Sega was once a video game company that developed video games and released consoles. Many gamers can remember when Nintendo and Sega competed for their attention. Several games were console exclusives, giving young players the difficult choice of which console to buy. Nintendo offered the Super Mario Bros. series, while Sega introduced us to the fast-paced world of Sonic the Hedgehog.
As the years went by, Nintendo continued to develop consoles that were highly popular with fans. In the late 90s, other companies were also jumping into console development. Sega was struggling to release new consoles to keep up, but the Sega Saturn didn't survive. Sony and Microsoft quickly rose to become intense competitors. While Nintendo thrived, Sega struggled to survive. They released one more console in hopes of resolving the bad mark the Saturn left on their name. Sega released the Dreamcast in September of 1999. Unfortunately, the Dreamcast wasn't enough to help Sega win the console wars.
The Sega Dreamcast was the last console the company released. Sega eventually stopped publishing updates and games for the system in 2001. They no longer had an interest in releasing consoles when they could focus on developing video games for former competitors. Sega may have given up on releasing consoles, but fans continued where the company left off. Creative gamers have continued to mod and hack the system. There continues to be untapped potential within the console and its accessories. Fans have gone through great lengths to breathe new life into the Dreamcast with updated technology.
If you still own a working or broken Sega Dreamcast, you're in luck. Our list compiles several ways to bring new life into your Dreamcast. With a little programming knowledge of soldering expertise, you can continue to use your Dreamcast for decades to come.
25 Don’t Feel Chained Down
The Sega Dreamcast was released with the console unit, a modem, power cable, A/V cable, and one controller. There were four controller ports available if you wanted to play with family or friends. With so many controllers plugged in at once, it could be easy for the wires to become tangled.
Luckily, there's a solution to the controller wire clutter.
The Dreamconn+ is a wireless Dreamcast controller that runs by Bluetooth. Users plug in a connector into their Dreamcast, press the Bluetooth button on the controller, and play.
24 Bring Some Light Into The World
On the top of the Dreamcast is a triangular light. The light changes color depending on the status of the console. Modders decided to give the Dreamcast an aesthetic boost. They've changed the colors of the triangular light to a rainbow of hues. The colors also have different blinking patterns. Program a unique pattern to make your Dreamcast shine amongst the others. Though these colors don't have an effect on the gameplay itself, it's a fun addition to the console.
23 Cool Things Down
If you've ever owned or played a Dreamcast, then you know they get hot. That's why game developers warn gamers to allow plenty of ventilation for their consoles because they can quickly overheat. Allow your console to get too hot, and it could melt the sensitive hardware inside.
Chris Moon set up an IndieGoGo campaign to solve the Dreamcast's heating problem. He developed a small mod called the Dream PSU that would make the system run cooler. The tiny device could save the Dreamcast from overheating.
22 Improve The Sound Quality
There are a variety of mods to improve resolution and even change the music of some games. What's the use of completing those mods if your Dreamcast produced poor sound quality? Luckily there's a digital audio mod. If you don't want to complete the mod yourself, some companies will complete it for you for a hefty fee.
There are tutorials available online to bypass the Dreamcast DAC for a richer sound with noise reduction.
With improved sound, you can once again enjoy your favorite music games like Space Channel 5.
21 Enjoy The Full Library
Most consoles are restricted to a certain region. This means that not all consoles can play any game from any country. This leaves North American fans unable to play Japanese-exclusives. Only recently have many consoles released their region restrictions.
The Japanese version of the Dreamcast cast aside region-locks. Their Dreamcast can play games from any regions. but other countries weren't so lucky. If you're fortunate enough to find a Japanese Dreamcast, it's worth the effort. You'll have a wide variety of games you can access.
20 Build New Parts
Though the Dreamcast wasn't as successful as other consoles, fans still have fun. They enjoy the library of games and play fan-made creations. There may come a time when the Dreamcast faces some cosmetic damage. Players don't want to give up their favorite consoles to fix an issue. They may not have the funds to buy a new console.
Gamers can use a 3D printer to create replacement parts for the Dreamcast. All it takes is the right tools and creating 3D designs of the part you need.
