Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy 15th Birthday to the Sega Dreamcast



It was on this day back in 1998 in Japan that one of the most wonderful systems was born and I and many others were bashing it.  Of course it did have a cult following to with others and eventually I followed in the footsteps when I purchased one just as Sega said it was going to pull Dreamcast off the production line.  Well even at this age I picked my brand who I loved it wasn't just about the games back then. It wasn't just the commercial games I enjoyed about the Dreamcast it was cause of the many other things you could do with the Dreamcast that was done by the homebrew community.

A lot of people remember the DCemulation.com day's which posted the very first homebrew game and of course got responses from Sega from time to time for using illegal code.  Of course Sega kept an eye on the Dreamcast scene and thanks to Dan Potter for creating a homebrew engine which allowed many people to create legal software and games for the Dreamcast called KOS.  When  I started playing the Dreamcast it wasn't cause of its commercial library it was infact do to its homebrew community.  Where I have met a lot of amazing people like Reaper, Kojote, GPF and many others.

LOL most people had called me the spawn of the homebrew community and that was cause I wanted people to see what the Dreamcast could do.  I was the guy who looked for open source codes for certain games to be ported to the Dreamcast.  Then of course went to DCemu.co.uk and posted request after request of games that should be ported.  A lot of coders were angered by this and this was also cause Wraggster the site admin made a new thread for port requests.  Of course at the time I didn't realize how hard it was to port a game to the Dreamcast nor did I know how angered these coders were at porting these games.  Some did enjoy it and what I enjoyed about these requests is that we got a lot of amazing games and of course it spread the word about the coder who ported the game.

Well anyways I soon got into the commercial area of gaming for the Dreamcast and what got me excited about the Dreamcast was that you could play games online.  I remember working at a local mall and seen Phantasy Star Online V.2 brand new in a package for 12 dollars or something and bought it.  I played a bit of the game a few years before and didn't like it and that was cause I didn't know how to play the game.  So the day I got this I popped it in and did some in game quests which taught me how to play the game and bam I became a PSO fanboy.

The sad part about this though was when I got the game Sega just pulled the plug on the servers to play the game online but thanks to Schtserv they made a hack to allow people to play on their own homemade server.  I remember summer weekends staying up all night playing this game online with people and man it was so much fun.

Of course now a days I really don't play the Dreamcast version much and that is cause back in 2004 Sega released Phantasy Star Online Blue Burst for PC which would contain the Dreamcast's Episode 1, the Xbox's Episode 2 and a new 4th episode.  The only reason why the 3rd episode wasn't in the game was cause it was some sort of card game released for the Gamecube.  Anyways Sega soon pulled the plug on the servers for that game as well and once again Schtserv pulled through by allowing us to play the game free of charge.

Well anyways back to the Dreamcast it of course has a nice library of commercial games and of course homebrew games as well and the hombrew community is still going strong at sites like www.dcemulation.org, www.dreamcast.es and many others.  But of course there is a great number of commercial homebrew games still getting released to this day.  The community is still going very strong and I will leave links to the games that got released and are still available to purchase.

The Dreamcast also released many amazing accessories for the Dreamcast a Mic for Seaman and for use in some online games.  A fishing rod to use in Sega Bass Fishing, Maracas for use in Samba Di Amigo, dance mats for Dance Dance Revolution, a VMU which was the memory card for saving games and of course a small pocket gaming platform.  Lets also not forget they also released a Keyboard and a Mouse to use in games like Quake 3 Arena and to use for web browsing.  For a short time Sega released a Broadband Adapter but this came on short supply and now is being called a collectors item and is selling near 200 dollars.

Dreamcast also had many other accessories it planned on releasing like a MP3 player, and a ZIP Disk Unit which were both not released.  The homebrew community has also been making its own accessories and the one thats being most used at this very moment is a SD Adapter.

The SD Adapter can be used with commercial games but it causes with some issues cause it uses the serial port of the Dreamcast which doesn't really allow fast loading and can cause most commercial games to lag.  Most if not all homebrew games are playable and play really well with the unit.  Some homebrew games also allow you to save your game using the SD Adapter and of course use other features that programmers put in the game.

Another cool accessory is not one that does anything specific to your game but makes the picture quality quite amazing.  That of course is the VGA Cable or VGA Box Adapter which I believe Sega produced for a very short time but these accessories changed the picture quality from 480i to 480p.  But again in the homebrew community they made their own VGA Cables and Box Adapters.  Of course there was issues with the VGA cable and that was cause of the programmers of some of the famous games for the Dreamcast.  There is a code at each start up of a Dreamcast game which detected what kind of cable you were using for the TV screen.  So some games would display an error saying that you are using a video cable that isn't compatible with this game please use the proper cables.

So there was a few games in the Dreamcast's commercial library that didn't allow you to play using a VGA cable.  But once again the homebrew community came along and created CD based bootdisks that would force some games to use the VGA adapters but this didn't work on all games but it did expand the library significantly.  I have had 2 Vga adapters in my library one by Racketboy which wasn't very popular to many people in the Dreamcast Community but I really didn't have an issue with it.

I bought another one called Hanzo which I did a review for and comes with a crap load of features that the Racketboy and other versions didn't have and I will post a link to my review on the Hanzo shortly which will also contain a link on where to buy one.

I was a big fan of the Dreamcast when I bought it around 2002-2003 and to this day I am still a very big fan of this machine.  It brought many amazing commercial games, brought amazing homebrew ports, apps emulators and other homebrew creations.  It also brought amazing hardware and to this day I have never seen a system other then a PC have so many creative ideas.

It comes with a few flaws but that's only with Emulation, the VGA Adapter, and Online gaming.  But I do believe that anybody who is a big fan of retro gaming should get this machine or anybody into arcade gaming and heck anybody into gaming should get a Dreamcast.  Now I will leave you with a crap load of links to interesting things that will make you want a Dreamcast.

Links:

Hanzo Review (also contains purchase link): DCeric Hanzo Review

Dreamcast homebrew communities: dcemulation.org, dcemu.com (formerly dcemu.co.uk), dreamcast.es (Spanish), IMR Technology (No Longer Active but contains downloads) and http://dcemu.seanbajuice.com/ (formerly dcemulation.com)

Homebrew Commercial Games: http://www.rushrushrallyracing.com/http://www.wind-water.net/Last Hope (EBAY)SturmwindDuxhttp://www.gun-lord.com/Maquipai Mahjonghttp://www.faststriker.com/NEO XYXFeet of Fury

Dreamcast Homebrew OS for creating and porting games:http://gamedev.allusion.net/softprj/kos/

Dreamcasts Consoles, VGA Adapters, Commercial Games and other accessories can be found on Ebay you can get Hanzo VGA Adapter at Dreamcast VGA box & Scanline generator

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