The story of emulation on the Dreamcast started when the first boot CDís became available. Though these were primarily used to be able to play back illegally copied games they later became used for the purpose of booting home-brew programs and games.
These later evolved into applications such as MP3 players, Video CD players, web browsers and emulators as well as a port of Linux. The art of emulation was generally performed on PCís only mainly because the PC is easier to develop for than a home games console.
Since the Dreamcast was designed for games to be developed quickly through the use of Windows CE and itís inherent advantages such as DirectX and coupled with the processor power generally needed, emulators have began to make the trip over.
The two advantages to having emulators on the Dreamcast are that they are generally more simplistic to get running than a PC version and with a PC the main controller is the keyboard whereas the Dreamcast controller is much more suited.
Perhaps the most famous emulator for the Dreamcast was Bleemcast! from the makers of Bleem! for the PC. Bleem! is a Playstation emulator for the PC. Itís Dreamcast version allowed playback of Playstation titles smoother and at a higher resolution. The Bleem! and Bleemcast! plans evaporated thanks to legal pursuits from Sony. Only 3 games got the Bleemcast treatment out of a plan of 100ís, these were Tekken 3, Gran Turismo 2 and Metal Gear Solid. To play them you need the original Playstation game and the Bleemcast! boot CD which sold for around $10.
The Dreamcast emulation scene is very active and a providing a tremendous afterlife to such an underrated machine never thought possible and outstripping the PS2 as an all round entertainment machine. For less than £50 the Dreamcast is an excellent machine for games but with so many other abilities thanks to the home-brew scene itís value is much more.
To get started with emulators for Segaís great white box you will need a CD writer and a good knowledge of how the burning programs work. Some emulators come ready as an image for some popular CD burning programs like Nero and Disk Juggler.
Many classic consoles, computers, handhelds and even some arcade machines have been ported. Classic PC games like Doom, Wolfenstien 3D and Quake amongst others have been ported. Of course no emulator is 100% perfect yet some of these have come a long way and with the Dreamcast emulation scene being relatively new there will no doubt be some great achievements yet to come. Some current projects include; Master System and Game Gear Mega Drive NES SNES Game Boy Neo Pocket Colour MAME Commodore 64 ZX Spectrum
For all Dreamcast Emulation news checkout Dreamcast Emulation for daily updates on emulators and other home-brew projects.