Modding isn’t the exclusive modern domain of UV cabled PCs or skinned Xbox 360s. Hardware tomfoolery inside the guts of a gaming platform extends back even to the sleek black 16-bit wonder that is the Sega Megadrive. One of the most popular mods you can do to the MD is to whack AV ports into the machine so you can do away with the god awful RF cable and run your console via the AV sweetness of Red, White and Yellow audio video cable(s).
S0 why is AV preferable to RF? Simple really, it’s all a matter of quality. Running the Megadrive off RF means tuning your console signal into your TV, and while you can get reasonable picture and sound, there tends to always be some interference, or – after extended play – the signal begins to go a bit funny and you start getting snowy or black and white picture, or progressively shitty sound. It’s like watching your game play experience get slowly drunk; starting off vibrant, crisp and ending up blurry and throwing up in a corner.
Extreme? Maybe – but a poorly tuned RF signal can dent many a good gaming experience. AV on the other hand produces a totally clear and solid audio and visual signal to your TV, meaning you’ll get the constant quality picture and sound your TV is capable of producing. No tuning, no fuss, just pixel wonder. In saying that, I’ve never really understood all the fuss about AV mods. I’ve never felt the need to mod my Megadrive, and I’ve always just sort of ‘made do’ with the RF tuning between Megadrive and TV despite the aforementioned risks. I recently came by a Megadrive II pre-modded with the AV connectors however, so I figured what the hell, I’d take it for a spin, see what I thought, and share my discovery with you.
The verdict? Gob-smackingly awesome. Seriously, firing up an AV modded Megadrive II was an absolute dream. Even on my tiny little CRT TV, the uplift in picture quality, sharpness and audio was undeniable. To trial Megadrive gaming under AV, I played a few rounds of Street Fighter 2 CE, Ranger X and Arrow Flash. Each game had noticeably better audio and visual quality, the sprites in SF2 CE were gorgeous while the accompanying music for the frantic action of Ranger X and Arrow Flash took on extra clarity and depth.
I feel that sickening wave of guild associated with realising I’ve denied myself something really good for a long time out of pure ignorance. What a blind fool I was to deny the power of the AV mod. If you’re clever enough to be able to AV mod your Megadrive II, do it. Just do it. Gaming goodness awaits you. If you need more proof, check out some of the screen shots below (taken with an admittedly shoddy camera, but still….)