Sega Dreamcast emulators

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Sega Dreamcast
Developer Sega
Type Home video game console
Generation Sixth generation
Release date 1998
Discontinued 2001
Predecessor Sega Saturn

The Dreamcast is a sixth-generation console released by Sega in November 1998 in Japan and later in 1999 in other territories. Naomi, an arcade system board similar to the Dreamcast, is supported by some Dreamcast emulators. Atomiswave is an arcade system board that is based on Naomi.

Microsoft collaborated with Sega for DreamCast development (which would continue later with the Xbox). The Sega Dreamcast is known for running an optimised version of Windows CE (with DirectX) as an operating system. However, Sega chose to go down a different route than what was originally planned - bundling simple operating systems within the discs themselves. Running games through Windows CE was still an option for developers, but most games used Sega's proprietary software instead out of convenience. This aspect isn't implemented in all emulators.


Name Operating System(s) Latest Version Naomi Atomiswave Windows CE Active Recommended
DEmul Windows 0.7 Build 180428
Reicast OIT Windows, Linux Git
Reicast regular Multi-platform Git
reicast Windows, Linux Dev builds
nullDC Windows 1.0.4 r150
redream Windows, Linux, macOS 1.3.1
Makaron Windows T12/5
Chankast Windows 0.25
Lxdream Linux, macOS 0.9.1
WashingtonDC Linux Git
MAME Multi-platform 0.209
Reicast regular Android, mobile Git
reicast Android Dev builds


Has the highest compatibility and accuracy, but is Windows-only. It supports Windows CE games, but in general they run worse than standard Dreamcast titles. It's also more resource-intensive than other emulators.
Can run a lot of games at great speed in mid-end PCs. It's no longer developed in favor of its fork…
Made by the same team. Runs on Android, Windows, and Linux.
Reicast regular and Reicast OIT
libretro forks similar to Mednafen's PCE-fast and PCE-accuracy cores that backport changes from flyinghead's fork of reicast. regular aims to be compliant with OpenGL 2 and OpenGL ES 2 so that it can continue to run on mobile devices and mid-tier PCs. A graphics feature of the Dreamcast, Order-Independent Transparency, can only be properly emulated using recent versions of OpenGL 4, meaning it is limited to Windows and Linux.[1] In the same month of these cores' huge graphics renderer addition, they added support for the Naomi/Atomiswave hardware.
Has a good interface, is simple to setup, and can run without a BIOS (though it's better to use one anyway).
One of the only two Dreamcast emulators that can properly play Windows CE games.

Emulation issues

Dreamcast emulation is not very good. For the emulators that are either mature or maturing, a very large percentage of games work well, but many games still have problems and glitches.

Fortunately, the first viable open-source Dreamcast emulator that has a near complete graphics renderer began appearing in June 2018 in two newly split cores inside the libretro multi-system emulator. But the more accurate core works on PC's only. Its graphics renderer can be found in a fork of the separate Reicast emulator which it backported the code from.

VMU Emulation

While current Dreamcast emulators can display the VMU display when the game is running, none of them can be used to play the minigames which were made to run on the VMU. To play those minigames you'll need to use another emulator. There is no complete list of VMU emulators and the ones which can be found are poorly documented and/or closed source.


VMU emulation

Emulating the Dreamcast VMU is possible via use of this emulator: Dropbox link

Link to forum thread about it


  1. Daniel De Matteis. Introducing Reicast OIT libretro core + updated Reicast regular core on June 12, 2018.

Dreamcast logo.png
Consoles: SG-1000Master SystemGenesis / Mega DriveCD32XSaturnDreamcast
Handhelds: Game Gear
Arcade: System seriesModel 1Model 2Model 3Naomi