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Unofficial Dreamcast FAQ

Unofficial Dreamcast FAQ

version 2.1
Last update 23 February 2000.

Maintained by Richard Harris ( or

Sources: Please see Miscellaneous section 4.5 below.

Contributors: Please see Miscellaneous section 4.6 below. Please help by
              sending any information you might have. (I'd really like more
              info on other Dreamcast magazines - the paper kind - from
              around the world. See section 4.1)

Summarised Table of Contents
1.0 Introduction
2.0 Dreamcast Hardware
3.0 Dreamcast Software
4.0 Miscellaneous Questions and Information
5.0 Index/Complete Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction

Welcome to the Unofficial Dreamcast FAQ! This FAQ is mainly for questions
people have or might have about the North American and PAL Dreamcast
consoles. It is not intended to replace the various existing FAQ's 
which primarily cover the Japanese and Asian Dreamcast machines. See the 
Miscellaneous section for info on where to find other Dreamcast related


I can't take any responsibility for inaccurate information contained in this 
FAQ. All questions are answered to the best of my knowledge, but mistakes
will probably creep in. Please mail me if you see anything that upsets you and
I'll attempt to correct it. I am in no way responsible for any damage
anything in this FAQ may cause you or your equipment.

This FAQ is in no way endorsed by Sega or any of its affiliates. All
copyrights and trademarks recognised.


This FAQ and all text contained herein is Copyright (C)1999 Richard Harris.
Only distribute this FAQ in it's entire form, with nothing removed or added.
Please contact me (email address above) if you have a question or if you want
to include the FAQ on your website, on a CD-ROM or in a publication of any

1.1 What is Dreamcast?

- The Sega Dreamcast is a powerful console system designed primarily for
  fast, arcade quality games. It was the first machine released in a new
  generation of game consoles. The Dreamcast's next-generation console peers
  are the Sony Playstation 2, the Nintendo 'Dolphin' (development name) and
  the Microsoft X-Box (development name). It's current competition is the Sony
  Playstation and the Nintendo 64.

  One of the main features of the Dreamcast, other than the fantastic fluid
  graphics and great games, is the built-in modem. This gives users access to
  the internet for web browsing, chat, email and (perhaps most importantly)
  online gaming.

  The Dreamcast is also upgradable. It is not clear in what way it will be
  upgraded in the future, but Sega have already announced a Zip drive with a
  front-mounted USB port included, for possible release in early 2000.

1.2 Who is Sega?

- Sega is a true multi-national company. Originally founded in April 1951,
  Sega's goal is to 'take the lead in entertainment in the 21st century'.
  A large research and development department in Japan is backed up by a huge
  presence in the arcade and amusement machine industry, the home
  entertainment/multimedia sector, the toy business and other, new-age arenas.
  Sega Enterprises Limited currently list over 40 companies as major
  subsidiaries, including Sega of America and various companies in Europe.

  Sega was founded by an American, David Rosen. He was in Japan in the early
  1950's and started a company with the name of 'Service Game Incorporated'
  to export mechanical games to the US (Sega is a contraction of 'Service
  Game'). In the '60's he bought a factory to produce jukeboxes, pinball and
  air hockey tables and other similar games.

  Sega is perhaps most famous in the west for its Mega Drive (Genesis in North
  America) console, which has sold over 35 million units since it was released
  in 1989. Other successful console releases included the Master System
  (Mk III in Japan) in 1986, the GameGear portable console system in 1988 and
  the widely loved Saturn in 1995. Less successful were the Mega Drive/Genesis
  add-ons the Mega/Sega CD in 1991, (which still managed to sell over 5
  million units), and the 32X (an add-on for the Mega Drive/Genesis) in 1994.

1.3 Could I have some information on the history of the Dreamcast?

- In 1996, rumours of a next generation Sega game console started surfacing.
  According to the rumours, the machine's development title was 'Dural', named
  after a character from the Sega arcade and Genesis game, Virtua Fighter 2.
  In early 1997, insiders told of two new developments - Sega and Microsoft
  were in discussions and NEC/Videologic had been approached with regard to
  the graphics chipset.

  Soon after, 3DFX, the graphics technology company, revealed a deal with Sega
  to provide technology for a new machine codenamed 'BlackBelt'. At the time,
  3DFX made a popular graphics accelerator chipset for the PC called Voodoo,
  and it was this chipset that was allegedly going to be used in Sega's new

  Now it became clear that Sega actually had two different machines in
  development, one in Japan (development names Dural/Katana), and one in
  America (development name BlackBelt). At one stage the BlackBelt, jointly
  developed by SegaSoft, Microsoft and 3DFX, was shown to a limited number of
  developers and was apparently very well received. The OS was designed to
  make the machine easy to develop for and allowed for quick conversions of
  games to and from PC. At the time Sega's policy seemed to be that raw
  processing power wasn't as important as an easy to develop for operating
  system. The Japanese 'Katana' generally outperformed the 'BlackBelt' in
  hardware terms, but had a more intricate and difficult operating system.

  In July, Sega cancelled the 3DFX deal and it became apparent that the
  'Blackbelt' had been dropped too. It is unknown exactly why the BlackBelt
  was dropped in favour of the Japanese design, but the most likely reason is
  that the production cost would have been higher and ultimately would have
  lead to a more expensive final street price. Another possibility is that the
  'BlackBelt' just wasn't powerful enough to compete in a market with other
  next generation machines from companies like Sony and Nintendo. 

  At this stage it was reported that the now Japanese-developed console was
  being called the 'Katana' (a katana is a type of sword). It was officially
  announced that Hitachi would be making the CPU for the machine. In early
  1998, NEC/Videologic was finally confirmed to be providing the new graphics
  chipset, the PowerVR Series II. The operating system was tweaked to make it
  as easy to use and develop for as 'BlackBelt' was going to be, and Microsoft
  wrote another development system, based on its Windows CE technologies. In
  May 1998 the Dreamcast was officially announced by Bernie Stolar, then CEO
  of Sega of America.

1.4 When was the Dreamcast released?

- The Dreamcast was first released on the 27th of November 1998 in Japan. The
  US had to wait nearly a full year for theirs - Sega executed a massive
  launch on the 9th of September 1999. (9/9/99). The European release date
  was the 14th of October 1999, and the Australian/New Zealand release date
  was the 30th of November.

  The Dreamcast took in over US$97 Million on the first day of launch in North
  America, and sold over 500,000 machines in the first two weeks. Sega were
  quick to point out that $97,000,000 is more than even Star Wars:Phantom
  Menace brought in on its first day of release, but I don't see how we can
  compare a movie to a games console. Better comparisons can be made with the
  Playstation and the N64, during their respective launches.

  For The North American Region:

  Console   	    Time it took to sell over 500,000 units

  Dreamcast         2 weeks
  Nintendo N64      2 months
  Sony Playstation  4 months

  Over 1 Million machines were sold in North America in just over 2 and a half
  months, making the Dreamcast the fastest selling video games machine in that
  region, ever!

  Initial European sales figures look healthy. Over 100,000 machines were sold
  in Europe on launch day alone and over 185,000 in the first weekend.

  Unfortunately, in the Australian region the launch was labelled a disaster
  by Sega fans. The official Sega distributor there, Ozisoft, only managed 9
  launch titles, non of which were first party products - apparently Sega 
  developed software had been held in customs. Also, VMS units and other
  peripherals weren't available at all. After what seemed like infinite
  delays, Australian fans deserved better. Sales information to follow

1.5 What games were available at launch?

- A record number of games for a new system were available at launch in North
  America and in Europe. This was mainly because the machine had been out in 
  Japan for quite a while, and developers had had quite a bit of time to get
  games ready for the launch.

