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A Decade After Dreamcast


Jacob M.
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http://jcmoseby.wordpress.com/2009/09/09/9...after-dreamcast

 

I wrote this to commemorate the ten year anniversary of Dreamcast. Not sure if it actually means anything, but it's my way to pay respect to a defining moment in history.

 

On this day 10 years ago die hard gamers made one final stand. Their way of life was disappearing. The once dominant arcades were losing their prominence. The shift to console gaming was on. To make matters worse the industry was being taken over by casual gamers. Companies had figured out how to mass market games. It was no longer about creating new and original content. It became a science and all creativity was thrown out the window. Gone were the days when real gamers had a say. Now all game makers had to do was advertise Lara Croft’s polygonal boobs or another cheesy gimmick and they had an instant million seller. One company stayed true to gamers and that was Sega. Sadly, they weren’t in the greatest shape after years of misfortune. Their last hope was the dream machine and real gamers rallied behind it.

 

Sega took 200,000 pre-orders (then a record) and then launched the Dreamcast on 9-9-99 to much hype. 18 games were immediately available and by Christmas the system had a sizeable library. The system quickly overtook the Playstation as the fastest to hit a million. For a brief moment in time everything was finally right. The Dreamcast was a success and it looked as though the future of the videogame industry could be put back on track. Of course, most people didn’t believe it would last. They were right. It was just the calm before the storm.

 

Sega had to overcome many obstacles for the Dreamcast to be a success. They not only faced fierce competition, but their own history and financial troubles. The odds were against them, but the system was succeeding. A juggernaut was looming and how the Dreamcast responded would determine its fate. When the PS2 hit it smashed everything. People instantly forgot about the Dreamcast and that was the end. The question is why?

 

The success of the original Playstation was undeniable. Sony owned the console market by the time Dreamcast arrived. They had incredible brand loyalty and they parlayed that into even greater success with the PS2. Sony could only deliver 500,000 units at the launch on October 26th 2000. That just wasn’t enough. Throughout the holidays it was nearly impossible to get one. You would think that would have translated into more Dreamcast sales, but it didn’t. People would rather wait for a PS2 and have nothing for the holidays than buy a DC.

 

The ironic thing is that the PS2 wasn’t the great console at launch it would later become. It cost $100 more than the Dreamcast and its launch lineup was mediocre at best. Dreamcast was into its second generation of software by that time. Sega had a stellar library of software and many of the second generation games on their console actually looked better than the PS2’s launch titles. None of that seemed to matter though. People weren’t buying the PS2 because it was better. They were buying on name alone.

 

In January of 2001 Sega pulled the plug on the dream machine. The Dreamcast didn’t die because it was a terrible system. In the end it was Sega’s past that caught up with them. They were in bad financial shape before the launch of the Dreamcast and were bleeding money profusely. They needed an instant and massive success to keep going. The Dreamcast was a success, but just not a big enough success. To reach the level of success needed to keep going Sega needed to sell 5 million consoles. They only managed to sell 3 million. Sega tried everything. They cut the price of the system by $50. They even tried giving away the system with a SegaNet subscription. Nothing seemed to work.

 

In order to survive Sega had to drop the Dreamcast. If they had been in better financial shape the Dreamcast would have at least survived as a niche product. Instead Sega had to drop out of the hardware business for good and become a third party developer. Along with the loss of their hardware Sega also lost something else. They lost their creativity. The days of creating quirky original games were over. They were now just another developer making cookie cutter games that they hoped would sell.

 

The end of gaming, true gaming, was marked by the death of Dreamcast. Ten years later and it is still looked at as one of the greatest consoles ever. The Dreamcast should have been the console that took gaming to another level. Instead it will be forever known as the console that was ahead of its time.

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As someone who bought both a Dreamcast at launch and a PS2 at launch, I have to disagree with this.

 

The Dreamcast could have been great, but it wasnt.

Most of the games on the DC looked awful compared to the PS2, and most of them were pretty uninspired.

With the games that were on both systems, the Sony ones tended to look and play better.

 

The controller on the DC was oversized, and only had one analog stick, as opposed to the dual sticks on the PS2 controller.

 

The memory card thing, was a great idea in theory, but never lived up to its hype.

 

Another problem with the DC was it was prone to crashing mid game.

