We've had our eyes on the modular Polymega console for quite some time now, and with good reason – if these guys can pull it off, it will be the ultimate one-stop retro system, covering consoles such as the NES, SNES, Mega Drive / Genesis, Mega CD and even Neo Geo CD.
The project hasn't been without its controversies, though; revised specs and incorrectly sourced footage have led many to question if the Polymega will ever make it into full production. It's wise to be cautious with this kind of thing, but after a long period of silence, the makers of the console have finally delivered a series of updates.
The Polymega hardware is finished, according to the team at Playmaji. It will run on a 35W Intel Coffee Lake S series Processor, which is upgradeable so Polymega can support other, more powerful retro systems in the future. The upgrade will need to be carried out by an authorised service outlet.
Polymega will also support NVMe M.2 2280 SSD's via an expansion port on the base of the machine. SD card expansion remains in place and will support cards up to 1TB in capacity. If you wanted to max out the storage, you can install up to 3TB – that's room for a lot of games.
Saturn support was one of the last big announcements for the Polymega, and the team is reporting that it has hit 99% game and 99% HLE BIOS compatibility for the entire Saturn library. Emulation is running at full speed, apparently. Meanwhile, PlayStation HLE BIOS is 90+% and will be improved over the next few months.
Emulation is one of the big question marks hanging over the project, but the team behind the console have revealed that it will only include in-house or legally-licensed emulators, which are considered to be "best in class", with "only one of them" being able to run on a low-power ARM-based device. Gameplay samples of all emulators in action will be posted on YouTube next week.
Of particular interest to Nintendo fans is the news that the included SNES emulator will come with expansion chip support for SA1, SuperFX and CX-4, with DSP-1/2 (and variants) and S-DD1 "being implemented at the moment". Again, gameplay samples "with lossless audio" will be made public soon.
It wasn't all good news, however; due to 14nm chip supply shortages, the ship date for Polymega will most likely change. The company is "in line behind a few larger companies" but the aim is to get most of the chips by summer. Press units and pre-orders will be shipped as soon as they are in hand.
Finally, it was revealed that the second round of pre-orders will open in May, and retail pre-order info will also be forthcoming around the same time.
Polymega is being demoed at GDC as we speak, and we'll update this post with any video footage that hits the web. In the meantime, let us know if all of this information has calmed your nerves or simply made you even more sceptical.
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Fri 22nd March, 2019.
Is that thing not out yet? I remember a pretty steep price so it will probably be a commercial failure.
These photos with their low level neon lighting are difficult to view.
@Rhaoulos Yes, it's out, in fact it has been for 20 years and the article is just lying to you.
Vaporware I like the idea but don’t think it will ever be available and where are these service centres gonna be
Seems to me like this will just go on and on and never be released
It's been in development so long I gave up and picked up retrousb's AVS for NES titles, analogue's SNES and pre-ordered their upcoming Genesis/MD unit. This still looks like a great option for folks who haven't picked up any cloned consoles yet or simply want an all-in-one space solution
I'm glad they finally communicated something but overall it was not very informative aside from the delay info. All their talk basically was saying "yes, it works as you should expect it" with the SNES info/compatibility stuff. Emulators do this now. They should have posted videos first then dumped info. Storage info is ok but overall nothing to really take away from this but marketing talk and a delay.
Still I am interested to see the disc demos today. It's odd they won't demo carts though...
@sleepinglion you did exactly what me and my buddies did. We were all ready to grab Polymega until they did a last minute 180. I may still be interested in it as a CD unit though.
@Synthatron_Prime I've had similar thoughts of picking it up for just the CD option
I like the idea of this but its to pricey and it does feel like it may never come out.
Good stuff. This is looking like a really high quality all round modern-retro console.
This seems amazing in theory but my gut tells me they bit off a bit more than they can chew. Reading some of their interactions with others is a bit off putting too. Hope this works out for all involved
@AlexOlney There's that good ol' Alex
I can even hear your comment as I am reading it.
I didn't doubt the article. It just feels like it has been in development for years (probably ~20) and they have no plan to actually release anything.
Have been waiting years for this. It looks like we are near the finish line. This would be perfect for my collection.
Lost a fair bit of interest when talk of FPGA became about future versions.
When they say HLE do they mean high level emulation? As that's a term usually associated with the technique of fast but inaccurate emulation, which seems a bit of a poor choice for something that's supposed to be a premium system.
