Remember to be this good takes ages, and maybe the Dreamcast has just been a slow burner. Coming out of the blocks just before the millennium as the must have console, the arcade beast, with the first real true online gaming console experience, it should have a major hit, and for a lot of people it was, but over the years the Dreamcast become a bit of a laughing stock. The Dreamcast got destroyed in terms of sales against the Playstation 2, and really never recovered, and after a few years the major players in the business started slowly stopping in the creation of games for the console, and then poof, no more retail released games. The Dreamcast was officially discontinued in March 2001 but Sega continued with the sales through its Sega Direct store until 2007.
That’s not to say that over those 15 years the love from the real fans burned any less, if anything, it got stronger. Alot of gamers who may not have been old enough to experience the Dreamcast on its release in 99 are now at an age that, along with the ‘Retro Gaming’ boom as or late, can go back and purchase a console and a lot of games for literally the same price as a current Wii U. Xbox One or PS4 title. It’s been a enjoyable if staggered 15 years to say the least. This 15 years is the US release date. UK got their release the following month on 14/10/99, but doesn’t have that same 9-9-99 ring to it!
People all over the world have their favourite games, and when you ask alot of console gamers what their favourite titles or series of games are, many will have a Dreamcast title in that list, with the likes of Shenmue, Jet Set Radio, Soul Caliber, Powerstone, Skies Of Arcadia, and many many more as the pinnacle in that field of gaming for the gamer at that time, they hold a special place for many people, and too right as well, some of those are absolute corkers of games that deserved to have been played.
Its not been an easy ride being a Dreamcast fan, ask one of ItsMuchMore’s founders James, who, since the incarnation of the Dreamcast, has been going by the gametag/online handle/player name DreamcastUK, and when people question why he has keep the name, well, why not, its a fantastic machine, and at the time, when you’re the butt of every Playstation joke, you had to keep the love of the console alive, and if you look all over the internet, fans across the world have been doing just that.
With all that in mind, here are 15 reasons to have loved and still love the Dreamcast to this day!!
1. The Games – It’s an obvious one really, but when you look at the back catalogue of games on the console, there is quality running through its veins. As said before you have the likes of Shenmue, Headhunter, Space Channel 5, Rez, and many more. The internal studio at Sega were absolutely killing it aswell and were at their peak!
2. Arcade Ports – We all know that the Dreamcast was a fantastic home console, but one of the reasons was the internals that it was running on, allowing some stella arcade ports to come to the Dreamcast in the likes of Virtua Tennis, Sports Jam, Crazy Taxi, 18 Wheeler and more. It was an impressive piece of kit, and still surprises many to this day how it handled those Arcade versions.
3. Online Play – It’s the norm these days, and even in the late 90’s consoles had already ventured into online options, but the Dreamcast embraced the internet, and was the first major foray into the online world that actually worked, and its ‘Up to 6 billion players out there’ enjoyed the likes of Quake 3 Arena, Toy Racer, or the amazing Phantasy Star Online. It wasn’t just online play remember, you could actually surf the internet. I mean go on website and do as you would on your PC.
4. The Launch Titles – Ok so we are on about the games again, but games make the console, and just look at the US launch titles here for the Dreamcast. Surly one of the best launch titles ever? Soul Calibur, Power Stone, Sonic Adventure, Ready 2 Rumble, House Of the Dead 2 , Hydro Thunder, just to name a few. This was also the return, the rebirth, the revival of Sonic the Hedgehog, and ‘that’ SA1 intro was just Amazing!
5. The Place To Play Fighters – Even by today’s standards, you ask any gamer out there born in the mid to early 80’s which home console boasts the best fighting platform, and many will still to this day answer Dreamcast. Everything from the fantastic ports, to in-house games, with the controllers and arcade sticks at the ready, this was a fighters fans paradise with the likes of Marvel vs Capcom, Virtua Fighter, Soul Calibur, Dead Of Alive, Street Fighter 3. When you had the likes of Capcom and SNK on your side, and help from AM2, you knew the games were going to be great.
6. Cheap As Chips – Obviously when technology gets older the price drops massively, and looking at the Dreamcast as a product now, well it’s no better time than now to get into, or back into, Dreamcast gaming. You can pick up console with a bundle of top quality games for around £40-£50. When thinking for £50 you can hours and hours of gaming entertainment, its well worth it.
