The Sega Dreamcast is a very controversial retro console. On the one hand, it is the first home console with 3D graphics passing the test of time and now. The first gamepad available with the console was with a minimal set of controls for interacting with early 3D games: sufficient performance to port the best games of the day and a full-fledged VGA video output at the hardware level.
On the other hand, the relevance of using the console itself in modern conditions is hampered by some features:
- Firstly, it is a data carrier — an optical disc in GD-Rom format with a capacity of 1.2 GB. Let’s leave the option of buying expensive and rare original discs to collectors who won’t even unpack these discs. Therefore, we will immediately consider the use of backups.
- Such a disc cannot be recorded on a regular disc. For this, at one time, pirates cut content from games such as music and background sounds or divided the game into two or more discs. The drive is also not eternal and often fails. And besides, it also makes a loud noise while reading data.
So it turns out that playing original games is much easier through emulation. Fortunately, the Dreamcast processor is very easy to emulate on most modern devices. You can easily download Dreamcast ISOs on Romsplanet and play such games as Sonic Adventure 2, Resident Evil 3 Nemesis, Grand Theft Auto 2, and so on.
Why Is the Dreamcast Still Timely?
Unlike the same PlayStation 2, Dreamcast displays a clearer picture on new TVs. First of all, the fixed resolution of 640×480, while on the PlayStation 2 it was variable, often below 640×480.
The Dreamcast also has SCART and VGA Box support, which significantly improves image clarity and color reproduction. SCART pleased players with its picture so pleasantly that they forgot about faded colors available through ordinary connectors.
Usually, the console BIOS can’t be modified or graphically changed. But on Dreamcast for example, saving from the Puyo Pop Fever puzzle changes the look of the menu and adds colorful wallpapers. The idea was later developed into homebrew applications, with which it is easy to put your own image. Modern consoles have colorful animated themes and the ability to set any wallpaper. But in the Dreamcast era, these little things were considered revolutionary.
Gamepad and VMU wonders
At first glance, the gamepad seems terribly cumbersome and awkward. In terms of weight, the gamepad is slightly heavier than the DualShock for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. It measures almost two-thirds of the console’s body.
All doubts will be dispelled after a couple of hours of play. The gamepad is almost more comfortable to hold than the very first DualShock. Thanks in part to the handles on the back.
VMU (Visual Memory Unit) is a smart memory card with an LCD screen. It has a built-in clock function, saves manager, and mini-games. The latter is installed both from the game disc and from the unofficial Dream Explorer program. There are a lot of games for VMU: from Pac-Man to Outrun and primitive dungeon crawler. In fact, it is a stand-alone portable console.
The most famous mini-game for VMU is considered Chao Adventure from Sonic Adventure, which allows you to train and grow your Chao almost like in the acclaimed Tamagotchi. All the experience gained by the monster carries over to Sonic Adventure. You can grow Chao both at home and on the road.
Before buying an old console, there is always an understanding of what you want to play. Dreamcast library contains over 600 projects. The most popular are:
- Shenmue parts 1 and 2;
- Sonic Adventure;
- Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future;
- Berserk. The author of the original work, Kentaro Miura, completely wrote the entire plot and drew new characters for the game. The events unfold after the animated series and 22 volumes of manga, so the plot of the game can be considered canon.
When it comes to multiplatform, many games released on the PlayStation look significantly better on Dreamcast. Among them are Capcom survival horror hits like Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3, and Dino Crisis. The gameplay in these versions has been slightly updated, and the graphics have been improved.