We all live with the knowledge that everything put together eventually falls apart, but in the case of consoles based around optical media, the issue is pretty grave. Optical drives are prone to all kinds of problems – especially when they're over 20 years old – and as a result, many of the CD-based systems out there will develop difficulties which can lead to them becoming totally useless.
That's where the guys over at Terraonion come in. The company has already solved this issue on the PC Engine and Mega Drive / Genesis, but its next project is on a whole new level – it's an optical disc emulator which effectively replaces the disc drive inside your Sega Saturn or Dreamcast, giving your machine a whole new lease of life.
The Terraonion MODE (Multi Optical Disc Emulator) works on both consoles and is compatible with hard drives, thumb drives and MicroSD cards. It boasts auto region-patching so you can play games from any region no matter what console you have, and it auto-detects which system it has been installed into. No soldering is needed, but you will naturally have to be confident enough to remove your console's optical drive and attach the MODE to the mainboard.
Thanks to the use of an FPGA chip, Terraonion is promising 100% compatibility with all Saturn and Dreamcast software and is also claiming that seek times will be reduced to zero as there's no disc loading required.
Of course, such a device requires you to use disc images, which you can either create yourself from your own game collection or obtain online if you're feeling brave. If you're a serious collector and worry about damaging your expensive games by playing them, this could be the dream ticket.
The Terraonion MODE costs €182.00 / £160 / $197 and is expected to ship in late-June or early-July. Could we see a similar device created for the GameCube? Time will tell.
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Wed 22nd April, 2020.
isn't this roughly the same as that dreamcast disk drive replacement that takes sd cards thats been around for years
edit: GDemu, thats the spice
Can't wait to use this on my Nintendo console.
The only games that i have a little interest from SEGA Saturn and Dreamcast are just only two.
1. X-Men vs Street Fighter (SEGA Saturn) (keep the Tag play based on Arcade while the PS1 version doesn't have Tag play)
2. Rent a Hero (Dreamcast)
I don't care with other SEGA games both 1st or 3rd party games as i am not a fan of SEGA.
An ODE for the GameCube already exists. The GC Loader by Dan Kunz. He’s made a modded version AND a plug n’ play version.
Ahh Saturn...I think my brother and I were the only kids in our town to shell out our life savings at the time (400 US) to get one at launch. I'd love to dig it up and play Shining Force 3...And the JP sequels that never made it to US...
@somebread Yes - but the big issue is those GDEmu is ridiculously hard to get your hands on, especially if you don't live in the same time zone, since he doesn't have a wait list/pre-orders. There are knockoffs available, but the genuine GDEmu is still very hard to come by. I'm tempted by this for that reason, but the price is just too much for me.
@somebread yeah it's the same principle but with this you can fit it with a hard drive for much cheaper and reliable storage
@roadrunner343 its significantly cheaper than the cost of the games would be. For this reason alone it's a definite purchase from me, I'll still be increasing my collection but this will give me access to games that I otherwise wouldn't be able to afford
Before some idiot complains "WhY iS ThIS oN nINtEnDo LiFe??!!", Damien wrote "GameCube" in the final sentence.
@carlos82 Not saying it is a bad purchase by any means. I own their AES and PC Engine carts. The Neo SD AES is ridiculously expensive, but as you said, it gave me access to a previously inaccessibly library of games. I own a GDEmu for my Dreamcast, so this would just be for a Sega Saturn (Which I don't actually own yet) - so it would be a pretty big investment for me. I am still considering it, but now isn't really a good time for me to be dropping $300-$400 on a whim. Based on your avatar, maybe you're the one to convince me to finally get into the Saturn's library =P
Man, now I wish I had a Dreamcast
Glad to know this exists
@Anti-Matter You should definitly try Marvel VS Street Fighter on japanese Saturn. I love XVSF but this sequel is superior in every level.
Marvel vs Street Fighter also on PS1.
@Anti-Matter Yeah, but it's a flawed adaptation. You can't really switch characters during a battle.
The Sega Saturn version is a perfect arcade port with the full tag battle system and almost zero loading screens.
This game, XVSF and Vampire Savior are the three reasons I bought a japanese Saturn back in the 90's, even if I already had a Playstation 1
I need this my Dreamcast drive has got a little noisy over the past few years plus I have quite a few games that I would love to continue to play hopefully this will future proof my dc just I’m not great with soldering irons
I would had been all over this if it didn't required the need to open up the consoles. Either way all the games would still look ugly unless play on a modded consoles so yeah I'll just stick to playing my games on actual emulators for now.
