Mednafen: Dealing with CD Image Problems

This post assumes the following:

*. You’re running a Linux OS environment.
*. You can install software.
*. You’re not afraid of spending about two minutes in front of the CLI.
*. You’re having some sort of problem running a CD image. This post is specific to PlayStation games but it’s probably applicable to any other CD-based consoles too.
*. You’re a Mednafen user of any level (novice to expert).

Before we proceed with the real troubleshooting, it is important to note that with Mednafen, one does not open the actual image file. To play a game, you’ll need to open the accompanying cue sheet (a .cue file). So, firstly, make sure of the following:

*. You’re opening the accompanying .cue file, not the .bin or other image file.

So, having gotten that out of the way, now we can actually start troubleshooting. The following is a list of common problems:

*. I have a .mdf and .mds file.
*. I have no .cue file.
*. I only have a .iso file.
*. I only have a .bin file.
*. I have some other format that doesn’t work

To proceed, you need to install mdf2iso. If you don’t know how to, see your distribution’s documentation or glean this table (the Arch Wiki is one of the best information sources, even for non-Arch users). So:

*. Install mdf2iso. Read the man page too (yeah right).
*. Open the CLI in the same directory as your problem CD image. For this example, our game is called Example.

Now, back to the problems. Below are all your solutions in Q & A format:

Q: My file is Example.mdf
A: That’s what this was originally about. Issue the following command:
$ mdf2iso --cue Example.mdf
Short wait. A .cue file will be created. You do not need to convert the image, but simply generate the cue sheet. Open Example.iso.cue and play.

Q: My file is Example.iso
A1: Issue the following command:
$ mdf2iso --cue Example.iso
Somewhat of a wait. A .bin file and an accompanying cue sheet called Example.iso.bin and Example.iso.cue respectively will be generated from your ISO file. Open Example.iso.cue and play.

Q: I have some other format Mednafen won’t play
A: Try the procedure. If it works you’ll get one of the above results.

Q: I only have a .bin file
A: This is unlikely if you ripped it yourself (implicit accusation unto illegitimate dealings). Luckily there’s a an archive at that will likely have the cue sheet you need. You can select your system from the Discs menu. This is not intended to enable you if you obtained a rip illegally.

If mdf2iso does not work for you, don’t panic. There are many conversion tools out there and the easiest and safest way to find them is to search for the image’s format (usually indicated by the file extension) in your package manager’s database. You should find some tools, even if all they do is mount the image (note mounting the image should be a last resort and won’t be discussed further as it is outside the scope of this post).


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