Another Dreamcast First?

The Virtual Console on the Wii is rather nice, isn't it? I especially like it for N64 games as I never owned one of those and the games look better than they did on the original console. Legal emulation seems to be the way to go if companies don't want people emulating games behind their backs, although I think they might be over pricing some of the games..

But did you know Sega actually experimented with a similar idea in Japan for the Dreamcast? Yeah, either did I, but I bumped into this video on Youtube, where the descriptions reads:

"Dream Library was video game download service for Dreamcast.(Similar to Virtual Console for Wii.) It was possible to play by downloading the games of MegaDrive(Genesis) and PC Engine(TurboGrafx-16).Only five trial versions that can play for 15 minutes by using Dream Passport 3(web browser software for DC) can play now."

Judging by the video (which demonstrates 5 Mega Drive games including Ghouls N Ghosts, which shows they must of had some third party agreements on this other than Hudson), it runs on the same emulator as the American release Sega Smash pack, which played and looked perfectly fine but has shit sound emulation, making the games sound a lot worse than they actually were. No TurboGrafx games are shown so my guess is they never got around to emulation for that (otherwise there would of been a leak). I like the idea of a free 15 minute trial version though, Nintendo should probably set something up like that themselves.

I can't think of any earlier cases of consoles letting you download emulated back catalogs of older systems like this (Sega Channel doesn't count as that was for downloading games for the same system). Looks like this would of been another one of those things Sega could have expanded on if the Dreamcast kept going. Another "what if", if you like.


Anonymous said...

Keep up the articles man, I never knew anything like this existed...

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! This is amazing! I really wish they had made this :)

fatherkrishna said...

Another excellent find Gagaman(n).
Again though it makes me sad that the true potential of the Dreamcast was never tapped into... :(

Caleb said...

I never had a clue about this.

How kick ass!

Dreamcast is the friggen' king!

...And holy crap that reminded me how difficult ghouls and ghosts was. That damn uneven ground always screwed up my jumps.

Anonymous said...

Im really glad to see this getting attention. I never had the privilege to use the service while it was live (I'm a US resident), but I do recall that the service actually did go live for about a year if I recall correctly. I do remember that it was taken down in Dec. 2002, along with many other online ISAO services that the Japanese enjoyed with their Dream Passport web browsers that nobody else in the world had such as Ch@btalk and myroom. (The former being a semi-instant messenger and the latter being a social networking site). Dream Library (also known as dreamlib) offered around 50 games available for download using Dream Passport 2 or Dream Passport Premier. The emulator was stored on the disc along with 5 time limited Megadrive demos. Of the 50 or so available games, about a third were PC Engine, mostly shooters like Final Soldier and Gunhed. Having used the dreamlib emulator as well as the Segagen emulator that was used in the "Smashpack" compilation, I can tell you that dreamlib has superior sound emulation. Segagen had poor FM channel emulation where as dreamlib was perfect. I cant comment on PCE emulation since obviously I never had a chance to use the download service, but I would suspect the quality and accuracy of emulation to be equal to that of the megadrive emulation. In case your curious, I once asked a Japanese friend of mine on PSO what Dream Library was like and she commented that all the games had the same price of 500 yen per download, and the games were lost after you power down the dreamcast. Furthermore, you could not have more than one game downloaded into the Dreamcast's ram at the same time. I think these were reasons for the failure of the Dreamlibrary service, aside from the the obvious commercial failure of the console itself at the time. At any rate, that may shed a little insight as to why there was a zip drive in development.

Anonymous said...

"Dream Library (also known as dreamlib) offered around 50 games available for download using Dream Passport 2 or Dream Passport Premier."

Correction: DreamPassport 3 or Premier. 2 was a little too early. Typo! :D