It’s been 20 years since the Sega Dreamcast was launched in the US on September 9th, 1999. Ohhhh I get it now. 9/9/99. Pretty amazing. But what’s more amazing is how much of a cult following the console have over the years following its demise in 2001. What some would consider one of the worst consoles on their list, being that the Sega Dreamcast was too ahead of its time and unable to back up what the Playstation 2 had to offer, the Sega Dreamcast is one of Sega’s greatest achievements before being relegated into a developer company. A console to show Sega’s great talent and capabilities that no other console at that time could do. And more importantly, the games that were released only for the Sega Dreamcast due to its date, graphics hardware, and sound processor.
Sega pretty much had something that could have helped them not only become the number one console, but attempt to push to a new generation of gaming, with the use of CD based gaming, a portable memory card, and being able to play up to four people on couch co-op without needing an extra hardware like the Sony Playstation. It also had the ability to connect to the internet and allow Dreamcast owners to either browse to the web, hopefully for free at that time, have the chance to do amazing things “like checking websites, receive and send emails, and chat with people across the globe.” At that time being able to go on the internet was pretty huge and slowly becoming a necessity for home owners if they wanted to find out news, get codes or hints about a game, find out reviews, or the most people thing at that time, checking emails. However, internet browsing was not the only thing special about the Sega Dreamcast at that time with it’s online connection, but rather it’s first MMORPG, Phantasy Star Online. Sega had a history of connecting to the online servers in the past with Sega Channel which started in 1994, but was unknown nor interesting simply because not many people own a Sega Genesis at that time, plus it was a slow decline of Sega Genesis as the newer generation of console games were coming out a year later with the Sega Saturn and the Sony Playstation. The pricing is also something to speculate as Sega channel owners would have to initial pay $40 for the activation fee and monthly fee, almost feeling like it’s an add-on to the Sega Genesis but nothing too major like the Sega 32X and the Sega CD. The Sega Dreamcast allow Dreamcast owners to play free for online gaming, a huge 180 compared to the Sega Channel.
Sega set the price for the Dreamcast at $199 and quickly broke records in 24 hours selling nearly a Quarter million consoles in their launch date and earning roughly $98.4 million, and later stated that about 31% of homeowners have a Sega Dreamcast. It was a huge success for Sega Dreamcast, especially after hearing the news that Sony would soon introduce a new console to the public audience, a console that would eventually cause the demise of the Sega Dreamcast. After 1999, the Sega Dreamcast slowly decline thanks to the newest console on the market, the Sony Playstation 2, a console that is stronger than the Sega Dreamcast but more importantly able to play DVD movies without needing to buy a DVD player, something that the Sega Dreamcast could not do, and something that the developers of the Sega Dreamcast cannot provide.
Overall, the most important thing that the Sega Dreamcast had at that time were the games. Sure, some games may not have aged well today, either because of the graphics, dialogue, or the controller itself, which looks weird and feels weird when you compare it to the Playstation or Nintendo 64 controller, but it holds a strong nostalgia of great series and gaming that we all still pine for a remake today. The Sega Dreamcast started off strong with games such as Sonic Adventure and Ready to Rumble. It was also at that time Sonic greatest return to the home console after going missing for the entirety of the Sega Saturn lifespan. Sure we got some Sonic games but this is what we wanted after all, an adventure to play as Sonic and going as fast as we can through the course. We also gotten great arcade ports such as House of the Dead 2 and Hydro Thunder, and the greatest fighting game at that time Soul Calibur alongside with one of the most popular fighting game of all time Power Stone. Sega did lose it’s EA license when EA decided that it won’t be making games for the Sega Dreamcast, but it open the doors for Sega to start off their own sports game company dub Sega2K and would soon get the license from the NFL and NBA to make games off of their professional sports. This soon created the battle of sporting games between EA and the 2K series. Over the months Sega would have not only great games, but exclusive to the Sega Dreamcast, meaning that you can only find and play it on the Dreamcast. Games such as the Street Fighter III series and Resident Evil: Code Veronica were only for the Sega Dreamcast. Sega was also able to create new popular characters like Beat from Jet Set Radio or Ryu from Shenmue, both games are amazing, but sadly the latter of the two unable to help save the Sega Dreamcast. And we can’t forget about Phantasy Star Online, as the game is one of the greatest MMORPG games of all time, allowing gamers to play it on their home console for free and shockingly had their server up for nearly 2 decades so long gamers are still online, meaning that people kept their Dreamcast running to this point because they didn’t want to leave the game at all. Now that’s some true dedication.
Looking at it today, The Sega Dreamcast may have been ahead of its time and was unable to recover once the Sony Playstation 2 had arrived, but the games that was released for the Sega Dreamcast were phenomenal and is indeed a collectors must have. The consoles do go cheap and games are going for as high as $150, depending on what you are finding and how rare it is. Being able to play couch co-op is great and it’s thrilling to find Sonic back on top with not only one but two successful games that matches his attitude and new look. Games even from the Sega Dreamcast would have a great follow up in the later generation console with Jet Set Radio being on the Xbox along with Shenmue II, the 2K Sport series being available on all consoles and being considered the most have sports games over EA Sports, and let us not forget about Sonic, who later on would have terrible times, is still one of the greatest Mascot of all time and still on the bench waiting for a mega hit to happen. The Sega Dreamcast was a gamer’s Dream come true.