Arcade LaserDisc emulators

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Arcade LaserDisc
Developer Misc
Type Arcade systems
Release date 1982
Discontinued 1995

A LaserDisc video game is an arcade game that uses pre-recorded video (either live-action or animation) played from a LaserDisc. The first LaserDisc video game was Sega's Astron Belt released in 1983. The genre was popularized by Dragon's Lair released shortly after in the same year. The usage of LaserDiscs provided graphics close to an animated or live-action film which was vastly ahead of other arcade games at the time. However, with the drawback of limited interactivity compared to regular arcade games.


Main article: Arcade emulators#Emulators


  • DAPHNE is the primary emulator for LaserDisc arcade games. Supports more games than MAME. Use DaphneLoader to update DAPHNE and auto download games. The libretro core currently only works for Android.
  • Hypseus Singe is an SDL2 update to the DAPHNE emulator engine. It supports one game that neither Daphne nor MAME support; Goal to Go and also includes support for SINGE simulation. There are features added to Daphne that allow display enhancements, in SDL2, over the original version. These allow it to support enhanced 4k MPEG-2 video in all games and support multiple screens to mimic the original hardware scoreboard for instance. Support for integrated bezels, hot-pluggable GameControllers, better lightgun integration and, with the 32bit upgrade on the VLDP, support for the full range on Singe 2 games. Hypseus now also runs a full 32bit overlay on all Singe games, this can be reverted (as per original Daphne Singe 1) to an 8-bit overlay via command line arguments. The diversity of overlays allows Hypseus to run Singe games which are far less resource intensive on SBCs, such as the Raspberry Pi and its kin.
  • DirkSimple is a libretro core for LaserDisc arcade games but it has limited compatibility support and doesn't plan to support more FMV games. Unlike Hypseus Singe, it requires you to create .ogv file from your .ogg and .m2v DAPHNE capture files using FFmpeg. See How do i use DirkSimple guide for additional required steps.
  • MAME The reason MAME doesn't emulate many LaserDisc-based systems, is largely due to indecisions regarding the disc preservation method and format. This will hopefully be fixed in the future thanks to the Domesday86 project which employs a combination of specialized hardware and open-source software to preserve the discs in a far more faithful manner than ever before.
Difference between captures for Daphne/Singe and dumps for MAME

It's similar to the difference between "regular" floppy disc dumps and the lower-level captures that devices like the Applesauce or Greaseweasel do. The regular dumps just have the data that you'd see copying the disk on the computer. The lower-level dumps go down to the magnetic flux changes on the disk and are able to reproduce complex copy protection schemes. This allows MAME and other emulators to run copy protected software with the copy protection in place. (A lot of commonly found cracked versions from back in the 80s omitted or defaced the game's content, or were incomplete so that the game crashed on later levels or couldn't be beaten).

The Daphne/Singe captures are pretty much what happens if you play the laserdisc into an Elgato or similar capture device and save the resulting video. *Over-simplifying a bit but not a lot.

The new Domesday Duplicator captures MAME uses were captured directly from the laser in the laserdisc player and then converted into video and other data by software. Among other things, the software can take captures from multiple copies of the same disc and use data from one to fix places where the disc was scratched or smudged or dirty on another and end up with a perfect capture.

For Dragon's Lair, this took captures from 7 discs to end up at a perfect capture, because those discs got beaten on back in the day. Thayer's Quest took less.[1]

It's worth noting that "zero dropouts" means every frame of those laserdiscs is the best possible quality from the source media. MAME's presentation of that data isn't completely optimal yet (deinterlacing is really needed for some laserdisc games) but there's at least a path forward to getting all the LD games in and running now, and there's no worries that the CHD might be superseded by a better rip.[2]

The raw RF captures from the LaserDiscs are about 41 GiB each. Several of these are required to get a dropout-free stack. For Thayer’s Quest, this used about 450 GiB of disk space.

The compressed CHDs used to play the games in MAME are usually between 10 GiB and 20 GiB.[3]

Hypseus can enjoy the superior clarity of the Domesday86 rips by converting with ffmpeg, detailed here: [4]

See Ripping games page for more information about ripping and dumping.


Game DAPHNE HYPSEUS MAME DirkSimple Ports[1]
Astron Belt
Bega's Battle
Chantze's Stone
Cliff Hanger
Cobra Command / Thunder Storm
Cosmos Circuit
Crime Patrol
Crime Patrol 2: Drug Wars
Cube Quest
Dragon's Lair *
Dragon's Lair II: TimeWarp
Esh's Aurunmilla
Fast Draw Showdown
Freedom Fighter
Galaxian 3
Galaxian 3: Attack of the Zolgear
Galaxy Ranger / Star Blazer
Goal to Go
GP World
Interstellar Laser Fantasy
The Last Bounty Hunter
M.A.C.H. 3
Mad Dog McCree
Mad Dog II: The Lost Gold
NFL Football
Ninja Hayate
Road Blaster
Space Ace
Space Pirates
Star Rider
Super Don Quix·ote
Thayer's Quest *
Time Gal
Time Traveler
Us vs. Them
Who Shot Johnny Rock?
Zorton Brothers

This list is updated as of MAME 0.262 and DAPHNE 1.0.12.

  1. Ports: for a list of what systems the games have been ported to check this link.