From the early days of video games, to the early 2000s, Arcades were the apotheosis of gaming. They had more powerful hardware and could produce better visual and audio effect than their home console equivalent. Although some early system such as the Neo-Geo AES and the Capcom CPS Changer offered arcade-quality games at home, they were very expensive and were designed not to be interchangeable with their arcade equivalent.
In the early 2000s, new CD-based gaming system such as the DreamCast, the PlayStation 2 and the XBOX were offering arcade-like realism for a fraction of the price. Frolicker, a Taiwanese company specializes in coin-up and other electronic games, saw an opportunity. They would create a Jamma adaptor for CD-based console that could be used to upgrade existing arcade for a fraction of the price : the MGCD.
The MGCD stand For Multi-Game CD System. It was only ever sold to arcade distributors in Japan, and only by mail. The system was designed with the DreamCast in mind as the Sega Naomi arcade board was basically a DreamCast with more RAM and it was very popular in Japan. The system works by detecting game over screens to subtract credit. Once all the credits are gone, the system would lock the control. To achieve that, DIP Switches located on the MGCD needed to be set for the game in the console. If the games was not supported by the MGCD, then it defaulted to a Time-Based mode where credits would buy you more time. Once the timer was up, the control would, once again, lock themselves. All the additional information (credits, time), is added as an overlay over the console original video signal.
Two models of the MGCD were released : Model A & B. The second model surpasses the first with compatibility with the memory card and by solving some incompatibility of the original.
With time, Frolicker added support for PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games, GameCube and XBOX games as well. The following instruction were given to the arcade owner to convert the MGCD to connect to a PS2:
1.The video machine assemble with PS2 MGCD, the machine A/C power switch must be use a hand hay cutter switch, to cut 2 line in same time.
2.To assemble. PS2 MGCD sequence from > Control pad line >AV line > 28 pin connector then final connect >DC console A\C line.
3.To dismantle. PS2 MGCD sequence from >DC console A/C line > 28 pin connector > AV line, then final dismantle > control pad line.
Although sold as a Jamma compatible adapter, the MGCD is actually not compatible with Jamma straight out of the box. This is due to the MGCD mapping the buttons 6 and 7 to the pin 27/28 which are normally used for grounds as per Jamma standard pin-out. To solve this, the arcade owner could either modify the Jamma harness to remap these button or remove them completely (if not used in the game they wanted to use).
The MGCD never gain the popularity Frolicker expected. Although the MGCD offered a cheap alternative to upgrade an old arcade cabinet , arcade room in Japan prided themselves with having the latest games and the latest hardware. These kits were better suited for business having one or two old arcade that they wanted to upgrade. But the complexity of the upgrade (as the MGCD is not fully compatible with the Jamma standard), required someone knowledgeable enough with arcades, which business owner were often not.
Here’s a list of the compatible games and their DIP Switch association.
- MGCD DreamCast Game List
- MGCD XBOX Game List
- MGCD GameCube Game List
- MGCD PlayStation 2 Game List
- MGCD PlayStation Game List