Last updated: 20JAN2021 (see Changelog for details)
Were you entranced by the incredible graphics of LaserDisc arcade games back in the early 1980s? Me too. I have a vivid memory of my brothers and I shoving quarter after quarter into Dragon’s Lair one day, only to find that the game was super hard and that we were basically throwing our money away.
Luckily, there is a LaserDisc arcade emulator available on the RG351 (and other retro handheld devices), so you can play these games without having to sacrifice precious quarters. So this guide will walk you through how to get it set up.
Special thanks to Martin Newland who sent me some helpful tips and tricks to get this guide started.
Table of Contents Supported games Installation Controls Changelog
The list of laserdisc games available to play on Daphne is not terribly long, but here is what you have to work with:
Astron Belt Badlands Bega's Battle Cliff Hanger Cobra Command Dragon's Lair Dragon's Lair II : Timewarp Esh's Aurunmilla Galaxy Ranger GP World Interstellar M.A.C.H. 3 Road Blaster Space Ace Star Blazer Super Don Quixote Thayer's Quest Us vs Them
Finding these files can be very difficult. You can buy DVD versions of a few games (more info here), but they are out of print and hard to find (or prohibitively expensive). If you do have these DVDs, Wagner’s Tech Talk has a good breakdown of how to extract the necessary files (the guide is for the RG350, but the same method applies here).. The company that made these DVDs, Digital Leisure, used to sell the DVDs through their website. Now, they only have links to the digital visions of their games, which unfortunately do not work with Daphne.
Another option, if you have the original LaserDiscs, is to capture the video and sound files yourself. If that isn’t within your means, you’ll have to find the files elsewhere on the internet.
The Daphne files need to be organized in a very specific way. Within the GAMES (stock, 351ELEC firmwares) or EASYROMS (ArkOS firmware) folder, there will be a folder named “daphne”. Inside, you will need to have at least three different folders (more if you load more than one game).
- A folder for all of the game files, named “game_name.daphne” (i.e. lair.daphne). Inside that folder, you will have at least four files:
- .dat file for storing keyframe information. If you don’t have one in your Daphne package, Daphne will create one for you. If you experience issues loading a game, try just deleting this file outright and running the game again.
- .m2v file that is the video file the game will access. Some games will have multiple .m2v files.
- .ogg file that stores all of the game’s music and voices
- .txt file that is a “keyframe” file. This will tell the program at which frame of the .m2v file to start the game
- A folder named “roms” that stores all of the ROM images. These will be small .zip files, one for each game.
- A folder named “sound” which will contain all of the system sounds. There are a total of 70 files you will need, most of them in .ogg and .wav format. These sound files work across all games, so you only need to add them once and you’re done.
roms > daphne > lair.daphne > lair.dat > lair.m2v > lair.ogg > lair.txt > roms > lair.zip > sound > ab_alarm1.wav > ab_alarm2.wav (more files here) > sdq-short-success-low.wav
To install, load these files into your “daphne” folder, organized as you see above. This may seem daunting, but often, wherever you find these files online will also have them organized for you. So really, once you find the right files, it’s a matter of drag and drop.
The controls for Daphne are already pre-configured for the RG351 devices. That being said, there is a way to adjust the controls yourself for specific games. Check out this document from RetroPie that discusses different optional command files.
In general, here are the controls you need to know. Note that in order to insert a coin, you sometimes will need to quickly double-tap the coin button for it to register.
ArkOS: SELECT = insert coin START = start button A = button 1 B = button 2 Y = button 3 START + SELECT = exit game 351ELEC: L1 = insert coin R1 = start button A = button 1 B = button 2 Y = button 3 START = exit game Stock Firmware: L1 = insert coin R1 = start button A = button 1 B = button 2 Y = button 3 START + A = exit game
– published guide