What was so significant about 9/9/99? Other than the coincidental overload of ‘9s’ for one date, the U.S. release of what was and still continues to be my all-time favorite console, Sega’s Dreamcast. This console, tragically, was Sega’s final attempt at console production, and turned out to be a failed fiasco … on the market. Only two years after its initial U.S. release, in 2001, Dreamcast was discontinued and pulled from the shelves.
There’s something magical about the Dreamcast, though, that continues to make the console a timeless, entertaining gem buried in the annals of video game history. Perhaps it’s the amazing and overwhelmingly underrated game repertoire, or perhaps it’s the 90s-esque modernistic screens built into the controllers, a feature unique to Dreamcast until the release of the Wii U years later. Although it fared horribly during its hey-day, there’s just unmistakable value in the Dreamcast that makes it one of the most enjoyable and replayable consoles today.
I remember the day my dad brought home our Dreamcast all too well, despite being barely four-years-old and already pre-occupied with the arrival of my baby sister. Many of the games that defined my childhood were ones that were Dreamcast exclusive: Chu Chu Rocket, Space Channel 5, Sonic Adventure, Soul Calibur, Crazy Taxi, Power Stone, and one of my all-time favorites, Resident Evil Code: Veronica. The genres of games ranged far and wide. The Dreamcast boasted extensive RPGS like Shenmue, as well as cheesy racing games, fighters, and even strategical games like Wettrix.
Why then, did Dreamcast die along with Sega’s great gaming legacy of the 90s? Likely, it was a sign of the times. Microsoft and Sony were emerging with new, modernistic consoles that featured higher processing power and appealed to the technology-hungry masses. The ongoing console wars unfortunately proved to be too much for Sega, as they couldn’t keep up with the hype that Sony and Nintendo brought at the turn of the new century. Another reason is likely that Dreamcast failed to attract more third-party game developers in its later years because of its floundered success, and thus was unable to continue to provide a diverse and multifaceted game selection.
It’s been fifteen years since its release, and thirteen since its demise, but the Dreamcast still lives on as a powerful and exciting console that seemingly improves with age. The games are unlike anything I’ve ever played. Blocky, primitive 3D graphics paired with amazing storylines are what rope me in. I strongly recommended checking out the console. It’s a brilliant investment, and is sure to conjure pleasant feelings of nostalgia each and every time.