Showing posts with label Homebrew. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homebrew. Show all posts

The Dreamcast Directory: Websites We Love in 2024

Late last year, in a gratuitous act of procrastination, I authored a piece for the Junkyard that surveyed the hefty range of Dreamcast websites that had sprung up in the console’s “post-Sega” era but which had sadly since bit the dust. In reality that piece was an excuse to indulge in some nostalgic daydreaming about the period when I first came across the console as a nerdy teen: a bizarre time when the burgeoning unofficial world (Goat Store, Beats of Rage, Treamcasts) sat alongside the last vestiges of Sega’s official involvement (idiosyncratic Japan-only shmups and surprisingly resilient online game servers).

As this list of deceased Dreamcast websites was pretty lengthy—and could have been even lengthier if not for a couple of oversights—readers could be forgiven for assuming that the hobby of maintaining websites dedicated to a 25-year old console was fading away. Fortunately though, they would be badly mistaken, and therein lies the purpose of this follow-up: to shine a light on the plethora of websites that are alive, kicking, and proudly serving the Dreamcast scene in 2024.

In no particular order, I present to you the Junkyard’s comrades-in-arms:

Dreamcast-talk (https://www.dreamcast-talk.com

Founded in 2004, and thereby pre-dating the Dreamcast Junkyard by a year, Dreamcast-talk is undoubtedly the lodestar of the scene. The website’s founders set out to establish a forum where DC-heads of various stripes could converge to chew the fat, sans what was perceived to be the overly restrictive administrative practices of certain prior forums. Dreamcast-talk quickly achieved that goal, and has continued to do so persistently and reliably for two decades now. Theoretically it's a fairly easy gig: set out a bunch of themed boards where relevant topics can be discussed, weed out spam or egregious flaming, and undertake technical maintenance from time to time. In practice though, maintaining a forum can be a bloody nightmare, and the fact that a day rarely goes by without fresh posts being made or a new member signing up is a testament to how important Dreamcast-Talk remains. 165,348 posts made and not out: as solid an innings as you are likely to see from an internet forum. When the gold anniversary hits in 2054 I promise I’ll deliver a better present than a couple of paragraphs in a rambling blog post…

DCEmulation (https://dcemulation.org

DCEmulation is another of the scene’s OGs that is still trucking in 2024. Actually, screw that. Given that it was founded in September 2000 (!), and is by my estimation the oldest Dreamcast-focused website to grace the worldwide web today, it would only be fair to say that DCEmulation is the OG of the scene. When the historians finally turn their academic gaze to our beloved little white box, DCEmulation will probably be mentioned in every other footnote. 

As the name suggests, DCEmulation’s initial focus was on documenting and discussing the development of emulators designed to run on the Dreamcast. Naturally, due to the type of audience and contributors that flocked to it, this focus quite quickly broadened out to cover Dreamcast homebrew development in its entirety. A few years in, spats between admins resulted in some splitting (which is succinctly summarised by our German brethren at Sega-DC.de), but thankfully this behaviour wasn’t endemic. In fact, efforts turned from splitting to amalgamation in 2010, when DCEmulation incorporated the forum for the unofficial Phantasy Star Online server, Sylverant.

Although the DCEmulation Wiki has now been mothballed, the forum, which alongside the Simulant Discord server is home to some of the most knowledgeable Dreamcast coders out there, is still in active service after 729,068 posts. Props to [darc], Bluecrab, and the whole DCEmulation community for keeping the show on the road all these years.