@Rhaoulos iT WAS PRE-ORDER ONLY.
Just get this for the Sega CD, NeoGeo CD, and Sega Saturn game support. Everything else are done better with PS3, the Analogue Mega Sg, Analogue Super Nt, and AVS as those use no emulation and is completely compatible with PS1, NES, SNES, Genesis, and SMS games in HD. I still won't believe them that Sega Saturn compatibility for this is 99% compatible. They still had not shown more Sega Saturn games running on this actual hardware to prove that. This along with the Atari VCS and Smach Z seem like they kept making excuses just to delay the product so to keep backers waiting to the point where most will be pissed.
For those looking forward to this, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that's a great deal that I'll sell to you cheap. I hope to be hearing from you.
Wasn't this the device that was supposed to have hardware emulation when they first announced it, and then they walked that back to be just software emulation?
If it was true hardware emulation, then yes it would be worth the money. Seeing as it's just software emulation, you can get the same thing with the PC you already own.
If it will be compatible di everdrives and support N64 it will be mine for sure.
Software emulation sucks.
PCs have been able to do that for decades.
Ah yes Polymega, the punks who've been discrediting and disparaging companies like Analog on Twitter, claiming that FPGA is worse than using traditional software emulation. How anyone can defend these arrogant morons is beyond me.
@BulkSlash Essentially, FPGA uses hardware emulation, which is nearly cycle-accurate, but much more difficult to pull off and emulating systems like N64 via FPGA are excruciatingly difficult. So they turned to HLE, which is fast, but terribly inaccurate. What a waste of potential.
@Erchitu It's emulation based, so if by a miracle they eventually release something a few years from now, it won't work with multicarts.
It would presumably be able to read rom images and disc images off internal memory, serving as its own multicart just as your PC's HDD does when doing something like playing a SNES game via Higan and so on.
@mikegamer Being fpga doesn't make it cycle accurate. It's the quality of the hardware simulation or the software emulator that does.
It takes a lot of time and talent to arrive at what's believed to be a fully accurate implementation of the original hardware (Such as Higan for a SNES emulator or the Super NT for a SNES fpga recreation). One is as difficult as the other, requiring a lot of talent, trial and error to develop an understanding of how the original hardware works, detective work, and testing.
The value of a fpga configured into a replica of something like the Super Nintendo are that that the hardware requirements are comparatively cheap since it doesn't require the horsepower that powering a software emulator does (Looking at system requirements for Higan, there's no way you could release a $200 emulation based SNES console capable of running it), a live cartridge bus is possible which allows full interaction with original cartridges rather than the flawed dump system that emulation based devices utilize, and it offers zero input lag thanks to thanks to things like no operating system, frame buffer, or USB overhead.
Is it in the original packaging? And what make is it? Can I play Space Invaders on it? 😆
I doubt this will ever come to fruition.
This thing is taking way too long to come out. At this point with multiple minis, redone analogue systems which are superb and the amount of retro titles released on a weekly basis...interest is now non existent. It’s taking them way too long. And it sounds to me as if it’s still a long ways away if the chipset still hasn’t been delivered and who knows how well it will actually work. It’s a solid pass for me now.
You said what literally everyone else is saying. Which is this thing STILL isn’t out or with a release date??!!!
@Atariboy if it's emulated I don't know... I prefer hardware clones with hdmi support... Anyway it's an interesting project, I'll keep an eye on it. For the N64 we may have graphical advantages.
"Authorized service outlet"
On top of already producing a console that's starting to look less and less a reality, you're promising some kind of support network?
Aw man, I knew it wasn't a good idea to pre-order. I had a sneaking suspicion...I wonder what I can get that's cheaper and can do decent legal translations of SNES games with real physical copies. Is RetroFreak the best option so far?
Great, yet another emulator console, they've been selling them on Facebook for ages.
Hope will you legally be able to play your games though, I doubt Nintendo will licence them out
I'm pretty speculative regarding the device's capabilities to be able to run all those game from each retro console's game library via emulation, but I hope it does well.
Get the Super NT from Analogue, it's the best way to play SNES carts (and ROMs via SD card...) on an HD TV.
Everything about this 'console' and the people producing it has been questionable from the start. I think anyone who buys this thing, that is if it actually comes out, is taking a huge leap of faith.
