From Sega Retro

Triforce logo.svg
Triforce hardware.jpg
Manufacturer: Sega, Nintendo, Namco
Release Date RRP Code
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The Triforce (トライフォース) is an arcade board developed in a joint venture between Sega, Nintendo, and Namco. It is based upon the Nintendo GameCube video game console to reduce development costs, and allowed for arcade ports of home console games, and vice versa. It is named after the magical, often sought-after object in Nintendo's popular The Legend of Zelda series.

While the platform was shared between the three companies, Nintendo was not in the business of producing arcade games at the time, so licensed its properties to Sega and Namco. Sega were the first to launch a game for the system with Virtua Striker 2002 in the Autumn of 2002[1], which shipped on Sega's propietary GD-ROM format (with later releases doing the same). Namco would not release a game for the system until 2005, and would ship its software on bespoke ROM cartridges.

Sega would also use the rival Xbox console as a bases for arcade hardware (the Chihiro), while Namco's System 246 board would be based on the PlayStation 2.

In 2012, a homebrew application was released for the Nintendo Wii that enabled this GameCube-derived console to run Mario Kart Arcade GP and its sequel (see the list below). The coder stated that support for other games and additional features are possible but emphasised that he would not be releasing homebrew or information due to his anger at others in the homebrew scene who had leaked his work.[2]. Another homebrew project, Nintendont, allows you to play Triforce games on the WiiU's vWii, with unknown limitations.


Main board

The Triforce unit is based off of Nintendo's retail GameCube, so much so that the main board is a stock Japanese NTSC-J DOL-001 motherboard from the GameCube with a different boot ROM. The main board is connected to 2 to 3 different boards depending on configuration, but is always sandwiched between the Base Board and the Media Board. Since the main board is the same as a retail GameCube, you could theoretically use a regular NTSC-J motherboard to replace a faulty mainboard, however this is challenging due to the different boot ROM. In addition, a DOL-001 would be needed; the DOL-101 motherboard omits the Serial Port 2, Digital AV and Power Board connectors making the system unable to connect properly to the Triforce hardware; however, the regular GameCube DOL-001 motherboard will still boot and display using the Triforce hardware, at which point the Media Board will crash the GameCube if connected, and the VGA output will be restricted to 15KHz only as the retail GameCube is only designed for TV use. Likewise, the Triforce mainboard will work in the standard GameCube case, but will crash with the message "MEDIA BOARD IS NOT FOUND" when it tries to load SegaBoot in the second bootstrap phase. The Analogue A/V port of a Triforce main board works as expected.

Media board

The Triforce has three versions; the Type 1 and Type 3 plus a revision only Namco used for using ROM carts instead of using GD-ROMs. The DIMM board used on several Sega arcade systems such as the Sega NAOMI and Chihiro connects to a Media Board which acts as an interface to either adapt the Sega NAOMI's DIMM board to the system or contains the entire Network enabled DIMM board instead; this is what differentiates the Type 1 Triforce to a Type 3, the Type 1 uses the regular DIMM board and the Type 3 has the board all contained. In Namco's ROM board version the media board has the same network functionality as the Type 3 (and Type 1 if using a network enabled DIMM) but instead of using the GD-ROM drive it has an internal NAND based ROM cartridge and an SD card slot which was left unused. Most games will only either work with the Type 1 or Type 3 units and only the Namco ROM games can work with the ROM system.

The Media Board also contains the actual BIOS of the system as the main board's IPL is only a bootstrap that loads the main code from the Media Board.

Base board

The base board seems almost universal and is used in all versions of the system for the same function. It connects to the GameCube's controller port header, power board connector, the Serial Port 1, and the Digital AV port, the latter ports left unused usually. This board connects the motherboard to the power from the JVS power input, the digital AV to converter circuitry to be able to connect two VGA monitors and two RCA sound outputs, the GameCube controller port to circuitry to adapt the JVS input and to the expansion headers on the side. Whilst only an adaption board, not having any one of the connectors connected (minus the digital AV) will result in the system saying the board has malfunctioned.

  • CPU: IBM Power PC "Gekko"
  • Sound DSP: Custom Macronix 16bit DSP @ 81MHz
  • Main RAM: Main Memory 24 MiB MoSys 1T-SRAM, Approximately 10ns Sustainable Latency.
  • Graphics Engine: "Flipper" (Custom ATI/Nintendo)

List of games

Distributed by Namco

Distributed by Sega


Sega Arcade Boards
Originating in Arcades
76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08
Fonz Galaxian Zaxxon Appoooh X Board Model 2 Hikaru Atomiswave
Blockade G80 Hang-On / Space Harrier Model 1 H1 Model 3 NAOMI 2
VIC Dual System 1 System 24 NAOMI
VCO Object LaserDisc System SP
System 2 System 18
System 16
OutRun System 32
Y Board
Based on Consumer Hardware
83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15
SG-1000 System E System C Triforce Europa-R RingEdge 2
Mega-Tech System Sega Titan Video Chihiro Nu
Mega Play Lindbergh
Hardware Series / Generations
1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s
Electro-mechanical systems Sega System series Sega NAOMI series
Discrete logic systems Super Scaler series Post-NAOMI systems
Pre-System boards Sega Model series