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Dream Library: Virtual Console before Virtual Console

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Black Squirrel, Dec 15, 2021.

  1. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    no reverse gear Wiki Sysop
    Northumberland, UK
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    Have you ever had a dream Neo

    This service isn't as obscure as it once was, but it wasn't on Sega Retro until this afternoon, so

    Dream Library

    Here's how internet on the Dreamcast worked in Japan - every few months Sega and its buddies would put out a new "Dream Passport" disc, basically a glorified web browser that also managed setting up an internet connection and steadly received more features as time went on. In April 2000, Dream Passport 3 was released, and it shipped with a Mega Drive emulator.

    Why? Because Sega decided to start selling old Mega Drive games again. Pay some money, download games onto your Dreamcast, and be horrified by the emulation quality:

    Also available: PC Engine games (and if you keep clapping maybe NEC Retro will come back to life). My expectation is that the emulation here was much better, but even less survives of that library. It also makes for some curious reading - it's very likely there were points in history where there were more PC Engine games available than Mega Drive ones... on a Sega console.

    Games are stored in RAM so it's very similar to the old Sega Channel, in that as soon as you power off the system, everything (except saves) disappears. Likewise, the games on offer kept changing (though not by as much), and as you were only "renting" a game, you might not be able to redownload. And it also means, because the service has been dead since January 2003, that nothing has been saved and it's fallen into obscurity. You can, however, still try it out - the disc came with a bunch of offline time-limited "demos" (shown in that video), which sadly became quite useful, because the service was down for six months at the beginning of 2001 while they worked out how to add broadband support.

    My favourite bit about this story - Sorcerian. Apparently there's a puzzle which relies on sound, but the emulator is so bad that Sega had to explain a workaround. I don't know much about the game (except for being a Falcom RPG with its roots in Japanese home computing) - could be an interesting test case for other notoriously bad emulators, such as those by AtGames.

    But yes, Dreamcast did it first. Kinda.
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  2. Pirate Dragon

    Pirate Dragon

    A bit more about it posted here.
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