I remember when the Dreamcast was first announced and Sega started running those “It’s Thinking” commercials. I remember how creepy I thought those commercials were, with that sultry voice whispering the catchphrase as though she was trying to warn us about the imminent rise of the machines. If I’d only been able to see ten years into the future I’d have realized that the Dreamcast’s “thinking” capabilities were like a rat running a maze compared to the technology we’d have soon enough.
But I digress.
Sega’s Dreamcast console was released in Japan in 1998 and in North America the following year. It was the first game console of that generation (preceding the Playstation 2, X-Box, and GameCube), and was the first console to include a built-in modem for internet support and online play. Unfortunately, while the system initially enjoyed a very successful US launch, interest steadily declined as the anticipated launch of the Playstation 2 approached. Despite several price cuts to the system, Sega eventually had to discontinue the product, and settled instead for restructuring itself as a third-party game developer. However, despite it’s untimely demise, many people have considered the Dreamcast to have been way ahead of its time, and possibly even the best console of the generation.
My husband purchased a Dreamcast when we were in high school, and I can definitely say that it was ahead of its time. We had so much fun with that system, mainly due to the fact that it had some truly outstanding games. Space Channel 5 was one of my favorites because it was so different from anything I’d ever played up to that point. In this game players controlled an interstellar news reporter, Ulala, who would fight aliens via her groovy dance moves. It was my first experience with rhythm-style games and it was just so weird and different that you could hardly help but love it.
Another favorite of mine was the fast-paced, open-world racing game, Crazy Taxi, and many an hour of the life of my husband’s machine was spent running the well-loved Marvel vs Capcom 2 fighting game.
In truth, the Sega Dreamcast was a robust console (my husband actually took it to the beach once – don’t ask – and even after clogging it with sand it still worked just fine) with an outstanding game library that really should have succeeded. Unfortunately that’s not what happened and Sega ended up withdrawing from the console race for good. Fortunately, my husband still has his Dreamcast and games, so when we feel nostalgic we still have the ability to go back and enjoy a little bit of space-dance-battling.
Did you own a Dreamcast when they were available? If so, do you still have it now? What were your favorite games? Please share!
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