19 Play Games On Modern Hardware
Many modern games now play at high resolutions of 1080p on HDMI screens. Higher resolutions ensure you can enjoy those beautiful graphics developers spent so much time crafting. The Dreamcast doesn't have any games that could reach the quality graphics of current games, but many don't want to set up a separate tv to play.
There are DC HDMI adapters available for the Dreamcast.
All you have to do is set it up with your current television and console set up and enjoy.
18 More Playback Options
The Sega Dreamcast was one of the few consoles around its release that did not play DVDs. The other console that couldn't play DVDs was the Nintendo GameCube, which played smaller CDs instead.
Sega planned to allow DVD playback but eventually had to work on it separately. Even after the hardware was complete, it wasn't released. With the DreamShell software, it's possible to load CDs and DVDs. It requires the use of the IDE-Mod first, along with a DVD-IDE drive.
17 Match Your Style
The Dreamcast case is a small, square box. It doesn't have any unique details on the outside, and some might even call it boring. The Dreamcast case is removable, meaning that you could easily add your personal touch.
If customizing your Dreamcast case is too much work, there were a few custom Dreamcast cases released during the console's prime. Within the Sports Pack was a black console with matching controller. The Sakura Wars package was bundled with pink accessories, including a demo of the game.
16 Change The Graphic Qualities
The Dreamcast comes packaged with A/V cables. Most gamers know that A/V cables don't produce the best output. If you're using modern technology, you'll want to play your games at the highest quality possible.
Now there are stores that ship worldwide selling VGA cables to replace those old A/V connectors.
Use a computer monitor or HDTV to play your Dreamcast. The Dreamcast has native VGA support, meaning all you have to do is buy the cable and plug it in.
15 Don’t Settle For The Default Music
Most video games come with a soundtrack to immerse fans in the game. Sometimes, the soundtrack is so popular that it's released separately from the game. Other games don't focus on the soundtrack or include music from popular bands.
Crazy Taxi contains some of the most popular songs from the late 90s and early 2000s. If you find yourself disliking the default tunes, it's possible to change the music. Several games will allow you to mod the system and change the music.
14 Relax With Your Favorite Game
The Dreamcast controller that comes packaged with the console has a wire. The wire is placed at the bottom of the controller, unfortunately. Handling a single controller, or four controllers can quickly become a tangled mess. If you want to relax and play a game, you may find yourself restricted to the floor because of the length of the cable.
There are online stores that sell controller extension cables. The length of the wire will no longer hinder you from playing your favorite games.
13 Turn It Into A Single Unit
Unless you own a handheld console, you'll always need to plug in your game system into a tv. Consoles come with a variety of cables and plugs, which can quickly become confusing for those who aren't technologically advanced. You might find yourself consulting with the manual to see how to turn the console on.
If you have an old iMac, you can combine your Dreamcast and a monitor into one unit.
You'll need a working Dreamcast and a 15-inch LCD screen. Logicdustbin of the forum CGCC explains how he created the iCast.
12 Enjoy Fan-Made Content
When the Dreamcast was first released, it was quickly hacked. Though this was a huge issue after its initial release, it became a blessing after development stopped.
Fans began to use the software to create new Dreamcast games. Independent homebrew developers began to release a wide variety of games for the consoles. The games were all region-free and available to gamers worldwide. Even though Sega stopped creating new content for the Dreamcast, fans haven't given up on the console.
11 Test The Limits
The Sega Dreamcast output most games in 480i. There was support in 240p and 480p. If you're playing games on the console years later, you may be used to higher outputs.
Luckily for gamers, it's possible to overclock the console if you have experience working with CPU hardware. This hack will only work on Revision 0 and 1 Dreamcast systems. Revision 2 models are out of luck. To make the mod work, you'll have to make some modifications to the internal workings of the Dreamcast. Ramping up the clock speed is delicate work but worth the effort.
10 Another Browsing Machine
The Sega Dreamcast came bundled with a modem. Unfortunately, that modem was for dial-up internet only. Most users are no longer using dial-up services, and it can be challenging to find a service provider.
If you're away on vacation and not located near any fast internet provider, you're in luck.
One can use the Dreamcast as a last-resort internet browser.
It's a great option if you have no other choice. Hopefully, you can find a dial-up provider to get online.
