At heart, all of us on bit-tech and Custom PC are a school of staunch PC gamers. However, with the majority of us being in our mid to late twenties, we also belong to the PlayStation Generation. We’re PC gamers now, but there was a time when we didn’t know any better.
Our favourite console back in the day was the Sega Dreamcast; a gorgeous, solid and (unbelievably) still active console that proved to be just a little bit too ahead of it’s time. We loved the Dreamcast. The controllers were abysmally uncomfortable, the Tamagotchi-like memory cards were ridiculous, and it was utterly void of the street cred’ earned by owning a Sony PlayStation, but we loved it despite the fact that it died a slow, painful death.
Still, being dead is not the same as being forgotten, so since September 2009 marked the ten year anniversary of the Dreamcast’s European release, we felt we had to raise a gamepad to our forgotten love and we promptly set about assembling this feature. We also put together a retro gaming hub in the labs, though this article is more than just an excuse to sit around playing Crazy Taxi all day. Honest.
There’s a school of thought amongst gamers that you should never go back and play old games after a few years have passed. The idea is that it just won’t be as good an experience, and your fond gaming memories will turn from warm and fuzzy thoughts that keep you going through the never-ending run of World War 2 games. We’re dismissive of such notions though, and so promptly set about playing some of best (and nearest) Dreamcast games we could get our hands on.
Whether the games lived up to expectations or not is something we’ll let you find out for yourselves, but we will say that we all came away from the controller with a newfound respect for what the Dreamcast could do. Sega has been the butt of many jokes for the way the Saturn and the Dreamcast flopped, and though nowadays we spend a lot of time talking about consolitification, it’s worth remembering just how ahead of the curve the Dreamcast was.
Not only was the Dreamcast the first home console to try to make internet gaming available on a wide scale, but it was also one of the first consoles to try to develop a cultural identity of it’s own. Over the next few pages we take a walk down memory lane, discussing the Dreamcast hardware, why the console was doomed to failure because of piracy troubles, and how the games hold up by today’s standards. Also; diverging opinions on the Dreamcast controller.
We’ll inevitably be talking about the Dreamcast some more in the bit-tech Gaming Podcast later this week, so keep an eye on the podcast filter for that. In the meantime, if you’ve got any fond or damning memories of your own, then let us know in the forums.