FAQ: Can You Play Genesis ROMs on a Sega CD?

This question has been asked all over the Net during the last decade or so. I just encountered this topic again today and thought I would address it here.

No, there is not a way to play Genesis/Megadrive ROMs on the Sega CD. The system does not have a way to nativly play them. It also does not have the horsepower to emulate itself.

The closest thing to this was an attempt to convert Neo-Geo ROMs to Neo-Geo CD format. The project produced a couple successful conversions, but it seems to have been killed off.

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Anonymous says:

Absolutely correct!

You know these flash cartridges for Mega Drive and 32X? If it could be done to flash them with a ROM from a Mega CD application….

keifling says:

best idea is to softmod an xbox put the emulator on there, torrent all the megadrive roms and there u have it!
every single game there was and u dont even have to open the box.

Anonymous says:

You can get a megacart from tototek.com that allows you to flash from a CD onto the cart then play.

Jaime says:

so basically…..you just cant copy the files of a rom (lets say, sonic the hedgehog) to a CD? and be able to run it on the real SEGA CD hardware?

racketboy says:

That’s correct — you cannot do that…

Student of the Doctor says:

If this isn’t possible yet, it should be be. How else did Sega make the 4 in 1 and 5 in 1 discs that came with the original Sega CD and CDX respectively? If someone had access to the original source code for those titles, they could reverse engineer a loading program for other Roms. I’m betting size would be a factor however, depends on the ram and other factors. But in my mind Sega’s own publication of those discs shows it is possible to run carts of a CD.

Time travel, and objects moving at greater than speed of light are also possible. They just hadn’t been done by humans yet.

racketboy says:

I don’t think those were emulators — they were most likely straight Genesis-to-Sega CD ports. No software to interpret the game.

Nebula2008 says:

so could we create a converter program to convert the genesis roms to sega cd format just take a look at sonic 1 megamix a sonic 1 hack it started of as a megadrive game then ported to sega cd

Zeograd says:

we managed to did this for the pc engine. Thanks to the internal ram provided by the cd system, we could load a patched rom in it to run it (it is patched because it is executed from bank 0x68 and not bank 0x00 occupied by the cd system itself). It can only run games of 1 mbits maximum and only when we managed to patch it correctly (which is not an easy task).
You can see the project there : http://www.zeograd.com/super_hucard_download.php


Rick says:

Speaking of Sonic 1 Megamix, I just downloaded the new ISO of the completed project and burned it to cd. It works perfectly fine on a real Sega CD. Team Megamix must know how to do it if they just did with their project.

Pfargtl says:

Once I get my hands on a Model 2, I’ll buy Sonic CD and burn Sonic 1 Megamix to a CD-R.

Rich says:

I actually stumbled on this after playing Sonic 1 Megamix and searching for anything on converting genesis roms to Sega CD in some way… the obvious and HUGE deal would be that the Sega CD had no copy protection, so you could play any Genesis roms on the REAL system! There HAS to be a way to do this!

Ben Hartland says:

It can be done, but its not a simple conversion. Sonic 1 megamix was ported by rewriting a lot of the assembly and using Sonic CD assembly as a comparison. Other games won’t be as straight forward. But still, you guys are all right, it should have been done by now. In terms of hardware, it still utilises the original processor, does it not? It could be as simple as writing a boot loader that allows you to select a ROM from the CD, and pushing it into the Genesis processor. I could be completely wrong though, I don’t know if it uses that processor at all, but I think it does, otherwise why have it as an add-on?

Rymel says:

@Ben Hartland only partially correct imho. you’d still need a flashcart loaded into the main deck, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t work. though…why even bother going through all that trouble if at this stage of console hacking you could just build a flashcart that can load a 32gb SDHC card and run faster than a cd? or two or more, considering their size in relation to a genesis cart. let’s not forget the little issue of GAMESAVES. personally given all the trouble that’d take i’d just run it off an xbox or wii emulator, and work on making one of these bad boys work on the given system.

Zach says:

I was just thinking, you know those memory cartridges Sega used to make? Why not make a simple program that extracts the ROM file from the CD and puts it on that? The memory cartridge was basically just a RAM cartridge with a battery, so wouldn’t it be able to work as if it’s a cartridge?

Ayce says:

I think it is possible. Someone made a hack of a Sonic game called Sonic Megamix and ported it to Sega CD when it was originally a hack of a MD game. He did a good job of hiding his work because when you view the CD there is nothing but a txt file showing. I’ve been trying to figure out how he is hiding the files but I don’t think I will ever figure it out.

Adrian060756 says:

There is a way to play Mega Drive/Genesis rom hacks on the SEGA Mega CD, many people have sucessfully downloaded and burned a game called Sonic Megamix onto a simple blank CD-R disc and have played it on the real hardware without any problems.

I myself have tried burning this particular game onto a CD-R from the Sonic Retro site many times but I cannot get past the SEGA Mega CD bio screen. I cannot figure out why it doesn’t work? And yet others can burn it straight away and have no trouble playing it in their SEGA CD’s.

What am I doing wrong because it’s not working?

George says:

Dear Adrian060756,

Try burning the Sonic Megamix cd at a speed at about 4x. 🙂

SpooNMan says:

The only reason Sonic MegaMix works via the Sega-CD is because they reworked it all to do so! If you guys have the source code to standard Sega genesis/MD games have at it! 😛

Also, the 4in1 and 5in1 Sega-CDs (Sega Classics) Are not straight up roms running from the CD. Just look at Golden Axe. They had to stream the music from the CD since they couldn’t fit it all into the Sega-CD’s very limited RAM.

It still may be possible to run a select few games if they were properly converted. They would have to be extremely small in size though since you only have 512KB of system memory to work with. With the overhead you may be able to run some of the 256KB roms. Who knows…

Hans says:

So I can burn a mega-CD game and that will work fine, but I can’t download a mega-CD game to play on a mega-CD? I either have to own an original copy of a mega-CD game or get my hands on a burned copy if I want to play on the mega-CD itself (not an emulator)?

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