- Japan (4 titles):

  Godzilla Generations (General Entertainment) (action)
  July (Sega) (rpg)
  Pen Pen TriIcelon (Infogrames) (racer)
  Virtua Fighter 3tb (Sega) (fighter)

- North America (18 titles):

  Aerowings (Crave Entertainment) (simulation)
  Air Force Delta (Konami) (shooter)
  Blue Stinger (Activision) (action)
  Cart - Flag to Flag (Sega) (racer)
  House of the Dead 2 (Sega) (gun shooter)
  Hydro Thunder (Midway) (racer)
  Monaco Grand Prix 2 (UbiSoft) (racer)
  Mortal Kombat Gold (Midway) (fighter)
  NFL 2K (Sega) (sports)
  NFL Blitz 2000 (Midway) (sports)
  Pen Pen TriIcelon (Infogrames) (racer)
  Powerstone (Capcom) (fighter)
  Ready to Rumble (Midway) (sports)
  Sonic Adventure (Sega) (platformer)
  Soul Calibur (Namco) (fighter)
  TNN Motorsports Hardcore Heat (ASC Games) (racer)
  Tokyo Xtreme Racer (Crave Entertainment) (racer)
  Trickstyle (Criterion) (racer)

- PAL Region - Europe (12 titles):

  Blue Stinger (Activision) (action)
  Dynamite Cop (Sega) (action)
  Expendable (Infogrames) (shooter)
  Incoming (Interplay) (action)
  Monaco Grand Prix 2 (UbiSoft) (racer)
  Powerstone (Capcom) (fighter)
  Ready to Rumble (Midway) (sports)
  Sega Rally 2 (Sega) (racer)
  Sonic Adventure (Sega) (platformer)
  Tokyo Highway Challenge (Crave) (racer)
  Trickstyle (Criterion) (racer)
  Virtua Fighter 3tb (Sega) (fighter)

  The Australian/NZ launch list was different as Sega developed games weren't
  released at launch; otherwise they were the same as the European region

2.0 Dreamcast Hardware

2.0.1 What's in the box?

- You will normally find the following in your box, along with a bunch of
  advertising-based and warning pamphlets together with recycled and
  recyclable packaging materials. (Good Sega! They even provide
  instructions on how to properly dispose of the Dreamcast itself).

  The Dreamcast console
  Modem (attached to the console, but detachable - try it!)*
  One joypad controller
  Demo GD-ROM Disc
  Web browser Disc
  A long (30 foot) phone cable for the modem*
  Power cable with the appropriate plug for your region
  Composite video lead (also known as an AV cable)**
  Manual (a simple black and white affair)
  * If your machine is imported from Asia, or if you live there, you won't
    get a modem, just a lump of plastic so that you don't have a gaping hole
    in the side of your machine.

  ** In the UK, a RF Unit was included instead of the AV cable to ensure that
     the Dreamcast was compatible with all TV's. I don't have any info yet on
     which TV leads were included in other European regions, but it is
     possible that an RGB/SCART cable was included.

  There is no VMS in the standard Dreamcast packages in any of the 4 regions.
  (see below)

  There is no RF unit in the standard North American Dreamcast package. For
  older TV's, you'll have to purchase this separately. Also, if you have a
  S-Video or SCART capable TV, you should buy the relevant cable for that too.
  See the accessories section for more info on all of these.

2.0.2 What versions of the Dreamcast have been released?

- There have been many Dreamcast variations, the colour of the box being the
  only difference between them. All the colourful versions are from Japan so

  In Japan, the original white and light grey Dreamcast was released first,
  with an orange swirl logo on the case and the accessories. Quite a few
  special editions have also been released. Here is a list in chronological

  Mazyora: The first special edition was the 'Mazyora' which was dark purple
  and came complete with a purple controller.

  Seaman 1: The second special edition was a white skeleton version (ie
  transparent plastic) released with the game 'Seaman', the microphone
  peripheral, a transparent VMS and a music CD.

  Hello Kitty 1 and 2: One transparent pink, the other transparent blue, these
  editions include a pink or purple controller, VMS, keyboard and the Hello
  Kitty Dream Passport software. 

  Seaman 2: The Christmas Seaman Dreamcast is entirely red, and comes with a
  VMS and controller, both the same colour as the console. Included is a
  special communication package which allows you to send voice messages (using
  the Dreamcast microphone) over the net. There's a silhouette picture of
  Seaman on the drive lid too.

  Code Veronica 1 and 2: To celebrate the Japanese release of Capcom's
  successful series 'Resident Evil' on the Dreamcast, two specials machines
  were released. One is transparent dark purple, with a S.T.A.R.S logo on the
  lid, the other is transparent dark red (The 'Claire-edition'). Both have
  matching controllers and a light purplish grey VMS. Of course both are
  bundled with the game. (Only the top plastic cover is coloured, the bottom
  piece is standard grey).

  Fuji Television 'Devers 2000 Series CX-1': A combination TV/Dreamcast with
  a cool design - lots of curves and colours (it's designed to look like a
  Morolien from the game 'Space Channel Five'). Its light blue with little
  antennae on the top and the 4 Dreamcast controller ports under the screen.

  With new special editions released all the time in Japan, this is becoming
  the most updated area of this FAQ! Hopefully there will be a few special
  editions released elsewhere.

  The Asian Dreamcast itself is exactly the same as the original Japanese
  version; it also only plays Japanese software. No modem is included in this
  edition, and the manual is in English instead of Japanese.

  The North American version is the same white colour as the original
  Japanese/Asian edition, with one minor difference, the little triangle on
  the GD-ROM lid is in solid light-grey plastic (The Japanese version had a
  transparent plastic triangle there) with the end of the triangle on the body
  of the machine transparent for the power light to shine through. There are
  at least two internally different machines in the US. The changes have to do
  with the cooling systems and don't affect operation of the machine in any
  way. The Dreamcast logo on the case and the accessories is also orange like
  the Japanese version in the US.

  The PAL version (Europe, Australia, New Zealand, including the United
  Kingdom) is identical in casing colour to the original Japanese and US
  versions, but in all PAL regions the Dreamcast swirl logo has been changed
  to a blue colour. Even the peripherals and accessories have the blue logo in
  PAL areas.

2.0.3 How do I tell the difference between Dreamcasts from different regions?

- Look at the little triangle of plastic above the power light on the GD-ROM
  lid. If its clear, that's a Japanese Dreamcast, if its solid grey its either
  a US or a PAL Dreamcast (If its PAL the Dreamcast swirl logo will be in
  blue, the US swirl is orange like the Japanese logo.) If its red, then your
  machine is Canadian (Canadian consoles are otherwise identical to the US

  If the console isn't a white and light grey colour, then its a special
  edition Japanese machine. (or someone has painted it ;)

2.0.4 Can I use accessories made for one area on my Dreamcast from another

- No, and Yes. Unfortunately, Sega want each region to be isolated in terms of
  software and hardware. Sega basically don't want you to use accessories from
  other regions, and include a warning on each box and in the manual for each
  device that states that the accessory will NOT work on machines from other
  areas. However, in practice, foreign accessories DO work on other machines,
  with a few exceptions.

  In North America, Sega did not release it's own lightgun as it did in Japan.
  This was done to show sympathy for child-related gun accidents and incidents
  in the US, and also (some might say) so that Sega can't be blamed for
  putting guns in the hands of US children. So Sega left the US gun market
  open for 3rd party manufacturers. To make things worse, they disabled
  support for their own gun in the first Gun game, 'House of the Dead 2'. 
  This does not mean the Japanese gun (which is of a higher quality and looks
  better then the 3rd party ones) will not work with other US games in the
  future, but don't count on it. Europe and other PAL regions will get the
  Sega gun too.

  As for other peripherals, they all seem to work on any machine. Japanese VMS
  cards work on the US Dreamcast, as do the Official controllers and arcade
  Bottom line: To be safe and to keep Sega happy, try to use only those
  accessories designed for your specific region. BUT, if you really need that
  silver arcade stick or an emergency late night controller go ahead and get

2.0.5 What are it's technical specifications?

- There's not much to add to this data, its just figures after all.

