Saturday, February 9, 2019

Livin' the Dream

...well, sort of, anyway. The Dreamcast I bought arrived yesterday, and while it does work, it has some issues. When I first turned it on, it went to the date entry screen, and while I was setting the WABAC machine for twenty years into the future, it shut off. Uh, that ain't good. After several such resets, I managed to get the machine to keep its eyes open, but it wouldn't recognize discs. Cleaning the lens with a Q-tip and a small amount of alcohol fixed that problem, but it's still kind of picky about what it will read. It ran Fighting Vipers 2's introduction too slowly, focusing on characters for so long that the background music finished well before the rest of the intro did. Street Fighter Alpha 3 wouldn't run at all, and while I could play through the game in its entirety, Capcom vs. SNK 2's smug announcer got a slight stutter... not a game-killer by any means, but still distracting.

I guess the best course of action would have been to send the Dreamcast back, but I wasn't sure it would be worth the hassle just to recover twenty five dollars and some couch change. It certainly wasn't worth the hassle for the seller, who told me she really needed the money and that she had a toddler and three pit bulls to feed. Pretty good hustle, kid... you're off the hook for this one. So it looks like it's up to me to work out the kinks in this system.

Fortunately, much of what's happening with this Dreamcast are common issues with common solutions. The laser can be strengthened by adjusting a potentiometer inside the system, and the random shutdowns usually happen because the power pins get corroded over time and need to be cleaned. I'll have to open the machine to do this maintenance, and that brings with it the possibility of brushing up against the internal power supply and getting a painful electric shock. I can't imagine it being any more painful than paying eBay prices for another Dreamcast, though...

I've only spent a small amount of time with this system, but just seeing the orange dot hop along the bottom of the screen, then expand into the Sega swirl, brought back some serious nostalgia. I played Dreamcast games almost exclusively from 2000 to 2002, and it's good for the soul to relive that experience on an actual console, if only briefly. I just need to do a few repairs to keep those good times rolling...

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