HowTo: Get your Dreamcast online
If there was any doubt that Oberon's insane, consider it banished now
Oberon: This may seem like it's coming a few years too late.
We all remember the adverts for the Dreamcast, promising us the ability to surf the web from our living rooms and play against millions of other people. But, you may wonder, what the point of this is when you're already sitting at a computer that's net-ready, and that the Dreamcast's popularity has taken a massive tumble. Add to this the fact that Broadband adaptors simply don't exist in large enough numbers to be worth looking for (the Gamecube's coming in a close second), leaving you with either a 56k or 33.6k modem to deal with, and you may be thinking of simply hitting the back button now, and avoiding the rest of this nonsense ramble.
It all begins with the loss of my computer...
Well, more specifically, my father's. With me about to head off to a LAN party with my own PC, he desperately needed some way of getting online, no matter how limited the experience may be. And so my plan to get my Dreamcast online began...
First of all, forget even reading any further unless you have the most recent version of the Dreamcast browser software. Version 3.0 is the one you'll need as a minimum, as we're going to need to be able to add our own ISP information. In the UK and other European countries, you'll be needing the Dreamkey 3 GD-ROM from Sega, which is still available if you ask them nicely. Email email@example.com, and ask for the most recent version of the Dreamcast browser software, giving your name and address, and you should receive the disk in the post within a fortnight. Those of you outside of Europe should contact the relevant Sega technical support office, and see what happens. (If all else fails, there's always eBay - you should be able to pick up a browser disc for fairly little)
Not strictly required, but still highly recommended, are a Dreamcast keyboard and mouse - far easier to obtain than a browser disc. My first keyboard cost me a mere fifty pence, and the second I managed to get for free when I bought my mouse (itself only a pound), so search your local second-hand games store and see what comes up. Also highly recommended is an empty VMU, preferably one of the higher-capacity ones as you can easily find yourself running out of space after a while.
Finally, we're going to need an ISP to connect with. If you're in the UK, you'll already know of an abundance of 'free' ISPs that only charge you the cost of a local 'phone call. Signing up with Wanadoo or Tiscali (for example) is quick, simple, and free, and you get yourself an email address, a little web space, and your login details. Alternatively, try UK2 - you don't even have to register, and can simply grab the login details and be away within minutes. Cheaper than free.
One more little thing - it may well be an advantage to connect the Dreamcast's modem up to a telephone line.
First things first - place the Dreamkey (or other browser, depending on where you live) GD-ROM into your Dreamcast and turn the console on. Once it's booted, you should be presented with the splash screen, and the option to configure your console for Internet access. When prompted, select "SETUP" or "MANUAL" Read through the manual if you want - it lists everything you should need to know. Once you're done, you may go on, and from here everything's fairly straightforeward - fill in the relevant boxes, and you should be away. Be sure to save your settings once your done.
From here, you're free to surf the web as you please. Enjoy your new web-browsing games console! (and be sure to download a few extras for your games)