  An overview of the Dreamcast Chipset:

  Primary CPU: Hitachi SuperH4 RISC CPU (200MHz - 360 Mips - 800MB's/second
                                         data throughput)

  Graphics: NEC PowerVR Series II (100MHz - renders up to 3.5 million polygons
                                   per second)

  Sound: Yamaha AICA Sound Processor (45Mhz - 40 Mips - 64 voices - 16 bit, 
                                      48Khz - 3D audio support)

  Memory: 16MB RAM main, 8MB RAM video, 2MB RAM sound. Total, 26MB.

  CD-ROM Drive: 12 speed Proprietary Yamaha GD-ROM (Gigabyte Disc). Stores up
                to 1.2 Gigabytes. (see section 2.1, 'GD-ROM's and CD's' below)

  Dimensions: 7 7/16" x 7 11/16" x 3" (189mm x 195mm x 76mm)

  Weight: 4.4lbs (1.9 kg's)

  For links to more technical data, see section 4.4.4, 'Dreamcast Technical

2.1 GD-ROM's and CD's

2.1.1 What is a GD-ROM?

- GD-ROM stands for Gigabyte Disc Read Only Memory. Sega decided to use a
  proprietary compact disc system, for two main reasons.
  One was to fit more on the disc; standard CD-ROMs have a maximum capacity 
  of between 650 to 690 Megabytes, while Sega's GD-ROM's have a maximum
  capacity of up to 1.2 Gigabyte of data. The second reason was to discourage
  the casual pirate, as the GD-ROMs are not copyable in a standard CD or DVD
  writer. (nor are they entirely readable in a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive.) One
  part of a GD-ROM can be made readable on a standard CD-ROM, and Sega and 3rd
  party developers often use this section of the GD-ROM to include some
  pictures for computer backdrops or other items related to the game, as an
  extra. It is also possible to include audio CD tracks that play in a
  standard CD player, and most GD's have at least one audio track warning the
  user not to play the GD-ROM in a standard CD Audio player. Try it! The 
  voice is usually corny and fairly amusing :)

  To fit more data on the GD-ROM disc, the data is written in a slightly
  different format to regular CDs. This may mean that the GD disc is actually
  more sensitive to scratches and defects than regular CDs too.

2.1.2 How is Dreamcast software packaged?

- Haters of large boxes rejoice! Sega decided to use standard CD jewel cases
  in Japan and North America. This is great because the large plastic boxes
  that Sega used for the Sega CD and the Saturn in the US  are generally
  considered ugly and difficult to store. The old boxes are also fairly
  fragile. Now you can replace any broken cases with standard CD jewel cases.

  Unfortunately, in PAL regions, Sega chose cases that are almost the same
  size as double-cd's, similar to the boxes of Playstation software. There
  seems to be no reason why, except that perhaps European consumers expect a
  larger box and wouldn't attach the same value to a CD sized case.

2.1.3 How should I change games on the Dreamcast?

- Sega recommends that after you have finished playing a game you open the lid
  with the Dreamcast still on. This forces the disc to a stop, as the hardware
  brake is applied automatically. At the same time, the Dreamcast resets back
  to the startup utility screen so you can edit the VMS or other settings, or
  simply replace the game disc and load another game.

  It may be a bad idea to turn the machine off and then open the lid, as no
  brake will be applied and the GD disc could spin out of the machine and get
  scratched or take your ear off or something. In practice the little clips
  tend to hold the disc in place anyway, but we're talking worst-case
  scenarios here.

2.1.4 Are there long loading times?

- Nope. Generally the 12 speed GD-ROM drive gets the data into the Dreamcast
  really quickly, although this is software dependent. All the games I've seen
  load quickly, with minimal waits between titles and levels too. Its really
  up to the developer to get the loading times down through clever
  programming though.

2.1.5 Are GD-ROM's more fragile than CD-ROM's or DVD's?

- Apparently so, yes. Unfortunately with new technology (newish technology I
  should say) comes a few teething problems. Many people have reported a small
  scratch or fingerprint stops the game from working or causes intermittent
  glitches in the games graphics, functioning or sound.

  Basically, you'll have to handle your discs with extreme care, never touch
  the discs (top or bottom) with anything, and hold them by the edges and
  middle hole.

  I suspect that as the medium matures, developers will find ways of making
  backup areas on the discs in case of an error, and also that Sega will use
  various new technologies that will provide stronger scratch resistant
  materials in the manufacture of the GD-ROMs. 

2.1.6 Can I backup my GD-ROMS?

- No. Please see section 3.6, 'Can I make backups of my Dreamcast games?'.

2.1.7 What's the best way to clean a GD-ROM?

- Use a CD cleaning kit. Don't use a T-shirt or a tissue or anything else to
  clean a CD or GD. Clean the top and bottom of the disc if you're seeing
  glitches; as with CDs the label side actually has thinner plastic than the
  bottom side, and is more susceptible to dirt, fingerprints or scratches.
  It is possible to buy a scratch remover kit, these have been used on GD
  discs to varying degrees of success. If the game really won't load and
  you've cleaned it, you have nothing to lose really, so go ahead and try the
  scratch remover. Other than that, it's probably dead, Jim. Sorry! The
  original supplier or Sega themselves may be able to replace it. If its
  fairly new, the place you bought it may replace it too, unless you've really
  abused the poor disc.

2.1.8 Will the Dreamcast play normal audio CD's?

- Yes! No impressive little graphic shows like the Saturn or some
  Playstations, though. Just a simple player similar to early NTSC
  Playstations. Also try selecting the audio CD player from the title utility
  screen and then putting a game disc in! A pleasant little surprise awaits
  you! (not all games support this)

  There is a 'screen saver' that will kick in after 20 minutes of just
  listening to the Audio disc, or leaving the Dreamcast doing nothing. A
  simple but colourful set of spotlights move over the screen, combining to
  make new colours and then dissolving away again.

2.1.9 Will the Dreamcast play DVD's?

- Not yet. Sega claim they will make an announcement concerning DVD and the
  Dreamcast in March 2000. The Sony Playstation 2's ability to play DVD movies
  is one of Sega's main competitive problems. Its not clear yet if the DVD
  upgrade will be another box to sit underneath the Dreamcast (adding to the
  tower of the console and the zip drive), or if DVD compatibility will be
  implemented in some other way. Perhaps a new Dreamcast will be made
  available that will be able to read DVD discs. Another (vague) chance is
  that the current machines can be sent in for modification. All will be
  revealed soon, hopefully!

2.2 Resetting and Memory Issues

2.2.1 There's no reset switch! How do I reset the Dreamcast?

- If a game is running and you open the lid, the machine will reset. Also,
  most software will let you do a soft reset by holding all the buttons
  together (excluding the trigger buttons underneath). Obviously, games that
  come on more than one disc will be programmed so that they don't reset on
  opening between discs!

2.2.2 Sometimes I turn the machine on and it doesn't do the swirly bouncy logo
      thing! Did I break it?

- The Swirly Bouncy logo thing only happens if you have a game disc in the
  machine when you turn it on. If there is nothing in the drive, or if the
  drive lid is open, you get a simple Sega Dreamcast logo and then the startup
  utility screen.

2.2.3 The Swirly Bouncy logo thing irritates me! Can I kill it?

- Why? Its nice! But you can skip it by pressing start on the controller.

2.2.4 What's the internal memory for?

- The internal memory is only to keep system settings such as language
  preference, stereo or mono selection, and more importantly, your internet
  settings. The first time you use your browser GD, you will be asked for
  internet information. Once you have entered this, it is saved in the
  internal memory, so any game can access the info if required. This also
  means you don't need a VMS to save internet settings on.

2.2.5 What's a VMS/VMU?

- There is a good FAQ that goes into great detail about the VMS, mainly for
  the Japanese version - how to use it and run games on it. Check my links
  section in 4.0 for that.

  The VMS is basically a memory card, similar to the memory card for the
  Sony Playstation or Nintendo 64, in fact. The main difference between this
  card and your normal memory card for another system, is that the VMS has a
  little LCD (liquid crystal, like a digital watch) screen and a control input
  pad with buttons. The screen's resolution is 48 x 32 pixels, and it has a
  small speaker for one channel music and sound effects. These features, along
  with the battery mean you can use the card away from your Dreamcast to run
  mini-games and other software on it.

