Sega brings Mega Drive classics to PC

While retro console games are prime wares for the virtual consoles on the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii, it's not always easy for PC gamers to get a 16-bit fix. However, Sega has opened its arms to PC gamers by announcing that it plans to make a raft of classic Mega Drive downloads available to PC gamers.

The 16-bit button bashing will kick off on 1 June with 11 titles, including Ecco the Dolphin, Golden Axe, Shinobi III, Sonic3D Blast, Space Harrier II and Altered Beast.

The full line-up is listed on Sega's blog, and Mega Drive owners will notice that there's a curious lack of A-list titles such as the first two Sonic games, Columns and Streets of Rage. We can only assume that these will be coming later in further batches of games.

Sega says that the titles will be available to download from a number of "digital partners," which will include Steam. No detailed pricing has been revealed yet, but Sega says that the games will start from just $2.99 (£2.08) a pop.

That's quite a massive saving compared with the 800 Wii points (£5.60) required for a Mega Drive game on the Wii's Virtual Console in the UK.

Although there's no official European pricing yet, Sega Europe's network business director Nick Pili has already chimed in, suggesting that the Mega Drive (known as the Genesis in the US) games will be coming to Europe at the same time. "It’s exciting to be able to offer these classic games to a new audience," said Pilo, adding, "every PC owner can now enjoy these timeless masterpieces whenever they want!”

Although the move has surprised some people, Sega has previously shown a firm commitment to the PC as a gaming platform. Last month, the company's big boss in the UK, John Clark, noted that the PC gaming market is "performing much better than is currently reported and remains a vital and strong sector to be involved in."

Steam is currently offering a Sega gaming pack, which doesn't include any of the classic Mega Drive titles, but does include most of the Total War titles, Outrun 2006 and the new Alien vs Predator games for the bargain bundle price of £49.99.