XBandPi NOOBS Compatible image released! (v1.23/v1.7 DLE)

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Compatible image released!
(v1.23/v1.7 DLE)

Online gaming history

    The almighty Sega Dreamcast was the first video game console to have both web browsing and online gameplay built-in, out of the box, via its innovative dialup 56k internet modem on its G2 expansion bus. Even with this innovation, its networking capabilities were nothing compared to the breadth and depth of modern online gaming, with it's highspeed broadband, online game stores and robust social networking platforms and features (such as Sony's PlayStation Network for shopping, leaderboards, achievements, friends lists and matchmaking lobbies, etc. on the Sony PlayStation 4). However, the modem's inclusion was a groundbreaking innovation that would help pave the way to our modern day online multiplayer and social gaming networks. Unfortunately, the game servers for the Dreamcast network games were long since discontinued in the early 2000s. I have documented more about getting a Dreamcast back online in my blog article on DreamPi DX NOOBS image release.

The Sega Dreamcast and
its dial-up 56k modem

Early attempts at online gaming
(dialup modem cartridges)

     Prior to the Sega Dreamcast, earlier video game consoles attempted rudimentary online networking via much simpler dialup 56k modems on cartridges or other system expansion buses, and these were direct dial gameplay setup. The earliest setups were just for game downloading, while later services added online gameplay. For early online gameplay, the games themselves didn't have code support for multiplayer network lobbies, but usually rudimentary services to connect gamer clients (peer-to-peer direct dialup connection between both players).

    One of Sega's and Nintendo's earlier attempts at online gaming was through a 3rd-party dial up modem and service called XBND. XBAND was a dial-up modem cartridge and service created by Catapult during the Fourth Video Game Generation for the 16-bit Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo consoles. It had a passthrough cartridge slot on top which would apply patches to supported games' code in order to add network functionality. These code patches would intercept button presses and transmit them through the XBAND network/direct dial-up connection, as well as help to keep the games in sync via network packets. In a way, the passthrough connector acted like an over glorified cheat device like a Game Genie, but with hardware support for a dial-up modem and networking support. A service fee and subscription was required to use the XBAND service, and fees were applied to dialup phone connections between gamers.


XBAND modem (Genesis/SNES)

XBAND Commercial (Sega Genesis)

   The XBAND service provided the following features:

 Unfortunately, the XBAND service was discontinued for both the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo on April 30, 1997. Full details about XBAND in the YouTube documentary videos below.


Enter XBNDPi


Similarly with the Sega Dreamcast and its online games via DreamPi and Dreamcast Now service, enthusiasts are working on bringing back XBAND services. Despite the XBND service being discontinued in April 30, 1997, various sceners within the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo/Super Famicom retro gaming communities have created a replacement, homebrew XBand server. This endeavor was done partially with the original source code given out from ex-Catapult engineers, from reverse engineering, and from dumping game ROM patches stored on old XBAND modem cartridges.

As of the time of this writing (April 2023), the XBAND replacement servers supports the following features, connections methods, and games:

XBND Setup methods:

Supported XBand Features:

Gameplay Specifics:

Supported Games for Gameplay:

  • XBAND revival!
    Modern XBAND gameplay (VoIP)

    Enter XBNDPi NOOBS
    compatible image

    Unfortunately, just like with DreamPi distro image, the stock image is a raw image meant only to be written directly to the SD card. It does not allow for easy partitioning with other distros in a multi-boot setup. Fortunately, just like with DreamPi DX NOOBS image, I have created a set of XBandPi NOOBS compatible images (v1.23/v1.7 DLE) for NOOBS/PINN bootloaders which will allow for multiboot. These images are built against DreamPi v1.7 DLE and converted to XBandPi images, and they comes in 2 flavors, "XbandPi4" for Raspberry Pi models 4 and newer, and "XBandPi"for older models. It is highly recommend to use PINN over NOOBS bootloader especially since it will allows easier install, especially with online install support.

    As usual with these types of NOOBS compatible images, you can either install the XBandPi NOOBS locally on SD card/external flash drive, or via the internet (PINN only). Just add the line


    to your recovery.cmdline file in PINN bootloader for install from online server.

    Full details and downloads for the XBandPI NOOBS image on the EagleSoft Ltd project page 

    Enjoy online gaming on your Sega Genesis and SNES XBand modems with XBandPi NOOBS images! - Tamkis


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