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Dreamcast is 10 today

Thursday, 27th November 2008 09:46 GMT By Patrick Garratt

dreamcastlogo1.jpg

Dreamcast was born 10 years ago today.

The Sega console released in Japan on November 27, 1998, and didn’t reach the West for another year, launch in the US on September 9, 1999 and Europe on October 14 the same year.

The Japanese machine launched with Godzilla Generations, Virtua Fighter 3tb, PenPen TRiIceLon and July.

Dreamcast’s life was brief: cessation of production was announced of January 31, 2001, thanks mainly to competition from PS2.

Water under the bridge. Happy birthday, little man.

Thanks, Kotaku.

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50 Comments

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  1. Shatner

    For the fallen

    More importantly, the C64 is 26 years old!

    Happy Birthday Breadbin :)

    #1 6 years ago
  2. mart

    Water under the bridge? What is this noise? NEVAR FORGET!

    #2 6 years ago
  3. morriss

    I’m with mart.

    I still’s got me Dreamcast. Bless it’s cotton socks.

    #3 6 years ago
  4. Michael O'Connor

    *sheds a tear for the long-lost Dreamcast*

    #4 6 years ago
  5. Blerk

    Dreamcastlol!

    #5 6 years ago
  6. absolutezero

    My DC is still under my TV. Its actually still connected aswell.

    So there.

    #6 6 years ago
  7. Michael O'Connor

    i sold mine away about 8 years ago; possibly the most tragically evil and regretful things I’ve ever done. =(

    I swore never to sell my consoles again after that.

    Can the thing still go online?

    #7 6 years ago
  8. mart

    Kinda, sorta. None of the official servers are up of course, but there’s some third party PSO servers available and such.

    #8 6 years ago
  9. patlike

    My Dreamcast was the first thing I ever had at home that could actually go on the internet.

    #9 6 years ago
  10. Gekidami

    Same here Pat, opened up a whole new world.

    #10 6 years ago
  11. morriss

    I never partook in DC LAN gaming.

    #11 6 years ago
  12. mart

    Pah! Luddites.

    #12 6 years ago
  13. Esha

    It’s good that the thing I remember most about the Dreamcast were the games, some of which were well ahead of their time.

    Ecco was a beautiful, undersea exploratory effort tied into a brilliant storyline, and that hasn’t been matched since.

    Skies of Arcadia was, perhaps, the most interesting Eastern RPG I’ve ever come across, and the only Eastern RPG I’d consider worthy of standing next to the Western giants that tend to crowd my mind. Skies was by the same development group that were responsible for Valkyria Chronicles, too. A game so bloody popular that it seems to be sold out in just about every place that offers any kind of discount off the RRP (which is annoying).

    Sonic Adventure was, perhaps, the last great Sonic game. There have been a few good ones since, such as Sonic Rush and the Dark Brotherhood, but Sonic Adventure proved that the series could move into 3D, and more interestingly than its staid competitors, which took more traditional, and ultimately bloody boring routes.

    I believe that Phantasy Star Online was the first console MMO, wasn’t it? It wasn’t strictly an MMO of course, but the fact that it was an RPG in which one could hook up with other people online was amazing at the time. This was, once again, proof that Sega were always the type to embrace the future.

    The problem with the Dreamcast though was that it was probably too niche, it didn’t really do anything at all to appeal to the incredibly uninspired and unwashed mainstream. And that’s why it failed, Sega didn’t realise it needed money, so the console was missing the Lara Croft/Gordon Freeman element that would’ve kept it afloat. Of course, the PS2 embraced these ideas wholeheartedly, and whilst it was hard to fish out good PS2 titles from the rest of the dross that the console used to stay afloat, the PS2 did indeed, at least, stay afloat.

    Says something about the gaming culture that, really. Miss you, Sega of back then.

    #13 6 years ago
  14. mart

    Agreed, it was ahead of its time, and most people didn’t understand its USPs. Oh the DC had the Gordon Freeman element btw, but it was pulled at the last minute. It played really well, too. Shame.

    #14 6 years ago
  15. Gekidami

    I am, or maybe was, a big PSO fan, but Sega have really arsed it up with Universe, and Zero looks even worst.

    And wheres my Shenmue 3?!

