MagicEngine is, hands down, the best TurboGrafx16 out there. it's easy to use and it's very compatible with every type of TurboGrafx16 games (regular carts, arcade carts, Super CD, Super CD2, Arcade CD). However unlike all the other emulators I cover, MagicEngine requires a fee of $29 US, or else you can only play each game for 5 minutes. Knowing how good MagicEngine is I highly recommend that you register for it. My favorite part about Magic Engine is that once it opens it can be operated directly from your gamepad.
*If you would like to download MagicEngine, grab it from www.MagicEngine.com.
Extracting & Placement
I suggest you make a new folder called "TurboGrafx16" or "Turbo Duo" or "PC Engine" within a folder called "Emulation". You don't have to, but it makes things a little easier for you if you're not too computer literate. Extract all the contents of this emulator's zip file into the TurboGrafx16 folder. If you don't know how to extract files from a zip file then read this. Put all of your TurboGrafx16 ROMs into the TurboGrafx16 folder too. MagicEngine has zip support, so you do not have to extract ROMs from their zip files. Double-click on "magicengine" to open it.
Go to the Config > Keyboard. You'll see an image of a keyboard. The keys highlighted in blue are game keys and the keys highlighted in red are emulator features. Hover your mouse over the highlighted keys to see what they're assigned to. Notice that when you hover over a game key, you see the button on the controller get circled, signaling to you which key is which on the real controller.
If you want to reassign any of these keys, simply click on a key and choose what you want it to be from the little menu that pops up. If you accidentally clicked the wrong key, simply press the Esc button to exit out of the little menu.
Before you open MagicEngine you must have your gamepad plugged in. Within MagicEngine, go to the Config > Gamepad. You'll see a nifty image of your gamepad with labels telling you which key is assigned to which. Hover your mouse over the highlighted keys to see what they're assigned to. Notice that when you hover over a label, you see the button on the upper-left controller get circled, signaling to you which key is which on the real controller.
If you want to reassign any of your gamepad buttons, simply click on a button label and choose what you want it to be from the little menu that pops up. If you accidentally clicked the wrong key, simply press the Esc button to exit out of the little menu. Note that you can assign emulator features, such as "Main Menu" and "Screenshots", to spare gamepad buttons.
Loading a game
Click on Load Rom. If you placed
your roms in the same folder as MagicEngine, then they should be there.
If not, click on the "." and ".." to browse among the folders on your
computer to find your roms folder. Simply click on a game to open it.
Note: You don't have to extract TG16 games from their zip files, MagicEngine can run on them.
Booting CD games
1. If you haven't already, the first thing you need to do is download the BIOS files. I have them right here (it's 429 KB). Place the BIOS files in MagicEngine's folder, then open up MagicEngine.
2. Insert your TG16-CD game. When Windows asks you what to do with the CD, just close that window.
3. Go to Boot CD and click on your game. If it's not listed there or doesn't load after clicking, then you either need to install ForceASPI or it's not a valid TG16-CD game.
Booting ISO/MP3 CD games
I need to disappoint you: MagicEngine does not have support for running TurboGrafx16-CD games via ISO files (particularly ISO/MP3 files). And the MagicEngine people intend to never add ISO support because they're "anti-piracy" (which is a rather contradicting notion for emulator authors). You'll have to burn your ISO/MP3 as a valid TG16-CD game in order to play it. Go here for directions.
Save states is a feature that saves the exact spot you are in a game. During gamplay, press Esc to bring up game menu. Click on Save State and pick any of the 8 slots. To recall your saved state, go to Load State. You'll also notice a nifty thumbnail image of your saved game when you highlight the slot.
Capturing screen shots
Press the Backspace key. That's it! ^_^ It'll save in the same directory that Magic Engine is in as a PNG format image file.
Window mode & full screen mode
By default, MagicEngine will open up as a window (Window mode). The sexy box (displayed below) where you can access all the video and display options can be found by going to Config > Video.
• To enter full screen mode:
In this video box, click on WINDOWED and choose 640x480 to enter full screen mode.
• To blow up the screen in full screen mode:
By default, full screen mode will not entirely fill up the whole screen, just most of it. To have MagicEngine fill up the entire screen, in this video box click on FULL.
• To re-enter window mode:
In this video box, click on 640x480 and choose WINDOWED to return back to window mode.
The Video box is where you enable the screen renders; click Config > Video. MagicEngine has three types of screen renders: LINEAR, HI-RES and both LINEAR & HI-RES. In the video box, click on either or both to enable them.
The linear filter is just a simple blur.
