FPGA reproduction consoles are awesome. I doubt anyone would argue that fact (although, this is the internet) and certainly blow crappy emulation systems out of the water (like anything that involves a NOAC – Nintendo on a Chip). While most of that crap is Nintendo based, at least FPGA alternatives are readily available. Sega fans, on the other hand, aren’t so fortunate. With the exception of Analogues Mega Sg, the FPGA space for the big S is a bit sparse.
Speaking of the Mega Sg, while it was compatible with the original Mega/Sega CD hardware, it was incapable of playing its games natively. Spain based firm, Terraonion is changing that with the announcement of what it calls the MegaSD. In the shape of a Virtua Racing cartridge, this grand piece of hardware will allow gamers to play Sega CD ROM’s and ISO files from an SD card – but by utilising FPGA technology.
This will play on any old Mega Drive or Genesis (as well as the Nomad, for the five people that own one of those) but as a nice bonus, it is specifically stated that this is compatible with the Mega Sg. That’s FPGA on FPGA action with HDMI output. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.
The MegaSD includes a friendly interface that shows screenshots and information of the games, as well as a built-in cheat system. Sweeter yet, playing backups if your Sega CD collection isn’t all it can do. Mega Drive/Genesis and even Master System ROM’s are also supported on an SD card up to 400GB in capacity. This is all housed in translucent plastic, because there was nothing cooler in the time of the Sega CD than plastic you could see through.
There is a glaring elephant in the room, however (yes, it’s staring right at you) and that is the price. Yes, okay. Prepare yourselves. The MegaSD will retail for €232, which is roughly $260 freedom dollars. For that price, it’s argued you may well be better off buying a real Mega CD and playing burnt backup copies of your games. The hardware doesn’t include built-in measures to stop you, after all. But having said that, I am glad this exists in a new, FPGA form. The original hardware in the Sega CD isn’t going to last forever.
This isn’t Terraonions first rodeo. Previous products of theirs include the Super SD System 3, a flashcart for the PC Engine with RGB output, and several other flashcarts for the Neo Geo. If you think this is cool (which you should) but are rich enough (which you may not be) the MegaSD can be ordered through Terraonions website. It starts shipping in the first week of August.