My Dreamcast setup.

If you are looking into playing Dreamcast games in the most optimal way using original hardware then this is what you need to know.

Suggested setups
Dreamcast Model : Any type VA00 or VA01
Display : Toro Box (More info
Media : GDUSBv5 from DR Mnemo

Dreamcast model – The models that have integrated GD-ROMs cannot be replaced with USB controller so stick with the earlier VA00 or VA01

Display box – While you will most probably be using VGA for all games, some cannot run in VGA mode without apply patches to the media. The Toro box works with all display methods the Dreamcast outputs so no need to swap cables or patch media,

The GDUSB is a plug and play swap for the GD-ROM and gives access to using FAT32 formatted media via USB to store up to 2TB of Data , enough for every game ever made.

While you can burn games many of them have been been down sampled or altered in a way to reduce their file size. Some examples are videos sequences are re-encoded or audio changed to mono etc but some have much more drastic changes.

Dreamcast – My story

Ok, I’ve got a soft spot for the Dreamcast..

I remember buying my Dreamcast for around $400 AUD.
It was 1999 and my PC only just got it’s first 3DFX processor putting it strides above my PS1.
I did most of my gaming on my PS1 but most of these were RPGs.
My cousin got a Dreamcast around the same time and we were both blown away by the awesome graphics.

Finding games in regional Australia sure was tricky. Only the most common titles were available in my department store.
Blockbuster came to my town with and was an impressive size for small town so I had quite a lot to hire,.

I have a memory of the games reaching prices of $120AUD in my local stores, so odd pocket money or other casual work didn’t allow me to buy many games.
In fact the few I owned were most likely gifts from my very kind family.
From memory i’d only managed to buy up a few games in the first year of owning it.

  • Sonic Adventure
  • Soul Calibur
  • Toyko Xtreme Highway.

I remember some temporary game swaps with friends to borrow

  • Resident Evil : Code Veronica
  • Chu Chu Rocket
  • Crazy Taxi

But besides that , everything I rented was a bit of blur.

Then along came the Utopia Bootdisk!
Suddenly I had access to every game I wanted. (Just had to wait for the download over dialup.)

The Dreamcast opened my eyes to some amazing 4  player games with friends.

  • Gauntlet Legends
  • Power Stones
  • Virtua Tennis 2 ( I don’t even like tennis)

It also took my love of fighting games from Street Fighter and Tekken to new games.

  • Marvel vs Capcom 2
  • Dead of Alive 2
  • Street Fighter III
  • SNK vs Capcom

And let me experience some pretty unique games

  • I-spy
  • Elemental Gimmick Gear
  • Skies of Arcadia (One of my fav. RPGs)
  • Armada

I have to admit, piracy may have been pretty harmful for the Dreamcast but I justified it to myself because of the pricing and availability where I lived.
In fact by the time the PS2 had landed , I felt like Sega had all but given up with the Australian market and my store wasn’t stocking anything.

Many of the above games I enjoyed, I would never have played without the Utopia disc.

I’ve never really been on the hunt to collect Dreamcast games maybe because piracy for it was very easy or because the cases here in Australia were so damn flimsy that none of mine survived.
I do however have the desire to play the games without any of the downsizing & down sampling required to fit it on a CD but most of the  games I want already have shot up in price .

I’ve acquired a few Dreamcasts during my collecting hobby. A large number of them were burnt out from being purposed as Arcade Hardware where they died a slow hot death in poorly ventilated cabinets or suffered from  worn out lasers from frequent daily use seeking a disc.

One of the burnt out units has finally been re-purposed into a “Authentic Retro Experience” by adding a HDD to play the GD-Roms in their full form.

I’ll cover how I made my ideal Dreamcast setup in my next post.