If you are an owner of an old Dreamcast video game console who is just sad to see it sitting on your shelf rusting away, then I think I have got something that will make you smile. It is possible to play burned backed up discs on it so that while you will be able to keep your original discs in mint condition, you can load homemade game discs by burning them. But before you get all excited, you do need a few software and the right Dreamcast model for this to work. Before we get into the process, let us see what makes Dreamcast so special.
This home video game console was released by Sega way back in 1998 and was the first in the sixth generation of video game consoles. It was designed to reduce cost and it was initially well received but the interest in the console steadily declined after the launch of Sony’s PlayStation. Still, the console was considered ahead of its time with a huge library of games which were considered creative and innovative as well as high-quality ports from Sega’s NAOMI arcade system board. It was also the first console to include a built-in modem for internet support and online play.
With Dreamcast, you can play games from Genesis, SNES, NES, Gameboy and even games from PlayStation. But to make this happen, you may have to spend a lot of time digging around the internet to find the right tools and resources. You definitely don’t want to ruin your precious old console. If that seems like something you are interested in, there are a few resources and videos on YouTube but this post is not related to that.
Let us dive right back to the focus of the article and see how to burn Dreamcast games.
Things You Will Need:
1. You need a Dreamcast console, BUT……
But not just any Dreamcast console. You need a Dreamcast that has been made before October 2000 as the newer Dreamcast versions have changes made to the way the discs are read which may prevent the backed up games from playing. Just look at the bottom of the console for a number inside a circle near the word PAL or NTSC. If that number is 0 or 1, you can play burned games. But if it is 2 or higher, poor luck, you can’t use the Dreamcast to play the burned games.
2. A computer with a CD burner (a Windows OS or a Mac device will do)
3. File extracting software (like WinRAR or Zip)
A lot of the Dreamcast games come in the form of RAR archives. Hence, you will need a program like WinRAR or 7-Zip to open these files. You can easily download both of these online. Even the trial version of WinRAR will work fine for opening the RAR files.
4. Game backup file.
You need a game backup file to burn into Dreamcast. You can find them in various resources on the internet. But it is illegal to download the backup for a game that you do not own.
5. A bland CD-R.
6. ImgBurn software
Download and install ImgBurn which is a freeware program but make sure to not install the additional software it will try to install. With all the right add-ons, this is the easiest and the most reliable way to burn Dreamcast games. You can download the software from imgburn.com.
7. ImgBurn Dreamcast Drivers
- Install these extra drivers which will give ImgBurn support to burn Dreamcast .CDI and .NRG files. You can download these drivers here.
- When you extract the file, you will find a setup file for ImgBurn and another compressed file called ‘CDI files for ImgBurn’. (You don’t need the setup file since you installed the latest version of ImgBurn already.)
- Extract the CDI files for ImgBurn which will create a new folder with three files – pfctoc.dll, pfctoc.h and pfctoc.lib. Copy these three files to ‘C:\Program Files\ImgBurn or C:\Program Files (x86)\ImgBurn’.
Finally, use the WinRAR or 7-Zip program to extract the game file from the RAR file. If after extraction you get even more RAR files, start with .part1 file to automatically extract and join the multiple parts.
Also Read: The Best Sega Dreamcast Games
How to burn games with ImgBurn?
- Dreamcast games are burnt on to CD-R discs. It will not support any other type of discs. Make sure to use high-quality discs like Memorex for best results. Insert the blank CD-R into the device.
- Launch ImgBurn and select ‘Write image file to disc’ option. Or you can also right click on your file and select ‘open with ImgBurn’.
- Find your file by clicking the ‘Browse’ button in the ‘Source’ section. If you have a BIN/CUE file, select the CUE file.
- Select the ‘Write Speed’ drop-down menu and click on 8X or something even lower. This is to make sure that you won’t encounter any error during the burn.
- Uncheck the ‘Verify’ checkbox. Verifying the disc after burning will ensure that everything went well but this will add extra time to your process and there is nothing that can be done to fix a corrupted disc anyway.
- Finally, click on the large ‘Write’ button in the lower left corner and your disc will start burning.
Also Read: Best Dreamcast Emulators to Play Sega Games
How to play the burned game?
This is pretty easy. Power off your Dreamcast as it has been heard that more success is observed if one starts with the power of the system turned off before inserting the game. Now you can insert the game and start the Dreamcast. If the game has more than a single session, then it is likely that it is a self-booting game and should start up as a real game but if the game shows up as an audio CD on the console, then you may need to use Utopia Boot Disc to run it.
You can download the Utopia Boot Disc image for the disc from most of the Dreamcast emulation and modding sites since chances are that the site that you downloaded the game backup file from also has the Utopia Boot Disc. Now burn this image into a CD-R by following the instructions above. Now insert the burned Utopia Boot Disc into your Dreamcast console and power it on.
After the Dreamcast and Sega logos appear, you will be able to see the Utopia Boot Disc screen. Open the lid to the Dreamcast console while the Utopia screen is on and remove the Utopia disc from the console once it stops spinning. Now insert your burned game and close the lid and you will see that after a moment, the Utopia screen will change and your game will be booted. This may take a while, so be patient.
So that is it. Your game should start now and you are all ready to start playing. I hope this worked out for you and that you are able to enjoy your favorite games in the great Dreamcast console.