The Sega Dreamcast is forever going to be a case of what could have been, with its life being sadly cut short by the success of the PS2. Give your memories of the Dreamcast a chance to be relived once again with the best Dreamcast emulator!
So whether you are looking to play Crazy Taxi (complete with the original soundtrack!), work your way through Shenmue, or a quick blast on Sega Rally 2, these best Dreamcast emulators will be just what you are looking for.
Best Dreamcast Emulator
It may be a reasonably new Dreamcast emulator, but Redream has become a firm favourite with Dreamcast enthusiasts and retro fans. Redream boasts versions for Windows PCs, Mac, Linux, Raspberry Pi and Android devices.
Now, just to make things clear, this is not a sponsored post for Redream, it is simply in my view the best Dreamcast emulator available currently!
Redream features include:-
- Accurate emulation of the Sega Dreamcast
- Very good game compatibility rates
- Easy to use UI
- No Dreamcast BIOS is required to play games
- A version for most platforms – Windows PC, Mac, Linux, Raspberry PI & Android
- Game artwork thumbnails are all presented in a really attractive manner
- HD/4K upscaling (with premium version)
Best Dreamcast Emulator For PC, Mac & Linux
Redream is the best Dreamcast emulator for PC, Mac & Linux and also one of the best emulators for PC full-stop Redream however just makes the whole experience far simpler and a nicer experience than the competition.
Redream has a very high compatibility rate with over 96% of Dreamcast games being classed as ‘Running well’, meaning you have absolutely stacks of Dreamcast games to get playing!
There is a premium version of Redream that enables HD/4K upscaling and multiple save state slots, but for only $6 (at the time of writing) it really is not much to pay for such a quality emulator.
The Redream user interface is very simple and makes a refreshing change to that of many other emulators where the UI often takes second place behind the power of the emulator. What is also very useful is that you do not have to use an original BIOS to boot games – Extremely useful!
Best Dreamcast Emulator for Android
Play your favourite Dreamcast games on your Android device with Redream. Just like with its PC counterpart, Redream for Android delivers everything you will need and will be totally familiar with those who already use the PC version as the UI design has been standardised across the two platforms.
Redream for Android has touchscreen controls that overlay your game if you do not have a Bluetooth controller available. It has upscaling options, save states and all the excellent artwork thumbnails you will find on the PC version.
Be aware that whilst Redream is an excellent emulator, your mileage may vary if you have an older phone. But the great news is that Redream has a free option for you to evaluate performance on your Android device first.
Best Dreamcast Emulator for Raspberry Pi
Redream is available for the Raspberry Pi 4, which is fantastic news for Pi fans and Retropie enthusiasts.
This version as with the others has all the features the other platforms get, but with the incredible achievements of emulating Dreamcast games on the modest Raspberry Pi.
Any minor issues with frame rates are nicely handled by the frame skip functionality, but as long as you run games at their native resolution, you shouldn’t have any issues at all with emulation speed.
Redream can be added to your Retropie set-up with reasonable ease too, adding one of the greatest consoles to your Retropie collection is a great feeling!
RetroArch Dreamcast Emulator
With Redream being the most active and recently developed standalone Dreamcast emulator, it’s hard to make many other firm recommendations. But one I can certainly vouch for is the Flycast core on RetroArch.
Flycast is a Dreamcast/Naomi hardware emulator core which offers excellent performance and compatibility with RetroArch. Of course, with it being RetroArch, you also benefit from all the quality of life features it offers in terms of a slick interface, great game playlist management as well as some great shader options built in.
Be sure to make the Flycast core as part of your RetroArch set-up in order to get your Dreamcast fix in a multi-emulator environment.
Check out our how to set up RetroArch for Sega Dreamcast guide to help you get started.
So it’s a clear win for Redream at the moment for Dreamcast emulation, but what about the other consoles of the time. The PS2 was obviously massive and we can’t overlook the GameCube too so check out our best PS2 emulator and best GameCube emulator guides.
Also, check out our comprehensive emulator guide for more inspiration on what emulators to try out next.
Dreamcast Emulator FAQs
How To Emulate Dreamcast Games?
Simply download Redream, grab some Dreamcast game images and you’re ready to go. Redream is available for all the most commonly used platforms, Windows, Mac, Linux, Android & Raspberry Pi.
Is There A Working Dreamcast Emulator?
Yes, Redream is the best Dreamcast emulator. It is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android as well as Raspberry Pi. Play Dreamcast classic games upscaled to 1080p / 4k. Redream has a really high compatibility rate at over 95% of games being able to be fully played from start to finish.
Without a doubt, Redream is establishing itself as the best Dreamcast emulator on any platform.
Does Redream Need A BIOS?
No, Redream has a built-in BIOS which will be enough to boot your favourite Dreamcast games. However, if you do want to use an original Dreamcast BIOS, you can simply take the Dreamcast boot.bin BIOS file and place it in the directory details in the Redream installation instructions.
Does Redream Have Save States?
Yes, Redream does offer to save states. Game save states can be saved and loaded via the Redream menu which has a set number of save state slots as part of Redream premium. The free version allows a single save state slot.
What Type Of Files Does Redream Use?
Redream will boot GDI, BIN/CUE, CHD as well as CDI images. However, the Redream team advise against using CDI images due to the fact that CDI images convert and modify the data stored on Dreamcast discs and compressed down to around 700MB, sometimes resulting in changes to disc contents, ultimately meaning things may crash or not run as intended.
A lifelong avid gamer and computing enthusiast, Matt has decades of experience in the field, so producing retro orientated content for How To Retro comes is second nature to him. Now over 40 years old, Matt now even considers himself retro, but fortunately, nobody has developed a Matt emulator (not yet at least!).