    #15 6 years ago
  16. G1GAHURTZ

    The problem with the Dreamcast though was that it was probably too niche

    Yeah, cos titles like Sonic, Tony Hawks, Virtua Tennis, Unreal and Soul Calibur are really niche, eh?

    #16 6 years ago
  17. Michael O'Connor

    “Yeah, cos titles like Sonic, Tony Hawks, Virtua Tennis, Unreal and Soul Calibur are really niche, eh?”

    At the time, Soul Calibur *was* a niche title. And it didn’t help that it’s also from what is quite a niche genre.

    I think what Esha is saying isn’t there wasn’t anything to appeal to the mainstream; there just wasn’t enough.

    The complete lack of any software support from Electronic Arts especially was a pretty fatal blow to any chance’s of the machine becoming widely mainstream.

    #17 6 years ago
  18. morriss

    No FIFA, no console.

    #18 6 years ago
  19. G1GAHURTZ

    I always thought that it just didn’t sell because SEGA went such a long time under the mistaken opinion that it would just sell itself. Then by the time they went on the publicity offensive, it was too late.

    Hmmm… Kind of reminds me of another company…

    #19 6 years ago
  20. Shatner

    “And wheres my Shenmue 3?!”

    Sega’s “Yakuza” games seem to be the closest living relatives of Shenmue these days.

    #20 6 years ago
  21. Michael O'Connor

    “I always thought that it just didn’t sell because SEGA went such a long time under the mistaken opinion that it would just sell itself. Then by the time they went on the publicity offensive, it was too late.”

    Well, over here in Europe there was a fair bit of advertising. Good ads too.

    Of course, there was the slight problem of not actually having enough games to advertise…

    #21 6 years ago
  22. G1GAHURTZ

    I’ve still got my Dreamcast sponsored Arsenal shirt!

    #22 6 years ago
  23. morriss

    ha! An Arsenal fan, that says it all!

    #23 6 years ago
  24. ecu

    I had a minutes silence this morning.

    #24 6 years ago
  25. morriss

    :D

    #25 6 years ago
  26. G1GAHURTZ

    GOOOOOOOOOOONNEERRS!!!!!!!!!

    #26 6 years ago
  27. morriss

    Come on you Spurs!!

    #27 6 years ago
  28. G1GAHURTZ

    BOOOOOOO!!!!

    LOL!

    #28 6 years ago
  29. morriss

    4-4!! ;)

    #29 6 years ago
  30. Esha

    I was really pleased that nearly everyone actually understood where I was coming from with my points regarding the unique nature of the Dreamcast, and why it wasn’t a financial success (despite how much I personally loved that dear old white block).

    “Oh the DC had the Gordon Freeman element btw, but it was pulled at the last minute. It played really well, too. Shame.”

    It did? The only thing I remember was Headhunter, and the problem with that was that many people were absolutely convinced that it was just a cheap Metal Gear knock-off, and thus refused to look into it, despite the rather favourable opinions of it gaming critics had.

    I’m thinking there’s actually something I missed now, what other game fell into that particular mainstream/generic niche?

    “At the time, Soul Calibur *was* a niche title. And it didn’t help that it’s also from what is quite a niche genre.”

    This is very true, I remember Soul Calibur being a game that Dreamcast fans went on about, but everyone else was pretty much “Whut?” about it. I think this is because the Dreamcast was a console that saw a proliferation of fighters, from Guilty Gear to Third Strike.

    It was hard to separate Soul Calibur from all that at the time, because there were a number of quality fighters available. Soul Calibur only really saw its first success when it was released into an arena that, at that time, didn’t really have that many great fighters as competition. I think that was around II or III? Probably II.

    We’ve all seen what happens when a truly great title of a genre that hasn’t been seen on a certain platform is released, if there’s nothing to compete with that and it really is good (and Soul Calibur is) then people lap it up and word of mouth does its thing.

    “I think what Esha is saying isn’t there wasn’t anything to appeal to the mainstream; there just wasn’t enough.”

    Bingo.

    There were very few movie ports, there were very few cheap shots (games designed to target a sexually frustrated demographic, and that’s how Lara Croft started out, even if she isn’t that way today), and there were next to no generic FPS games. There were a couple of items that could appeal to the mainstream, but that was the problem… it was so few. Compare this to the unending torrent that the PS2 had available for it.

