Sega Week

How to build the ultimate Sega Dreamcast

The Sega Dreamcast was the swan song for the game company with attitude — and what a song it was. The Dreamcast may be the quirkiest, most offbeat system ever released by a major company, with titles like Shenmue, Rez, and Crazy Taxi which never would have seen the light of day at any other company. If you’re looking to explore all the console has to offer, here’s the best way to do it.

Model

There was only ever one design for the Dreamcast but within that design were several distinct models. For our purposes, you need to use a VA0 or VA1 console, which are compatible with the most mods.

Controller

We love the original Dreamcast controller, even with its weird wire placement, but some people may prefer the upcoming Retro Fighters StrikerDC, which has a more traditional shape. Regardless, you'll need wire extensions if you want to play from your couch, as there are no wireless Dreamcast controllers as of yet.

VMU

One of the Dreamcast's best quirks was the Visual Memory Unit (VMU), which functioned as a memory card, a screen in your controller, and a portable gaming console of its own. We recommend replacing your VMU's batteries and performing a backlight mod.

HDTV

While there are Dreamcast HDMI mods available, like the DC Digital, we prefer to use a SCART cable into an OSSC so as to preserve the ability to play on an old school CRT television should the need arise.

Mods

The Dreamcast now has the ability to hold its entire library of games within its tiny case thanks to TerraOnion's new MODE optical disc emulator. While you're in there, save your future self some trouble by also doing a replaceable battery mod for the console's internal clock.

Internet

The Dreamcast was, like its predecessor the Saturn, very early to the online gaming scene. It's actually still possible to play the console online via fan servers thanks to the DreamPi.

Accessories

The Dreamcast is somewhat notorious for it's many wild accessories. We'd pick up the Light Gun, Jumper Pak (rumble), a keyboard and mouse, a microphone for Seaman, and the fishing controller, which was a WiiMote long before Nintendo even dreamed of motion controls.

Extras

We're yet again recommending the mClassic, an HDMI passthrough device which uses a proprietary algorithm to upscale games and remove aliasing.

Maintenance

The Dreamcast has been known to run hot and its fan isn't regarded as the most efficient. You'll likely want to replace the fan with a Noctua Fan and 3D printed vent. You'll also need to replace the Dreamcast's capacitors sooner rather than late, as they will eventually fail. While you're in there, it can't hurt to replace your console's power supply.

ROMs

It would be a legal no no for us to tell you how to find back up files of Dreamcast games, so we won't be doing that. Hey just thinking out loud: You know something I like to do in my spare time? Peruse Archive.org. How about you?

Games we recommend include: Sonic Adventure and its sequel, Skies of Arcadia, Jet Grid Radio, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Resident Evil — Code: Veronica, Power Stone 2, Soulcalibur, Crazy Taxi, Rez, Shenmue I and II, Samba de Amigo, Space Channel 5, Seaman, Grandia II, Sega Rally 2, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2.

Enjoy your Sega Dreamcast.

It's thinking.

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