28 years later, a no-disc version of the Sega CD finally exists—and it works

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It’s a great time to play old video games on modern TVs. Fan-favorite companies are taking emulation seriously with products like the NES Classic and the upcoming Sega Genesis Mini, while enthusiasts are filling in the gaps to either upgrade original consoles’ connectors or rebuild them as “hardware-emulated” FPGA systems.

This week, however, we saw arguably the first big product to fill in one major underserved niche: the early ’90s CD add-on adapter. Specifically, the Sega CD has received new life in the form of the MegaSD. This combination flash drive and FPGA board plugs into original Genesis and Mega Drive consoles (and the newer Analogue Mega Sg). It replicates the original Sega CD’s functions without requiring a laser-driven disc drive while also remaining compatible with that add-on’s peculiar system-communication style.

I was originally hesitant to write up the MegaSD’s announcement—especially since it comes from relatively unknown flash card manufacturer TerraOnion as opposed to Sega, and it costs a whopping €232 (roughly $261 USD). But my tune changed upon seeing its first hands-on review from YouTube channel RetroRGB (embedded at the end of this article). In short: It appears to work exactly as advertised, complete with reduced CD-based loading times, identical gameplay, nearly identical CD-based audio, and some other nice-to-have features.

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