    I’ll speak more on mainstream/generic games later, though. There’s something I feel I want to say, there.

    “I am, or maybe was, a big PSO fan, but Sega have really arsed it up with Universe, and Zero looks even worst.”

    I was too, I loved it back in the day and there was just so much potential there, lots of room for growth. I wholeheartedly agree with you though, I felt that Universe was really a soulless cash-in on the franchise. I was really excited about the news of Universe, too, but when I saw what it actually was… well, the disappointment was palpable.

    It’s games like that that actually cement my hatred of the reuse of IP without any reinvention, if a game is brought back with next to no changes, and it’s sold off as something new… well, I don’t think that’s right. It’s a marketing practice I really disagree with, and sadly that’s something Sega’s been doing a lot.

    Ever since the death of the Dreamcast, their software division has really gone to shit. The only people who still seem to be capable of true brilliance are Overworks, and they’re responsible for Valkyria Chronicles, of course. I really hope VC is the way Sega are going, and a sign of things to come. Because Sega could still be great, they just have to bloody try.

    I think that the death of the Dreamcast must’ve sucked the life and passion right out of them, and left them as jaded as I usually feel. That would explain the Sega releases we saw afterwards. But VC is definitely a step in the right direction.

    I’ve rambled too much here, though…

    “And wheres my Shenmue 3?!”

    I second this.

    Shenmue was iconic, I felt. When I first played it, it was new and yet it was so familiar, it was the potential of the old point & click adventure realised in such a way that it could evolve and survive. I want to play Shenmue again, to see if that feeling is still there, because the only other game I really felt that way with was Fahrenheit.

    To finish up, I said I wanted to touch on mainstream titles. It may seem as though I have something against them on times, and I don’t, not really. I’ve played Half-Life 2 and all that, it’s just that I find I’m bored by mainstream titles. They’re just retreading old ground and not introducing us to anything new. There’s no wonder in a title like that.

    I just don’t feel as though the more generic titles deserve to be put up on a pedestal along with titles that really do something new. Mirror’s Edge is an example of this; I don’t really care that some people think the gameplay isn’t as good as it could be, it can improve. What’s important is that it introduced us to new gaming ideas, it opened our minds to other concepts, and concepts which will surely find their way into other games. They’re the frontier, so to speak. And it’s those games I put up on pedestals.

    A mainstream game can be a good game, and a fun game, but for me it can never really be a special game, it’s never anything I’m going to have any real emotions tied to. It’s not anything that’s going to leave a glowing imprint on my mind, and stay with me thanks to naught but the shining brilliance of the ideas involved.

    Such games are simply games which pastiche all the elements of brilliant titles that have come before, but they’re not brilliant in their own right.

    I like games that can, occasionally, actually make me say “Wow…” aloud. Things that really fire up the imagination, and make it more of an experience than just a game.

    To bring everything full circle, I felt the Dreamcast had a lot of those experiences, and that’s why I’ll always remember it quite fondly.

    But saying that, I’d never actually want anyone to take the Dreamcast’s games and pull them into the present, that would make them dire. Their moment was special in the past, and that’s where they should remain. What made them special should be remembered for future efforts, but each new effort should always try to tread new ground.

    That’s why I’m glad we have Valkyria Chronicles now instead of just another bleeding Sonic game. Okay… I’m done now. I’ll stop typing. Head dump complete.

    #30 6 years ago
  31. G1GAHURTZ

    ONLY a Spurs fan could find celebrate a draw. lol!

    I was at that match.

    Shocking… just shocking…

    #31 6 years ago
  32. morriss

    haha! touché. It was hilarious. I went ballistic at the end.

    #32 6 years ago
  33. Axle

    Esha, you should write your own blog/magazine, or at the very least write an essay for Retro Gamer – that is truly a formidable effort!

    #33 6 years ago
  34. G1GAHURTZ

    I can imagine!

    Like this guy?

    #34 6 years ago
  35. Esha

    “Esha, you should write your own blog/magazine, or at the very least write an essay for Retro Gamer – that is truly a formidable effort!”

    I’m not sophisticated enough for either a blog or a magazine, and certainly not for an essay for such a recognised establishment as Retro Gamer!

