Hot Japanese Imports: Long live the Dreamcast

August 10, 2009 - 4:28 pm No Comments

The Dreamcast is an example of a console that its fans refused to let die. When Sega discontinued it outside of Japan, people purchased Boot Disks that would let them play import video games and imported. When licensed games stopped coming, people started creating and selling their own independent games. One look at the console’s history, and it’s easy to see that it has been loved.

This week, Important Importables salutes the Dreamcast. We’ll quickly go over some basic facts about the system, talk about running import games and hunt down retailers which still carry licensed or independent games.


A Dreamcast refresher

Sega’s Dreamcast was part of the console generation that included the GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox. However, it was released much earlier than the other systems. It was available in 1998 in Japan, 1999 in the rest of the world, while the PS2 was released in 2000 and the GameCube and Xbox were released after 2001. By 2002, Sega’d discontinued the Dreamcast in North America, Europe and Australia, officially withdrawing from the console race.

Some of the hallmarks of the Dreamcast include the 3D gaming, a built in modem to support internet gaming and a visual memory unit that plugged into the controller. While it failed overseas, the console was still sold in Japan until 2006 and a PAL version was sold until 2009. While licensed games are no longer released, there’s a strong independent and homebrew community.

If you’re actually looking for a Dreamcast console, a lot of places still sell them used or new. A used console will probably cost you between $14.99 and $49.99, depending on the retailer and condition. (Be sure to test it first, if you can!) A new console will be much harder to find, and will most likely cost more than $49. ThinkGeek has a product listing for new Dreamcast consoles and offers replacement units if you console isn’t new and a 30 Day return policy.

Innovation Dreamcast Compatible Super Game Adapter Boot Disk

How to play import games on a Dreamcast

One option is to mod the Dreamcast. Of course, this requires some technological knowledge and abilities, and there’s a small chance things could go wrong. The best way to go is to find or create a Boot Disk for yourself.

The DC-X Import Game Adapter is a commercial CD Boot Disk. You just pop it in the Dreamcast, do what it says on screen and you’ll be able to play games from any region and the new homebrew games. Unfortunately, it can occasionally be hard to find. If you do find one, it’ll probably cost around $19.99. Fortunately, an Innovation Dreamcast Super Game Converter is also listed on Amazon for $12.99 that does the same thing. They both work in the same way. Put the disk in, and let it start running. It will then tell you to put in the game disk you want to run. Then you play as normal.

Another option is the Utopia Boot Disk program. You download the program from the internet and burn it to CD. Then, you pop the newly created Utopia Boot Disk CD into the Dreamcast. It will tell you to put in the CD you want to use, and you’ll be able to play games from any region.

Wind and Water: Puzzle Battles

Finding Dreamcast games

For official games, you’ll probably have to find a privately run video game resale store or online store. As you’ve probably noticed, GameStop stopped selling Dreamcast games years ago.

Amazon and eBay are viable places to start. If you purchase a game from eBay though, double check and make sure it is an authentic game before placing any bids.

Three other, fantastic sites to visit are Play-Asia, GOAT Store and redspotgames, since they carry independent, commercial Dreamcast games. Last Hope and Wind and Water: Puzzle Battles are the only two independent, commercial games that redspotgames sells. Play-Asia and GOAT Store both carry a wide variety of Dreamcast accessories and games, however GOAT Store only carries the independent games Cool Herders, Feet of Fury, Inhabitants and Maquipai. Be careful when buying independent, commercial games, as some Dreamcasts won’t play them. Check your Dreamcast model first, before ordering.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Important Importables will take a look back and review the game which got me into playing import video games, Angel Collection for the GBA.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Important Importables discussed finding Japanese video game fan art using and Pixiv.

Site [Play-Asia] Site [YesAsia] Site [NCSX] Site [Himeya Shop] Site [Strapya World]

Full Story » | Written by Jenni Lada for Gamertell. | Comment on this Article »

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