Spanish company Terraonion – the same team responsible for the excellent Super SD System 3 for the PC Engine – has lifted the lid on its next project in a special ‘Terraonion Direct’ broadcast. (Wonder where it got that idea from?)
The big news is the firm has created the world’s first Mega CD / Sega CD FPGA optical disc emulator, which means its new flash cart – the MegaSD – can run CD-ROM games on pretty much any Mega Drive / Genesis console, even without the actual Mega CD add-on attached.
Terraonion performed the same trick with its aforementioned Super SD System 3, which was capable of playing PC Engine CD-ROM games without the need to purchase expensive add-on drives.
Retailing for 250 Euros and shipping in August, this is pretty much the gold standard for Mega Drive flash carts. Given the fragile nature of original hardware these days, carts like this are going to be essential if you want to experience CD software on original hardware.
Here’s the press release:
Terraonion today announced the all new MegaSD cartridge for Sega Mega Drive and Genesis consoles. The MegaSD is an all-in-one FPGA cartridge that duplicates the Sega CD/ Mega-CD hardware and allows owners to play these games back from a microSD card. The MegaSD also is a general purpose rom flashcart allowing the playing of Mega Drive and Genesis cartridge games. Features and benefits of the MegaSD include:
+ World’s First Mega-CD/Sega CD FPGA Optical Disc Emulator
+ Plays both ISOS (bin+cue) and ROMS
+ Compatible with all original and region free patched Mega-CD/Sega CD bios
+ Supports Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega CD/Mega-CD, Master System and 32X games (requires 32X add-on)
+ Fully Supports original Mega Drive and Genesis hardware (Nomad included)
+ Fully compatible with Analogue Mega Sg!
+ Easy to use interface for navigating your collection with screenshots, genre, year and description • Save State support for Mega Drive and Genesis Cartridge games (8 slots)
+ Built in cheat engine for Mega Drive and Genesis cartridge games
+ Emulates all different Genesis/Mega Drive/Master System/32x cartridge mappers.
+ Stores all different Genesis/Mega Drive/Master System/32x cartridge saves onto microSD card.
+ Per game Mega-CD/Sega CD Backup RAM and Cartridge RAM stored into microSD card
+ Master System FM Core
+ In-Game menu for fast reboot and swapping games(Genesis/Mega Drive and Mega-CD/Sega CD) • Enhanced Mega Drive games with CD audio and Mega-CD/Sega CD hardware (MSU1 like)
+ 400GB Exfat microSD supported
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Mon 17th June, 2019.
Try plugging this into a Mega Sg. FPGA-ception.
Before anyone says anything stupid, this is Nintendo related because Night Trap came out for the Sega CD and Night Trap is available on the Switch.
Or use old PC hooked to tv for SegaCD or 32x emulation.
Actually that's a great idea. In case you don't want to unplug your Sega CD from the Genesis it's been plugged into for the past decade.
Gotta love the dedication of teams like these, that succeed in pulling retro tech like this into the 21st century in a streamlined form, but the price is really quite a bit too steep for me, though.
That’s pretty damn cool. Now if they could add 32X and SVP support to the FPGA it would be an essential purchase. I wonder if it could be used with the Nomad or does the Mega-CD need that side port on the MegaDrive to communicate?
I get buying top quality, and top priced, FPGA hardware to play your original games, but if you're going to play roms you may as well get a real Mega-CD (for a lot less than this thing costs) and play burned discs.
Also, all the stuff I read about the issues with the RGB output of their Super SD System prevents me from having complete faith in these guys. I certainly wouldn't buy a day 1 release from them.
... plugged for the two last decades.
@KennyBania And Night Trap! So it's doubly related
@KennyBania Since when has Sewer Shark been available for Switch?
It’s about Time for a Dune - resmastered
My bad, meant to say Night Trap!
When trying to find tenuous links between @Damo's articles and their connection to Nintendo, sometimes there's a slip up.
Why does it cost more than the Mega Sg though? With $20 more I could just buy the Polymega instead which support Sega CD as well four other disc based systems library of games.
I just want my Polymega.
I've wanted a Sega CD flashcart... but that price is higher than I'd have imagined.
Is that a white Virtua Racing cart they stuck it in, though?
250 euros? hahahahaha!
That's almost $260 in American currency! From one Spaniard to another, get bent Terraonion.
@BionicDodo SegaCD loading times are atrocious. I can see why anyone would want to bypass using the drive. But cost-wise, yeah.
But, to me, this kind of thing negates the whole point, when the point is to play original games on their original hardware. This is doing neither. If you're going to play ROMs, you may as well just get an emulator.
ROMs run better on original hardware/FPGAs than they do on emulators.
I’ll wait for reviews but it could be essential as a backup/pack n carry device
I highly suspect that the Mega Drive Mini will be hacked soon after it releases, and once that happens it's practically a given that hackers will do their best to also figure out ways to add 32X and Sega CD files. So do the math: pay $250 Euros ($280.50 US) for a flash cart that plays Isos, or $79.99 US for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Mini which does the same. But to each their own.
@KennyBania Meh, it's negligible and certainly not worth almost $300 for a difference I can't even notice in most cases.
I'm just waiting for the inevitable crash that is coming from the market being flooded with 8 and 16 bit clone devices.
Glad some companies are starting to move on to N64 and Sega Saturn.
