Terraonion launches optical disc emulator for Sega Saturn and Dreamcast


Image: Nintendo’s Life

We all live knowing that eventually everything falls apart, but in the case of consoles based on optical media, the problem is quite serious. Optical drives are prone to all kinds of problems – especially when they are over 20 years old – and as a result, many CD-based systems will develop difficulties that can make them completely unnecessary.

This is where the guys from Terraonion come in. The company has already fixed this problem on PC Engine and Mega Drive / Genesis, but their next project is on a whole new level – it’s an optical disc emulator that effectively replaces the disc drive inside your Sega Saturn or Dreamcast, giving your machine a whole new life.

The MODE Terraonion (Multi Optical Disc Emulator) works on both consoles and is compatible with hard drives, USB sticks and MicroSD cards. It has an automatic regional patch so you can play games from any region no matter what console you have, and it automatically detects which system it was installed on. No soldering is required, but you will naturally need to be confident enough to remove the optical drive from your console and connect the MODE to the motherboard.

Through the use of an FPGA chip, Terraonion promises 100% compatibility with all Saturn and Dreamcast software and also claims that search times will be reduced to zero as no disk loading is required.

Of course, such a device requires you to use disk images, which you can either create yourself from your own game collection, or get online if you’re feeling brave. If you’re a serious collector and worried about damaging your expensive games while playing them, this could be the dream ticket.

The Terraonion MODE costs € 182.00 / £ 160 / $ 197 and should ship in late June or early July. Could we see a similar device created for the GameCube? Time will tell us.


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