  The standard VMS has only 128k of memory. (This is not very much). 

  One of the features of the VMS is that small games can be run on it. Certain
  Dreamcast games have minigames that can be downloaded into the VMS and used
  on the move or away from the Dreamcast. I'm sure you'll think of a dozen
  different things that could be done on the VMS, and most of them are
  probably in development somewhere! Most games however take up quite a bit of
  space which in turn means games have less room for saved positions, etc.

  The VMS has two batteries, which allow you to play games and manage data
  away from the Dreamcast. If the batteries run flat, you don't lose any saved
  data, and you can still use the VMS as a memory card in the Dreamcast itself
  - you just can't play any games you may have saved on it.

  The VMS is available in standard Dreamcast grey in stores, but you can order
  transparent colours (blue, red, green and yellow) at the online Sega store.

  Third party hardware developers have released higher capacity memory card
  units that have more RAM than the standard VMS. None of these third party
  devices have the screen or controller though, they're just memory cards.

2.2.6 How do I replace the battery in the VMS?

- There's a little screw on the back of the VMS, so you'll need a screwdriver.
  Its then a simple matter of getting two replacement CR2032 or equivalent 
  batteries and popping them in. These are common batteries - you can usually
  buy them from drug stores, electronic supermarkets, electronic stores and

2.2.7 Will I lose my saved games when I change the batteries?

- No. See the VMS description above in 2.2.5

2.2.8 Can I download VMS minigames from the internet?

- Yes. Sega have offered only one game so far, VMS Football. You can get it by
  logging into the Dreamcast network using your Dreamcast. You can't download
  it with a PC, you have to use the Dreamcast browser. It hasn't exactly
  received rave reviews, but its a good start!

  It is possible other sites may have VMS saves and downloadable games in the
  near future.

2.2.9 My game changed my VMS's icon! How do I get my original icon back?

- When formatting your VMS, you can choose from a variety of icons so that you
  can identify one VMS from another. Some games (notably Capcom games) change
  this icon to a logo or a character from the game. To go back to your
  original icon, just delete the file 'VM_sav' from your VMS using the VMS
  manager from the Dreamcast utility title screen, or using the VMS's own file

2.2.10 Do I need a VMS if there is internal memory?

- The internal memory is merely for system settings such as Audio settings and
  also for saving your internet service provider settings. You can't use it to
  save games. The VMS is entirely for the saving of game data, saved games and
  perhaps small applications which are software dependent (that means its up
  to the game or program you run on the Dreamcast to use the VMS). If you
  don't have a VMS you're not going to be able to save your position in most
  games, and you'll have to restart every time you play.

2.2.11 How do I reset the internal memory?

- Plug a controller into port b, then put the Sega web browser into the
  machine. Turn on the system while holding down buttons B and X. Continue to
  hold them until the Web Browser's login screen appears.

  This erases all internet settings.

  If you leave your Dreamcast off for a few weeks the memory loses it's
  charge and you will have to enter the date and internet settings again.

2.3 Online Issues

2.3.1 What speed is my modem?

- If you bought a local Dreamcast system in North America it is a 56k modem.
  Everywhere else it is a 33.6k modem, and if you bought an Asian Dreamcast or
  imported one from there, you don't have a modem at all.

2.3.2 Is there a Dreamcast cable modem, Ethernet, ISDN adapter or other high
      speed adapter?

- Not available yet. Sega have promised high bandwidth connections in the
  future though and have shown the Ethernet adaptor behind glass at a
  conference. Cable modem will probably happen in North America, perhaps
  Ethernet or others in other regions.

2.3.3 Can I play my games online?

- Not yet. (North American and PAL regions answer). Sega will have their Sega
  Network set up by the middle of 2000 in the US, and hopefully sooner in
  Europe. In Japan, the network is up and running already - you can play
  various games on-line already. No North American games have been released
  that support the network, Sega is waiting for the network to be able to
  support a large amount of gamers at once before releasing these games.
  Also, developers haven't been completely filled in on how to implement the
  network for these regions.

2.3.4 Can I use a Free ISP with my Dreamcast?

- Probably not. That's the easy answer, but it might just be possible to do it
  if you know what you're doing network-wise, you have a PC to do the initial
  network setting up and you know how to fiddle with setting under Windows or
  whatever operating system you use. There are no hard and fast rules in
  setting up the free ISP as each service will differ in some way.

  On the other hand, if your free ISP forces you to use specific software that
  really can't be worked around, or if they force you to leave an advertising
  window open at all times, chances are you'll never get it to work in the
  current edition of the Dreamcast web browser software.

2.3.5 Can I upload and download save games?

- You can if you live in Japan or bought a Japanese import. In North America,
  you can download save games, but you can't upload them or send them via
  email in any way. Sega have stated that one of the forthcoming browser
  updates will fix this. No info available about the PAL browser yet.

2.3.6 Can I use the modem and the internet in another country?

- Yes, to a limited degree perhaps. If you have a North American Dreamcast and
  if your country supports American style DTMF modems then you can use your
  Dreamcast to get online with no hassles. You may need to be an adaptor so
  your phone system understands the American style tones your Dreamcast
  outputs to dial a number.

  It remains unclear if you'll be able to use it for online gaming in a
  different territory. I'll add more details as I learn more and as Sega rolls
  out the network in each region.

  If you have a Japanese Dreamcast and you live outside of Japan, you can get
  online, but you need to call a Japanese number once to register the
  software. Details on how to do this are provided in the import Dreamcast
  FAQ, links to it are provided in the Miscellaneous section below.
  Europe is another question altogether, with non standard phone systems all
  over and really really old exchanges in certain parts of some countries. 
  Chances are, a modem in a Dreamcast bought elsewhere won't work in Europe
  without some fiddling. There have been some people that have successfully
  managed to get their US Dreamcast working in Europe - mail me for details
  until I sort it out enough to put it in this FAQ.

2.4 Accessories

2.4.1 What accessories are available for the Dreamcast?

- Some of the following accessories may not be available in your region. See
  the section 2.0.4 above, 'Can I use accessories made for one area on my
  Dreamcast from another region?'. Some may also not be released yet.

- 1st Party (Sega) Accessories

  A/V Cable - Same as the one included in the Dreamcast package.

  Digital Camera (Dreameye) - Sega have a digital camera in development that
  will be released later in 2000. The camera, which connects through a
  controller expansion port, will allow users to interact with each other over
  the Internet or with a direct phone connection, as well as allowing the
  usual tasks like taking pictures and making photo-albums. These photos can 
  then be edited and stored or sent via email to other people. Its also
  possible that some games could use the camera - as a controller input device
  (by moving around, users could perhaps interact with objects on-screen) or
  as a video capturing device (to put your own face on a character for
  example). The camera includes a microphone and the ability to make short
  movie clips that you can send to your friends or opponents in a game. A new
  section of this FAQ with information specially for the Dreameye will appear
  once its released.

  Dreamcast Controller - The standard joypad that comes with the Dreamcast.
  Has an analog direction pad, a ordinary Nintendo-type D-Pad, 4 front face
  buttons and 2 rear analog trigger buttons. There is a large gap in the back
  of the controller with two slots for any expansions or peripherals like the
  VMS or the Jump Pack. A hole in the front face allows the screen of an
  ordinary VMS to show through. Available everywhere in standard White/Grey,
  new transparent colours are available in Japan and America. Transparent
  colours released so far are turquoise, pink, lime green, brown and blue. A
  transparent orange controller was released with the Japanese version of
  'Chu Chu Rocket'. Outside of Japan the D-Pad has been modified to stick out
  further from the controller's face to make it easier to get the diagonals.
  Sega also said that the analog trigger buttons were made stronger for
  overseas markets, but it seems unlikely that this was done.

  Fishing Controller - A motion sensor and a vibration function are built in.
  It currently only works with one game so far, Sega Bass Fishing.

