The Polymega is a modern console to play “retro games.” The base device plays optical-based software, but you can swap out modules for cartridge based games. The console has modules specifically for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super NES (SNES), Sega Genesis, TurboGrafx-16 / PC Engine and Nintendo 64. For some reason, there is an upcoming Atari attachment. I would rather see an Intellivision attachment. Originally, the console was supposed to be FPGA, but that never happened, and the system is 100% emulation.
Rather than going through the expense of buying one of these systems, and the many attachments, I would rather make my own.
The MISTer FPGA project features multiple cores using hardware based emulation. With our modern technology, it is not a big expense to get a cartridge reader to do that exact same thing that the Polymega was designed to do.
Let me set the stage. You may read the game from its source, but it stored in the RAM. You are not streaming the game directly from the disc or cartridge.
Games on optical media will play with an optical drive connected, but you don’t want to. You want to image the disc first and then read from the image. I explained how to do this in video.
On my YouTube channel, I (currently) have two examples featuring the SEGA Saturn. The two games so far that I have featured are “Die Hard Arcade” and “Virtua Fighter 2”.
I have two primary methods of reading cartridges; the Retrode and USB-NES. These two options are plug and play and treat each cartridge as a “mass storage device,” USB drive. Another option I have uses a much more complex method, so I will omit it here. The Retrode has multiple attachments; for GameBoy (and Color / Advance), Nintendo 64 and Sega Master System. The device natively supports Sega Genesis (Mega Drive) and Super Nintendo (and Famicom). You can even use Sega 32x cartridges on the Retrode, but it requires the 32x unit as a cartridge adapter.
Using Retro-bit’s cartridges proved to be a problem with the USB-NES adapter. It required a modification. Once the device was modified, I was able to read my Retro-Bit MetalStorm and Data East All-Stars Collection:
Given that the MiSTer is a community driven device, it is amazing how well the thing works. The Polymega is a device created for commercial release. The MiSTer is a device that continues to evolve. If you are interested in one, get yourself a DE10 Nano. By the way, those things have really escalated in price. Go to misteraddons.com and get the bundle.