I use mostly real hardware for retro gaming, so my main concern with this is lag. It can completely kill retro games as they simply aren't designed around latency. The mixture of HDTV lag, emulation lag, and wireless controller lag is difficult.
I'd like it to succeed, so consider my interest piqued.
@Agent721 The main interest is around Saturn emulation, which is incredibly difficult to pull off. So difficult in fact there are no off the shelf solutions to my knowledge.
I love the concept of this, if they add a n64 and psx attachment they'll have themselves another customer...
The greatest addition I see here has to be CD emulation such as Saturn, as I've yet to see a retro system that supports 90's console games..
@Atariboy Doesn't give Polymega the right to be condescending jagweeds on Twitter either. Sounds like you're defending them. Sad.
If I wanted to play software emulators, I'd use my PC instead of this vaporware hunk of junk
@mikegamer I'm defending them? lol
I suggest you use the find feature on your browser and reread my posts. All I did was tell you that a fpga simulation of an old console isn't automatically better than software emulation, after reading your very inaccurate impression of fpga hardware simulations versus software emulation that I've quoted below.
"Essentially, FPGA uses hardware emulation, which is nearly cycle-accurate, but much more difficult to pull off "
In actuality, it all comes down to the quality of the work going into the project, which isn't debatable. Fpga versus software emulation has nothing to do with one or the other being cycle accurate. It all comes down to the talent of the coder and their understanding of the system that they're reproducing.
And lastly, here's some of those choice words praising Polymega that you've accused me of posting here...
"For those looking forward to this, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that's a great deal that I'll sell to you cheap. I hope to be hearing from you."
"It's emulation based, so if by a miracle they eventually release something a few years from now, it won't work with multicarts."
"Being fpga doesn't make it cycle accurate. It's the quality of the hardware simulation or the software emulator that does."
Also note that I just spent all morning playing Sim City on my Super NT. I hope you get your preorder money refunded from Polymega eventually, Mike, since I'd be sour too if I had fallen for the scam. Invest it in Analogue products in the future if you ever get it back.
@Atariboy Excuse me? When the blue blazes did I ever say I was going to get this piece of crap? I have an SD2SNES and a Super NT. Did I freaking stutter?
I didn't preorder the thing, at all, don't accuse me of something that stupid or you'll be blocked.
Their 'marketing' people need a swift kick in the tooshie for the way they've been releasing information. Its an ambitious project that sounded amazing and then faltered after they jumped ship on FPGA and added it as an afterthought / potential future update with "some" of the systems. Then delays and questionable looking videos were the cream on the cake. Now another delay. If this doesn't leave people feeling more nervous than a priest taking the stand, I don't know what would.
Unless I was a huge disc based game nut, I see little reason to invest in one of these.
Said it before and i’ll say it again, it’s just a ROM dumping emulator in a fancy box, no FPGA means glitches everywhere, speed issues, visual artefacts, sound will probably be way off as well. I do like the styling and the concept of a modular system however.
@KennyBania yep agreed, the super nt is awesome and I cannot wait for the mega sg in a few days. They’re a little more expensive but really worth it if you want the very best from your retro games.
@Deanster101 While Analogue is great and I love what they've been doing (And can't wait to order a Mega SG later this year to join my Super NT), fpga isn't automatically better than emulation.
While Polymega is a scam, you won't find someone like Kevtris ever bad mouthing quality software emulation such as Stella, Higan, etc. Extremely accurate and very good.
A fpga simulation can be as lousy as the worst NOAC clone. It's all up to the talent involved, their level of understanding of the hardware they're reproducing, their eye for details, etc. Just because it's fpga doesn't automatically elevate it above software emulation. It's not some magical elixir and at the end of the day, a skilled programmer still has to sit down and code their recreation of the original hardware no matter if it's fpga or emulation.
They both have their advantages and disadvantages. For instance of an advantage of emulation, save states aren't directly viable in Analogue's products. Of course with expensive multicarts, you can work around that to a degree, but for technical reasons I've forgotten (Which he's spoken about at AtariAge), Kevtris can't directly support them.
Yet Analogue's products offer such advantages as zero input lag thanks to things like the lack of an operating system slowing everything down, can interact directly with original cartridges, etc.
You have a point there.
@Rhaoulos steep price will not justify commercial failure,cheap hardware would so that comment just makes no sense.
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