  Jump Pack (North America), Puru Puru Pack (in Japan), Vibration Pack (in PAL
  regions) - Similar to Nintendo's 'Rumble Pack' for the N64, adding this pack
  to the lower slot in your controller will turn the controller into a force
  feedback device that shakes and wriggles depending on game function. It
  looks similar to a VMS, but slightly bigger and with no screen or controls.

  Keyboard - Mainly for use with the Dreamcast browser, this may be used in
  some forthcoming games too. Its basically exactly like a PC keyboard. In
  Japan the keyboard is shorter than normal, with no numeric pad (much like a
  laptop keyboard). In the US and PAL regions, it's really like a standard PC
  keyboard with a numeric pad, but with the Dreamcast blue swirl logo where
  PC's would have the caps/num/scroll lock lights. 

  Lightgun - Released only in Japan and the PAL regions, this gun has the best
  styling (in my opinion). It has a slot for the VMS or the Jump Pack, and a
  directional control on the back. It feels good to hold too.
  Microphone - Only released in Japan so far, first packed in with the game
  'Seaman' and soon available separately. It fits into a connector that is
  about the same size as the Jump Pack and then sticks out the back of the
  standard controller.

  RGB Cable - Only released in Europe, this cable connects your Dreamcast
  to your TV with the top quality SCART standard. (See section 2.5.4 below)

  RF Unit - Allows users to connect older TV's with no Composite/AV
  connectors. Before you buy one, try connecting your Dreamcast through your
  VCR, almost all VCR's have Composite/AV inputs, and you can then set your
  TV to the VCR channel to play the Dreamcast.

  S-Video Cable - If your TV support S-Video, use this cable to hook up your
  Dreamcast. This will give you much better picture quality than the standard
  Composite/AV cable. An S-Video input looks a lot like a PC keyboard input,
  its a small round adapter with an odd shaped edge and 4 small holes inside.

  VGA Box - See section 2.5.1 below for detailed information.

  VMS - The VMS is basically a memory card with a little screen and a control
  input pad and buttons. VMS stands for Visual Memory System. For more info,
  see the VMS section above (2.2.5). Also known as the VMU (Visual Memory
  Unit) or just the 'Visual Memory'.

  VMS, MP3 Version - Sega have made vague announcements about a new advanced
  VMS that has much more memory and can also play MP3 files (Mpeg Audio)
  through a headphone socket. More info will follow when it arrives.

  Zip Drive - Unreleased as yet, this device fits under the Dreamcast, using
  the slot the modem plugs into on your console. The modem then plugs into the
  side of the Zip drive. Ordinary Zip disks hold up to 100 Megabytes of data,
  although a 250 Megabyte version is available for computer users. The Zip
  Drive also includes a front-mounted USB port, which should allow the
  connection of all kinds of new peripherals. The zip drive has been shown
  recently, and a tentative release date of the second quarter has been set
  for Japan. Its likely the zip drive will see a release in other territories
  as well.

- 3rd Party (Other manufacturers) Accessories

  4x RAM Card (Various) - A memory card that has 512k of RAM and no screen or
  controller buttons. One brand also includes an interface so you can upload
  and download save files and games using your PC.

  8x RAM Card (Various) - A memory card that has 1 Megabyte of RAM but has no
  screen or controller buttons.

  Arcade Stick (Agetec) - A large arcade quality joystick. Only has a digital
  joystick and therefore can't be used with games that require analog control.
  Most people purchase the arcade stick just for fighting games. It has 6
  fire buttons on the face, and one slot for the VMS or perhaps another
  peripheral (not the Jump Pack).

  Alloy Arcade Stick (Interact) - A large arcade joystick with a metal
  cabinet, and 8 front fire buttons. It's programmable and has auto-fire too,
  along with rubber wrist pads. Only has a digital joystick and therefore
  can't be used with games that require analog control.

  ASCII Pad (ASCII) - Very similar looking to the Saturn control pad. Has 6
  buttons in the familiar Saturn/Genesis layout and one VMS slot. No analog
  control. Possibly the pad of choice for fighting games if you don't have,
  don't want or can't afford an Arcade Stick.

  Astro Pad (Interact) - A larger-than-Sega's standard controller. Only has
  one VMS slot, but is available in 4 colours.

  Concept 4 Racing Wheel (Interact) - This wheel has a stick-control, pedals
  table clamps and a built in vibration function.

  Dream Blaster (Mad Catz) - A light gun with auto-fire and auto-reload.
  Also has a slot for the VMS or the Jump Pack. The directional control is on
  the side of the gun, unlike the Sega gun which is on the back. This gun is
  apparently built to Sega's own specifications; think of it as the official
  US light gun. Its quite small if you're used to a GunCon though.

  Dream Pad (Mad Catz) - 6 fire buttons on the face but no analog trigger
  buttons at the back. The D-Pad is slightly tilted too, which takes quite a
  bit of getting used to... If you press where up usually is, you're actually
  hitting a diagonal.

  Quantum FighterPad (Interact) - Controller with 6 fire buttons on the face,
  and two trigger buttons too. Its also programmable and has auto-fire.

  MC2 Racing Wheel (Mad Catz) - Has a shift-stick and separate pedals.

  Mission Stick (ASCII) - A beautifully designed controller especially for
  flight sims. It features ergonomic handles with dozens of buttons and one
  VMS slot.

  Nyko Controller (Nyko) - 6 fire buttons and auto-fire/turbo. No analog

  PS to DC Controller Adapter (Various) - Asian devices that let you use
  Sony Playstation controllers in the Dreamcast. Supports the Dual-Shock
  controller for analog control and force-feedback. Some versions allow
  the use of Playstation steering wheels also.

  Radius Racing Pad (Interact) - A controller/steering-wheel hybrid. Has a
  60 degree turning angle and rubber grips.

  Rally Wheel (Agetec) - Nice heavy base with a VMS slot built in.

  StarFire LightBlaster (Interact) - A light gun with auto-fire and
  auto-reload. Also has a slot for the VMS or the Jump Pack. The directional
  control is on the side of the gun, unlike the Sega gun which is on the back.

  Various - Many manufacturers have made VMS replacements, with and without
  screens, and also many Jump Pack replacements. I haven't listed them all
  because there are too many and they all have basically the same features.
  In the past, people have become wary of using 3rd party memory cards - 
  frequent loss of data being the reason. Its up to you though, 3rd party
  products aren't always inferior and some are actually better than Sega's
  official offerings.

2.4.2 Is there a Dreamcast mouse?

- Not yet. Sega have hinted at one, and it certainly would be better than
  using the controller for web browsing. Sega made a mouse for their Netlink
  adapter for the Sega Saturn, so they've done it before. A mouse is also the
  preferred controller for some strategy games and first-person shooters like
  'Quake', 'Halflife' and others. Note: The Zip drive (see 2.4.1 above) has a
  USB port and their are dozens of PC/MAC mouses available with USB
  connectors. The won't just work though - specific drivers will have to be
  written to support generic mouses.

2.4.3 Is there a Dreamcast cable modem, Ethernet, ISDN adapter or other high
      speed adapter?

- Not available yet. See question 2.3.2 above

2.5 Video Considerations

2.5.1 What's the VGA box for?

- The VGA box allows you to connect the Dreamcast to a standard VGA (PC)
  monitor. This is cool because the VGA monitor will always give a better
  picture than a TV, and its useful for people who don't have access to a TV 
  at all times. The picture quality is so amazing that some people who have 
  tried their Dreamcast on the VGA monitor haven't been able to go back to TV
  quality. Obviously if your VGA monitor is really small, the TV may still be
  preferable, even with its loss of quality.

  The disadvantage of the VGA box or cable is that only games that actively
  support the box/cable can be used on the monitor. The others will simply not
  work. Most newer games do seem to support the VGA box though.

