The Portable Sega Genesis With a Cartridge Slot

Over the lifespan of the Sega Genesis, and even after it, two major handheld Genesis releases came out. These two handhelds offered the full Genesis experience on the go with a cartridge slot at the top that allowed Genesis cartridges to be inserted into the device. These were the Sega Nomad and the GenMobile. While one is a classic piece of hardware, the other is relatively new but offers similar functionality.

These systems are fantastic for a retro gamer looking to get their fix on the go, offering everything a Genesis console would, in the palm of your hand.

Sega Nomad

The final handheld console ever released by Sega, the Sega Nomad, or sometimes called the Genesis Nomad, was a portable console released in 1995 that could fit and play Genesis cartridges. This is one of the few Sega consoles exclusively released in North America, thus only allowing North America games to be played.

This console was released towards the end of the Genesis’ lifetime due to the Game Gear’s failure and the extensive Genesis library. The hardware itself is almost exactly the same as the Sega Genesis Model 3, thus removing some features that other models had. For instance, the Master System backward compatibility, Sega CD, and Sega 32X are not functional on the Nomad.

However, the Nomad can play almost every game released on the base Genesis library from North America. There are a few exceptions to this rule, though. In total, 13 different titles have known issues with the Nomad due to a slew of different reasons. Included in this list are titles like Sonic the Hedgehog and Streets of Rage. The only way to bypass this is through homebrew.

Overall, this console was pretty awesome. Despite some games not working and the battery life being extremely low, the Sega Nomad is an awesome gem for any retro gamer that enjoys somewhat obscure hardware.


Released by the retro gaming giant Hyperkin, the GenMobile is an officially licensed Sega product that works similarly to the Sega Nomad. Looking similar to the PSP, which was extremely popular at the time, the GenMobile had a 2.4 LCD screen with a six-button control pad. The GenMobile could also be connected to a TV to become an extremely small Genesis. Not only did this console come with the ability to play cartridges, but it also included twenty classic Genesis titles right on the console itself.

An excellent plus of this console is that it is completely region-free. Players can experience PAL, NTSC, and Japanese cartridges all in the same system! While opening up the entire Genesis library across all regions is nice, some games are known to be finicky or just not work at all on the console, which could probably be circumvented with a homebrew cartridge.

This console also does not allow the addition of a 32X or Sega CD, but that is to be expected with this console’s size. The one noted grievance with this console is the sound quality. It is not necessarily bad but does not give that original Genesis quality.

The GenMobile is a great, cheap option for retro gamers looking for their fix. They are a little hard to find now, but it is definitely worth the money if you get the chance to pick one up. Besides the audio gripes and occasional game glitches, it is a pretty solid Genesis recreation fit into a tiny package of fun.

  • Updated September 3, 2020
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