Dream Library

It is well known that the Dreamcast laid the foundations and aspects to a lot of what we see in today's online gaming and DLC. Sega’s final console was also one of the first to offer a large-scale (for the time) download service were users could access and download a large variety of retro titles from previous generations. The service was known as “Dream Library”, and lucky Japanese gamers were able to download a variety of Mega Drive games, as well as PC Engine titles to their Dreamcast, and play them in (almost) perfect form through their high resolution VGA displays.
Dream Library enabled gamers to access games such as "The Kung Fu" (China Warrior in the West)

The Dream Library launched on 29th April, 2001 and to access the service users were required to source a Dream Passport 3, or the Dream Passport Premier, and obviously a working internet connection. Games were paid for with “Dream” points which could be purchased via credit card with 1 dream point roughly working out at 1 yen. In the main, titles were priced at 150 dream points for 2 days rental, but the price of some lengthier games such as PSO was set higher at 400 dream points, but users could enjoy the title for up to 8 days. Occasional promotional campaigns were also held with titles reduced to 50 and 150 dream points respectively. A selection of titles could also be downloaded free of charge to demo play for up to 15 minutes.

The later Dream Passport versions were required to access the service
The lineup was solely made up of games from the PC Engine (HuCard games only as CD-Rom games were not available due to their large size) and Sega Megadrive systems. I have fond memories of feverishly flicking through the lineups advertised in the UK Official Dreamcast Magazine, and being somewhat jealous of  the prospect of Japanese gamers having access to Galaxy Force, Alien Storm and Revenge of Shinobi on their Dreamcast. Plans were also in the pipeline for games from other companies to be adopted into the Dream Library, but the idea was cut short with the cancelation of the service towards the end of the Dreamcast's life. The service was finally terminated on 31st of January, 2003 with the final game count coming at 45 Megadrive titles and 43 PC Engine HuCard games.

For the first time in video game history, games from rival systems became available as DLC
A small number of complaints was made towards the service, such as the troublesome download system and the fact that  due to the games being saved on the Dreamcast's internal ram any data downloaded would be lost when the system was turned off. This proved frustrating as the user would then be required to redownload the title (at no extra cost during the rental period) which was no mean feat considering the system’s meek 33.6kpbs modem which came as standard. The accuracy of the emulation also came under scrutiny as users complained about deficincies in the quality of the audio in certain games.

 Renting games such as Galaxy Force would have been quite a novelty in 2002
Yet, when one considers this all occured before a time in which broadband and hard drives became an industry standard it is hard but not to be impressed at yet another valiant (if ultimately costly) feather in the Dreamcast cap. It really is remarkable achievement that Sega was able to offer this service for the period it did, and with the lineup it put it out and today, the Dream Library's legacy can  clearly be seen through Microsoft’s Xbox Live, and Nintendo’s Virtual Console services.

The following is a full list of the games which were available in Japan on the Dream Library Service.

1. Alien Storm
2. Assault Suits Leynos
3. Aworg
4. Battle Golfer
5. Bonanza Bros
6. Chameleon Kid
7. Columns
8. Columns II
9. Dragon Slayer The Legend of Heroes
10. Echo the Dolphin
12. Flicky
13. Gain Ground
14. Galaxy Force II
15. Ghouls & Ghosts
17. G-Loc
18. Ikasuze! Koi no Doki Doki Penguin Land
19. Ichidant~R GG
20. Labyrinth of Death
21. Langrisser
22. Monster World IV
23. Party Quiz Mega Q
24. Pengo
25. Phantasy Star II
26. Phantasy Star II Amia’s Adventure
27. Phantasy Star II Kind’s Adventure
28. Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
29. Putter Golf
30. Puyo Puyo
31. Puyo Puyo USA
32. Pyramid Magic
33. Rent a Hero
34. Sangokushiretsuden
35. Shining Force
36. Shove it: The warehouse game
37. Sonic the Hedgehog
38. Sorcerian
39. Sorcer Kingdom
40. Super League
41. Super Volleyball
42. Star Cruiser
43. The Revenge of Shinobi
44. ToeJam & Earl
45. 16t

1. Alice's Dreams' In Wonderland
2. Alien Crush
3. Bomberman 94
4. Burning Angel
5. Cross Cyber
6. Cyber Cross
7. Digital Champ
8. Double Ring
9. Eternal City
10. Fantasy Zone
11. Fire Pro Wrestling Combination Tag
12. Ganbare Golf Boys
13. Gekisha Boy
14. Honey in the Sky
15. Honey on the Road
17. Last Ninja
18. Legend of Hero Tonma
19. Magical Chase
20. Metal Stalker
21. Mister Heli no dai boken
22. Momotaro Densetsu Gaiden
23. Moto Roader
24. Naxat Open
25. Necromancer
26. Neutopia
27. Neutopia II
28. Paranoia
29. Power League
30. Psycho Chaser
31. P-47
32. Rabio Lepus Special
33. R-TYPE I
35. Saint Dragon
36. Sengoku Mahjong
37. Soldier Blade
38. Takeda Shingen
39. The Kung Fu
40. Time Cruise II
41. USA Pro Basketball
42. Vigilante
43. Waiwai Mahjong Yukaina janyutachi