Restored Dreamcast Is A SEGA Fan’s Dream Come True

[Bren Sutton] has been a long time fan of SEGA’s Dreamcast, eagerly snapping one up right around its October 1999 European release. But after years of neglect and a somewhat questionable paint job a decade or so back, he decided it was time to spruce his old friend up. He could have just cleaned the machine and been done with it, but he took the opportunity to revamp the console’s internals with both practical and cosmetic trickery.

The first step was getting the system looking a bit fresher. Removing the silver metallic paint he applied in his youth with a rattle can wasn’t going so well, so he ended up buying a broken donor console on eBay so he’d have a new shell to work with. The donor was yellowed with age, but a coating of peroxide cream and a few hours under a cheap UV light got it whitened up nicely. Now that he had a fresh new case, [Bren] turned his attention to the internal components.

Those who might be plugged into the active Dreamcast homebrew scene may already know that several upgrade modules exist for SEGA’s last home game console. One of the most popular replaces the optical drive with an SD card filled with your favorite game ISOs. You can also get a modern high efficiency power supply, as well as a board that replaces the original soldered-on clock battery with a slot that fits a CR2032. [Bren] threw them all in, ensuring several more years of gaming bliss.

But he wasn’t done yet. He also wanted to add some visual flair to his new and improved console. After some consideration, he gingerly cut the logo out of the Dreamcast’s lid, and installed an Adafruit CLUE board underneath it. With a few carefully crafted GIFs installed onto the CircuitPython-powered board, the console now has a gorgeous fully animated logo that you can see in the video after the break.

[Bren] could have really taken his console to the next level by doubling its available RAM to an eye-watering 32 MB, but considering the limited software support for that particularly bodacious modification, we’ll let it slide.

39 thoughts on “Restored Dreamcast Is A SEGA Fan’s Dream Come True

  1. This makes me super happy. I had a DC with a dead PSU back in high school. A friend also had a broken DC (bad GDROM drive I think)…so I tossed him 5 bucks and merged the two systems together. Also swapped the red LED for a blue one along the way…and spray painted the housing matte black. long live crazy taxi and DreamCast Linux :)

    1. “CRAAAaaaazyyyy Taxi…………..Yayayayaya”

      I’ve still got my Dreamcast with Crazy Taxi, Crazy Taxi 2, House Of The Dead (with light gun) and various other games I can’t remember.

      Need to pull it out tomorrow and give it a whirl.

  2. Whilst I can fully appreciate and respect the efforts gone into these restorations & improvements, and even understand the whole ‘retro’ thing, I can’t quite fathom what real value you gain from owning and putting so much effort into an underpowered 20 year old console any more.

    What do they do with it? How often do they play these games on the original system over a much more recent XBox or something? This retro thing only goes so far before you feel a weird sense of loss that those days are now over, that there’s no new games (aside from homebrew), that the experiences are now 20+ years old, stale, and the same kind of experiences are available today with much improved visuals and gameplay, in all game categories. There really is nothing available back then that isn’t in an improved form today. Browse thru the tens of thousands of Steam titles and prove me wrong.

    I’ve done emulation quite a bit, but beyond an interesting hour or two of re-exploration of my old systems, I’m just left thinking things are just so much better today that it’s just not worth spending much time on it. My Atari ST still sits in storage upstairs, but I never get a burning desire to pull it out and fire it up, probably expired caps in it anyway!

    Apart from perhaps selling it on, I Just don’t understand.

    1. I took my old consoles out of storage from my parents house and was short on space so I sold the majority of games for them and converted them to use everdrives or SD cards. It took a couple of days to build this total in level 5 Lockdown I was looking for something to do in spare time. The GDEMU, Power Supply and LED mod take 30 mins to install. The hole, setup and installation of the screen took about a half a day.

      I set up a unit in my apartment with all my my old retro consoles hooked up to the one TV on top I can play at any time or when friends come over. Being a big fan of Video Games and a Games Developer it’s a bit of a no brainer really. What’s not to get?

    2. “I can’t quite fathom what real value you gain from owning and putting so much effort into an underpowered 20 year old console any more.”

      I’m gonna hit you with your own words, paraphrased of course: “nostalgia is the reason we do these things; and we play with them for minutes and then put it back in storage like the trophy it is.”

    3. There are new games coming out for the Dreamcast every year.
      Emulation is not perfect; I would rather play the games on the native hardware.
      Dreamcast games are not stale.
      Dreamcast games are fun!
      Emulators don’t support visual memory units.

      1. Good point, except the Camaro is an object of utter beauty. Drop dead gorgeous.
        Try as I might i just can’t look at a DreamCast, PlayStation, XBox, or even my Atari ST in quite the same way.

    4. Well, I get you mean to say. And I can’t argue.

      With every upgrade, a platform looses a bit of it’s character and uniqueness.
      (Just think of the original drives: tape (cassette), floppy disk, CD-ROM)
      – Until nothing is left of the original hardware:

      The number of parts removed in the upgrade process (now spare parts) are
      now sufficient to re-build the complete platform. ;)

      Bottom line: I guess it comes down to having fun tinkering with a platform and learning about it.
      Or using that platform for use cases an emulator is not suited yet.
      For example, to run old programs that communicate with the outer world.
      Say a RTTY/Packet-Radio program, a relay card for an old model railroad etc, a rotor interface, etc.
      The ironiy is though, that especially the ports needed for this, say the tape interface (audio In/out),
      is removed during this “upgrade” mania. Anyway, now you have a shiny SD card slot. Be happy with it. :)
      – We see that with almost all new replicas being made (C64, Spectrum etc).

        1. The magnifying plastic I used was a quick job but it can click Into place (doesnt come off when upside down) so it did not need to be glued. And I can put the original logo back in place if needed. For a permanent solution yes a piano convex piece would be a nice solution though might be hard to trim and buff to shape. Would have to be glued aswell I’d say.

          1. It came out looking really nice anyway. Good job. Just had an idea but don’t know if it’s feasible. Remember those Mirascope toys? How can that concept be made to work with a display?

  3. At home we use it a lot , specially in parties and when kids have cousins to stay for some days, why? because it was one of the consoles that still had local multiplayer games (also xbox 360) that no longer exist apart from mario kart, today the consoles “multiplayer” is only for a paid online suscrption, playing bomberman, chuchu rocket, gauntlet legends, powerstone, OOGA BOOGA, sonic shuffle, worms world party, those dont need to be latest tech superultraHD to be fun

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