Once upon a time, there was a processor architecture that was everywhere. Consider the ubiquity of ARM in mobile phones and tablets. In the 80’s and 90’s there was a parallel to this. The 68k series from Motorola. This guy was everywhere! In your Amiga or your Atari ST. Your Sega Genesis and your NEO-GEO. Your Mac.
It’s hard to imagine a world where Intel processors are marginalized primarily to desktops and laptops, though it shouldn’t be because that’s sort of the way things are now… What does that have to do with this post?
Mednafen emulates many of those machines, but one machine stood far away from the pack. That machine was the Turbo-Grafx 16.
The TG-16 used the HuC6280, a custom 8-bit processor designed by Hudson Soft. Between the PC-Engine, Turbo-grafx 16, Turbo-Duo and Turbo-Express, there were some really special gems developed. Bonk, Blazing Lazers, Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (Akumajō Dracula X: Chi no Rondo), the first CD-Rom version of John Madden Football, and many others.
What is Mednafen?
From the project’s homepage;
Mednafen is a portable, utilizing OpenGL and SDL, argument(command-line)-driven multi-system emulator with many advanced features. The Atari Lynx, GameBoy (Color), GameBoy Advance, NES, PC Engine(TurboGrafx 16), SuperGrafx, Neo Geo Pocket (Color), PC-FX, and WonderSwan (Color) are emulated. Mednafen has the ability to remap hotkey functions and virtual system inputs to a keyboard, a joystick, or both simultaneously. Save states are supported, as is real-time game rewinding. Screen snapshots may be taken at the press of a button, and are saved in the popular PNGfile format.
Mednafen is distributed under the terms of the GNU GPL.
Due to the threaded model of emulation used in Mednafen, and limitations of SDL, a joystick is preferred over a keyboard to play games, as the joystick will have slightly less latency, although the latency differences may not be perceptible to most people.
Pretty cool huh? Mednafen emulates many, many machines. Configuration is easy and flexible. Whether you’re playing your classics on a laptop, desktop, home theater or CRT-equipped arcade cabinet, you can get Mednafen going amicably.
Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. What we really want to do is play the classic game Castlevania: Rondo Of Blood. Mednafen happily plays TG16 roms without complaint, but CD-ROMs are another story. First let’s get everything installed.
$ sudo apt-get install mednafen
Now, you will need a BIOS. This is where things get tricky if you are trying to go at this solo. Originally, there was a CD-ROM attachment for the PC-Engine, and later the TG16. These all used the System 1.0 HuCard. As time went on and improvements were made, these HuCards become more advanced, and allowed for more complex games. Later games required the latest System HuCard. This was pretty confusing for consumers overall and probably attributed greatly to its floundering status stateside. Never the less, I’ve done the legwork for you and have curated the most compatible HuCard image.
Now, let’s save this guy in a place that makes sense. I keep my files pretty orderly, so I;ve chosen a folder I’ve made just for BIOS files within my Games/Roms/ directory.
After you’ve placed that where you want to keep it, we need to tell Mednafen where to find it at. Let’s open up the config file. I’m using Kate for my text-editor, but if you use Gedit or Nano, just replace Kate with one of the two.
$ kate ~/.mednafen/mednafen.cfg
Find line 2,267 and ad the path to your BIOS. Here is what mine looks like:
Good, we are almost done now. At this point, if you’ve got the CD, you are ready to go! If for some reason you don’t, there may be more work ahead…
If you are playing from a ripped CD, this is NOT what you will be hearing. Instead, you are probably looking at a .bin, a .cue, and quite a few .mp3’s. Mednafen only supports OGG Theora, so if that’s not what you have, here is what you must do.
First, install soundconverter.
$ sudo apt-get install soundconverter
Open it up and drag all of your audio files from the rip on top of it. By default, soundconverter transcodes to OGG so there should be nothing else for you to do here expect for to hit convert.
Once you’ve converted to .ogg, you will need to edit the .cue file to reflect these changes.
Change every instace of .mp3 to .ogg
Change every instance of MP3 to OGG
Save the file and you are ready to rock ‘n roll!
The last step is to load up the .cue in Mednafen. In my case, I do;
$ mednafen ~/Games/Roms/TG16CD/Akumajou\ Dracula\ X\ Chi\ no\ Rondo\ \(J\)/Akumajou\ Dracula\ X\ Chi\ no\ Rondo\ \(J\).cue