 

I probably played the DC for a year or so before the PS2 was released here, and to be honest, I found myself switching back to my trusty Playstation 1, as the games just seemed to be far superior, despite it being a technically inferior machine.

 

Within a few months of buying it, all I was using the DC for was internet surfing, as I didnt own a PC at the time.

 

As for the early comments about creativity being thrown out of the window, sorry, but thats laughable.

Tomb Raider, a game you singled out, was far and away one of the most original and creative titles when it hit the shops, just as was Resident evil and all the other games that were hitting the generation that exploded out of machines like the PS1 and the Saturn (that was the machine that really killed Sega).

No longer were we limited to the 2D platform games, and solid polygons racing games, we had 3D, and a gaming depth far and away beyond anything that was on previous consoles, and certainly had more depth and originality than the mindless games that populated the arcades for years.

 

If anything, the consoles brought about just as many hardcore gamers as it did casual gamers.

 

The Dreamcast in my opinion was a good idea, but was flawed from the off, and never reached anywhere near the potential that Sega promised because of that!

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Never owned a Dreamcast but its release was significant for me anyway, cuz when they came out with DreamCast the Sega Genesis became yesterday's news and I was able to buy one at Toys-R-Us for about twenty bucks and a whole sh*t load of cartridges for only a few bucks apiece. :lol:

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Never owned a Dreamcast but its release was significant for me anyway, cuz when they came out with DreamCast the Sega Genesis became yesterday's news and I was able to buy one at Toys-R-Us for about twenty bucks and a whole sh*t load of cartridges for only a few bucks apiece. :lol:

 

 

Damn I miss My Genesis now.... It's sitting back in NY...

 

Remember playing it in College though Man?? with Tom and Tony?? good times..... :tumbsup:

 

Yea I AM Glad I passed on the Dreamcast and went with a Playstation instead..... :whistle:

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I used to have a Dreamcast and loved it as i had a boot disc which allowed me to play copied games and i bought it as a Christmas gift for me and the kids,boy did we have a fun Xmas.Shadowman was a brillant game on Dreamcast.

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http://www.cnet.com/8301-18603_1-10346173-73.html

 

That's a great article about Dreamcast. The video is pretty informative as well.

 

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4128...e_dreamcast.php

 

This article is very indepth. If you don't know about Sega and the Dreamcast you will probably learn more from the article than you ever wanted to know.

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I had a Sega Megadrive! The "NBA Jam" tournaments me and my brothers had would rival any real NBA finals series.

I'd rather watch your tournaments than the real thing. :lol:

 

But yeah, I had the Sega Megadrive and 'NBA Jam' too. So disappointed I can't get this f*cking thing working on our current TV.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I really don't want to fight battles that have already been fought, but I feel I must defend my original statements.

 

As someone who bought both a Dreamcast at launch and a PS2 at launch, I have to disagree with this.

 

The Dreamcast could have been great, but it wasnt.

Most of the games on the DC looked awful compared to the PS2, and most of them were pretty uninspired.

With the games that were on both systems, the Sony ones tended to look and play better.

 

When I talked about the games on DC looking better than those on PS2 I was referring to the second generation of DC games versus the PS2's launch titles. The Dreamcast's library flat out owned the PS2 at the time of it's launch. I don't know what Dreamcast games you were playing, but obviously they weren't the same ones everybody else was playing. Was your library filled with excellent titles like Incoming, Centipede, and Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation? With games that were released on both systems it would make sense for them to be better on the superior format. Most games that were on both platforms started off on the Dreamcast and were ported later. If the developer made the game for Dreamcast and ported it to PS2 with no improvements it would make them look bad. The only game that comes to mind that was on both platforms and came out at around the same time was Ready To Rumble Round 2. I believe the reviewers made the point that the PS2 version had slightly better graphics, the DC version held its own.

 

The controller on the DC was oversized, and only had one analog stick, as opposed to the dual sticks on the PS2 controller.

 

The memory card thing, was a great idea in theory, but never lived up to its hype.

 

Another problem with the DC was it was prone to crashing mid game.

 

I probably played the DC for a year or so before the PS2 was released here, and to be honest, I found myself switching back to my trusty Playstation 1, as the games just seemed to be far superior, despite it being a technically inferior machine.

 

Within a few months of buying it, all I was using the DC for was internet surfing, as I didnt own a PC at the time.

