If you own an old Dreamcast, you might not have to watch it rust on the shelve. You can actually be able to Burn Dreamcast Games and play burned backup CDs on it. That will help keep your original GD-ROMs in pristine shape, so you could sell them on eBay once they’re antique.
Now, they don’t call it “Dreamcast” for nothing. This valuable old gem can play much more than just the typical Dreamcast games. With Dreamcast, you play games from Genesis, SNES, NES, Gameboy, PlayStation (YES, PlayStation!) and many more, but you need to dig deep into the web to find the right tools and resources. There are some videos on YouTube that could even guide you on how to do that, but we’re not really here for this.
Let’s step back to the main focus of what we’re doing here. Burning the Dreamcast games. OK! But to burn games, you’ll need a few pieces of tools and the right Dreamcast model.
By creating your own homemade games after burning the original disks, you wouldn’t have to struggle with their fragility. If the disk is lost or broken, then you wouldn’t have to freak out anymore.
In this article...
Things that you’ll need for the job
- Sega Dreamcast Console
- A PC (I’m using my Dell Inspiron with Windows 10) or a Mac device, with a CD burner.
- File Extracting Software – WinRAR or 7 Zip will do.
- A CD-R (700 MB) Compact Disk. It is strictly advised to use CDRs only.
- ImgBurn Software, a free tool that burns CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, and HD-DVD.
Tip: Other software like Nero or Alcohol 120% can also be used to burn disks, and you can use the trial version of these if you want to.
Setting Up the Necessaries
Before moving further to the tutorial, check if your Dreamcast can play burned games or not. To play the games that have been burned to a CD, your Dreamcast must have the manufacturing date before the month October 2000. Newer Dreamcast Consoles have altered the way discs are read which prevents backed up CD games from playing as per Privacy Acts amended.
- One great way is to look at the bottom of your Dreamcast, find the digit in a circle near the word PAL or NTSC. If the number is 0 or 1, then you’re all set to rock. However, if it’s more than 2, then you’ll need to move back to the smartphone game.
- So, now that we’re done with verifying our consoles’ compatibility let’s move forward to the process of obtaining the game backup file. You can get tonnes of Dreamcast backup files in various locations on the Web. But it is illegal to download a backup file for a game that you do not own. And we do not promote any kind of privacy and content violation.
However, if you have the original disk, all you need to do is to search the game with its name followed by a keyword “Dreamcast download“. You’ll find hundreds of websites on Google for the resources, just navigate to one which you feel is authentic and download the game backup file.
- Most of the backup files come in a compressed format. You’ll need to extract the file to further steps. You can download and use WinRAR from rarlab.com/download.html. The trial version will work just fine for the job. You can also download 7-Zip from 7-zip.org for opening RAR files.
- Now is the time to create the game disks of your own. For that, first, you have to download and install ImgBurn. ImgBurn is a freeware program, but you’ll need to make sure that it doesn’t install any third-party tool along with the setup. With the right steps, using ImgBurn is the best way to burn Dreamcast games.
You can get ImgBurn from imgburn.com as I’ve previously mentioned the download link.
- To run the software perfectly, install the ImgBurn Dreamcast Drivers as well. These extra drivers will ensure that ImgBurn burns the Dreamcast.CDI and .NRG files correctly. You can download them from here – http://www.theisozone.com/downloads/pc/other/update-v13-imgburn-2570-w-dreamcast-drivers/
- When you’re done extracting the file, you’ll find the setup file for ImgBurn and another file called “CDI files for ImgBurn” in the folder. Ignore the setup and extract the “cdi files for ImgBurn.” This would again create a new folder with three files specifically – pfctoc.dll, pfctoc.h, and pfctoc.lib.
- Copy these three files to C:\Program Files\ImgBurn or C:\Program Files (x86)\ImgBurn as per your System.
Burning the Game file with ImgBurn
- Insert a blank CD-R into your PC’s CD Burner. Dreamcast games are burnt on CD-R format discs only. You cannot use DVDs or CD-RW discs even if you want to. So, get the blank CDR discs from your nearest Tech Store.
- Open up the ImgBurn and select “Write image file to disc.” Moreover, you can also use the right-click option on your file and select “Open With ImgBurn.”
- Browse the file that we’ve downloaded and extracted onto your system in ImgBurn. If you have a BIN/CUE file, then select the CUE file.
- Now, click “Write Speed” in the drop-down menu and select 8X or lower. This will give you the shortest chance of encountering an error during the burn.
- Uncheck the “Verify” box. It will verify the disk after burning to make sure that it was successful, but this would add extra time to the process. Moreover, there’s nothing you can do to fix a corrupted disc anyway.
- Wait for the ImgBurn to finish the task and you’ll get the final homemade Dreamcast Game CD to play with.
How to play the Burned Game your Dreamcast
Power off your Dreamcast Console first. I’ve observed that there are more successful chances if you turn off the system before inserting the game.
Insert your game and start the Dreamcast. If the game has two or more sessions, it is likely a self-booting game and would start automatically like any other standard games. If the game shows up as a media/audio CD on the Dreamcast, you’ll need to use the Utopia Boot Disc tool for resolving the issue.
Download the Utopia Boot Disc image which is available on most of the Dreamcast emulators and games streaming websites. The chances are that the website that you downloaded your game backup file from also has the Utopia Boot Disc tool.
Burn the image to a CD-R follow the similar, game burning instructions to burn the Utopia Boot Disc image to a blank CD-R.
Finally, insert the finished Utopia Boot Disc into the Dreamcast Console and power it on. After this, Dreamcast and Sega logos will appear, and you’ll see the Utopia Boot Disc screen.
Now, do the exact thing as I say. Open the lid of your Dreamcast while the Utopia screen is still on. Remove the Utopia disc from your Dreamcast and insert the burned game discs.
Close the lid, and after few seconds, the screen will change, and your game will be booted. This may take longer than average than usual, and your game should start now.
Do share your thoughts about Burning Dreamcast games and let me know if you’re facing any issues regarding the burning process or in-between in the comment section below.