Updates from MiSTerland: Sega System 16 with a hint of Saturn

Updates from MiSTerland: Sega System 16 with a hint of Saturn

Let's take a look at some of the most recent updates to the MiSTer FPGA project as the adventure through classic game replication and preservation continues.


Greetings retro gaming travelers! I bring you news from the deep wilderness that is MiSTerland. Today we have some short updates on another classic arcade system being replicated on the MiSTer FPGA and a hint of one of the most desired cores to be teased. If you are unfamiliar with the MiSTer FPGA project, take a gander at some of my previous Cortex posts on the subject.

Sweet System 16

As usual, my MiSTer updates include another core being developed by the prolific Jose 'jotego' Tejada. This time he's tackling the classic Sega arcade board, the System 16. This arcade series was split between 16A and 16B, with some games appearing on both versions of the hardware. Some of the iconic titles found on this system include Altered Beast, Shinobi, Alien Syndrome, and many others. Right now the System 16 core is in beta with 16A mostly finished but 16B still contains some issues.

Personally, I had never seen a single Sega System 16 arcade machine in the wild as a youngster. The earliest Sega games I can remember at my local arcades were all Super Scaler titles like Afterburner or Hang-On. I'm interested in trying these System 16 games since their arcade board was the inspiration behind Sega's breakout 16-bit console, the Genesis/Mega Drive. Many of the System 16 games would be ported to the Genesis in an effort to bring the arcades home but even in the late '80s and early '90s, it was apparent that those ports were lacking to say the least.

A smidgen of Saturn

Perhaps the most exciting update for the MiSTer FPGA project since the public release of the CPS 2 core is this new tease of a Sega Saturn core running a commercial game. Developed by Sergey Dvodnenko, this quick video shows a retail version of Earthworm Jim 2 being loaded onto a very early Sega Saturn core for the MiSTer FPGA. There are visible glitches and horrendous sound reproduction but this short video shows tremendous progress.

Just a few months ago, we were shown this core being able to run simple homebrew on the Saturn's primary Visual Display Processor. Now it's at the point where it's clearly running the Sega Saturn BIOS and loading a commercial game. It must be stressed that this is still early days for this promising core. It is currently in a primitive beta state with no plans for a public release yet. While that news is a little disappointing, the quick progression from running simple API calls to loading an actual game has me excited for the prospect of an actual playable Saturn core by the end of the year.

That's it for this update from MiSTerland. The future of yesterday's games is looking better than ever with projects like these in the works. Stay tuned for more information from the world of classic game replication and preservation.

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