 

I tend to disagree on the controller thing. I have always hated the Playstation controllers. They are too small and uncomfortable. Also, who's idea was it to use shapes as button names? The Dreamcast had a controller that felt great. All of the buttons had proper names and were in an easily accessible place. I have mixed feelings on the memory card. It definetely had it's moments, but because of the short life of the system it was never fully utilized. I still cherish the time I spent with my Sonic Adventure chao and Tiny Tetris.

 

I had my DC from day one and I never had any problems. Maybe you just had a faulty system? I honestly don't know what to tell you there. I got annoyed when I went to my cousins house and played his Playstation. The games had horrible loading times and many of the games looked horrible. I played some martial arts sword fighting game with my cousin and it seemed like every few minutes the game would stop just so it could load the next part of the level. That was really annoying. There were also many other games on the original Playstation that I couldn't figure out. I believe I played Jet Moto and it looked like some blocky racer person was in a mess of blue squares. I can't believe that game sold any copies. It was complete and total garbage.

 

Again, I don't know what games you were playing. The Dreamcast has games in every genre that flat out own the Playstation. I too used my DC to surf the internet, but only sparingly. The resolution of tvs at the time just didn't make them suitable for browsing the net.

 

As for the early comments about creativity being thrown out of the window, sorry, but thats laughable.

Tomb Raider, a game you singled out, was far and away one of the most original and creative titles when it hit the shops, just as was Resident evil and all the other games that were hitting the generation that exploded out of machines like the PS1 and the Saturn (that was the machine that really killed Sega).

No longer were we limited to the 2D platform games, and solid polygons racing games, we had 3D, and a gaming depth far and away beyond anything that was on previous consoles, and certainly had more depth and originality than the mindless games that populated the arcades for years.

 

If anything, the consoles brought about just as many hardcore gamers as it did casual gamers.

 

The Dreamcast in my opinion was a good idea, but was flawed from the off, and never reached anywhere near the potential that Sega promised because of that!

 

I figured someone would try and make the point about Tomb Raider. While you are right about the original game, you are wrong about Tomb Raider as a whole. I really wish I could find the magazine ad for Tomb Raider III. The game sold on Lara's sex appeal alone. The first game was groundbreaking. The second improved upon the first, but everything after that was the same crap over and over again with little to no improvement. The same thing could be said about games like Twisted Metal. It started off as a unique game. As soon as they found out they could make money off of it they cranked out sequel after sequel and totally destroyed the series. The games may have no longer been good, but they were still selling on name alone.

 

We must have a different perspective on gaming. The 16-bit era was the golden age of gaming. What the developers lacked in power was made up for in creativity. Beginning with the 32/64-bit generation games started relying more on eye candy than actual game play. If the game was lacking in playability they just cranked up the visuals to cover that fact up. That is more true than ever with todays games.

 

Not really sure where you are going with the consoles argument. Before the Playstation consoles were made by game makers and they catered to hardcore gamers. After Playstation it became more about getting those who didn't play games on board. Once Sony got the useful idiots on board they controlled the industry. Whoever has the biggest base gets the most developers and the best games. Hardcore gamers eventually jumped on board the original system because of the sheer amount of games on the system. Even if there were a ton of crap games, with the amount of game coming out for the system there ended up being many killer titles. After a while even the most die hard Nintendo supporters came to the same conclusion.

 

I also find it funny how you say that the Dreamcast was flawed and never lived up to it's potential. The PS2 was flawed in more ways than the Dreamcast, yet because of blind devotion to the brand name it sold massive amounts. The system was hard as hell to program for and developers hated it. I remember many developers stating that the day the XBox ever caught up they would drop PS2 development. Of course, that never happened. I also thought it was funny that the PS2 sold so many systems because it doubled as a DVD player. The times I remember trying to watch movies on their PS2's never went too well. The movies would always start glitching and freeze up. So much for it being a cheaper way to watch DVD's.

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I actually had two Dreamcasts as the first one died. Both kept freezing and rebooting, and it was a known problem for many people.

The DVD on the PS2, once again, I had no problems with with the exception of one DVD. It was actually my only DVD player for years.

 

Its well recognised that the Dreamcast just was not as good as it should have been because they released it too early to get the jump on Sony, which allowed Sony to add things to its system to make sure it didnt cock things up like the DC did.

 

Your argument on brand loyalty just doesnt wash, to be honest.

