Dream Library

From Sega Retro

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Dream Library (ドリームライブラリ) was a service offered by Sega in Japan between mid-2000 and January 2003 allowing users to download and play Sega Mega Drive and PC Engine games through a Sega Dreamcast. It was included as part of Dream Passport 3 (distributed for free in April 2000), going live at the end of May[1].

Games were to be purchased through the Dreamcast, and then downloaded into the system's RAM for play, similar in many ways to the older Sega Channel service (although over the internet, as opposed to television). There was no means to save a a downloaded game to a VMU, meaning once the system was powered off, the download would be lost, however games could be downloaded multiple times at no extra cost. Game saves could be stored on a VMU, however, allowing users to continue from where they were.

The Dream Library service worked due to the existence of Mega Drive and PC Engine emulators on the Dream Passport 3 disc. Also included by default are 15-minute time-limited "demo" versions of Columns, Daimakaimura, Flicky, Pepenga Pengo and Puyo Puyo. The Mega Drive emulator in particular is very inaccurate, however, particularly when it comes to sound. The situation is so bad with Sorcerian that it can prevent progress in the game (with Sega openly acknowledging this and providing hints[2]).

Dream Library ran into troubles with the release of the Broadband Adapter, as its online disc, Broadband Passport was not compatible with the service. While Sega were keen to support broadband users, compatible discs were delayed, and the service was temporarily shut down on 27th January 2001 to account for the new infrastructure[3]. The release of Dream Passport Premier in July solved most issues.

Sega updated the lineup every month, hosting around 50 titles at any one point, although the full list of games and when they were made available is not currently known. No similar service was ever made available outside of Japan (although an equally poor Mega Drive emulator exists as part of Sega Smash Pack Volume 1). Following Dream Library, Sega would offer Mega Drive games through the Sega Game Honpo service on PC, though a closer analogue would be the Wii's Virtual Console service, which began offering both Mega Drive and PC Engine games for download in late 2006.

List of games

Mega Drive

PC Engine