I'm still waiting for my clone GBA with a killer screen, better speaker and built in speed up and save state functionality.
@AtlanteanMan that’s reasonable for most people with a modern setup who won’t bother with tech like this. But some will have a retro setup with original hardware and CRT monitors and will want something that can take the load off their aging Sega CD but still be able to use analogue connections/their original hardware mods/original controllers and peripherals with the Sega CD while staying accurate or close enough. It’s really for the enthusiast not the general retro gamer like yourself presumably
@NinChocolate Exactly. FPGA in general is not cheap at all to produce. I personally know someone who has been working on this for over a year and TerraOnion has been working on it for almost three years. Telling them to get bent for charging what is a completely reasonable price considering what this does is beyond rude, as someone above did. This is one of the most impressive pieces of retro-enthusiast tech I've seen. Sure, you can use an emulator, but FPGA is a much much more accurate way of replaying these old games and this is for people who want this accuracy. This is for those same people who pay $300 or so to get an HDMI mod in their N64 over those (horrible) pound/hyperkin cables. Or buy a framemeister to run their SCART cables through despite being in the US where SCART was never a standard. If you have sticker shock and don't understand why someone would pay this, you aren't their market.
@Darthroseman I apologize if I came across in a condescending manner; that was not my intention. I used to own the Sega CD, 32X, etc. myself, but as has already been mentioned here, the hardware can only last so long before failing after 25 years. Emulation, for better or worse, has become the easiest way to preserve and enjoy the games for those platforms.
My point was that the Mega SD and Genesis/Mega Drive Mini both utilize emulators and ROMs/ISOs, and from a cost standpoint the latter is far cheaper and compatible with the screens most of us have in our homes nowadays. Maybe it's Apples and Oranges in terms of the Mega SD utilizing the original hardware and/or CRT monitors, and there's nothing wrong with that if it's what someone is going for. In that sense it really isn't trying to compete with Sega's mini console, but rather to carve out its own niche. For the typical gamer/hobbyist however, I suspect the Genesis/Mega Drive Mini will suffice.
So again, sorry if I caused any offense. I certainly wasn't telling anyone to "get bent", as it were, and for what it does the Mega SD certainly sounds like a great piece of tech. Again, to each their own.
You realize you are promoting an illegal product? I'm a little surprised a reputable site like this would help advertise a way for people to break the law
@AtlanteanMan You are very right, regular emulation is perfectly fine for most people and I have nothing against it, personally. Do I wish I could drop the money to get this? You bet. It has a very high entry point, so I cannot currently, but with research and cost of production, so it goes. Maybe down the line. I'm an enthusiast, but I don't have the means to be all-in, as it were, so I would never fault someone for going the route of the mini console, especially with M2 doing the emulation, that's the closest you'll get outside of FPGA or original hardware, those guys are the best in the business.
@BulkSlash the article says it all. Go back and check it out. Nomad support, SVP support, 32X, Master System, and all regions of Genesis, Mega Drive, Sega CD, and Mega CD. This is worth every penny.
@NevG I might be mis-reading it, but it says it needs 32X hardware to play 32X games so it sounds to me like the FPGA isn’t simulating the 32X hardware, it’s just compatible as a Flash cartridge for it.
You’re right about it saying it supports all Megadrive mappers, so that does sound like it could include the SVP!
Ya, but it Nintendo Life doesn't promote it on their website, they won't be sent a free review copy when it is released (which is what Damien wants).
@ReaderRagfish no, well they weren't using an additional power supply during the direct.
@TJSpyke We're all gamers here and this sort of tech is very important when it comes to the preservation of systems we grew up with. Especially optical based ones like the MegaCD / SegaCD. If you own the game you've placed on the machine, there's nothing illegal about it, so kindly get off your high horse please.
@premko1 this is FPGA, not emulation. If you don't understand the difference, look into the process before posting a generic response.
@BulkSlash the MegaCD chip is in the cartridge so as the original article suggests, it works fine on the Nomad. 32X support only works with an actual 32X unit though as there isn't any 32X architecture included in the cart.
@retro_player_22 I'll believe the full function of Polymega when I see it in consumer hands doing what they promised. Atleast you have more options..
@BulkSlash you are correct. It is only able to recreate the experience of playing Sega and Mega CD. The reason being is that 32X uses the processing power of the Genesis/ Meg Drive for the backgrounds of the 32X games using an analog signal. Hence the connection between the base console and 32X's picture input/ output. They would literally have to reproduce the 32X to make this component be able to play the rom files. This in this day and age doesn't make sense as there isn't a large enough demand for it and it would be a royal pain to try and reproduce this. So to play 32X roms all one would have to do is purchase a 32X, install it, plug in this cart into the 32X cartridge slot, and then play to their hearts content.
@Jawessome fpga or not, this imho is still an emulation (hardware)
@premko1 yes - it uses the same word but the results are vastly different from one another. FPGA is accurate representation of the hardware where you would find no difference to the original whatsoever while software has limitations based on the hardware it runs on. Not a direct clone..
@Jawessome yes, I agree, but for me personally only playing on original hardware is not emulation.
@premko1 You are incorrect. If a "system on a chip" recreates the way the original hardware worked when playing a game rom that is not emulation. Emulators imitate. System on a chip recreates.
Dont get me wrong - I know all that, JUST for me "recreation" is still not the original system (shape,form,etc.)
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