News Article

Check Out This Ultimate Multi-System Games Console

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Project Unity plays games from 18 formats, and not a ROM in sight

We sometimes direct your attention to hardware, often portable, that gives gamers a new way to play their old cartridges, discs or even smaller carts. While ROMs are always a sticking area, there's plenty of hardware out there designed to give fresh life to all of the physical copies of retro classics.

One new example, called Project Unity, is perhaps unique above all others, however. John "Bacteria" Grayson has taken parts from retro systems and created a unit that can run a boggling range of games, all with a specially designed controller that should be functional right across the board. Unity can run physical copies for the following systems — Atari 7800, Colecovision, Dreamcast, GameCube (with GBA Player), Amstrad GX4000, Intellivision, Mega Drive, Nintendo 64, NeoGeo, NES, PSone, PS2, Sega Master System, Saturn, Super Nintendo and Turbo Grafx games.

Grayson explained the reasoning for producing a physical unit very clearly, saying the following about emulated ROMS.

They're not one-to-one copies of the original. Playing it on the real hardware gives the nostalgia feeling you don't get from emulation. You don't just play a retro game, you experience it.

The unit and its "Master Controller" took three years and roughly £700 in costs to put together, and its creator has no serious plans to sell due to it being "for my own enjoyment and achievement". If you want to see how this was made and gaze upon it in action, check out the video below.

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User Comments (33)



Lalivero said:

Dannng, that is seriously something; Unfortunately I probably wouldn't have the time/know-how to pull something like this off.

He's right about the experience too, games are much more appealing when played on the original hardware.



Rocketship said:

After all that I'm pretty sure he didn't put in a second controller port! But then it's still awesome anyway and he probably didn't need it.



Ryno said:

Cool, I guess but I'm fine with using my original consoles.



TheRealThanos said:

Certainly impressive and I couldn't even do that if I really tried, so respect and hats off to the builder, but as far as I am concerned there's one thing VERY wrong with the whole project: he says that NOTHING beats playing games on the actual system, since you have to EXPERIENCE the retro feel, well I agree with him there for 200% but that is also why any REAL retro gamer should not only play on the original console, but also with the ORIGINAL controller. For Dreamcast games NOTHING beats the actual controller and the same goes for most of the other consoles.
NOTHING beats the real thing...

Still impressive though.



AgentAPE said:

always wanted to make one of those, but after seeing what that guy went through, id go crazy.



Jakurdo said:

It's impressive and so is that unified controller. But I agree with TheRealThanos, if you want to experience that true retro feel, you gotta have the original controllers. You don't want to be playing NES games with anything other than a NES pad for instance.



-Crystalline- said:

Outstanding use of your knowledge and passion for games, good sir Now if only the final product was aesthetically pleasing, I'd probably purchase a copy.



manu0 said:

So now he has 18 cartridges instead of 18 controllers...I don't really see the advantage...he could have built a unified cable into which to plug all the controllers (with a very short cable)...



mikeyman64 said:

I've been planning something similar for years. Just need the time/money to put into it.
Some day...



shinesprite said:

I've got to give credit where credit is due, but honestly, I'd just ditch the nick-knacks and keep my systems in their original forms. Plus, if you're going for a purely authentic experience then the generic controller approach is truly not the answer (Imagine playing OOT with a dial-pad). Lastly, I'd be a bit worried to have a high-powered, experimental system, made from wood, and with low ventilation running unattended in my household.

I'm not saying that this guy has a bad idea, I'm just saying that I would have approached the situation a little differently.



Zombie_Barioth said:

I really enjoy hearing about fan-made DIY projects and this guy did a really nice job, but I just don't see much of a point in things like this beyond doing it as a challenge or you have broken/spare consoles lying around.

Personally, I'd do something a little less Frankin Stain like dedicated retro setup or an arcade cabinet but thats just me.



Ren said:

At a glance this makes me swoon. then again it's hard to see why this is much different then piling all those systems into a box and plugging them into a couple power strips, and getting a signal switcher. All this so you can have one cable going into your TV? Time to look for a job, dude.




The only problems I see with this are 2: The aesthetic of the machine and the new controller thing. Aside from that, the machine is awesome but unless those 2 problems are solved I wouldn't want that.



retro_player_22 said:

Awesome but he's lacking Sega CD, 32X, Neo Geo AES, Jaguar, and 3DO. As much as I love multiplatform consoles (especially custom made one), they usually tend to have problems with videos, sounds, and compatibility.



tddct89 said:

Am I the only one that counted 16 formats not 18? THEN recounted a hundred times including the GBA player as an extra format and still only came up with 17? Can someone tell me what I'm missing please?

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