Spirit of Speed 1937
Image: Broadsword Interactive

Update [Mon 1st Apr, 2024 15:00 BST]: Turns out, we've been had! Dreamcast Junkyard has revealed the news post was just an April Fools gag. That'll teach us to double-check the date before posting.

We apologize to the dozens of Spirit of Speed fans during this difficult time.

Original Story [Mon 1st Apr, 2024 13:00 BST]: Fans within the Dreamcast community have brought a lot of old multiplayer games back online over the years, but one title that most people never expected to be able to play online was Broadsword Interactive's 2000 Dreamcast port of Spirit of Speed 1937. This is not least because most people weren't even aware that it contained online multiplayer to begin with.

Nevertheless, as recently revealed by Dreamcast Junkyard, it appears the game was hiding the feature all along inside its Japanese release, and that the mode has now been restored, thanks to the efforts of the Dreamcast network development expert Luke "Kazade" Benstead.

According to the game's original developers, in an interview with Dreamcast Junkyard's James Harvey, multiplayer was initially planned for the original Dreamcast release, but the idea was ultimately scrapped after the team was unable to iron out certain network bugs. For the Japanese version (released 9 months later), the development team then revisited the idea and got it working, but again decided against releasing it shortly before the game went gold leaving the netcode hidden away on the disc.

Upon discovering this, Dreamcast Junkyard connected the developers with Benstead in the hopes of recreating the servers and restoring online functionality. And remarkably, it's now finally possible to play the game online again, decades after its original release.

You can unlock the hidden online mode on any Japanese copy of the game. To do this, you just need to press and hold Y, X, and A before hitting the start button on the “Press Start” screen, and you’ll be taken to a hidden menu enabling the network functionality.

[source thedreamcastjunkyard.co.uk, via twitter.com]