Dreamcast Dreaming – A Time to Reminisce

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I think it’s taken way too long for Dreamcast games to come to present-day consoles. This wasn’t a console that just disappeared into nothingness amid its maker’s demise as a hardware manufacturer. Such was the popularity of the Dreamcast that developers were still releasing games deep into last decade. Its popularity amongst hardcore gamers, I think, will never, ever end, perhaps complimented by its superb game library that, to this day, is still one of the best of all time.

I know I sound like some snotty little Sega fanboy. But I digress; I was that little annoying kid that would stand up for Nintendo during this Mario vs. Sonic battles in the schoolyard. I’m not quite sure what pulled me to the Dreamcast initially, because at the time I most certainly was not a regular gamer; I had played the crap out of my SNES, but neither the Nintendo 64 or PlayStation had done a good job of pulling me in. If I had to put it down to something, it was probably the hype that surrounded the US and Japanese launches, compounded by the marketing genius that was the 9-9-99 US release date. However, much of that hype derived from the insanely good launch lineup, which consisted of Soul Calibur, Sonic Adventure and Power Stone, three games that still sit atop my own personal “favourite games of all time” list.

The death of the console can be put down to a number of things. Piracy and the launch of the PlayStation 2 probably act as the two most influential things that forced Sega out of the console business. And yet, despite the console’s failure a mere two years after its launch, my love for the console seemed to thrive and grow the deeper into the decade we got. For any Dreamcast lovers out there (and I know there are plenty of you), try and get your hands on little gems like Radilgy and Trigger Heart Exelica, two fantastic shooters that form part of the final Sega-published Dreamcast catalogue (they were released in 2006 and 2007 respectively, with the latter now available on Xbox Live Arcade).

I have no doubt that Sega acknowledges and appreciates the legacy of the Dreamcast. Years after the company pulled out of the console market, they still sold refurbished Dreamcast consoles via the Sega Direct division in Japan. Anyone lucky enough to play gems such as NFL 2K2, Jet Grind Radio, Samba de Amigo and Crazy Taxi will know how special this console was, despite its shortcomings in the retail sector. Furthermore, Sega’s dedication to online gaming was trailblazing, as the console’s SegaNet acted as a precursor to Xbox Live.

There’s no doubting the Dreamcast’s appeal to the hardcore gamer; its library reads like a list of the greatest games of all time, while its online service provided the perfect platform for mainstream online gaming we all know and love today. As Sega plans to bring past gems to present-day consoles, younger gamers finally get a chance to experience the brilliance that was the Dreamcast, a console that, for me, stands alone as the definitive gamer’s console.