Sega Dreamcast
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

Optical Drive Emulators are a vital part of retro gaming these days. The CD drive on your old console has more moving parts than your basic cartridge slot, and therefore is likely to be the first thing that fails on your system. Twin this with issues such as 'disc rot' and the rising cost of old games on the secondary market, and it's little wonder that so many people are turning to ODEs for their retro fix.

The issue is that ODEs are expensive and are usually exclusive to a single platform (with the exception of MODE, which can be fitted inside Saturn, Dreamcast and PlayStation). Thankfully, Fixel has just announced a one-stop solution which aims to be the most compatible ODE on the market (thanks, Retro RGB).

Phøde currently supports the following consoles:

  • Philips CD-i consoles (with solder on board)
  • Sega Dreamcast (VA0, VA1 and VA2)
  • Sega Saturn (20 and 21 pin variants)
  • PlayStation (PU7, PU8 (2 variants) and PU18 (with more variants later))
  • Sega CD 1, CD2, XEye, CDX console variants

But that's not all; in June, Fixel has announced that three additonal systems will be added – mystery "mechanism", "feline" and "friend". We're guessing the feline is the Jaguar CD, but let us know your best guesses for the other two. Phøde will cost $250 and will ship in October.

Phøde wasn't the only thing to get announced, however; Fixel is also making an ODE for NEC's PC-FX system. The internal ODE will cost $300 and is designed to replace the internal drive, while another variant – costing $315 – will work alongside the original optical drive. Both are expected to ship in late September.