This page is intended as a beginner's guide to getting Mega-CD games running on your PC.  For in-depth help please see the docs included with your emulator or visit its website.


Why Emulate?

Emulating the Mega-CD (or any other console) on your PC is a great way to save space if you only play games for that machine occasionally, as you don't need to hook everything up and find space for another 2 or 3 power adapters.  One major benefit to emulating the Mega-CD is that space for saved games is only limited by the size of your hard drive, rather than having to delete saves to make new ones on the machine or hunt down an expansion cartridge.  However, if you play regularly, there's no substitute for gaming on the real machine.
Can I Play All Mega-CD Games on My PC?
Thanks to the very talented programmers out there, there are very few problems with the emulation of 16-bit or earlier systems, though there may be some games that don't run correctly, or at all.  I have not come across any PAL Mega-CD game that won't run on at least one of the emulators below.  All the screenshots on this site are taken using one or the other of them.
Do They Have to be PAL Games?
Nope, you can run American and Japanese (both NTSC) games on emulators too, as long as you have the relevant BIOS.  This is a much more reliable way of playing imports than using an adapter such as the Pro CDX Cartridge.
Basic Input Output System - in our case, the small program built into the Mega-CD that displays the splash screen and controls the music player and memory functions for save games.  The BIOS also implements the region lockout code, so you'll need the BIOS for every region that you want to play games from - a PAL game won't run if you're using a US BIOS.  If you want to play 32X CD games you'll also need the three BIOSes for the 32X (master, slave and GPU) - these are generally found as a set of three rather than individually.
OK, Where Do I Get the BIOS?
Please remember that BIOSes are copyright code in the same way as a game program is.  I have European Mega-CD and 32X consoles, so I consider having the BIOSes on my PC in order to play original games to be fair use.  The PAL Mega-CD Library does not host BIOS files for download - Google is your friend.  You may find more than one BIOS per region as the Mega-CD BIOS was revised for the Mark 2 and MultiMega consoles.  There is no functional difference between them, just cosmetic changes to the splash screen and interface.
Got One, Now What?
Go to one (or both) of the emulator sites below and download the latest version of the emulator.  Unzip the emulator and BIOSes to wherever they're going to live on your PC, then configure the emulator by pointing it at the BIOS files (see the emulator's docs if you can't find this option).  If you unzip the BIOSes into the same folder as the emulator it may find them automatically.  To check this, choose the "Boot Sega-CD" or similar option without a disc in the drive.  After a short pause, you should get the Mega-CD splash screen and you'll know everything's OK.  If not, or if you get an error message saying the emulator can't find the BIOS, check the settings and try again.  Finally, if you have more than one optical drive you'll have to tell the emulator which one you're going to use.
Do I Need to Tell the Emulator Which Region to Use?
If you're only playing games from one region then no, you don't - especially if you've only got the BIOS for that one region.  If you have multiple region BIOSes configured and want to play games from different areas then it's best to set the region manually, or the emulator might try to load a PAL game against an NTSC BIOS and the game won't run.
It's Running! How do I Play it?
The emulators will come with pre-defined keys listed in the ReadMe. Whilst this is probably going to be OK for slower paced games like Shining Force, you might well prefer a joypad for faster titles.  There are several options to do this - a PC pad, a USB adapter (I use a PSOne pad) or hacking a console controller to connect directly to your PC.  Once hooked up, just go to the option to configure the controls within the emulator and press the button on the pad to set each input as instructed.


Gens emulates MegaDrive, Mega-CD and 32X cartridge games with a high degree of success.  Ports are available for many different operating systems, including Linux and BeOS.  There are also 29 language packs available to change the interface.

Gens Can't Find my CD Drive(s)!
Gens requires an ASPI layer to install in order to access your optical drives properly, and if you're running Windows XP then the ASPI layer won't have been installed like it is with Win9x and ME.  Google for and use ForceASPI to install an ASPI layer on your PC and allow Gens to "see" your drives after restarting your machine.  Please be aware that installing ASPI layers may cause conflicts with your existing IDE drivers (e.g. on nForce boards), and you may have to remove these drivers to get Gens to work properly and overcome problems with applications such as CD burning programs.  If this worries you, use an emulator that doesn't require the ASPI layer.
The Game Loads but Crashes at the Sega Screen / I Get a Black Screen after the Sega Screen / The Intro Locks Up
Any sort of hang when the game tries to run a rendered sequence, commonly used for intro movies, or lockups at the Sega screen (the one with Sonic on it) can generally be fixed by enabling the "Perfect Synchro - Slow!" option.  Don't worry about the warning that it's slow - on anything like a modern PC the difference is negligible.
When I Run Gens Full Screen the Desktop Flickers Through the Game Image!
This is another common issue amongst WinXP users, you'll need a Microsoft patch to fix this one - Windows XP Hotfix - KB824141.  I think this fix is also included in the Service Pack updates.


Kega Fusion emulates the GG, SMS, MD, MCD and 32X (including 32X CD games) and does not require an ASPI layer to be installed.  Options are included for emulating the Menacer and the Sega Mouse!

How do I Get the Menacer Working?
Go the the config menu and select the "controllers" tab.  Use the drop-down box to set "Menacer" as the controller type for player 2, then the box next to it to select your mouse as the input device.  The Menacer is set as controller 2 as games generally needed a pad to be in port 1 to navigate option menus etc.  Load the game and once it's running press F12 - this tells the emulator to read your mouse input and use it to control the Menacer.  Once you're done, press F12 again to transfer mouse input back to Windows.
How do I Make it Full Screen?
Kega Fusion has the Escape key bound to switch in and out of full screen rather than the more usual Alt+Enter combination.
How do I Play 32X CD Games?
So long as you've got both the MCD and 32X BIOSes set up properly, Kega Fusion will detect that you're trying to run a 32X CD title and act accordingly - you don't need to tell it that you've put a 32X CD game in.
I'm Trying to Play Fahrenheit and it asks for CD2 - There is no CD 2!
This happens on the real hardware too, so all credit to Kega's authors for getting things spot on - this isn't a bug!  In the US Fahrenheit was distributed as a double pack with the 32X version.  If you insert the standard version CD and it detects that a 32X is plugged in, it halts and asks you to insert the other disc on the basis that as you have a 32X, you'll want to play the prettier version.  Unfortunately this bit of code wasn't removed from the European version, despite the fact that the 32X version was never released.  The fix this problem in Kega, go the the option menu where you set the location of the 32X BIOSes and check the "disable 32X hardware" option - the game will now load and run properly.  If you're using the real hardware, unplug the 32X to get the game to work.
Know of another emulator or a common issue not covered here?  Please get in touch!