    I more consider myself as the modern vagrant/hobo, who’ll get up on a soapbox and yell aloud to see if anyone’s prepared to listen. There’s probably an element of truth and possibly even enlightenment there, but it’s too bloody raw and unstructured to be suitable for a more rational medium.

    #35 6 years ago
  36. DaMan

    Dreamcast had a shitty graphics processor, and there wasn’t
    enough good games for it.

    one year after it’s release we had PS2, which was better
    in any aspect.

    Shenmue was actually very good though.

    it was too little too late for Sega.

    #36 6 years ago
  37. Esha

    Oh, it had plenty of good games, they were probably just too niche for you. I can’t argue with someone though who dismisses the Dreamcast on having a “shitty graphics processor”, when the PS2 and Dreamcast were neck and neck graphically and the Dreamcast had an ATi mobile graphics card, not a “graphics processor”.

    In my opinion, under-handed, irrational, and poorly thought out dismissal is not an opinion, it’s just brown-nosing.

    #37 6 years ago
  38. Michael O'Connor

    Esha, email me: wordsofivory@gmail.com

    #38 6 years ago
  39. DaMan

    haha.

    ATI? where did you get this from, out of
    you ass?

    I meant the graphics chip, NEC PowerVR2, mister high and mighty.. neck to neck ? based on what, your eye perception or something?

    it was an underpowered rushed product, with a couple of good games. Dreamcast was doomed from the very start though anyway.

    Oh my god, I disrespected Dreamcast on it’s birthday. it’s a shame, I should’ve posted a 10 paragraphs long comment full of bullshit and how great Sega’s last console was.. nice, Esha.

    #39 6 years ago
  40. Michael O'Connor

    The Dreamcast has more internal memory than the PS2.

    True story.

    Might want to stand back a bit DaMan. The overpowering stench of testosterone is killing me.

    #40 6 years ago
  41. DaMan

    their architectures are different, but anyway:

    Dreamcast has 16MB, PS2 has 32MB RAM.

    testosterone has nothing to do with this, I don’t like pricks, pretentious pricks.

    #41 6 years ago
  42. morriss

    PS2 had no games at launch did it?

    #42 6 years ago
  43. DaMan

    Dynasty Warriors 2, FantaVision, Madden NFL ’01, Moto GP, NHL ’01, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round2,
    , Ridge Racer V, SSX, Silent Scope, Tekken Tag Tournament, TimeSplitters and many other titles.

    anyway, my point was that DC wasn’t that good like fanfags make it seem. and one of the reasons it died so early was it’s low graphical capabilities compared to PS2 and lack of titles. I won’t deny it had some good stuff for it’s time.

    but, that was too litle too late. Sega should’ve not waste money on Genesis add-ons and a piece of shit that was Saturn.

    and Michael O’Connor, if you meant VRAM, then you can’t compare them like that, they work very differently, and the fact is that PS2 visuals >> DC visuals.

    #43 6 years ago
  44. morriss

    So basically, “no titles at launch,” then. :)

    #44 6 years ago
  45. DaMan

    actually, I would agree that Sega did everything to have a very strong launch line-up. funny thing is that it didn’t help their lame platform. and Dynasty Warriors2 or Fantavision were pretty good.

    say, Devil May Cry wouldn’t work on DC, GTA3 wouldn’t work either.. yeah, heavily downgraded they would. it’s scary even to think about the late (2004 etc) PS2 titles on DC..

    #45 6 years ago
  46. Shatner

    It says a lot about delusion that even when a console manufacturer declares its console dead and leaves that side of the industry that people still pretend its alive and around to celebrate birthdays!

    Hell, at least Commodore are still making hardware.

    If we’re pretending dead things are still celebrating birthdays today then let’s pretend that Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Lee are still going strong too! Seems about right.

    #46 6 years ago
  47. Alpha Male Stu

    I don’t see much of a celebration going on, just the statement that the Dreamcast is 10 years old today…fair point, since it is.

    Besides…Was there not a game released for the Dreamcast just recently?

    #47 6 years ago
  48. wz

    9/9/9 believe

    #48 6 years ago
  49. Gamoc

    It’s not 10 today, it died a long time ago.

    #49 6 years ago
  50. Alpha Male Stu

    November 27th in Japan guys.

    #50 6 years ago