How Tos

How to play Dreamcast games on Android with the Reicast emulator

Play games from Sega's best console on your Android phone or tablet

How to play Dreamcast games on Android with the Reicast emulator

The Dreamcast was not the commercial success that Sega wanted - and needed - back when its console debuted in 1998. But the fondness with which it is recalled by many gamers speaks volumes for the quality of the system.

With the Dreamcast, The Big S gave us arcade-standard visuals, a raft of amazing 3D adventures, and more Capcom fighting games than you could shake a stick at - as well as solid-gold classics like Skies of Arcadia, Crazy Taxi, and Shenmue.

Amazingly, you can now emulate this highly regarded piece of hardware on your Android device. And we're going to show you how.

Before we begin, though, it's worth pointing out that in parts of this guide you are required to jump through some potentially questionable hoops.

So, if you're uncomfortable with the idea of downloading ROMs or BIOS files, close down your web browser and find a puppy to rescue. You'll feel much better afterwards.

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You'll need a pretty nippy device to make the most out of this emulator. While the developer of Reicast says a 1GHz CPU is required to run its emulator, we found that phones with quad-core processors are best suited to the 'task'.

We tested the Reicast emulator on a Google Nexus 5 and Nvidia Shield, and found performance was excellent.

Dreamcast emulator Download Reicast from the Google Play Store Nice and simple, this one. Simply go to this page and download the emulator itself. When you open it for the first time, you'll be told that you're missing a BIOS file. Don't fret: simply move onto the next step.
Dreamcast emulator Find a BIOS file and VMU flash file The Dreamcast BIOS - which is required to actually boot the emulator - should be pretty easy to find online if you look in the right places. For Reicast to work, the BIOS need to be titled "dc_boot.bin". Many of the ones available online, however, are named "dc_bios.bin". Don't worry, though: simply rename the file and it should work. The flash file - which simulates the Dreamcast console's VMU memory card for game data storage - is usually found wherever BIOS files are available. You'll know it by the name "dc_flash.bin".
Dreamcast emulator Create a DC folder A folder isn't automatically created in Reicast for you to store things in, so go to the root of your SD card and create a folder called "DC". Then, create another folder within that called "Data". This is where you'll want to dump your BIOS and flash files.
Dreamcast emulator Wipe your virtual VMU When you eventually load up a game, you'll be told that your VMU is full and save data cannot be written. To clear the "virtual" VMU, select the 'Boot BIOS' option from the main Reicast menu. This will display the front-end of the Dreamcast operating system - the same thing you'd see on a proper Dreamcast console if you booted it up without a disc in the drive. Select 'File' and then select the VMU, then 'Delete All (memory reset)'.
Dreamcast emulator Game On Again, we're not going to list the places online where you can download Dreamcast titles (you'll have to do a bit of detective work yourself, we're afraid). These files will most likely come in compressed form, so you'll need to extract them before they can be read by the emulator. You'll be able to spot the game files because they will have ".cdi" at the end of them. To play the games, use Reicast's file browsing system to locate them on your phone's memory. It's a good idea to keep them in the "DC" folder, but this isn't a requirement to get them to work. Be warned: compatibility isn't perfect at the moment. Sonic Adventure, Crazy Taxi 2, and Power Stone run almost perfectly, but Shenmue has graphical issues and Skies of Arcadia refuses to boot at all. It's also worth noting that Reicast is still in a very early stage of development and has few options at present - these will no doubt be rolled out over time.