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How to play Sega DreamCast games on Linux

The Sega Dreamcast is widely considered one of the worst performing video game consoles of all time, beating out the Sega Saturn and the Atari Jaguar. However, despite its terrible performance in the late 90s, many people loved it and had a lot of fun with the console. If you’re a Linux gamer and have nostalgia for the Sega Dreamcast, don’t waste your time hunting one down one to buy on eBay. Instead, save your money and follow our guide on how you can emulate and play Sega DreamCast games on Linux!

Note: Addictivetips in no way encourages or condones the illegal download or distribution of ROM files for Lxdream. If you want to play Sega Dreamcast games with Lxdream, please use your own ROM files you’ve backed up to your PC, legally.

Install Lxdream

Dreamcast emulation on Linux is less than stellar. Some would say that it’s one of the hardest consoles to get working on Linux, due to the lack of support and good emulator applications out there. Fortunately, there’s an excellent (albeit old) Dreamcast emulator up to the task. It’s called Lxdream, and its last code update was in 2008. Despite its age, users can use it to emulate the Sega Dreamcast on Linux.

Ubuntu/Debian

Lxdream is not a part of the Ubuntu software sources so installing it on Ubuntu Linux isn’t possible with a simple Apt command. Furthermore, the only DEB package available for Ubuntu is a DEB package from 11 years ago that doesn’t work.

Note: this process will also work on Debian. Be sure to change the Apt commands with Apt-get.

Fortunately, the people at RPM Fusion have the Lxdream emulation app available for distributions as new as Fedora 29 and it’ll work (once converted) on Ubuntu.

To install, open up a terminal and use the Apt command to install Alien.

sudo apt install alien

Once Alien is up and running, download the Lxdream package from the RPMFusion package repo with the wget command.

wget http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/releases/29/Everything/x86_64/os/Packages/l/lxdream-0.9.1-14.fc29.x86_64.rpm -O lxdream-64bit.rpm

Or, if you need 32-bit, do:

wget http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/releases/29/Everything/i386/os/Packages/l/lxdream-0.9.1-14.fc29.i686.rpm -O lxdream-32bit.rpm

With the RPM done downloading, convert it to a DEB package using Alien.

sudo alien -dvc lxdream-64bit.rpm

Or, for 32-bit:

sudo alien -dvc lxdream-32bit.rpm

Finally, install the app with:

sudo dpkg -i lxdream_0.9.1-15_amd64.deb

Or, to install 32-bit, do

sudo dpkg -i lxdream_*.deb

Arch Linux

Much like Ubuntu and Debian, the only way to get Lxdream to work on Arch Linux is by decompiling an existing Fedora RPM with Alien. Install the app by entering the following commands below.

sudo pacman -S git base-devel

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/trizen.git

cd trizen

makepkg -sri 

trizen -S alien_package_converter --noconfirm

wget http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/releases/29/Everything/x86_64/os/Packages/l/lxdream-0.9.1-14.fc29.x86_64.rpm -O lxdream-64bit.rpm

alien -tvc lxdream-64bit.rpm 

tar -xzvf lxdream-0.9.1.tgz

sudo rsync -a etc/ /etc

sudo rsync -a usr/ /usr

Fedora

sudo dnf install http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/releases/29/Everything/x86_64/os/Packages/l/lxdream-0.9.1-14.fc29.x86_64.rpm -y

OpenSUSE

There’s no RPM available in the OpenSUSE repositories for Lxdream. However, the Fedora one should work just fine. Here’s how to get it on SUSE.

wget http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/releases/29/Everything/x86_64/os/Packages/l/lxdream-0.9.1-14.fc29.x86_64.rpm -O lxdream-64-bit.rpm
sudo zypper install lxdream-64-bit.rpm

Playing games in Lxdream

To play a Dreamcast game in Lxdream, you must first specify a Dreamcast ROM. To do this legally obtain your own Sega Dreamcast ROM files and place them on the computer. Then, launch Lxdream and click on “Settings” then “Path.”

In the “Path” menu, set the Bios ROM as well as the Flash ROM, and click “OK”.

Once Lxdream has the BIOS files configured correctly, you’ll be able to load in a game. To load in a game, click “File,” then select “GD-ROM,” followed by “Open Image file.”

After selecting “Open Image file,” a browser window will appear. Use it to load up the Sega Dreamcast ROM file into Lxdream. Then click the play icon to start the emulation.

Configuring graphics

Lxdream is an older emulator, so there aren’t any advanced graphical settings to speak of. However, it does support multiple modes, such as windowed and full-screen mode.

To switch the emulator between windowed-mode and full-screen mode click “Settings” and then check the box next to “Full-screen.” Alternatively, press Alt+Enter.

Configuring controllers

Need to set up a USB controller for your Dreamcast games? Here’s how to do it.

First, click on “Settings.” Then, select the “Controllers” option in the menu to access the controller configuration area of the Lxdream emulator.

In the controller config area, find “Port A” and set it to “Sega Controller”. Then click “Properties” to access the controller mapping area.

Inside the controller mapping area, use the UI and go through to assign buttons to your controller.

Saving and loading

Creating saves and loading them in Lxdream is quick and easy thanks to hotkeys. While a game is running, press F5 to save. If you’d like to load a save, press F6.

It’s also possible to create and load saves by clicking “File” and selecting the “save” or “load” options in the menu.

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