Push any button to start game.
Sega Mini Video Games is a set of McDonald's Happy Meal toys, available from June 27 to July 24, 2003. They bear images of and are centered around some of Sega's original video game characters, with five games from the Sonic the Hedgehog universe and one featuring AiAi, the lead of Super Monkey Ball.
Each is very simple, sporting one or two buttons for a single action (e.g., catch or dodge), but, ignoring Knuckles Soccer, they fit the licenses well enough. Given their intended audience, the games are very short, two minutes at most, and demanding enough to require your attention, but not much more. To further ease their digestion and to establish the items as part of a complete set, that needs collecting, the concepts all follow a similar structure: perform aforementioned action x times without y misses, advance a level, and then repeat three more times at faster speeds. There are instructions as well, but they're each six steps long and printed on one side of a three inch square piece of paper.
In construction, the Sega Mini Video Games are similar to Game & Watch handhelds in that all the "action" takes place on an LCD with a variety of static shapes that are either completely transparent or filled in with black. Somewhere behind the screen, there's also a relevant, fairly nice color backdrop. Most notably, the one for Sonic Action Game is a screenshot or mockup from the original Sonic the Hedgehog for the Genesis. The plastic shells containing each game aren't bad either, covered on the front with a somewhat detailed molding of their namesake in its natural surroundings. Sadly, the paint jobs are lacking; the splotches, blurry lines, and three color limit cheapen the presentation. On a Happy Meal toy.
(Note: in the game summaries following, I use ASCII art to clarify the gameplay. In each, periods represent a blank space, capital letters represent game objects -- the text preceding the pictures have underlined letters indicating exactly what -- and italicized words between *'s indicate a button being pressed or a point being earned. Additionally, a succession of pictures covers a passage in time, so the objects from picture to picture will move accordingly)
AiAi Banana Catch:
One the three games based on catching, this has you moving AiAi left and right (two buttons) to stop rows of one or two Bananas that fall from the top of the screen:
. B B B B . . B .
. . B . B B B B .
B . . -> . . B -> . B B
. . . B . . . . B
. A . A . . . . A
*left* *point* *point*
You get a point for each banana you move in front of while they're still in the row above you. If they move into the bottom row, the one you occupy, they will count as a miss (you won't actually see the bananas because of the limitations of the hardware; for any given space there can only be one LCD shape, lit or not). For rows with two bananas, you must quickly move past both. Thirty catches will increase the level and speed (four levels in total), but ten misses will end the game. Probably the hardest of the bunch.
It's the same setup as AiAi Banana Catch with Knuckles and soccer balls, but there is only one ball on screen at a time and it may or may not randomly move to another column once during its descent. It's not much and calls for only slightly quicker reflexes, but it does make Knuckles Soccer a bit more interesting than the others. Anyway, catching ten soccer balls will increase the level and speed (four levels total), but five misses on a single level will end the game. Slightly easier than the other catch games.
This is interesting concept with a flawed implementation. See, Shadow Grinder has you playing Shadow the Hedgehog1 as he grinds down an endless succession of short Rails (scrolling right to left) separated by gaps a single space wide. To avoid falling, you must press the single jump button while on the rail section directly before the gap:
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
S . . . . . . . -> S . . . . . . . ->
R R . R R R . R R . R R R . R R
S . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . -> S . . . . . . .
. R R R . R R . R R R . R R . R
Each gap you pass over gets you a point, and after fifteen gaps, the level and speed increase (four levels total). Conversely, if you fall 10 times on a single level, the game ends. However, pressing the button on too early a section is no punishment because you land on the very next section, allowing you to just press it again. This means you can beat the game, without looking, by repeatedly tapping the button as quickly as you can. Ties with Sonic Action Game for the easiest of the bunch.
Sonic Action Game:
Here Platforms move from the right of the screen towards Sonic, and you must simply jump over them:
. . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . P -> . . P . -> S P . . ->
S . P P S P P . P P . P
S . . . . . . . . . . .
P . . . -> . . . . -> S . . .
P . P . S P . P P . P .
*point* *jump* *point*
This isn't clear from the pictures, but the two types of platform sets (the three P's or the single P) are the only types, and you only score a point when on top of the right most platform in each set. After twenty points, the speed and level increase (four levels total). If jump isn't pressed in time, Sonic crashes into the platform. After five crashes in a single level, the game ends. Like Shadow Grinder (the other one-button game), you can win just by quickly and repeatedly tapping jump.
Unlike the other two-button games, this has you (Sonic) dodge the objects falling from the top of the screen, specifically rows of one or two Cars:
. C C C C . . C .
. . C . C C C C .
C . . -> . . C -> . C C ->
. . . C . . . . C
. S . . S . . S .
C . . C . C . C C
. C . C . . C . C
C C . -> . C . -> C . .
. C C C C . . C .
. S . S . . . . S
*point* *point* *point*
Every time you successfully dodge a row of cars, you get a point. However, due to the limitations of the hardware (again - see AiAi Banana Catch) you won't actually see the cars as they pass. If you fail to move out of the way, you will crash. Thirty points will increase the level and speed (four levels total), but five crashes on a single level will end the game. Slightly easier than the catching games.
Tails Sky Patrol (sic):
Exactly like AiAi Banana Catch but rotated 90 degrees to the left and with Tails and rings. Sadly, there are no twists as in Knuckles Soccer; it even has the same advancement and failure requirements (30 rings to move on or 10 misses to lose). However, because this game is named after the Tails' Sky Patrol title for the Game Gear, it may be more correct to say, "AiAi Banana Catch is exactly like Tails Sky Patrol," as the latter's namesake is older.2 I only describe it like this because I sorted the list alphabetically, and AiAi comes first.
To play again, press any button.
- thanks to Servo5678
for setting me straight here