A better way to emulate the TurboGrafx-CD

For a while now, I’ve been enjoying some of the rare video games that came out for the TurboGrafx-CD.  It was an add-on that came out for NEC’s TurboGrafx-16 console, and was the first CD-based way to play video games.  I talked about it here, exactly a year ago as luck would have it.  The emulator I had been using to play those games up till now is called Turbo Engine 16.  It had the distinguishing factor for me of being the only damn emulator I had ever tried that allowed me to play any of those CD games at all.

That emulator is far from perfect, however.  I talked about the sound emulation problems in my original post.  About half the games just sound bad in that emulator.  The graphics are also kind of wonky due to being scaled poorly to fullscreen.  Any kind of scrolling has a wavy sort of look to it because things weren’t scaled up evenly.  But it did allow me to at least play the games.

Today I looked into the emulation situation again and decided to try Magic Engine again.  That’s my emulator of choice for the regular HuCard games.  I could never use it for CD games though.  But I found a way.

First, I had to upgrade from version 0.99 to version 1.1.3.  Then I had to download and install Daemon Tools so I could mount the CD images for Magic Engine to see them.  And what a difference.  The music in all the games sounds fantastic, and there are no errors I can hear.  I can also tell right away that many games were not emulated properly or were not working at all with the other emulator.

One reason for a few games not working in Turbo Engine 16 is that support for the “Arcade Card Pro” bios was accidentally broken in the last update the program received, and never fixed.  Magic Engine plays these games flawlessly, it seems.  I did however have to turn off some of those silly “high-res” filters that were on by default in the new version of Magic Engine.  Those are the ones that try to smooth out 8-bit and 16-bit pixel art and just end up making it look like a blurry dull mess.

But once I had everything set up, I’m finally experiencing these games the way they appear on the original hardware.  I can’t get over how great the music is on some of these games, and I wish even more now that I could understand and read Japanese.  Someday there will be a neural implant for that… maybe.

In the meantime, I leave you with an Anime chick dressed up like the Statue of Liberty, holding a TurboGrafx-CD.

IQ Panic TG-CD