I will pay for this.
@Gs69 It's probably not your CD drive making that grinding sound, it's usually the original fan that comes in the system that makes that sound.
@Yorumi Thank you for the tip 😁
Though, since I never owned anything for DC, I guess I'd have to go after all the games that interest me. Truth be said, I'm not much for collecting old games besides keeping all the ones I got along the years
That, and where I live tends to be terrible for shipping and pricing this kind of hobby.
But I really appreciate it, knowing it could cost $50 actually set some hopes of "what if..." 😉
From what I know, the Saturn seems to be one of the most difficult consoles to emulate so good news for its fans.
@Emob I know what you mean I have changed the fan for a quieter version but I have 2 usable DC and a couple more for parts my noisy one is a UK launch console which has had its fair share of use I try not to use it often but I feel something like this would save it
I just wish someone would come out with an ACTUAL disc drive replacement that accepts discs for Dreamcast. I'm a little scared that the disc drives in Dreamcasts will all be dead in like ten years.
@HammerKirby I'm with you there. I have a large collection of DC games that I'd love to be able to play again. A solution like this would be great, but I don't have the means currently to back up my gd-roms, and I am leery of rom sites.
The limitation on Dreamcast is that, as I understand, it is not so easy to make ISOs from one's own genuine discs. (the most I have heard requires PSO and the expensive BB modem, as well I'd imagine needing to turn down or off WiFi security?)
(I have safely backed up the handful of Saturn games I own, though.)
@roadrunner343 well it has quite a few gems that were exclusive to the console, more so in Japan which had a lot of games. Games like Radiant Silvergun which is regarded as one of the best shmups ever made, or Shining Force 3 which has 3 parts in Japan with English translations being done, then by far the best ports of Capcoms fighting games. Even a cool Resident Evil clone in Deep Fear by Sega themselves or the likes of Enemy Zero, or how about Dark Savior, an RPG that branches off into several different stories depending upon how long you take to finish the opening area.
Even just buying the likes of Deep Fear, Panzer Dragoon Saga, Shining Force 3 (English versions) and Radiant Silvergun will set you back £1000+ depending upon condition.
Overall I'd say it has the best shmup library of any console, one of the best 2D and 3D fighter libraries and whole lot of other quite unique games
Pick up a cheap gdemu clone from AliExpress etc for Dreamcast and get this for Saturn, price is worth it to play the amazing shmup selection that never made it outside of Japan, some of those titles are so expensive now
Slow news day?
@DinnerAndWine That's a piss-poor excuse, but what should I expect from someone who thinks a woman can't run a gaming company?
This is exactly what I've been waiting for, especially for Saturn. Looks relatively easy to install, too.
@DrDaisy @DinnerAndWine Plenty of people replying to this post don't seem to mind us covering stuff about Sega (not to mention the thousands who have viewed the piece as well), but you're perfectly welcome to not click and reply on posts like this - perhaps use the precious time you saved to do something productive? There's a little ProTip for free!
Did you already get an email from Terraonion saying you would be getting a free review unit, or did you write this in advance in hopes they will see it and then send you one?
Guess I'm more worried about the GameCubes eventually packing up now. Went to play Kirby: Nightmare In Dream Land today and realised the cartridge no longer holds my save data.
Maybe this is a good time to start playing my old GameCube games since Nintendo are yet to release them in digital format.
I’ve got the USB-GDROM ODE, and it’s definitely worth getting an ODE for your Dreamcast. I really want to get a replacement PSU next as when you remove the GDROM drive for an ODE the PSU gets extremely hot.
@wazlon unscrew and replace the battery 👌
@DinnerAndWine Guilty as charged. I sure hope you don't find out that Nintendo and other third party publishers send us free games and hardware to cover on the site, too - can you imagine the scandal? Guffaw!
I want a Saturn HDMI Mini with 30 games.
The good games are too damn expensive.
Then shouldn't the website editor remind the writer to mention in the article that it is an advertisement? 🤔
@DinnerAndWine Gosh, you're right - we'd better retrospectively add that very text to every single game and hardware review we've done over the past decade, given that we've been given free copies of games and consoles to review as part of our job.
You're really good at this!
Argh don’t they know I’m broke right now? Yep gotta save for this.
