BreadcrumbsHome / 10 Years Later: Dreamcast Revisited
10 Years Later: Dreamcast Revisited
Last Updated on Wednesday, 9 September 2009 12:00 Written by Wrathie Wednesday, 9 September 2009 12:00
Today marks the 10 year anniversary of of the ill-fated Dreamcast system, which was released on September 9, 1999. Probably one of the best systems ever made, it’s three year existence in the States remains the shortest lifetime of any console. It was also, sadly, the last system that Sega would make.
After the failure of the Sega Saturn, Sega needed a jolt to bring itself back into the gaming realm. With the front runners Nintendo and Sony leading the way, Sega really needed to define itself as the top game console. After the system was released in 1999, Sega was seeing their precious seed grown. It had a 156.5% increase in sales from July-September 2000, beating out Nintendo, and was making strides with its’ Sega Sports line-up (which was became a true competitor to the EA sports genre). It’s overall hit line of games would include: Sonic Adventure, Crazy Taxi, Phantasy Star Online, Soul Calibur, and many more. Sonic Adventure would go on to be the system’s greatest selling game, having sold about 2.5 million units.
One of the most unique thing about the Dreamcast was its line of accessories. One such accessory was the VMU card, which was a memory card/portable game system. It also included the first modem adapter for a system, which was a removable 56k modem and could be replaced with a broadband modem (which was sold separately).
Despite all of this, fate would have it in for the system as the much anticipated release of the PlayStation 2 would prove to be fatal to the DreamCast. In just 3 months, Sega decided to end the production of the Dreamcast, and it was officially discontinued in March of 2001. The final game for it (in the US) to be released was NHL 2K2 in February 2002. The system overall sold about 10.6 million units world wide.
There are many reasons for the Dreamcast’s failure, for one, it failed to keep the momentum of it’s original release going. Another reason is that it was virtually ignored in Japan, as they awaited for the release of the PS2. Sony itself, has been given some credit to the demise of the Dreamcast, for basically distracting everyone from the Sega system with an aggressive ad campaign and hype. However, it’s brand-name is thought to be the biggest reason as it’s predecessor PS was successful and critically acclaimed; unlike Sega’s previous systems (the Saturn and 32x), which were considered huge failures. As game developers abandoned the Dreamcast, and with the announcement of the Xbox and GameCube in 2000, it proved to be the final nail in the coffin, as Sega couldn’t keep up the ad campaign nor production.
While it only had less than a three year run in the states, it did leave its mark in gaming history. The Dreamcast was considered to be ahead it’s time. It was the first system to offer online play, as well as online support for its’ games. It was not until 2005, that online play officially became a standard (with the Xbox 360’s release). In retrospect, the Dreamcast was a pioneer in Online Play. It was also considered by some, to be graphically superior than the PS2, as the graphics were more smoother. It also has been become a great emulation tool for many and many homebrews were created with the KallistiOS kit. It also has sprouted it’s own bootleg model called the “Teamcast” in China, which could play all Dreamcast games.
Today, we shall remember a game system that could have been bigger than it was, but also remember the legacy it has left on the gaming world.
Naota: There has never been a system that I truly enjoyed and miss more than the Dreamcast. It may have not been the most flashiest of systems, but it really provided me with some memorable moments to which I’ll never forget. Here’s to you Dreamcast.