Sony only had a single console under its belt, where as Sega had been going for years, thus in essence had a hell of a lot more brand loyalty than Sony.

And also, if it was just about brand loyalty, why is the PS3 not as successful?

 

The thing about developers is neither here nor there as its the actual games that matter to the consumer not how easy or difficult it is to program for.

 

The DC's catalogue was woefully inadequate, simple as that. I tried loads of games on it, and the all pretty much sucked, with the exception of Code Veronica, which once again, was better on the PS2.

 

The technical specifications of the DC were less than the PS2, with many people saying the DC was more equal to the PS1 than the PS2.

 

Tech specs:

Playstation 2 has a 128-bit, 294 MHz main processor, with 32 megs of system RAM and 4 megs of video RAM, capable of generating 16 million polygons per second.

 

Dreamcast has a 128-bit, 200 MHz main processor, with 16 megs of system RAM, 8 megs of dedicated video RAM and 2 megs of audio RAM, capable of generating 3 million polygons per second

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  • 2 weeks later...
Your argument on brand loyalty just doesnt wash, to be honest.

Sony only had a single console under its belt, where as Sega had been going for years, thus in essence had a hell of a lot more brand loyalty than Sony.

And also, if it was just about brand loyalty, why is the PS3 not as successful?

 

You might have missed the point on brand loyalty. Sega had been around longer, but they burned many bridges. What loyalty they may have had was pretty much lost by the time the Dreamcast arrived. They burned a lot of people with the Sega CD, 32X, Saturn, and other combo systems which didn't make a lot of sense. Just because a company has been around a long time doesn't mean they have a lot of loyal customers.

 

Also, I thought you would understand why the PS3 wasn't as successful. It's pure economics. They priced their system beyond what most people could afford. I can't tell you how many people I've heard say that they wanted to buy one, but there was no way they could afford it. That was complete arrogance on Sony's part. They thought they could charge whatever they wanted and people would follow. At launch that looked to be the case. After the people with too much money had their systems there was no one left to buy it. Simple as that.

 

The thing about developers is neither here nor there as its the actual games that matter to the consumer not how easy or difficult it is to program for.

 

Actually, developers are everything. Without them there are no games and no reason to buy a system. The tale of the Sega Saturn is that of a woefully designed system. It was hard as hell to program for. The PS1 was easier to develop for and they got better results. If you were a developer what would you do? Going for the system with less effort and better results would be the logical route. Once developers go the easier route say bye bye to the other platform.

 

The technical specifications of the DC were less than the PS2, with many people saying the DC was more equal to the PS1 than the PS2.

 

Tech specs:

Playstation 2 has a 128-bit, 294 MHz main processor, with 32 megs of system RAM and 4 megs of video RAM, capable of generating 16 million polygons per second.

 

Dreamcast has a 128-bit, 200 MHz main processor, with 16 megs of system RAM, 8 megs of dedicated video RAM and 2 megs of audio RAM, capable of generating 3 million polygons per second

 

Nobody is trying to say that the Dreamcast was more powerful than the PS2. That's not up for debate. It's pretty obvious that the PS2 had more power than the DC. What I attempted to point out is the fact that developers were able to get more out of the DC at the time of the PS2's launch than they could out of the PS2. They knew the system better by that time than the newer PS2 hardware. Of course, once developers were able to fully tap into the power of the PS2's superior hardware they could more than blow away what they Dreamcast could deliver.

 

I must say that is quite an insult to throw towards DC. It was at least 4 years newer technology than that of the PS1 and it completely beats it every category. How could it be on the same level? To say the Nuon was on the same level would be a more accurate statement, but I doubt you have even heard of that system. The Dreamcast fits in closer with the PS2, GCN, and XBOX than it does the PS1, Saturn, and N64.

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The DC's catalogue was woefully inadequate, simple as that. I tried loads of games on it, and the all pretty much sucked, with the exception of Code Veronica, which once again, was better on the PS2.

 

I'll go down the list of games that more than holds it's own against any system starting with launch titles.

 

The best

House of the Dead 2- An arcade perfect port of the excellent lightgun game. I played it many times at the arcade. It's a shame that Sega never released an officially licensed gun for the game. At that time there was a lot of heat over gun safety and Sega didn't want any part of it.

 

NFL 2K- The best football game ever made up to that point in time. It was the first time a game actually rivaled reality.

