Help wanted: images as noted below, missing info on RX-78, and verification of the exact month when white Dreamcasts became MIL-CD incompatible
A MIL-CD compatible Dreamcast is required in order to be able to play homebrew software and modern indie releases, or to develop on the console directly. During the Dreamcast's life, there were 3 major revisions of its motherboard, labeled VA0, VA1, and VA2/VA2.1. All VA0 and VA1 consoles are MIL-CD compatible, but at some point during in the fall of 2000 the BIOS was changed to remove MIL-CD support from VA2s. Some VA2s manufactured in the fall of 2000 may work. The vast majority of machines are MIL-CD compatible, though MIL-CD incompatible VA2s are not rare.
The revision number can be easily discerned from the motherboard (it's printed right on the main system board, but requires completely disassembling the console to see), the GD-ROM connector style (minimal disassembly required), or on PAL and North American units by a little number in a circle that has either 0, 1, or 2 on the bottom sticker (no disassembly required).
- Help, images wanted of each motherboard type (VA0, VA1, VA2), each GD-ROM type as seen when looking into the console with only the shell removed, and each sticker (NA 0, 1, 2, and PAL 0, 1, 2)
Japanese consoles are harder to tell from the outside, but the third number in the serial number sticker is actually a year of manufacture. 8 means 1998, 9 means 1999, 0 means 2000, and 1 means 2001. No 2001 models are known to be MIL-CD compatible, and most of the 2000s ones are compatible. All of the 1998 and 1999 ones are compatible. It should also be noted that, on the front of the box of MIL-CD incompatible Japanese units, there is a little black rectangle on the top right, underneath "NTSC-J," that states "MIL CD Incompatible" in white text in Japanese. "MIL CD," however, is written in English letters, so it's very easy to see it assuming the box is available. It is also written on the side of the box with the serial number sticker, written in white text inside a black rectangle. Note that some limited edition consoles' boxes have the NTSC-J label moved around on the front of the box (e.g. the Sakura Taisen box's label is in the bottom right corner).
- Help, images wanted of Japanese boxes. One that just says "NTSC-J" and one that says "NTSC-J" with the "MIL CD Incompatible" label
Limited Editions and MIL-CD Compatibility
|Console type and region||Date of manufacture||Compatible?|
|Sega Sports (North America)||July/August 2000||Yes|
|Sonic 10th Anniversary (PAL)||???||Yes|
|RX-78 Gundam Edition (Japan)||???||No|
|Biohazard Code: Veronica||1999||Yes|
|Red Seaman Christmas Package||1999||Yes|
|Clear Seaman Christmas Package||1999||Yes|
|Hello Kitty Pink||1999||Yes|
|Hello Kitty Blue||1999||Yes|
- The "special sticker" limited editions (e.g. CSK, partners, etc.) appear to all be VA1/MIL-CD compatible.
- Years are the year of manufacture as printed on the console's bottom sticker, and may not coincide with release dates (release dates can be found here: https://segaretro.org/Dreamcast_consoles_in_Japan). Manufacture dates are usually a few months before sell dates due to factors like transportation and storage time. For example, the Sega Sports models were initially sold in September 2000 despite being built up to 2 months prior.
- The above compatibility chart is an educated estimate and not every console has been tested. It may be possible, for example, that some of the individual special edition consoles with box labels warning of no MIL-CD compatibility ended up with a compatible bootROM.
- Help wanted: This has been really hard to verify, and it may only be September 2000 white Dreamcast units that work, if any, as anything after coincides with the manufacture of the Sakura Taisen editions, which are not MIL-CD compatible.
- 2001 or 2002, haven't been able to find a picture of the bottom sticker
- It has a VA1, year 2000 Japanese unit inside: http://www.dc-swat.ru/forum/printthread.php?tid=2481