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Android gets a full speed Dreamcast Emulator with Reicast

As the last console produced by Sega, the Dreamcast is fondly remembered by gamer's everywhere.  Released in 9.9.99 in the USA, the Dreamcast initially sold well and had a killer library for its time. Unfortunately, the absence of a DVD drive and rampant piracy (at least according to rumors) meant the early demise of this system.  The PS2 had arguably better graphics and a built in DVD drive which at the time meant that the system performed double duty for many gamers since stand alone DVD players were still expensive at the time.  Sadly, in 2001 Sega threw in the towel and discontinued the Dreamcast.  A few games were released afterwards (technically until 2007) but the system was effectively dead.

"It's thinking.."

Many of Dreamcast's classics have been ported over to other consoles as straight ports and/or sequels.  For example, the title shot of this article, Namco's Soul Calibur has been recently released on Android, as well as being available on iOS, and Xbox 360 arcade.   The system came stock with a built in 56k modem (Ethernet adapter sold separately) for online gaming and supported visual memory cards (VMU's), as well as connecting to a monitor/HDTV though a VGA box for crisp graphics that scale well to this day still look pretty good depending on the game.

Grandia 2 runs great. 

Zombies Revenge is glitchy but runs at full speed.

Code Veronica looks great.
Last December, Reicast was released to the Google Play store.  While this emulator is still in alpha, it runs many games at full speed which is amazing considering how powerful this system was for its day and that it runs on our portable devices.  Emulator menu's are nearly non-existent, not all games run (sadly, no Skies of Arcadia or Dead of Alive 2),  and the graphics are glitchy but, it is amazing at just how fast this emulator runs on portable hardware considering its early state.  Definitely forget about fancy features like save states or online play at this early stage of development.

To this day, this is still Astaroth's most awesome costume.

Ikaruga still looks great.  

Sword of Berserk has not aged well.
To run the emulator, simply install it from the Google Play store and create a "DC" folder on the root of your SD card.  Inside the "DC" folder, create another folder called "Data"and put your Dreamcast bios files (either dump your own or Google for them) in that folder.   The files should be named "dc_boot.bin" and "dc_flash.bin" or the emulator will not run.   Once the emulator runs the Dreamcast OS, you can go into the file settings and format your virtual VMU's for game saves.  The emulator itself has bare-bones on screen controls and the configuration (pressing the back button on your Android device) menu does not really work.  The Dreamcast bios settings for the date and time do not save as every time that I booted a game, I had to set up the DC's clock.  If your screen shuts off or you multi-task, the emulator resets itself and you lose any game progress that's not saved to a VMU.

On XDA, some folks have found workarounds to make physical controllers work with Reicast.  Your mileage may vary but it's worth a shot if you have a PS2 controller or an Nvidia shield, so try your luck.

As per the developer page, the emulator will soon be made compatible with other systems:

Supported platforms

Right now: android/armv7a, linux/armv7a
Soonish: android/x86, linux/x86, windows/x86
Later on: linux/mips, android/mips, wii/ppc, ps3/ppc, xbox/ppc

If I may take an educated guess by looking at this list, this emulator may end up as a "core" for Retroarch; a great multi-system emulator.

So keep an eye on the developers page to keep up with progress.  In the meanwhile, install and enjoy!!

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