Original SEGA Megadrive

Ripping the poor guts from an original release SEGA MegaDrive and replacing it with a Raspberry Pi.

Growing up, the MegaDrive was one of my earliest gaming consoles. It wasn’t the first, I had an Amiga 600 when I was little but most of my childhood gaming memories came from Sega. Kid Chameleon, Road Rash and Streets of Rage were staples in our house and games I still love to this day. Thanks to the hoarders of eBay, I managed to pick up a broken MegaDrive for a few pounds, it didn’t work but it was the Mark I, the version I had as a child.

The first thing I did was rip out the non functional innards and prepared a Raspberry Pi 2 B, loaded with the wonderful setup of RetroPie. RetroPie is a system image that can be loaded onto a raspberry pi and features a suite of old console emulators and an interface which is clean, elegant and easy to navigate using a gamepad. With the image loaded, I added a usb thumb drive full of ROMs I used to love (note: downloading ROMs is meant as a backup or alternative method for playing retro games you already legally own). I also acquired a small chip from Mausberry Circuits which acts as a power switch for the raspberry pi, triggering a proper shutdown and only cutting the power to the pi after the shutdown has completed.

The pi was installed using small 3mm bolts through the bottom of the case and USB extension cables ran two USB ports to the front, replacing the controller ports. I mounted a switch to the original power switch casing of the Mega Drive using what I had to hand (assorted small bolts and perfboard). And once again, it lives! Not only does it live, It remains connected to my TV using HDMI, already loaded with a suite of games from a number of retro consoles without the need to even change cartridges. In fact, on a small USB drive I’m fairly sure you could load it with every 8 and 16 bit game there was. I also picked up a fightpad made by MadCatz which I recommend for any retro gaming setup. It’s technically a PS4 controller, giving you an extra home button you can map to something useful like exiting a game to the menu, but the shoulder buttons are moved to the face of the pad giving a layout similar to the old 6 button megadrive controllers but with a modern, sturdy feel and high build quality.