Hello! I'm HiSpec. Thanks for your interest in my reproductions.
This project began through a combination of two of my passions: game collecting and translating. I've been collecting and playing Sega Genesis games (and Japanese Mega Drive games) for many years, and I've also worked on various fan translation projects of Japanese games and other media over the years. Although the Sega Genesis in North America saw a bunch of great releases, I've always felt that there was a hole in my collection from the missing Japanese games which were never localized. I decided to try my hand at designing some reproductions, and the project gradually expanded to its current state. While I originally did not intend to sell these, the cost of printing became a bit too much, so I decided it would be nice to offer these to the collecting community at a very reasonable price. This also lets me continue with the project, which still has many games waiting to be done.
Below I outline some of the steps I've taken in making these reproductions.
I made the cover designs from scratch based on the original Japanese covers. Although there are already mock-up covers available online, I wasn't really satisfied with these since they often use fan art or low quality art, and the back covers weren't really appealing. In most cases, I had to completely redesign the cover layout due to the different dimensions. This meant tracking down the original art when available, redesigning logos, taking new screenshots, and so on. All back cover text was translated to English, as well. Here are some examples of how my designs relate to the originals:
Label and Manual Cover Design
I kept the designs of the cartridge labels and manual covers consistent with the front covers. This usually involved cropping and re-positioning logos. You can see how well they look together here:
I wanted the manuals to represent as closely as possible the Japanese manuals, which are full of art and story/character information. I soon realized I would be limited to 16 pages per manual due to full-color printing cost limitations, so I had to condense some of the longer Japanese manuals. My main priority was to keep all of the art, the story, and the character bios, as well as any essential gameplay information. Here you can see an example of the character page from Golden Axe III along with the original:
I wanted to have high quality full-color glossy prints of the cover inserts, labels, and manuals, so I contracted with a printing company. This ended up costing a lot, but the quality was completely worth it. The end results are difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish from the print quality of official releases.
Cases and Cartridges
For clamshell cases, I opted to go with some recently manufactured reproduction cases. These cases are almost indistinguishable from the original Genesis cases and look absolutely great displayed right next to original cases.
For cartridges, I decided that refurbishing donor cartridges was the best way to go. Although it requires a bit more work on my part, I decided to do this in order to keep costs down, since using reproduction carts and PCBs can get a bit pricey, especially for games that support save. In addition, I'm weary of some 3rd party PCBs, since they are not always the same thickness as originals and may damage the connector slot of your Genesis (never purchase cheap Chinese reproductions for this exact reason!). Also, I think it's nice to give unwanted carts a new home instead of letting them go to waste.
Of course, re-purposing used cartridges doesn't mean they're in awful condition. I thoroughly clean all cartridges and PCB contacts and always install new save batteries, and I won't use anything that is in poor condition. Nevertheless, most of the carts will have some degree of scuffs and scratches on them. If this really bothers you, contact me about getting some new reproductions cart cases at a slight premium.
All together, these complete reproductions look fantastic:
In addition, the consistent spine design makes them look excellent when displayed on a shelf:
If you have any questions about my reproductions, feel free to contact me. As I said before, my main goal here is to provide these to the collecting community as a way to finance further reproductions, so I strive to provide as high quality a product as I can at a reasonable price.