9 Bring It On-The-Go
If you want to play video games on-the-go, you'll have to make some sacrifices. You'll have to deal with a smaller screen, choppier graphics, and you don't have access to your Friend List. There's a way to mod your Dreamcast to take it on your next adventure. All you'll need is a custom case, a working Dreamcast, LCD screen, and two 7.2V 3Ah R/C car batteries.
Unfortunately, this mod comes with the CD exposed, so you'll have to make a custom cover or try not to touch the moving parts. The controls and sound speakers are all on the front of the case.
8 Enjoy Fighting Games Again
The Dreamcast released several fighting games, including Street Fighter, Power Stone, and SoulCalibur. There were plenty of games in the fighting genre for fans to enjoy. The Dreamcast controller may not be the ideal way to enjoy these games.
Luckily there are several arcade fighting stick controllers for the Dreamcast available online. These range from simple sticks for casual players to high-end controllers with professional artwork decorating the case. If you love fighting games, invest in an arcade stick.
7 Enjoy The Best Of Both Worlds
For decades, gamers were forced to choose between a Nintendo or Sega console. Few fans could convince their parents to purchase both. Luckily, there's now a way to have the best of both worlds.
The Nester DC project is a mod project that will play all of your favorite games on your Dreamcast console.
Nester DC also contains images of the game's packaging, cheat codes, and music. While Nester is available for a variety of platforms, it doesn't exclude the Dreamcast.
6 Play Music Instead Of Games
What can you do when a console breaks? If it's unrepairable, you have useless plastic and metal box. The Dreamcast is no longer supported by Sega, which makes the original console even more challenging to find. Thanks to resourceful modders, you can now turn that broken Dreamcast into something useful.
All you have to do is combine a broken Dreamcast console and controller with a few guitar parts to transform it into a new musical accessory. A crafty gamer named Flooky spent 40 hours and $20 on parts to bring new life to her Dreamcast.
5 Add More Space
If you have a friend who loves the Dreamcast as much as you do, you'll naturally want to share your favorite games. Trading games have been a popular pastime between console gamers for decades. Now it's possible to share games through hard drives.
Hard drives have more available space on them than the Dreamcast CD Card reader. To make the hard drive work with your system, you'll need a GDEmu to bypass the disc drive with an SD Card Reader. With a few more adjustments, your Dreamcast will read games from the hard drive instead of a cd.
4 Use It As A Music Player
The Dreamcast VMU was a memory card with an LCD screen. It could also download and play mini-games since there was a basic controller on the VMU. These tiny, portable cards don't last forever. If the hardware breaks, it can be a difficult fix.
A Japanese gamer managed to mod the VMU into a case for their iPad Nano.
They used the interior parts of the music player and inserted it into an empty VMU. Using an iPad Nano also ensures you can enable touchscreen access if you don't want to use the hardware controls.
3 Unlock Its Full Potential
If you want to save your Dreamcast game, you need a VMU. The VMU is inserted into the top of the Dreamcast controller. The VMU has a limit of 200 blocks, but this limitation was set by Sega and not the hardware.
Modders found a way to bypass the restriction and unlock the unused space. So far modders have unlocked an additional 44 blocks of extra space. It may not seem like much, but this extra room is vital for massive save games such as Shenmue or Sonic Adventure: Chao Adventure.
2 Another Way To Make It Portable
While most mods are for the Dreamcast console itself, there are plenty of ways to re-use the VMU and controller. The Dreamcast controller has a built-in mini-LCD screen.
Gamers have found a way to hack in simple games into the controller, such as Flappy Bird or Pokémon, with no tv screen or monitor necessary. Though it has to have a power source, you can now use your controller to play several games without relying on the main Dreamcast console.
1 Make It A Mobile Device
The Sega Dreamcast was released in the early 2000s. Gamers now have a variety of gaming options available to them. While there are pc gaming and consoles to consider, many still reach for their phones to check social media. Matthew Sessions has combined a Dreamcast with a tablet screen.
With a lot of work, Matthew took the inner components of a Dreamcast and turned it into a portable device.
There's even a port to connect a controller and the machine runs off a battery. There’s no reason why he has to keep his Dreamcast at home.