As the title of this article questions, we here at Dreamcast Today are pondering the future of the Dreamcast – namely it’s viability in an ever decreasing circle way. It’s been a busy few years for Sega’s long-discontinued hardware, we’ve come a long way as a small community since 2001, anyone whose ever contributed to funding the latest game release or spreading precious word of mouth serves a hand in keeping the legend alive in today’s market, but as anyone who has bought a second-hand Dreamcast knows; they aren’t particularly reliable as they get older to which the newest example is probably 15 years old at this point.
We’ve seen machines that can easily be fixed from resetting and there’s a work around for the common controller board issues but what about the GD-Rom drive? Sure, there’s the expensive and illusive replacement board allowing for SD and HDD support on the machine neatly circumventing the need for physical media, but this in itself poses a unique situation when it comes to supporting the machine and playing the latest software in the way the developers intended, sure we’ve got many DC owners who will pick up physical copies of new software but as time moves forward, less and less hardware is going to be available and thus forcing current owners to stock pile working units and often meaning the machine isn’t accessible to new generation players and collectors.
We’ve seen the barriers in authentic packaging broken down firstly with Watermelon’s stunning efforts with Pier Solar, using the box designs and logos for all three regions, something that wasn’t attempted on a wide scale before this point but this is something we’ve seen repeated with recent releases like Xenocider, Alice Dreams Tournament (minus the logs design) and JoshProd’s latest 5 PAL releases, to which one of these games, Breakers, will also see a Japanese style release via Play-Asia.
One has to consider the possibility of the Dreamcast hardware being reverse engineered to allow these new and future disc releases being played and enjoyed far into the future. Surely there must be a way, some clever tech expert who could either get a bootable disc drive to replace the aging GD drive or ever better, a machine capable of emulating the console 1:1 with support for ‘retail’ games, it may seem a reality that’ll never occur but it’d sure be a shame to see these brave developers working on Dreamcast games to not have their work fully enjoyed due to hardware shortage and a lack of a growing market for what is considered one the the finest consoles of it’s time.
We strongly recommend picking up the high quality PAL releases by JoshProd with the hope that we will see future output, these games just look wicked in any retail collection!