2.5.2 Is a VGA cable the same as the VGA box?

- The VGA box includes things like audio outputs (headphone jack or RCA's on
  some 3rd party boxes) and S-Video and/or composite (AV) output. This makes
  it more flexible in an environment where you want to use the Dreamcast on
  your monitor sometimes and on your TV at other times. A VGA cable (3rd
  party only) is only the basic lead you need to connect the Dreamcast to the
  PC monitor and your speakers/hi-fi, with no other extras. If you don't need
  the extra features of a full VGA box, get the cable. The picture quality is
  the same.

2.5.3 Is there a way to force a non-VGA compatible game into VGA mode?

- For most games, yes. There are two ways to do this. The easiest way is to
  leave the VGA switch in the S-Video or composite mode when the game starts
  to boot, then when the game loads past the boot track (the VMS beeps a few
  seconds into the boot sequence) just flick the switch over to VGA mode.

  If you have a VGA cable or for some reason the above trick doesn't work,
  you can leave the cable partially unplugged when the game starts to boot,
  and then push it in when the game gets past the boot track.
  Both these tricks may be a little dangerous as a static charge could
  damage your machine or monitor (it has to be said this is highly unlikely

  Neither of these tricks work with all games, however. Some games seem to
  reset the graphics display at certain points and detect that the video
  system has changed and then refuse to run.

  There is no reason not to support the VGA box as default, so hopefully most
  if not all games in the future will support it without having to use the
  VGA tricks.

2.5.4 Can I get a SCART cable for Dreamcast?

- Yes. If you live in a PAL region, there is an official Sega RGB/SCART cable.
  Many 3rd party ones are also available, and they work beautifully. The only
  problem is that the game must support the SCART graphics mode to work
  (15 KHz, RGB). Most new games do, however. Generally speaking the games that
  support VGA mode support 15 KHz RGB too, but that's just a generalisation,
  not all VGA compatible games will work on a SCART cable.

  The quality of a SCART connection is superb, it rivals the VGA box on a good
  TV, and as most TV's are bigger than a monitor, it is the preferable way
  of connecting your Dreamcast system (provided you have the SCART connector
  on your TV of course). SCART cables are usually fairly inexpensive too -
  quite a bit cheaper than the VGA box.

2.5.5 Can I make my own cable to connect my Dreamcast to my S-Video/SCART/RGB
      /VGA/RF/Composite/Component TV or Monitor?

- Mostly, yes! I doubt anyone will want to make an RF unit or make a
  Composite/AV cable, (as one of these comes with the machine) so you may have
  trouble finding information to make them. 

  Basically what you have to do is get a pinout for your custom connector,
  then it's a simple matter of connecting the correct pins from the Dreamcast
  to the corresponding pins on the other side. The problems you will run in to
  are getting a connector for the Dreamcast side and actually putting the
  thing together. For SCART/RGB/Component type connections, you could try
  starting with a cheap 3rd party SCART lead and cutting it up if necessary.
  A good place to start looking for instructions is the 'Dreamcast Technical
  Pages' (see links section in 4.4.4 below for address). Another good place to
  look is Games-X (again, see the links section below).

2.6 Other Hardware Questions

2.6.1 What is the Naomi?

- The Naomi is a high powered arcade motherboard developed by Sega. It uses
  similar technology to the Dreamcast home console thus making ports (game 
  conversions) between systems relatively simple to do. The only major
  difference between the hardware of the Naomi and the Dreamcast is that the
  Naomi has room for banks of ROM chips to store the arcade game code, and
  also comes with more system, sound and graphics memory.

  There are many advantages of the Naomi system over other arcade boards. One 
  of these is cost - the Naomi uses inexpensive off-the-shelf components and
  is relatively cheap to manufacture (and distribute because of it's small
  size). Also, once an arcade operator has purchased a Naomi game system, to
  change games he will only need to buy the new game and exchange ROM
  cartridges on the motherboard. Another big advantage is that the Naomi
  architecture optionally allows for anything up to 16 motherboards to run in
  parallel, boosting game performance many times.

2.6.2 My Dreamcast makes a lot of noise, is that normal?

- The Dreamcast is the first games console to include a fan inside - much like
  a PC. The blowing humming noise you hear when you turn your Dreamcast on is
  this fan. You can feel air blowing out the air vents if you put your hand
  near them. This fan is to cool the various chips inside the machine by
  keeping a flow of air running through the machine. 

  The GD-ROM drive also makes a fair bit of noise, which is also entirely
  normal. Similar sounding to PC CD-ROM's, you should hear the rotation of the
  spindle that spins the disc as well as the movement of the laser heads over
  the surface of the GD. If you are still worried about the sounds coming from
  your machine, see if they're louder than a friend's machine, or a machine
  at the store before you panic. One thing worth mentioning, if you don't
  click the disc down onto the spindle properly, it will spin off and you will
  hear a very loud and disturbing sound as the spindle of the GD drive tries
  to make a hole in your disc! So make sure you click it down properly.

2.6.3 Is it normal for my Dreamcast to get this warm?

- The Dreamcast gets quite warm during operation, but shouldn't get any hotter
  than it gets after a half-hour of play. If you notice the machine getting
  warmer and warmer after a few hours of being on, perhaps there is something
  wrong with it. Give the machine lots of space on each side and behind, and
  make sure you've got it on a flat non-covered surface. (Carpets are bad!

2.6.4 Some games (Soul Calibur) make a clicking sound while playing music
      tracks. Is that normal?

- This is perfectly normal. So far, all versions of Soul Calibur make a small
  chirping sound a couple of times a second. With the sound turned on, you
  shouldn't really notice it. This has something to do with the way the heads
  of the GD-ROM are stepped or moved during music access.

3.0 Dreamcast Software

3.1 I heard that there was a problem with some of the launch games. Are there
    still problems?

- Much to Sega's horror (I'd guess!), some initial launch games in the North
  American markets were faulty. Sega identified this as a software only
  problem, that one certain mass GD copier device had gone out of calibration
  and roughly 10% of certain games wouldn't work on all Dreamcasts.

  The discs affected were: Blue Stinger, Hydro Thunder, Sonic Adventure and
  the Sega Web Browser.

  This made some people suspicious as the same discs could occasionally be
  booted, and also sometimes they worked perfectly in a friends machine. No
  official explanation for this has come out, but it may be that certain
  Dreamcast machines made in certain factories have slightly different
  components which through accident or design play discs that other Dreamcasts
  can't read. It is possible to identify a corrupt GD-ROM by looking
  underneath. If there is a flowery pattern close to the outer edge, that disc
  is probably one of the initial defective ones.

  Sega themselves set up a hotline and offered help through their website. A
  3rd party company that was also affected had a similar strategy, and all
  damaged discs were recalled or returned and new copies of the games were
  shipped out within a week of launch.

  One exception was 'Ready to Rumble' which had a programming glitch which
  caused the music to skip about half way through each music track. This took
  longer to fix, perhaps understandably, and each faulty copy could be
  replaced at the place of purchase for a new one that has no problems.

  In PAL regions, there is a possibility that some copies of Sonic Adventure
  were problematic, with some crashes or a complete failure to boot. This
  problem is certainly on a smaller scale than the problem Sega of America
  experienced in the US, however.

3.2 Can I play US/JAPANESE/PAL games on my US/JAPANESE/PAL/ASIAN Dreamcast?

- Yes. There are various 'Mod Chips' that will allow this. (See section 3.3

  Some companies sell a Dreamcast that has a switchable BIOS - these machines
  have a copy of both the Japanese and the North American BIOS inside. This
  allows you to run games for either system after selecting the region you
  require before booting. These companies, all in Asia, won't adapt your
  existing Dreamcast, you have to buy the machine with the modification
  already done.

  If you are prepared to open your machine and make internal modifications
  like pulling up the legs of a chip and soldering at surface-mounted
  dimensions, then you can buy a Mod Chip and insert it yourself.

3.3 Is there a mod chip available for Dreamcast?

- Yes. There are a few companies that have made a Mod Chip and many other with
  plans for producing one. 

  The current batch of chips require opening of the machine and _very_ good
  soldering skills. The chips that must be altered are surface-mounted and
  are very tiny. There are quite a few wires to attach and a chip leg to
  pull up!

