What is the Sega Genesis Remote Arcade System?

Wireless controllers have become a standard in the gaming industry since the Wavebird launched for the GameCube all the way back in the early 2000s. Most of us have gotten pretty used to this trend, but many may not be aware of how early wireless controllers were supported. Even back in 1993, the Sega Genesis was home to a slew of third- and first-party wireless controllers, each varying in quality. These controllers were a gamble to buy for a period since third party manufacturers made these controllers quickly and as cheap as possible.

All of this changed in 1993 when Sega decided to release their own wireless controller with the same quality as the other first-party controllers. These controllers were dubbed the Remote Arcade System, and provided a wireless dongle for the console as well as two gamepads that are similar to the original Genesis controller. Since these were not super popular back in the day, finding a complete set may be difficult.

These controllers were fantastic, especially among the sea of flimsy third-party wireless controllers with extremely short ranges. The range on the Remote Arcade System was far enough to play from your couch, the batteries lasted longer than the GameGear or Nomad (two AAA per controller), and the controllers just felt great to play with. These pads work with all models of the Genesis, meaning you won’t need to buy a specific version for your particular model of Sega’s console.

However, these do vary in price if you are looking to pick one up. Amazon has third-party listings for Remote Arcade Systems, but they are pretty expensive. They are an awesome collector’s item and are fantastic to play with, so if the price is worth it to you, it’s definitely an option. Yard sales, second-hand stores, and Craigslist may be cheaper options, but it’s limited to your location.

Retro gaming enthusiasts have developed new versions of this technology, and it is a much cheaper option than buying a second-hand version online. Retro-Bit released an officially licensed version of the Remote Arcade System a few years ago, with plenty of modern touches. This controller comes with rechargeable batteries and works on a variety of other systems besides the original Genesis.

Whichever option you choose, using a wireless controller for the Genesis makes your gaming experience even better. The Genesis is an amazing console with an extremely large library of games, packed with many classic platformers and fighting games.

  • Updated September 3, 2020
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