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Showing posts with label Genesis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Genesis. Show all posts

Is A Modern 'Dreamcast Collection' Release Closer Than We Think?

Is the Mega Drive Classics collection a sign of things to come? Recently we’ve had seemingly more and more assurance from Sega that they are in fact, still the awesome force that many of us remember from childhood; and beyond our formative years for many in the case of the Dreamcast.

Whilst it seemed to be criminally underreported at the time, producer Kagasei Shimomura did hint that Sega would like to look at expanding the Sega Ages releases beyond the standard 'retro' early era stuff we typically see, and hinted this would be linked to how well the initial batch of material is received.

While not the type of thing we’d usually cover on this Dreamcast centric blog, I felt that the recent release of the Mega Drive classic collection is something of an eyebrow raiser for those of us hoping that Sega’s swansong console may see some form of similar contemporary bundle release.
The Mega Drive / Genesis Classics collection itself is a nicely put together affair, and whilst this isn't a review I currently have no qualms with it, especially with the low entry price. My day one consumer thoughts are that it is much closer to the standard of the Rare Replay collection than anything we’ve seen previously from Sega.

Official Mega Drive Emulator For Dreamcast Discovered

Mega Drive/Genesis emulation is nothing new on the Dreamcast, and Sega even went as far as releasing an official emulator (of sorts) with the Sega Smash Pack compilation that was only launched in the US. Since the death of the Dreamcast, various emulators have sprung up, some of which were based on the very code found on the Smash Pack GD. It's a really cool story and well worth checking out if you have the time.

It appears that there was an alternative Mega Drive emulator being worked on as a joint venture between Sega Japan and Sega Europe, and - like most stories about vapourware - this has never been substantiated with hard facts. Mentions of PAL versions of Sega Smash Pack with a better and more varied library, twinned with superior emulation can be found in Dreamcast magazines of the era but nothing concrete has ever been seen. Until now, that is.
This is all thanks to a Dreamcast fan called Comby Laurent, who recently found a mysterious GD-Rom in a bunch of discs he acquired. He posted a short video and a few images on the Dreamcast Junkyard Facebook group and I recognised the Mega Drive emulator as the same one I had played when I visited an ex-Sega employee some time ago to record footage of the unreleased Take the Bullet and Colin McRae Rally 2.0. I did record some video of the emulator back then, but my MacBook went into meltdown about a week later and the footage was lost.

A Quick Look At Sega Smash Pack

The Sega Dreamcast is a pretty versatile piece of hardware. Not only is it capable of running operating systems like Linux and Dreamshell et al, it is pretty adept at mimicking other console formats too. Since the early days of the Dreamcast, talented coders have been tricking the system into convincing itself it was a Nintendo Entertainment System, a Neo-Geo or even a Sony PlayStation. The latter example of console emulation on Dreamcast is well documented and eventually resulted in Bleem! being shut down by Sony's legal department, but let us also remember that Sega itself utilised the hardware of the Dreamcast to bring emulation to the masses.
While the inclusion of PC Engine and Megadrive emulators on certain Dream Passport internet browser discs is well known in the wider Dreamcast community, Sega opted to bring Genesis titles to the general populace in the United States via the Sega Smash Pack collection - an official release containing 12 retro titles from various eras in the company's illustrious history spanning both the 16 and 32-bit generations. I have it on pretty good authority that a PAL version of Smash Pack was in the works at Sega Europe (having both played a variant and by way of the article below as proof), but only the NTSC-U version ever saw the light of day.