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Showing posts with label System Link. Show all posts
Showing posts with label System Link. Show all posts

The Dragoncast VS Cable

Like many consoles of the 1990s, the Dreamcast offers the option to connect two systems together via a system link cable to enjoy two-player action. This capacity to connect two Dreamcasts together is quite possibly one of the most under-used abilities of the hardware though, due to the scarcity not only of the link cables themselves; but also the tiny number of games that actually make use of system link play. Officially, there are only a handful of games that allow a pair of Dreamcasts to be tethered together with a physical connection for link play: F355 Challenge, Virtual On, Sega Tetris and Aero Dancing F. There's also the unreleased and unfinished vehicular combat title Hellgate from Jester Interactive too, should you wish to give that a go.
A very early demo of Outtrigger also hints at the functionality, but it was removed from the final game. However, this article isn't really about the software library designed to make use of the Dreamcast link cable. It's actually about the Dragoncast, an unofficial alternative to the ultra-rare Japan-only official Dreamcast VS Cable (code HKT-9500); and also about the outstanding entertainment provided by the dubiously translated English on the packaging.
Image credit: DCJY Facebook group member Arnold Javon Daye II
Coming from manufacturer Dragon 2000, the Dragoncast is just one entry in a fairly sizable catalogue of third party peripherals that also includes arcade sticks, memory cards, VGA boxes and rumble packs. There isn't a lot of information to be found online about this rather enigmatic brand, but the parent company appears to be called Sam-Factory; a marque which again leads to something of a dead end when using Google as a detective tool. There are a couple of articles and forum entries online that look at a Dragoncast fight stick (here and here), but the general consensus is that the controllers from Dragoncast/Dragon 2000/Sam-Factory are a bit on the cheap-nasty side when it comes to quality control.
Happily, I can say with confidence that the Dragoncast VS Cable fares a little better and does actually offer a specimen of more than acceptable quality. That said, even though this cable was most likely intended as a more cost-effective way of enjoying the Dreamcast's link play abilities, the Dragoncast itself is now something of a rarity and can command some pretty high prices when they pop up on eBay. Not as high as the official VS/Taisen/HKT-9500 cable, but still enough to make your eyes water...as mine did when I won this example recently...

Guest Article: The Great Serial Connector Hunt

Luke Benstead is a man on a mission - and that mission is to get the world's Dreamcasts back online without the need for a broadband adapter through his DreamPi project. We've covered DreamPi here at the 'Yard a few times and even had Luke on the DreamPod to talk with him about his masterplan. Luke isn't just interested in the online aspects of the Dreamcast though,  as he's now embarked on a side quest to create new system link and coders' cables. It's a grand vision and will hopefully end the drought and inflated prices that these items command. There's just one tiny stumbling block...

The Dreamcast is a highly extensible system shipping with more ports and connectors than most consoles. This extendability shows itself in the sheer number of unusual peripherals that are available or were announced. Everything from Zip drives to console link cables, from maracas to karaoke units were released or under development at some point; and since the demise of the console these extra connector ports have allowed modders to create peripherals such as Dreamcast-compatible hard drives and SD card readers.