  A future Mod Chip possibility that has been talked about in the past is a
  VMU sized cartridge that inserts into any of your controllers and bypasses
  the security access codes. No opening of the system would be required with
  this version. (Since this isn't an actual modification, the term 'Mod Chip'
  isn't really accurate here!)

3.4 What does a Mod Chip do?

- The mod chip allows you to run games from any region on any Dreamcast console.
  That's the theory anyway!

3.5 What is PAL 60hz? Why is it a good thing?

- Sega have stated that all their games will support PAL 60hz. This means that
  people in PAL regions won't have to put up with slowdown caused by their TV
  system. Its a huge topic, far too big for this FAQ, so I'll try summarise
  here only. 

  PAL (Europe, Australia, etc) is slower than NTSC (North America and Japan,
  where a large proportion of Dreamcast titles are developed) because PAL uses
  more lines to make a picture and because games normally only update the
  screen 50 times a second (50Hz). NTSC operates with less lines on the screen
  to fill up and at 60hz.

  PAL 60hz means that your game will be just as fast on a PAL system as on an
  NTSC system because when you select that option the game will switch your TV
  into NTSC mode. It's only an option and not default in PAL games because
  older TV's in Europe will not support the 60 Hz mode. (and lots of people in
  Europe have old TV's). They'll have to put up with slightly slower games
  until they get a new TV or use the VGA box.

  VGA monitors will use 60 Hz mode on PAL systems, so games will always run at
  full speed on a VGA box in PAL regions.

3.6 Can I make backups of my Dreamcast games?

- No. Firstly, no known CD or DVD writers support the GD-ROM format. Secondly,
  specific software for the PC that allowed that would have to be developed.
  Thirdly, only Sega make the discs in the first place, and although blank
  GD-ROM's are available for development usage, they're tightly controlled by
  Sega and are more expensive than regular blank CDR media.

3.7 Does the Dreamcast play Genesis/Saturn/Playstation/Other games?

- At the moment there are no emulators available for Dreamcast, but already
  there has been an announcement that there will be a disc that allows you to
  download and play PC Engine games on your Dreamcast. Unfortunately, they
  will be lost when you power off your system. Earlier systems like Gameboy,
  NES, Mastersystem and even Genesis and SNES are relatively easy to emulate
  at full speed and are all certainly possible on the Dreamcast.

  Perhaps in the future 3rd party companies will write software that will
  be able to emulate more modern systems like Playstation or Nintendo 64.
  The legalities of emulation are a bit hazy however, so don't expect any
  company like Sega, Sony or Nintendo giving their blessing to such a
  project (just yet, anyway).

3.8 Where can I find reviews of Dreamcast games online?

- Have a look at my links section under Miscellaneous Questions below.

3.9 Where can I find hints or cheats for a game?

- Please look at section 4.4.6 below for links to websites that provide game
  hints, cheats, codes, walkthroughs and FAQ's. If you live in the US or
  Europe you can also phone Sega's helpline number (you'll find the number in
  a pamphlet that ships with each game).

3.10 Operating Systems

3.10.1 What is SegaOS?

- This is the unofficial name of the set of libraries and development tools
  written by Sega for Dreamcast development. A common set of libraries mean
  that any improved code is shared amongst all developers.
  SegaOS has a very small memory footprint. That means that the actual code
  takes up very little of the Dreamcast's internal memory, allowing more
  space for other programming such as AI, graphics or whatever else a
  piece of software uses.

3.10.2 What is Microsoft Windows CE?

- Microsoft provides a another development environment for the Dreamcast,
  with a simple Windows based setup and the Visual Studio interface. This
  means that developers can use a familiar user interface. This helps make it
  easier and quicker to develop software by comparison to using SegaOS or
  direct-to-hardware methods.

  However, this ease of use comes at a price - because of an extra 'layer'
  between the code and the machine's hardware, games using WinCE as the
  development OS will most likely be slower than their equivalents running
  using a more direct hardware access method. The use of the WinCE
  development environment certainly does not guarantee a slow game, however.
  Sega Rally 2 is an example of a fast game written using it.

3.10.3 Does this mean my Dreamcast has Windows inside?

- No! Windows CE is an optional environment for programming on the Dreamcast.
  If a game is programmed using Windows CE development tools, the WinCE core
  is provided on the actual game disc itself. Microsoft haven't got anything
  inside your Dreamcast, so don't worry.

4.0 Miscellaneous Questions and Information

4.1 What (print) magazines are there that support the Dreamcast?

  I've included the websites of the publishers where possible so you can
  subscribe online.

- North America

  The Official Sega Dreamcast Magazine (includes Demo GD-ROM)
  (monthly, published by Imagine Media -

- United Kingdom

  Official Dreamcast Magazine (includes Demo GD-ROM)
  (monthly, published by Dennis Publishing -
  (monthly, published by Future Publishing -

- Japan

  Famitsu DC
  (monthly, published by Famitsu/Ascii -

  Dreamcast Magazine (occasionally includes Demo GD-ROM)
  (weekly, Softbank Publishing -

  Dreamcast Fan
  (weekly, Unknown Publisher)

4.2 What (online) magazines are there that support the Dreamcast?

- There are literally dozens. Check my resources and links section 4.4 below.

4.3 Dreamcast Emulation

4.3.1 Is there a Dreamcast emulator for PC or MAC?

- No. Not yet, anyway. The Dreamcast is a complex machine, and to add to that,
  it is also a very fast machine. Another consideration is that no PC CD-ROM
  drives can read the entire GD-ROM disc. There is no doubt that emulation is
  possible, its just a matter of time until computers are fast enough to do
  so, and someone with the relevant knowledge has the time to try it.

4.3.2 Where can I download Dreamcast ROMS?

- If you're talking about the code stored in the Dreamcast's BIOS or other
  chips, it is possible to find some of the dumped roms online, but it's
  illegal to distribute them and you'll have to find them yourself. I can't
  really think of a reason for having them anyway. If you're talking about
  ROMS in the sense of pirated games, like Genesis or SNES ROMS, then you
  need help in so many ways that this FAQ just can't cover them all right now.

4.3.3 Is there any way to play Saturn games on the Dreamcast?

- No. There have been many rumours that Sega have developed or are developing
  an official Saturn emulator for the Dreamcast, but no confirmations. In
  reality, it's highly unlikely that Sega would make one for a few reasons -
  the main two being that Sega probably want to put the Saturn behind them
  and also that the Saturn is a difficult machine to emulate due to its
  complicated hardware structure.

4.4 Resources & Links

4.4.1 Sega's commercial sites

  Sega Enterprises Limited (
  Sega of America (
  Sega of Europe (

4.4.2 Dreamcast Specific News and Information

- These sites are a great source of up-to-the-minute news and interesting
  Dreamcast and Sega related information. 

  Official news sites - The IGN network is the official online news source
  of Sega of America and other sites below are also affiliated to IGN. If
  you're new to Dreamcast or just appreciate really good Flash or good
  websites, try Dreamcast Europe - it's great! If you're browsing through
  the Dreamcast itself, use, its designed to be compatible
  with the DC browser.

  IGN-DC (
  Dreamcast Network (
  Dreamcast Europe (
  Dreamcast Australia/New Zealand (
  Dreamcast Brazil (
  Dreamcast Japan (

  Other news sites. Some of these sites are affiliated to IGN, the official
  Sega news network for North America.

  DC Swirl (
  DC United (
  Dimension S (
  Dreamcast HQ (
  Planet Dreamcast (
  Sega Dojo (
  Sega Otaku (
  Sega Web (

4.4.3 General video game news and info including Dreamcast news

- These sites are also a great source of news and information, but they're
  not Dreamcast or Sega specific, rather they cater for all consoles -
  including the Dreamcast.

