The official Mega Drive emulator for the Dreamcast
Mega Drive/Genesis emulation is nothing new on the Dreamcast. SEGA had released an official emulator (of sorts) called Sega Smash Pack which was only launched in the US. It only includes some games from the Mega Drive.
The Mega Drive Dreamcast emulator in video
The European version of the Mega Drive emulator was never officially released. There was never a solid plan to release it. However, a magazine briefly mentioned it.
Elton Bird : «We of course tried to give them (SEGA) the opportunity to edit it, giving it a professional, elegant look (based on the style of the European Megadrive box).»
There was a rumor about its development, but it remained just a rumor until the prototype was discovered. It was only talked about in insider circles.
The emulator menus were programmed (mainly as a learning exercise) by David Harvey, a programmer who worked in the developer support department. Elton Bird, who is responsible for the Ball Bubble mini-game in Planet Ring DC and parts of Dream On's menu system for the demo discs, tried to further optimize its performance.
Preview of the magazine mentioning the Mega Drive emulator for Dreamcast
The development studio behind the project
David Harvey: «It wasn't decided whether to release it or not, it was just a proof of concept. I had a lot of fun with it!»
Once the menus were in place and it started to look like something, people thought about making it into a game. It came too late in the life of the Dreamcast.
«I was given the current assembler as an .ASM file, perhaps with a simple text-based user interface, and I wrote the new user interface and Rom configuration loader.»
The first photo taken of the game to confirm its authenticity
Originally, the emulator came from Japan. It didn't work fast enough to support most of the best Mega Drive games at full speed. SEGA of America engineers then worked to try to make it work properly for Sonic games mainly, before the code reached Europe.
DevCon 2000 : 2 days formation in London for all studios working with the Dreamcast
The chronology and history behind the code for Mega Drive emulation on Dreamcast are explained on the page: Sega Smash Pack Vol.1 and its prototypes, the start of Mega Drive emulation on Dreamcast.
The emulator offers an impressive amount of options (50 / 60Hz, possibility to modify the console regions, controller configurations, VMU support...). The software detects the Dreamcast's region, so when playing the game on a Japanese or American console the 50 / 60 Hz choice won't appear.
Elton Bird : «The menus were nice... more work from David Harvey, but I think he used my text display routine!»
With a colossal list of 175 Roms (some are bugged to the point of crashing the emulation, others are strange technical demos...), this piece of history supports the idea that SEGA may have had in mind to regularly release Mega Drive compilations for its Dreamcast.
As SEGA announced the end of the Dreamcast production and many staff members were leaving, the MD emulator was placed on a special souvenir disc for employees. Everything was linked to the Dream On system (European demo disk).
You can download it below:
Similar prototypes (Unreleased) : Agartha (DC) - Emulateur officiel Megadrive (DC) - Castlevania Resurrection (DC) - Half Life (DC) - Dalforce XOP (DC) - Flinstone (DC) - 4 x 4 Evolution PAL (DC) - Ring : L'Anneau des Nibelungen (DC) - Ecco 2 (DC) - Kyskrew (DC) - Propeller Arena (DC) - Geist Force (DC) - Scud Race Tech Demo Dreamcast - Shenmue 2 US (DC) - The Red Star (XBOX) - Heaven's Drive ( version japonaise de Burnout 1) pour PS2 - Jekyll and Hyde (DC) - The Grinch Jap (DC) - Worms Pinball (DC) - Quake 3 Arena version japonaise (DC) - Vectorman PS2