|image from Netflix|
However! That doesn't mean the Dream is over. In fact, this could be a blessing in disguise, as that broken optical drive can be swapped with a peripheral called the GDEMU. Instead of discs, the GDEMU takes SD cards, which are smaller, can be freely erased and rewritten, and hold a lot more data. You could put a massive chunk of the entire Dreamcast library on a 128GB card, and never need to open the drive lid again.
Admittedly, the GDEMU is expensive... Chinese clones of the device cost eighty dollars or more, with the genuine article costing several hundred. However, it may not just be a wise future investment, but a necessary one. I'm told that optical drives in general aren't built for long-term use, with Sega's proprietary drive being especially damage-prone. Beyond that, the GD-ROM has been out of production for nearly two decades... purchasing a replacement just isn't an option, unless you're willing to pay through the nose for a drive fished out of another Dreamcast.
|My Dreamcast, patiently awaiting a drive transplant.|
With GDEMU prices starting at eighty dollars,
it may have to be extremely patient.
Unfortunately, just as many systems from the age of spinning discs and moving parts have no other official storage options. Hackers have cribbed together their own solutions... the Dreamcast has GDEMU, the Saturn has Phoebe and Rhea, and even the decades-old Turbografx-16 has an alternative to the Turbo CD in the Super SD System 3. All of these devices are expensive, with the Super SD System 3 costing nearly as much as a Turbo Duo when it was launched in 1992. However, with the lenses of optical drives dimming and discs slowly losing their data to bit rot, players unwilling to settle for emulation may have no choice but to empty their wallets.