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Have cart? Will play physical Sega CD games without add-on

SegaCD

The Sega CD has always been an interesting Sega Genesis add-on. First introduced in North America in 1992, it quickly became a curiosity to many as it was the first major add-on for the Genesis. The unit upped the quality of the 16-bit Sega Genesis by offering CD audio, enhanced graphics (in the form of improved scaling and rotation) and bigger games thanks to the format.

However, the add-on was also out of reach for many as it carried a $299 price point and required a Sega Genesis. Even today, functioning Sega CD hardware can be hard to come by, and expensive. But thanks to flash carts like Krikzz’s Mega EverDrive Pro and Terraonion’s MegaSD, it has never been a more interesting time for the Sega CD/Mega CD.

Both carts use FPGA technology to replicate the Sega CD and its optical drive thus negating the need for original hardware. Once you have the cart, all you’ll need is a Sega Genesis (or compatible hardware such as the Analogue Mega SG) and disk images of your favourite Sega CD titles.

And for video game collectors, these carts can be the gateway to buying and playing Sega CD titles without actually owning Sega CD hardware. Of course, you’ll need a way to extract the data from those original CDs to get them in a format that is accessible to the flash cart. Since both carts support the BIN/CUE format, I will be outlining how I’ve created my images using the format for my Mega EverDrive Pro.

To create images of my Sega CD titles, I use Alcohol 52% by Alcohol Soft. At its core, Alcohol 52% is CD and DVD emulation software that allows you to create disc images that can be mounted on virtual drives on a Windows-based machine. The software was created to allow users to rip a disc image and mount it in a virtual drive so it can be used without the need for a physical optical drive.

One of the interesting things about Alcohol 52% is that it includes various presets in its “Image-making wizard” to ensure more accurate media rips. The software features a preset for the Mega CD (also known as the Sega CD), Neo Geo CD, PC Engine CD, PlayStation and Saturn, among others. All you need to do to get an extracted image is choose the datatype that is in your optical drive, select the location where you would like your image to appear in and voila, one step closer to using your disc image in your flash cart of choice.

On my computer setup, a 2018 MacBook Air running Windows 10 with a Samsung SH-B083L optical drive, it took approximately 120 seconds to generate a 523 MB image of the “Puggsy” for the Sega CD (with all 22 tracks from the original disc). Then grab both the BIN and CUE files from PC and move them to an SD card for flash cart use.

Alcohol 52% is shareware and can be downloaded from www.alcohol-soft.com. You can purchase a lifetime license for $27 USD or download a free ad-supported version from their site.

Here are a few affordable Sega CD titles that are worth owning and experiencing:
• Sonic CD
• Final Fight CD
• Mortal Kombat
• Road Rash
• Sega Classics Arcade 5-in-1
• Sol-Feace
• Silpheed

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