and there’s is a bit more than just what you original got in the box in the 90s.
The first thing to consider is that in order to stream on Twitch, the signal from the console needs to reach the PC. We have two options:
GV USB 2
A GVUSB2 will accept RCA/S-Video directly into the cable and then into the PC with USB-2. The benefit of this is that the GVUSB2 will capture and send 240p signal as nature intended. This is important as the Mega Drive was never intended to be used on any monitor or TV that wasn’t a CRT.
However, how your monitor displays it is another matter but it will be captured perfectly and software such as OBS will recognise the signal as a video feed.
Cons: Still need a lot of cables and picture quality can be inconsistent
Next, we have a simpler, cheaper but ultimately better option than the GV USB 2. A digital upscaler such as the OSSC or RetroTINK. Now this isn’t the article to explore in depth what each of these devices do but basically it accepts the original signal and then outputs it through a HDMI port which can then either be plugged into your PC or a modern TV.
You can output from your original MD/Gen with a RGB-SCART or component cable or VGA. It will not accept AV (yellow/white/red).
Some capture cards can struggle with the signal they receive, OSSC works well with AVerMedia Live Gamer 4K, Elgato HD60 s+, StarTech USB3HDCAP. RetroTINK seems to work universally with capture cards but is not as high end as the OSSC.
Using these upscalers reduces the number of cables you need and ends up giving you the HD signal you need to capture and stream on Twitch. OBS or similar software will do the rest.
Pros: Upscalers can be used on other retro devices, programmable
Cons: Expensive, need component or SCART
Lastly, the Mega SG is a modern console which uses FPGA (field-programmable gate array) to recreate (not emulate) the Mega Drive/Genesis on the inside, accepts all cartridges and outputs in crystal clear HD.
I have one of these and ever since I made the plunge I haven’t played my Genesis games on my original model 2 since. The performance and output is simply too good to mess around with the other cables on modern TVs.
A Mega SG can be used to stream on Twitch and most capture cards will be perfectly fine with. OBS will read the signal and off you go.
Such is the accuracy of a Mega SG that speed run.com accept submissions using this device and they aren’t classed as emulation. A fantastic gift for SEGA streamer friends.
Pros: Faithful recreation, crustal clear output,
Cons: Can be out of stock for long periods
The best selling Mega Drive/Genesis games have been re-released numerous times on every single post originals, meaning you can probably play the mainstream games on whatever console or PC you have. There have also been mini-consoles released with built in games too such as the Genesis Mini which has native MDMI output.
In July 2022, SEGA released Sonic Origins which includes the first 4 16-bit 2D games. There is also the SEGA Ages range which are slightly tuned up versions of the originals but on modern consoles supporting 1080p.
This is one of the most accessible options to stream classic Genesis games on Twitch. But, the quality does vary and it’s not as cheap as just using an emulator nor is it as genuine as using original hardware so it sits right in the middle but with nothing special about it.
Pros: Good choice if you want to stream select games
Cons: Not authentic
Are Mega Drive/Genesis Twitch Streams Popular?
Yes! There is a thriving demand for great playthroughs and speedruns of Mega Drive/Genesis game. The Retro channel alone has 1.3 million followers (not just Sega) with the biggest games being Streets of Rage 2(7.5k), Sonic 3 (55k) Ultimate Mortal Kombat (18k).
There are plenty of people looking for their Genesis fix on Twitch.