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Vaughanabe13

July 2nd 2009 11:35 pm

Dreamcast + VGA Cable = Modern Console

If you haven't heard about it, a lot of Dreamcast games support native VGA output via a special VGA adapter. You can buy them from RacketBoy's online store and it is worth every penny. Games like Soul Calibur and Jet Grind Radio look absolutely amazing in VGA. Sure it is not quite high definition and not as good looking as the current generation of consoles (disregarding the Wii), but it is good enough to let you play Dreamcast on your LCD tv without your eyes bleeding.

Also, some games may not officially support VGA, but you can trick the system into displaying the game in VGA. One example that comes to mind is Hydro Thunder. If you turn it on normally it will not boot into the game, but if you unplug the video cable, turn it on and plug in the cable after the disk starts spinning up it will work just fine.

By the way, Hydro Thunder is an awesome game and best represented on the Dreamcast version. I have all three current gen consoles and I STILL go back to play Hydro Thunder.

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25 replies
Psychol

I agree, I used to love playing Metropolis Street Racer and Quake on my PC monitor in my college dorm room. Good times
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icu

I still play Dreamcast via the VGA connector on my 52" Mitsubishi (gdgt.com­/mitsubishi­/wd­-52725/) all the time.
Soul Calibur really does look really nice still and there are still plenty of DC titles that I play rather often. What a great console. Here's some really poor quality phone pics of DC on my 52" + 5.1 system.




(no image tags eh ...)
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Vaughanabe13

Nice. I would still play Rez on DC but I got the HD port on xbox live which I think is better overall.
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racketboy

Yeah, XBLA has a bit of a leg up on the Dreamcast version from what I hear.
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Vaughanabe13

The HD Rez update is a worthy purchase, I think. Reliving the glory with great graphics, and you can even use other 360 controllers as trance vibrators during gameplay. On the other hand, I wouldn't bother with Vigilante 8 Arcade.
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coologuy1957

(Any console before the 360) + VGA Cable = Really Vivid, Crisp Crappy Graphics
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Vaughanabe13

Yes, but most require you to build your own custom RGB connector. The dreamcast is easy peasy
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racketboy

Dreamcast is the only pre-360 one to support VGA nativity as far as I know.
Anything else is just converting an inferior signal, right?
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coologuy1957

Most of the Dreamcast games I loved with awesome graphics have not held up over time. I put them up on a 100" projected screen with S-Video and it wasn't pretty. Doubt VGA would help...
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bigplrbear

Plugging in the VGA connector gives the Dreamcast 480i support, as opposed to the normal 480p. This slightly higher resolution makes the games look WAY better, because the DC is now working at its native resolution instead of downgrading the picture like it would with an RGB cable.
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Vaughanabe13

Exactly. S-video is Nothing compared to VGA. My dreamcast looks great on my 100" projected screen.
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racketboy

Soul Calibur and Shenmue are probably the best examples.

I love Jet Grind Radio as well -- could use a little anti-aliasing, but it's still looks slick!
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coologuy1957

I looked at the Dreamcast vga boxes available on racketboy's website and they said they were not compatible with all games and had s-video/rca ports for 100% compatibility. This seems like a pretty bad situation. Does anyone have a list of the games that are VGA-compatible? Is it most of the games?

I've seen the difference between 480i and 480p with Wii games and it cleans up the picture a lot and helps with the jaggies, but its not mind blowing.
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lilcoop2

I bought some VGA box thing off eBay years back, but racketboy's product is basically the same thing in a smaller, more attractive form. As Vaughanabe13 said in the OP:

"...some games may not officially support VGA, but you can trick the system into displaying the game in VGA. One example that comes to mind is Hydro Thunder. If you turn it on normally it will not boot into the game, but if you unplug the video cable, turn it on and plug in the cable after the disk starts spinning up it will work just fine."
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lilcoop2

Oh - The VGA box I use is the other one Racketboy sells!

Found here: www.racketboy.com­/store­/featured­/dreamcast­-vga­-box...

I only use the VGA and 3.5mm jack though, not the S-Video & RCA end of it.

