I basically lost out on all of today, but I’m still going to put up this post until I publish something more substantial. Fifteen years ago to the day, the Dreamcast, Sega’s final video game console, entered the North American market. Cue the prune juice; I’m getting old.
My personal experience with the Dreamcast is rather limited, as I’ve never owned one.and never played it much until my second year of college. One of my roommates owned a Dreamcast and quite a few games, so sometimes we’d pop in a few titles and have at it. I really enjoyed it, and Virtua Tennis got me more hyped than ever thought it could. However, it was Capcom’s fighting title Project Justice which really sold me. People, if you haven’t played that one by all means find a way to do so. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
What I remember most about the Dreamcast are some of the wacky commercials that Sega had to advertise it. In the video seen below (thanks to peppardb for the upload), there are a series of the initial commercials Sega used to promote the DC. These ads featured a number of Sega’s characters, as well as professional athletes. My favorite of the commercials has a digital version of former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon.
The Dreamcast was not a big hit over its run, finishing a distant fourth in sales to its fellow sixth generation consoles– the Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox, and Nintendo Gamecube respectively– with only 10 million units sold. After the system was discontinued in 2001, it did continue to receive software consistent software support in North America and Europe until the following year, while Japan had Dreamcast games regularly on its store shelves until 2004, with two more releases in 2007 and 2008.
The Dreamcast was ahead of its time, with its usage of Windows operating system, built-in modem for online play, and the Visual Memory Unit (VMU) which stored game information. VMUs were impressive tech for its time and even now, as some of those units had mini games that could be played on the unit itself.
Despite its poor overall sale performance relative to its competition, gamers and critics have since praised the Dreamcast as being one of the best consoles ever made. Even now, the Dreamcast still has a dedicated fanbase, seen on numerous gaming forums and fansites. In 2009, the Dreamcast placed 8th on IGN’s list of top 25 consoles and the following year, placed first on PC Magazine’s top ten console list.
Happy fifteenth, Dreamcast! Hopefully Sega makes another video game console soon. Until next time.
Edit: Added some info about the publications that praised the Dreamcast and its dedicated fanbase.