 

Power Stone- One of the most inventive fighting games ever. Basically anything in the arena was a weapon. A full 3D game where you could go anywhere you want. It was revolutionary for the time. I loved the demo, but unfortunately never got the game.

 

Ready 2 Rumble- The graphics in this game were marvelous and it was used to sale the system. Not only were the graphics great, the gameplay matched as well, or so I hear. I only played the demo.

 

Sonic Adventure- Sonic had been in decline for quite a while. Sega put in a lot of effort and brought the series back to life. Excellent graphics and gameplay. They were actually able to successfully translate the speed of the old 2D games into 3D. The story and adventure aspect also added much to the game. The Chao Adventure on the VMU was pretty cool as well.

 

Soul Calibur- Ask pretty much anybody. This game was a system seller and the best reason to get the system at launch. It had beautiful graphics and fluid gameplay. It was a pickup and play game that just about anybody could enjoy. Sadly, I must admit that I didn't like it. There's something about it I don't like and just can't explain. Strangely enough I liked the arcade version. Anyway, this was game was a major selling point.

 

Muddled middle

I really can't say much on these games. Some of these games are probably must own titles and others are probably garbage. I don't have enough experience to have an opinion either way.

Airforce Delta

CART Flag to Flag

Hydro Thunder

Monaco Grand Prix

NFL Blitz 2000

Pen Pen Tri-Icelon

TNN Hardcore Heat

Tokyo Xtreme Racing

 

Surprise game

Blue Stinger- The game kind of came out of nowhere. It was one of those games that was used to showcase the systems power in early previews, but the game was never really talked about much. To look at it you wouldn't think much of it. It's the basic survival horror game, but with a slight twist. You had a partner you could switch with at any time. You fought monsters and after you killed them you got coins. With those coins you could buy food and weapons. I know it sounds a bit cheesey, but if you can look past that it's a really great game. Beautiful graphics, wide open areas to explore, lots of cool weapons, and an interesting story. The atmosphere will get get your pulse pounding. The boss battles are pretty kick ass as well.

 

Worst

Expendable- Never played it, but never heard anything good about it either.

 

Mortal Kombat Gold- This game is pure garbage. That's hard to say considering I'm a huge MK fan.

 

TrickStyle- This could actually go in either category depending on who you ask. The game has beautiful graphics and a unique premise, but it falls flat on gameplay. One of the worst games I've played on the system. Others seem to like it though.

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  • My Little Pony

I can't remember where I saw it, but somebody had a signature that went as follows: "Arguing over the internet is like participating in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still retarded."

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I can't remember where I saw it, but somebody had a signature that went as follows: "Arguing over the internet is like participating in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still retarded."

 

It's not so much an argument, but a debate. You realize there is a difference? Besides, what would be the point of a place like this if everyone agreed? Should we all be singing the praises of Motley Crue and nothing but?

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  • My Little Pony
I can't remember where I saw it, but somebody had a signature that went as follows: "Arguing over the internet is like participating in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still retarded."

 

It's not so much an argument, but a debate. You realize there is a difference? Besides, what would be the point of a place like this if everyone agreed? Should we all be singing the praises of Motley Crue and nothing but?

 

Aren't debates simply glorified arguments? It just seems like these debates go in circles. Dreamcast vs PS2, Xbox 360 vs PS3, Jillson vs Hot Boy. Forgive me for being an ass, I just don't see this going anywhere.

 

If it should please you, I will contribute to the debate in a positive manner. The Dreamcast was a great console with one of the best library of games ever. I don't want to get into the tragedy of its short life, but I will say that, like many, I long for Sega's return. Not to the console, but the innovative powerhouse they once were.

 

On the other hand, the PS2 was, and still is, one of the greatest consoles produced. It, too, had--still has--a phenomenal catalogue. That may be due to it's longevity, and if the Dreamcast been just as successful we might've seen it differently.

 

I don't really want to get too involved in this discussion. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against the discussion of non-music related topics, I love them--I'm a gamer, myself (I own an NES, SNES, PS2, Dreamcast, and an Xbox 360). It's just I've heard all this before, and there really is no end.

 

By-the-way, I've never once sung the praises of Motley Crue.

 

Oh, and I've also been browsing and posting via my DSi. It's very tedious, having to type each letter with a stylus.

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  • My Little Pony
that is Fat Freddy's sig about arguing.

Yeah, I haven't been around in a while.

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