Polymega, a retro game console for the CD-ROM generation

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/05/29/polymega-a-retro-game-console.html

The $299 base unit is probably what is the most interesting anyway. There are plenty of retro systems, of varying quality, that let you play your old cartridge games on a modern TV but as far as I can tell this is the first one that lets you play disc based games. Definitely the first one for the Saturn which had a notoriously complicated architecture. I’m half tempted to pre-order one but I think I’ll see if they ship and how they review before making a commitment.

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I need a tl:dr version here. So will this thing only play PC cd rom games? or is it concoles? Which consoles?

Maybe it is answered in the link out to their site, but that is blocked for me. So if anyone has some additional info it would be appreciated. I would love to find something that can play my older PS1, PS2, and 3DO cds.


Looks like Playstation, Saturn, Sega CD, TG-CD, and Neo Geo CD - plus Genesis/32X, NES, SNES, and TG16. (I imagine including a standard Neo Geo cartridge slot would make the unit too bulky, and those carts aren’t easy to come by anyway.)

Odd that they wouldn’t throw 3DO in there as well, but I doubt there’s much demand. And I reckon PC support would be an adventure – but with open-source solutions like BoxedWine available, I wouldn’t say it’s impossible in the future.


I’m interested, however it’s a shame it looks so basic. When I saw it, I was reminded of an old cartridge storage case I had in the early 80s.

In the video on their site it said it can be preordered for $249, but on the order page it’s $299.99.

Polymega’s first early bird pre-order round was priced at $249. The second pre-order round will have an increased price but still be discounted from the final retail price.

There’s a “Deluxe” bundle for $499.99 (marked down from $539.95) that includes the modules, and a single wireless controller.

Finally there’s an “Ultimate” bundle for $649.99 (marked down from $684.99) that has all of the modules, two wireless controllers, and four different wired controllers.

The four different modules currently available are $59.99 each.

The Polymega™ Base Unit includes the system hardware, an on-board optical disc drive compatible with 15 different CD-based retro game systems, a wireless controller, as well as over a dozen pre-loaded games. In order to play cartridge games, you will want to select one or more Element Module Sets. Each Element Module Set features compatibility with a designated classic game console, and also includes 5 games pre-loaded on the module which will show up as a home screen playlist once inserted.

This could be pretty cool, but I’m with @agies. I’ll wait and see how it plays out after the first round of preorders go out. If it turns out to be as good as they say, then I’ll consider getting it.

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I mean I’m leaning towards yes. Jeremy Parish, of Retronauts fame, seemed to be fairly impressed with the hands-on time he got earlier this year.

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The only issue with this box is the fact it doesn’t seem to be using an FPGA for each console type. Software emulation has a notorious issue with timing on much older console titles such as the SNES and NES. Many games of that time leveraged bugs within the chipsets to get their resulting behavior (been watching a video about an SNES FPGA emulator recently). So it might work for more modern consoles such as your PS2 and the like but I really doubt you can take something from Saturn and N64 days and expect it to work properly.

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What no Pippin?

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As I recall, 3DO is REALLY hard to emulate.

I’m more like, what, no Atari?

Atari has a similar (s)campaign going on. Both projects have been full of zigs and zags and lots of not-entirely-true statements, and I would hate for Rob and BB to appear to be endorsing stuff without seeing it first. There’s a strong smell of vaporware surrounding this.

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