If you’re looking to play imports on your Dreamcast (see the DC’s best import games), you have a few options.
If you want a flawless importing experience and are willing to tinker with your Dreamcast’s guts, a modchip may be your best option. I have not installed a Dreamcast modchip myself, but it is supposedly pretty easy — just solder 4 wires into place.
Once the modchip is installed you will be able to boot imports from any region just like your domestic games.
Your second option is to obtain a boot disc. There are a number of retail boot discs availible, but I have heard that the Utopia book disc (download here) is able to boot some imports. To use a boot disc, you simply place the bootdisc in the drive, start up your Dreamcast and then swap in the Dreamcast import when instructed. Pretty easy, but a little more work in the long run.
The other method is about as easy as they come, but many people will frown on it. As many people know, most Dreamcasts will boot burned CDR backup games just like the original games. The extra-nice thing about this is that when booting CDRs, the system does not pay attention to the region.
Because of this, you can obtain a ripped copy of your import game and then boot the burned CDR into the system and play it like the real thing. I want to stress the fact that you should purchase a real retail copy of the game so that we can support the developers — ESPECIALLY with these latest Dreamcast releases that are just coming onto the market.
Developers like G.Rev only continue to release their new 2D shooters on the market when people buy them. We are lucky enough to still be offered Dreamcast releases in 2006 — we don’t want to blow it by only pirating the copies. Bottom line is, if you like these shmups and other new imports, purchase them so developers have a reason to keep making them.
One downside about using rips to play your imports is that you can’t copy your Dreamcast games with your PC. The most practical way is to obtain a rip online via file sharing networks or somebody you know.
Anyway, I hope this helps you in your journey of discovering many of the foriegn gems the Dreamcast has to offer. If you have anything to add or have questions, feel free to leave a comment.