BTW - Hydro Thunder is awesome on the DC!!!
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coologuy1957

I love Hydro Thunder on the DC, but that is a lot of dumb stuff to go through just to play it. It looks fine on s-video. And what is the max output resolution on the DC? I know its nowhere near HD levels.....
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Vaughanabe13

To each his own, but to me it's worth it, Hydro Thunder and other dreamcast games are amazing! The resolution is of course not HD (I don't have specs atm) but it is so much better than S-video it's ridiculous. S-video looks terrible
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coologuy1957

According to the info on wiki, the max VGA resolution is 480p and while composite/S-Video is 480i. So you end up with a progressive scan image with slightly better color - all outputting the same craptastic low textures and aliased jaggies we all know and love. I love the Dreamcast too, but don't kid yourself into thinking you have made it magically output amazing graphics. The Dreamcast wowed me in 2000, but now, especially blown up on a 50" plasma/LCD or 100" projector it does not age well....
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Vaughanabe13

You're being a little unreasonable here. I never claimed the dreamcast would look good blown up on a 100" projection screen. The graphics are very comparable to the Wii (using component output), which is to say you're not getting a 720p or better HD signal. No cable can magically improve the textures in a game or provide anti-aliasing, we all know that. This cable is a cheap way to breathe new life into an old system, that's it. If you would prefer 1080p PS3 games that's cool too, but don't put me down because I like to play dreamcast.
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coologuy1957

I don't believe I put you down even once. I love many DC games - soul calibur, hydro thunder, spider-man, mdk, san francisco 2049, doa 2, chu chu rocket, etc... I love to play them, but I know how they look and its not terribly impressive. I'm not a graphics whore - I still love/play my NES, Genesis, and NES a lot... I just usually play them on an SD tv since that is where they belong... You can play all of these older systems on new TVs, but its mostly not a pretty affair and VGA is generally reserved for systems that can do HD on these TVs... Thats not a knock or a put down on you - when I run my xbox 360, PS3, or PC using VGA - it is doing much more than 480p and looking great to boot. I just think its a little silly to waste the massive bandwidth and capability of VGA on 480p, low texture, aliased graphics. That has nothing to do with you personally... I'm a video game console collector and I simply like pointing out the pro's and con's of all of these machines. With gameplay the DC gets a 9, but the graphics get a 6... on a 10 point scale including everything from Atari to PS3...
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Vaughanabe13

It's not a put down so much as it is a response arguing about things I never said. In my original post I said the adapter is worth every penny, and considering how cheap it is (or you can make your own if you are a DIY person) I stand by that. If you are a console collector I see no reason not to own it. You could have it set up on a SD tv, sure, but you could also connect it to your desk computer monitor like me. It's definitely not meant for a modern 50" plasma, and again, I never stated that in my post. I also said it won't look like current-gen consoles. So what this comes down to is you're making the "purist" argument that says "I'll play it on what it was originally intended to be played on" and I'm making the techie argument of "I like to mess around with old consoles and see what I can do with them." You clearly think it's an idea not worth pursuing, and I'm cool with that, just don't act like I said all those things or I'm making it out to be some magic cable.
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coologuy1957

I do like playing the systems on their intended equipment and I have messed with putting them on newer, enhanced equipment for fun. But I wouldn't do it regularly - I find it fun but most people just laugh at it and make fun. I'm probably a lot more like you then you think. I bought a TV tuner specifically so I could play Atari on my projector - just for s**ts and giggles. And I played my DC and N64 on there too... it was fun, but definitely only highlighted the low quality graphics... I am actually interested in getting the VGA adapter as well as other rare DC items like the broadband adapter. I already have multiple controllers in different colors, the black "Sega Sports" Dreamcast console, the Dreamcast keyboard (always wanted to try The Typing of the Dead), along with the regular white Dreamcast and a host of downloaded games and homebrew appliances. I wasn't trying to crap on your post or imply you had said "DC + VGA = Xbox 360". I had gone to the site and read about the adapter and was not that impressed. Thats all. It is not supported on every game. The upgrade isn't that great over S-Video. Some games need to be prodded to work (like hydro thunder and how you mentioned the get it to work trick).

And don't forget, you are the one who titled your topic "DC + VGA = Modern Console"! The modern consoles right now are the PS3 and Xbox 360. I suppose you could argue that it makes it similar to the Wii, which itself maxes out at 480p, but we all know that 2 out of the 3 "modern consoles" do 1080p and DO look amazing on plasmas/LCD TVs and projectors....
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racketboy

lol --- thanks for the plug :) (probably didn't know I was a big gdgt fan, huh?)
here's the link if anyone is interested:
www.racketboy.com­/store­/sega­-dreamcast­/dreamcast­-v...

Oh and it's worth mentioning, a few of my forum members have used it with this VGA to HDMI converter successfully:
www.monoprice.com­/products­/product.asp­?c­_id­=101­&am...
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Vaughanabe13

No, I didn't know you were on gdgt, but I'm a big fan of your site.
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TheCheapGeek

Very interesting, I just put the dreamcast in the closet and this might be a reason to get it back out.
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