7. The Peripherals – Ok so these days with have the Kinects, Moves, the Wii motes the this and that, but just look at some of the great peripherals on the Dreamcast. You have the quality of the like the Arcade Stick, the control pads, the VMUs, Twin Sticks, Light Guns, and the quirky Microphones, Dancing Mats, Fishing Rods, Maracas, and then the interesting and in some cases obscure, Dream Eye, Karaoke Machines, Printers, and even a Train controller. We even had the likes of a plug in keyboard and mouse for the hardcore Quake fan, The Dreamcast was ahead of its time in expanding gameplay invention, and fans of todays ‘Wii’ movement, should be thankful of the ideas that were coming from Sega at these times. Yes Nintendo has always had invention on its side, but I still think they took a leaf out of Sega’s book aswell.
8. VMUs – So we’ve had the peripherals above, but come on, we have to give the VMU’s a little extra credit, they were an extension to our gaming at times, and not just your standard memory card. You could for example look after your Chaos pet from Sonic Adventure on your VMU as a stand alone device, giving thanks to the 90s tamagotchi virtual pet craze, and you could even view states and scores from your game on its little screen. I even remember playing whole games of Virtua Tennis just by looking at the screen! It was a device that Dreamcast fan still hold close to the heart.
9. Look At Me No You See – Im not talking about then anymore, im talking about now. The games from 99 to the early 2000s from the Dreamcast still look gorgeous today. You check a PC game from late 2000s and you would think it still looks ugly, just look at the likes of Shenmue, Jet Set Radio, Ferrari F355, Crazy Taxi, Powerstone. They still all look glorious. A fair selection have aged well.
10. Game Genres – I know we have spoken about the Dremacast as ‘the’ go to console for the Fighting genre, but to be fair, when you look at the games released throughout its lifespan, every game genre throughout the Dreamcast’s history at least had a gem to appease the fan, Sports; NBA 2K, Virtua Athlete, Sports Jam, Sega Worldwide Soccer, Adventure; Sonic Adventure, Shenmue 1 + 2, Head Hunter 1 + 2, Seaman Fighters; Virtual Fighter, Street Fighter 3, MMO; Phantasy Star Online, Shumps; Ikaruga, Giga Wing, Border Down, Action; Powerstone, Dynamic Cop, MDK2, Horror; Resident Evil, Illbleed, Nightmare Creatures, Zombies Revenge Shooters; House Of The Dead, Virtua Cop 2. Confidential Mission, Silent Scope, Quake III Arena, Unreal Tournament Driving; F355, Sega Rally, 18 Wheeler, MSR, Daytona USA, RPGs; Skies Of Arcadia, Time Stalkers, Evolution, Extreme; Tony Hawks Pro Skater, WWF Royal Rumble, UFC Championship, Ready 2 Rumble, Trickstyle. Fire Pro Wrestling D, Jet Set Radio……..I mean i could go on and on with more games from the genres. The selection for any type of gamer out there was massive in terms of quality on show. Yes there were some stinkers, but they was a lot of quality too.
11. Leonard Nemoy – Seaman. Enough said!
12. Looking Good – When you actually look as the Dreamcast now, its still a bit of a beaut. The controllers were never a favourite of mine, but I can appreciate the layout, the buttons, the triggers, everything was there that was needed. You had the great d-pad and the analog stick, the corresponding colours, the the VMU in the fore front. The consoles slick white lines, the 4 ports at the font, and lid to open. It just looks like a nice piece of kit, and on the talk of kits, the looks also changed along the way, and again a real front runner on the console market in terms or limited edition console variations, and types. Now a days every new AAA titles has a console bundle with it, back then it was rarer, as you had the odd N64 colour change of Pokemon specific, but the Dreamcast went all out considering its short life span, with lots a models along the way, with some these days costing a small fortune to collect.
13. Console War – Not really the first, and certainly not the last, but we love how, at least at the start, the Dreamcast gave it a right go against the Sony Playstation 2. Hardcore Fans of the console to this day will fiercely protect the name and fight in its corner, and maybe thats with blue tinted glasses, but it was a great time to be a gamer, and it still it.
14. Shenmue – There is so much that could be said about Shenmue, the past the future the present, but all I have to say is that no game has engrossed me so much from start to finish. Maybe the game wasn’t as good as I remember it, maybe thats blasphemy right there, or maybe just at that age I was so awe inspired with what i was seeing that it stuck me me, and that shows how good it was to me. No matter how you look at it, the game was one of the most exciting and enjoyable games to date. Shenmue fans still love both games in the series, and regular monthly tweets and blog posts trying to push Shenmue 3 to come out and finish the story that was never concluded as still present and ongoing now, however unfortunately that may never happen. At least we have the originals.
15. Still Hope – Alot of gamers out there still hold hope that maybe the Dreamcast will make a real comeback. All these fake Dreamcast 2 images are awesome, and show the amount of love out there for Sega’s last home console in the hardware market. Maybe one day Sega will rise again, and there will be the new old player in town to complete again the likes of Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.
After all that, after 15 years, the Dreamcast still lives.