Polymega GameSack 2024 Review

Six years after opening initial pre-orders, Polymega’s are now in-stock and ready to ship.  With the same processor and RAM that it was announced with in 2018 ;/  Joe from GameSack just posted a full review of the unit, including the Genesis, SNES, N64 and PCE cartridge modules and controllers.  While the console performed okay, it really hadn’t felt like much changed since Modern Vintage Gamer’s “beta” review, almost four years ago to the day – There’s still many little bugs and there’s at least one feature that should be off by default, but is inexplicably on…and turning it off never persists, even before a reboot.

Also, the lag is still noticeable – I personally spent hours testing the Polymega a few years ago and submitted my results to the company.  They sent a few more beta firmwares to try, each with slightly worse lag then when they started.  While Joe didn’t perform any LED-button-press tests like I often do, he did test audio delay and found 4-7 frames of audio lag.

While it might seem like I’m nitpicking, please remember the base model alone now sells for $550 and ordering with all the modules Joe tested will cost EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS…plus tax and shipping.  This is the same console that started at $250 when it was announced.  I get inflation raised everyone’s prices, but it’s more than DOUBLED the cost.

UPDATE 04/04:  In this original post, I mistakenly thought you can’t run MSU-1 SNES enhancements, but I was wrong!  In fact, this is one of the only really cool things I can say about the Polymega…check it out: When you insert your original cartridge, it dumps the ROM to the console.  If you have a subdirectory on your USB stick or SD card with an MSU-1 patch, you can enable it.  Here’s from their FAQ:  

Extract your MSU1 pack files into the “patch” directory under their own subdirectory on your USB stick or SD card. You should see a filename with .msu and other files if it’s extracted correctly. (e.g. patch/MyGame/mygame.msu)

Now here’s the important part, you will also see a patch file, usually with a filename extension of “ips”, “bps”, etc. This patch file must have the same matching base filename as the .msu file (e.g. mygame.msu and mygame.ips). PCM files should also be in the same directory and using filenames that match the msu. (e.g. mygame.msu, mygame-1.pcm, mygame-2.pcm, etc.)

Overall, I tried very hard to support this product;  At its original price of $250, I thought it was a neat and easy way for fans of original disc media to play their games on modern displays.  I even interviewed the CEO and tried to stay in touch through delays.  That said, after price hikes, no hardware upgrades, the same “beta feel performance”, cancelled orders, and then trying to re-launch it as an app (did that ever release???), I think it’s just sad.  I’m also confused as to who this is for?  A FULLY LOADED MiSTer kit is cheaper and performs better in absolutely every way.  Is using original media really worth a price hike and massive performance cut???

I love physical media.  But I’d always suggest a MiSTer over this:

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