  Daily Radar (
  Fastest Game News Online (
  GameFan Online (
  Gaming Age (
  Videogame Spot (

4.4.4 Dreamcast Technical Information

- For further technical documentation or in depth information on technical
  aspects, try these sites. The 'Dreamcast Technical Pages' even have pictures
  of the insides of the Dreamcast in minute detail. Also included are links to
  the companies that produce certain Dreamcast components.

  Dreamcast Technical Pages (
  Games Station-X (
  Hitachi Semiconductor (
  NEC (
  PowerVR Technology (

4.4.5 Other FAQ's

- There are other FAQ's featuring the Dreamcast and its peripherals. All of
  these can be found on

  Dream Passport FAQ by Gogeta (
  Dreamcast System FAQ (Mainly using a Japanese/Asian Dreamcast in the US)
                        by Space Ace (
  The VMS Mini FAQ by Brian Robinette ( 
  Sega Dreamcast VGA Box FAQ by Steve Cutting (

4.4.6 Cheat Codes, Game FAQ's and Walkthroughs

- Lots of good code and game FAQ sites support the Dreamcast. These are two
  of the most popular:

  Cheat Code Central (
  GameFAQs (
4.5 Other sources I used in compiling this document

- I am a regular at all the above sites, but a few of my favourite Dreamcast
  resources don't fit into any of those categories. You can find the latest
  version of this FAQ at or Cheat Code Central.

  Blast City Bulletin Board (
  Cheat Code Central (
  GameFAQs (

4.6 Contributors

- ...without whom this wouldn't be possible. A big thanks! 

  Adam Rose in the UK
  J.T. Kauffman in Japan
  Steve Cutting in Australia

  Thanks also to all the people who write with information, suggestions,
  criticisms and kind words. Please keep all the emails coming.

4.7 Changes/History

- October 05th,  1999. Version 0.9, preview version.
- October 13th,  1999. Version 1.0, first release version.
- October 15th,  1999. Version 1.01, small fixes.
- October 22th,  1999. Version 1.1, some errors fixed and lots of PAL info
                       updated thanks to Adam.
- November 2nd,  1999. Version 1.2, small fixes. Updated new Dreamcast version
                       information and some new peripherals added.
- November 3rd,  1999. Version 1.3. Changes to many sections, updated some VMS
                       and modchip stuff.
- November 8th,  1999. Version 1.4. New questions about Dreamcast heat + odd
                       noises and more emulation information.
- November 16th, 1999. Version 1.5. Some Japanese info thanks to J.T.
                       Magazines section updated. Zip, Camera & some DVD info
- December 2nd,  1999. Version 1.6. More digital camera info. Australian
                       release info. New Dreamcast edition in Japan. New VMS
                       colours available.
- January 25th,  2000. Version 2.0. Jumped some versions to make it Y2K
                       friendly ;) Updated SCART info, a few changes to DC
                       versions information. Some more Dreamcast Camera info
- February 23rd, 2000. Version 2.1. Finally did a spell-check. Re-wrote Japan-
                       ese DC version information, added new versions. Some
                       new digital camera information. Many many little
                       updates. Updated Zip info and added new VMS info. Added
                       some new online and paper sources including cheat

5.0 Index/Complete Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction
1.1 What is Dreamcast?
1.2 Who is Sega?
1.3 Could I have some information on the history of the Dreamcast?
1.4 When was the Dreamcast released?
1.5 What games were available at launch?

2.0 Dreamcast Hardware
  2.0.1 What's in the box?
  2.0.2 What versions of the Dreamcast have been released?
  2.0.3 How do I tell the difference between Dreamcasts from different
  2.0.4 Can I use accessories made for one area on my Dreamcast from another
  2.0.5 What are it's technical specifications?
2.1 GD-ROM's and CD's
  2.1.1 What is a GD-ROM?
  2.1.2 How is Dreamcast software packaged?
  2.1.3 How should I change games on the Dreamcast?
  2.1.4 Are there long loading times?
  2.1.5 Are GD-ROM's more fragile than CD-ROM's or DVD's?
  2.1.6 Can I backup my GD-ROMS?
  2.1.7 What's the best way to clean a GD-ROM?
  2.1.8 Will the Dreamcast play normal audio CD's?
  2.1.9 Will the Dreamcast play DVD's?
2.2 Resetting and Memory Issues
  2.2.1 There's no reset switch! How do I reset the Dreamcast?
  2.2.2 Sometimes I turn the machine on and it doesn't do the swirly bouncy
        logo thing! Did I break it?
  2.2.3 The Swirly Bouncy logo thing irritates me! Can I kill it?
  2.2.4 What's the internal memory for?
  2.2.5 What's a VMS/VMU?
  2.2.6 How do I replace the battery in the VMS?
  2.2.7 Will I lose my saved games when I change the batteries?
  2.2.8 Can I download VMS minigames from the internet?
  2.2.9 My game changed my VMS's icon! How do I get my original icon back?
  2.2.10 Do I need a VMS if there is internal memory?
  2.2.11 How do I reset the internal memory?
2.3 Online Issues
  2.3.1 What speed is my modem?
  2.3.2 Is there a Dreamcast cable modem, Ethernet, ISDN adapter or other
        high speed adapter?
  2.3.3 Can I play my games online?
  2.3.4 Can I use a Free ISP with my Dreamcast?
  2.3.5 Can I upload and download save games?
  2.3.6 Can I use the modem and the internet in another country?
2.4 Accessories
  2.4.1 What accessories are available for the Dreamcast?
  2.4.2 Is there a Dreamcast mouse?
  2.4.3 Is there a Dreamcast cable modem, Ethernet, ISDN adapter or other
        high speed adapter?
2.5 Video Considerations
  2.5.1 What's the VGA box for?
  2.5.2 Is a VGA cable the same as the VGA box?
  2.5.3 Is there a way to force a non-VGA compatible game into VGA mode?
  2.5.4 Can I get a SCART cable for Dreamcast?
  2.5.5 Can I make my own cable to connect my Dreamcast to my S-Video/SCART/
        RGB/VGA/RF/Composite/Component TV or Monitor?
2.6 Other Hardware Questions
  2.6.1 What is the Naomi?
  2.6.2 My Dreamcast makes a lot of noise, is that normal?
  2.6.3 Is it normal for my Dreamcast to get this warm?
  2.6.4 Some games (Soul Calibur) make a clicking sound while playing music
        tracks. Is that normal?

3.0 Dreamcast Software
3.1 I heard that there was a problem with some of the launch games. Are
    there still problems?
3.2 Can I play US/JAPANESE/PAL games on my US/JAPANESE/PAL/ASIAN Dreamcast?
3.3 Is there a mod chip available for Dreamcast?
3.4 What does a Mod Chip do?
3.5 What is PAL 60hz? Why is it a good thing?
3.6 Can I make backups of my Dreamcast games?
3.7 Does the Dreamcast play Genesis/Saturn/Playstation/Other games?
3.8 Where can I find reviews of Dreamcast games online?
3.9 Where can I find hints or cheats for a game?
3.10 Operating Systems
  3.10.1 What is SegaOS?
  3.10.2 What is Microsoft Windows CE?
  3.10.3 Does this mean my Dreamcast has Windows inside?

4.0 Miscellaneous Questions and Information
4.1 What (print) magazines are there that support the Dreamcast?
4.2 What (online) magazines are there that support the Dreamcast?
4.3 Dreamcast Emulation
  4.3.1 Is there a Dreamcast emulator for PC or MAC?
  4.3.2 Where can I download Dreamcast ROMS?
  4.3.3 Is there any way to play Saturn games on the Dreamcast?
4.4 Resources & Links
  4.4.1 Sega's commercial sites
  4.4.2 Dreamcast Specific News and Information
  4.4.3 General video game news and info including Dreamcast news
  4.4.4 Dreamcast Technical Information
  4.4.5 Other FAQ's
  4.4.6 Cheat Codes, Game FAQ's and Walkthroughs
4.5 Other sources I used in compiling this document
4.6 Contributors
4.7 Changes/History

5.0 Index/Complete Table of Contents

(c)1999,2000 Richard Harris, JNB, South Africa.

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