New MegaSD peripheral lets you play SEGA CD games without the CD (for a price)

It seems like there has been no end to what the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive community has been able to accomplish over the last decade. From impressive flash cartridges to wireless controllers, from homebrew software to component cables, to even a brand new FPGA-powered high definition clone console, modern Genesis gamers now have access to tech they could have only dreamed of a decade ago. This latest piece of technology from Terraonion is easily the most impressive thing to come out yet: the MegaSD.

The MegaSD is a cartridge that can plug into any original Genesis console, from a Model 1 to a SEGA Nomad, and give it the ability to play SEGA CD games right off of an SD card. It accomplishes this through built-in FPGA, a form of emulation that utilizes hardware as opposed to software. The cartridge is powered by an ARM Cortex M4 processor. The MegaSD is also compatible with the aforementioned FPGA-powered clone console, the MegaSG.

The MegaSD is capable of playing any SEGA/MEGA CD ISO loaded onto the internal SD card, as well as any SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive and SEGA Master System cartridge ROMs. It is capable of booting instantly thanks to built in RAM. It can also technically play SEGA 32X games, though a 32X add-on is still required.

In addition to all this, the MegaSD has the following features:

  • An interface that allows for navigation of all the games on the SD card
  • 8 Save State slots for Genesis and Mega Drive ROMs
  • A built in cheat engine for Genesis and Mega Drive games
  • The ability to emulate all Genesis/Mega Drive/32X/Master System cartridge mappers
  • All cartridge and CD game saves are stored onto the SD card
  • Master System FM core (for accessing the improved FM-only music in compatible Master System games)
  • Compatibility with all original and region-free patched SEGA/Mega CD bios
  • In-game menu that allows for quick reboots and swapping between games on the SD card

Of course, all of these features come at a price: the MegaSD is currently available on Terraonion’s website for €232. This translates to $261.43 USD/£206.14. The MegaSD is a device primarily designed for power users, though in a world where older CD consoles are breaking down at an increasing rate, it will also help to insure the accessibility of SEGA/MEGA CD games well into the future.

In addition to being able to play your (legal) back ups, the MegaSD will also let you play fan projects, such as Team Megamix’s Sonic Megamix fan hack, which is easily one of the most impressive Sonic fan hacks out there.

The MegaSD is currently slated to launch sometime in August. You can pre-order it here.

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Nuckles87 has been an editor at Sonic Stadium since 2007, and has been covering events like E3, PAX, and SDCC since 2010. An avid retro gamer, he runs a monthly stream on Twitch where he explores obscure Sonic oddities, and how aspects of the franchise have evolved over the decades.