Don’t be fooled: Mikeyeldey95 may look a lot like Windows 95, but it is not actually the complete Microsoft operating system reprogrammed to run on a Sega Genesis (aka Mega Drive) cartridge. As technically impressive as that would be, it’s something much more fun: a game-meets-concept-album of 22 chiptune songs programmed to run on real Genesis hardware, presented in a deeply faithful recreation of the Windows 95 UI packed with minigames and easter eggs. Even Clippy makes an appearance.
Mikeyeldey95 immediately launches into a summery bop called ‘Plug and Play’ over a fake Windows startup screen and desktop, where you can choose from a faux web browser (with a helpful Hamster Dance bookmark), a music player, and an email inbox containing novel digital letter correspondence. Since the theme here pulls directly from Windows 95, though, the real action is in the Start menu. There are minigames adapted from classic bits of Windows history like the 3D Maze screensaver and music visualizers that recreate other iconic bits of design like the bouncing cards from Solitaire.
The upbeat chiptune music makes messing around with Mikeyeldey95 worthwhile, and more than just a bit of fun nostalgia. Every track feels like it could’ve come from a rad ’90s platformer or beat-em-up, and I think a few of them, like the funky “Labradump” and melancholy “Five Digit Years,” would’ve fit right into arguments over whether the Genesis or Super Nintendo had the superior sound chip.
I’m mighty tempted to buy one of these physical carts for my Sega Genesis, but you can still experience Mikeyeldey95 even if you don’t have an old console lying around. A ROM is available for download on Itch.io and is easy to boot up in an emulator. Or you can stream the album on Bandcamp, minus the cool Windows skin.
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