Bleemcast!

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Comparison: R4: Ridge Racer Type 4, running natively on the PlayStation, and under Bleemcast!, respectively.

Bleemcast! is an independently developed commercial emulator by Bleem! that allows one to load and play PlayStation discs on the Sega Dreamcast. It is compatible with most Dreamcast controllers and steering wheels, and leverages the Dreamcast's superior processing power for enhanced graphics. It was originally created by using the MIL-CD security hole in the Dreamcast BIOS.

The early years[edit]

Originally, Bleem! was planning to have the disc able to run any PlayStation game on the Dreamcast, but due to technical difficulties, they developed the concept of the "Bleempak", in which the software would boot only 100 specific games each. New Bleempaks would have to be purchased if one game was not available to boot in a Bleempak. Due to the Dreamcast controller's fewer buttons compared to the PlayStation, there were plans to release a Bleem! controller (somewhat similarly designed to the PlayStation controller) and a PS1-to-Dreamcast controller adapter (which would allow one to use a PlayStation controller on the Dreamcast). As technical difficulties grew further, all these ideas were scrapped, with no "Bleempak" and no hardware releases.

However, they managed to release individual Bleemcast! bootdiscs for three popular games: Gran Turismo 2, Tekken 3, and Metal Gear Solid (Box Scan). As promised from the beginning, the games ran in a 640x480 resolution, as opposed to the PS1's 320x240 resolution, and featured anti-aliasing and bilinear filtering. This drastically improved the games' graphics, but also brought out some graphical imperfections that were originally hidden in the lower resolution.

The death of Bleem![edit]

Although Sony ultimately did not win any of its lawsuits against them, Bleem! had to shut down when the huge court costs became too much for the small company to handle. Bleem! shut down in November 2001, the same year Sega announced that they would discontinue the Dreamcast in North America. Bleem! closed their website with only an image on their front page of Sonic the Hedgehog tearfully holding a flower next to a Bleem! gravestone. The image was later altered and Sonic was removed possibly to avoid a lawsuit from Sega.

Beta leak[edit]

A beta build of Bleemcast! was eventually leaked. Even though it was very buggy and incomplete, it would run some PlayStation games. [1] Also, using this beta, hackers were able to create "Bleemed" games — discs of a PlayStation title with the Bleemcast! emulator built-in. Many of these discs circulate on file sharing networks. A game compatibility list can be found here [2].

After the leak, the developers made a public statement regarding the beta, providing some insight to the development process. The commercial Bleemcast! release is notable as the only release on the Dreamcast that has not been pirated, as it has deep layers of copy protection schemes. All 3 Bleem packs were finally cracked and made available online in December 2009, 8 years after they were first introduced.

See also[edit]