Reselling new versions of old games has been a pillar of the video-game industry for years, but things have taken a slightly bizarre turn for Sega in their latest re-release. Today, the publisher released a new update for dozens of its old games on Steam, offering Steam Workshop support (a.k.a., the service’s catalogue of software mods).
This means, essentially, that Sega is now allowing what had previously been semi-legal modifications that let you do things like swap playable characters, create new levels, and make other previously frowned-upon changes. While Sega hasn’t released official tools, Polygon notes that a few users have already begun sharing ROM hacks on the service. You can, for instance, play as Knuckles in the first Sonic the Hedgehog game, an option that never officially existed.
Or you can play Streets of Rage 2 Except It Makes That Weird Tim Allen Noise When People Die:
Sega endorsed the large community of ROM hackers specifically, writing in their announcement.
The Steam Workshop functionality is a platform to share the wealth of custom Mega Drive & Genesis ROMs out there and support the highly talented and engaged community of modders behind them. Now content creators can easily share their custom ROMs with other Mega Drive & Genesis fans giving a new perspective on so many beloved retro titles.
That’s cool. There are only 29 mods listed available as of this writing, but they’ve already gotten pretty weird. There’s Sonic The Hedgehog 2 XL, which replaces Sonic with a fatter version of Sonic.