The hi-res filter attempts to round pixels together without any blurring or smearing.
• LINEAR & HI-RES:
Clicking on both linear and hi-res enables the power of both filters. To me, linear is too blurry and hi-res is too sharp, but using both of them together renders the perfect screen. However, this filter combo generally only works when you have FULL or WIDE enabled.
Removing FPS, the annoying numbers
During gameplay you'll notice an annoying little box in the upper left displaying the current frame rate. You can remove that by going to Config > Video, then click on the FPS box.
Removing the annoying audio bars
During gameplay you'll notice annoying colored audio bars in the lower right. You can remove that by going to Config > Video, then click on the VU-M box.
Copying TG16-CD games
You may or may not have a hard time copying TG16-CD
games. They're put together in a non-standard way, resulting in many CD-ROM
drives having trouble reading and copying them.
Attempt #1: Beforehand, make sure your computer can play TG16-CD games via Magic Engine. Then try to copy the game(s) with the CD copy of your favorite burning software. Burn at a slow speed (4x-12x). If it doesn't work and/or the copy comes out defective...
Attempt #2: Try to copy them with Nero Burning Rom (if you haven't in attempt #1). Burn at a slow speed (4x-12x). Nero Burning Rom is considered by many to be the best burning software Windows has to offer, and it works for me when copying TG16-CD games. If it doesn't work and/or the copy comes out defective...
Attempt #3: In this case, use Nightwolve's TurboRip. It's a command line driven program. Nightwolve is renowned for his excellent utilities and translations for the Turbo Duo. If his TurboRip can't rip your game, nothing can.
Burning TG16-CD games from ISO/MP3 archives
If an ISO/MP3 archive you downloaded comes with a CUE file, then you have the option of burning the game as a valid TG16-CD game for play with MagicEngine or the actual Turbo Duo system. Note that the Turbo Duo system does not require modding in order for copies to work on it. ISO/MP3 archives come with two ISO files and a bunch of MP3s.
I. Convert MP3s to WAV
First you need to convert the MP3s to WAV. You can do so quickly and efficiently with an awesome free program known as WinLAME; you can download WinLAME here (1.5 MB). Here are directions to convert MP3s to WAV with WinLAME:
1. Open WinLAME. Click on the button, look for the folder where the MP3s are, select them all, then click on Open. You should see the MP3s you selected listed on the white box. Click Next to go to the next screen.
2. You'll arrive at the "Output Settings" screen. Under "Output Module", choose Wave Output, as shown here. Click Next to go to the next screen.
3. You'll arrive at the "Presets" screen. The default is fine, just click Next to go to the next screen.
4. You'll arrive at the "Encoding" screen. Click to begin the converting.
II. The CUE File
With the MP3s of your ISO/MP3 archive all converted to WAV, you're now ready to burn it as a valid TG16-CD game. To do so, you'll be needing that CUE file I talked about. Without the CUE file you cannot properly burn the game. What's a CUE file? The CUE file is a set of directions that tells the burning software how to properly burn the TG16-CD game's ISOs and audio tracks. There's one important thing you need to check for with the CUE file. Open it up in notepad and check if the files listed have an MP3 or WAV file extension.
• If they have an MP3 file extension then you need to change all of them to WAV.
• If they're already with WAV then do nothing.
III. Burning with the CUE file
Burning a CUE file is tad different than regular burns. Instead of going to "Burn data CD" as you normally would, you need to use the "Burn Image" option. Most mainstream burning software has such a feature. Software like Nero Burning Rom, Easy CD Creator, FireBurner. If you're too poor (like me) for the good burning software, there's Imgburn, a 100% free burning program; you can download Imgburn here (2 MB). So to burn the game with these programs:
• Burning with Imgburn: Click Write image file to disk, then click the magnifying glass to select the cue sheet. Lower write speed to around 4x-12x. Then click the large pretty picture of the CD to burn.
• Burning with Nero Burning Rom: Go to the Recorder menu then Burn Image (but first make sure you're in normal mode instead of Express mode). If you're given the option to burn the game as "Track-at-once" or "Disc-at-once", choose "Disc-at-once". Make sure to burn the game at a slow speed (like around 4x-12x speed).
Note: Do not use a DVD-R or DVD-RW for burning TG16-CD games! You must use a CD-R or CD-RW.
Chapter 2: The History of Video Game Emulation (not affiliated with this site)
Chapter 3: Downloading & Setting Things Up
Chapter 4: Video Game Emulator Tutorials (below)
Chapter 5: Gamepads
Chapter 6: Extracted Video Game Music