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Emulators on Dreamcast
When hackers cracked the Sega Dreamcast's security and booting code in 2000, it was a hammerblow to the already ailing home console, despite a huge library of great Dreamcast games. However, the ability to run custom code on the Dreamcast hardware also meant that the machine was taken to the hearts of the homebrew community, who provided it with a stream of original games and console emulators. With so many emulators available on the Internet, it can be hard to discern the good Dreamcast emulators from the more buggy examples, so in this article, we'll guide you to the cream of the crop with 7 emulators that run on Sega Dreamcast.
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Console Emulators for the Dreamcast
NesterDC is a fully featured Nintendo Entertainment System emulator for the Dreamcast, with superb compatibility. Up to ten Save states are possible, and the interactive selection screens can feature NES box art as well as some classic chiptunes in the background. NesterDC remains the leading Dreamcast NES emulator.
Sega Genesis Emulators for Dreamcast
While it is still officially at the Beta stage, GENS4ALL is already a worthy contender for best Genesis emulator on the Dreamcast. The emulator is able to save games to the VMU, sports VGA output support and even the original Game Genie and Action Replay cheat codes for Genesis games. One of the most recent Dreamcast emulator releases, if you're a Sega Genesis fan, GENS4ALL is certainly worth trying out.
Super Nes Emulators for Dreamcast
The most comprehensive and compatible SNES emulator available for the Dreamcast is DreamSNES. Based on the Snes9X code, DreamSNES features Dreamcast VMU and VGA cable support on top of four controllers, mouse and lightgun controls. The graphical interactive menus and soundtrack for the game selection screens also add a professional feel. While some games will run slow, compatibility is surprisingly high, and Super Mario World, for example, runs well.
Neo Geo Emulators for Dreamcast
Master Dreamcast coder Chui pulled of something of a software miracle with his Neo Geo CD emulator NEO4ALL. With near fullspeed emulation and superb sound, Chui managed to cram one of the most sought after and expensive systems of the early '90s into the Dreamcast. Excellent compatibility makes using this particular emulator an absolute pleasure, especially for the classic Metal Slug and King of Fighters games.
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Home Computer Emulators for Dreamcast
Spectrum Emulators for Dreamcast
Where there's emulation, Sinclair's classic home computer is never far behind. There are a number of Spectrum emulators available for the Dreamcast, but one of the stand-outs is DreamSpec, not least because it comes in a pre-prepared CDI image for burning with over 200 legally available freeware Spectrum games, and so makes a great basis for getting acquainted with the best that Spectrum gaming had to offer.
Commodore 64 Emulators for Dreamcast
DreamFrodo is a fine Commodore 64 emulator, allowing for the mapping of the C64 keys to controller inputs, Dreamcast keyboard support and saving to the VMU. Commodore 64 games can be temperamental with emulators on any platform, but DreamFrodo does a pretty good job, and the website contains plenty of information on how to construct your own dream C64 emulation disc.
Commodore Amiga Emulators for Dreamcast
The Amiga's unique custom chip design has meant that it has always proven a difficult and demanding machine to emulate, but, in his second entry on our list, Chui has done as good a job as is possible on the Dreamcast hardware with UAE4ALL. Chui maintains a game compatibility list on his website, and the surprising number of classic Amiga titles that run well is a tribute to the ingenuity of the homebrew coders.
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The ability to burn Dreamcast games may have opened the piracy floodgates on the platform, but it also allowed the homebrew community to expand the potential of Sega's last console in surprising new ways. Combine this selection of Dreamcast emulators with the best free Dreamcast games available, and the venerable console can still provide you with hours of gaming pleasure, nearly a decade on from its demise.