@Yorumi I think the disc issue is mainly only with DC and Early CD games, right? I mean I've never heard anyone having the issue with Gamecube era games or even Ps1 games really
Awesome to know about something like this. I need it now.
@Gs69 it mentions that there is no soldering required. Just switch the ribbon cable and a connector. It's totally plug and play.
Well at least those other reviews are actually about Nintendo products 🤷🏿♂️
@DinnerAndWine You're quite welcome to ignore stuff like this if you don't think it's relevant to your own personal interests; as I said, many other people are perfectly fine (appreciative, in fact) with us covering a broader spectrum of things in NL (especially as Nintendo and Sega have a particularly close history going back decades, both as rivals and publishing partners).
But hey, if you've got the time to waste posting comments on news articles you don't want to read, more power to you! Gotta make that lockdown work, right?
@X68000 oh lol I kinda skimmed though the article that’s great news I really do need to get hold of this
@Damo Careful Damo, we're looking at a potential new Watergate here 😉
@scully1888 The scandal that shocked the world!
Yikes, why so defensive? I seem to have struck a nerve! 😞
My apologies, and I look forward to your next article, likely pertaining to identity politics in a video game, and featuring quotes from a random Twitter user.
@DinnerAndWine Yes, we cover those things on this site – as well as many, many other topics. You clearly can't mind that much as you keep coming back to read them...?
@DinnerAndWine you do realise pretty much all places that do reviews of games, hardware and other things like that don't actually pay for the products they feature and get them sent to them by the publishers and hardware manufacturers so they get exposure with no obligation to give it a good review? This has been standard practice since video games magazines of the 80s until now so it isn't a new concept.
@liveswired Thanks, I do have a tri screwdriver but not a soldering iron yet. There are videos showing how you can change the battery without one but not too sure about that technique so might get a soldering iron and do it properly.
My Dreamcast finally died last year (repaired it thrice over the years but the fourth failed) but I still have the games. My GameCube is still going strong and I use a GCHD adapter when I want to play it on big screen multiplayer etc. Burnout 2 alone puts alot of modern games to shame, 10 second loading times and blisteringly fast, I'm on the second lap by the time an Xbox X or Switch game has loaded.
I could see this being somewhat useful for Sega Saturn as they get more rare, but you still need an old school tv for it not to look like crap coming out all analog. Apparently a good converter like framemeister will cost around 450 bucks.
@roadrunner343 Well, 'knockoff' is a bit harsh considering it's the same board, the only thing is you can't update the firmware, but considering all games ever released (and even those that were never released) work perfectly, there's no need to do so anyway.
Personally I'm glad to see the Saturn will now have an easily available ODE, although the price is quite steep (but then it does technically work with two systems, and it's cheaper than their MegaSD). Hats off to TerraOnion!
@nintendoknife It's not harsh, the fact that is uses the same board is what makes it a knockoff. If anything, it's not harsh enough. The Chinese companies blatantly stole the GDEmu design, which is a small one man project, and are selling it as their own. I'm not judging anyone that buys the knockoff, since the real ones are so hard to come by, but there's no denying that they stole his IP and repackaged it as their own product.
@roadrunner343 'Knockoff' strongly conveys that it's of lesser quality, though, that's all I was really trying to say. It's honestly the guy's own fault for making it ridiculously difficult to buy his creation, and being extremely rude to people who asked him to please stop doing the limited time limited edition ordering. People kept telling the guy "we love what you've created and we'd really like to buy it", and he kept telling them to go to hell. If he'd just said "yeah sure, you can order whenever you want", there wouldn't really have been a market for the clones. Well, I suppose they're a bit cheaper as well, but I do think the majority of people, especially the kinds of people interested in getting their retro consoles back up to snuff, would prefer to buy one at a slightly higher price from the creator, than buy a somewhat cheaper clone that doesn't put any money into the creator's pockets and doesn't fund any possible future creations. Oh well.
@nintendoknife Oh, he's certainly not faultless =) I gave up on ever buying another GDEmu solely because of his terrible attitude and refusal to do any sort of pre-order/back-order/waiting list like any number of other small projects I have supported have done, because that simply "Doesn't work" and we "Don't actually know what you're asking for"... so yeah, his condescension gets old quick.
Still, regarding knockoff - I see where you are coming from now. I would still call it a knockoff, just a high quality knockoff. Knockoffs have a bad reputation because they typically are terrible, but personally, I don't think something has to be bad to consider it a "knockoff". Either way, I think we're on the same page now.
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