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Sega Dreamcast Turns 10 193

Posted by Soulskill
from the keeps-on-ticking dept.
traycerb writes "It's been 10 years since 9/9/1999, when the Dreamcast launched on American shores. The hardware was ahead of its time; online capability, web browser, a visual memory unit, and a controller that anticipated the much-loved Xbox 360 controller. The games were amazing: Jet Set Radio (the first popular 3d cell-shaded game on a console), Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (still the apotheosis of 2-d fighting; just try finding a copy on ebay), Soul Calibur (still looks good compared to the recent Xbox/PS3 versions), NFL 2K (came out of nowhere, and was so good that it shook EA into spending tens of millions of dollars to seal up exclusivity for NFL rights), and many others. No doubt some of the reasons for the Dreamcast's demise lay with Sega, whose dubious hardware decisions (ahem, 32x) finally caught up to them, in the form of ambivalence from both developers and gamers, just as the console-making world was shifting to the multinationals with big pockets who were willing to spend it on pricey hardware design (or could absorb the cost of faulty hardware design). It was also one of the first consoles widely used for homebrew. In honor of the 10th anniversary, a new game is being released for the Dreamcast, called Rush Rush Rally Racing. The Dreamcast is dead! Long live the Dreamcast!"
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Sega Dreamcast Turns 10

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  • Skys of Arcadia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by greymond (539980) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @11:43AM (#29367555) Homepage Journal

    Was probably one of the funnest games I ever played through. I wish they'd make a new version for the PS3.

  • Re:ahh good times (Score:3, Insightful)

    by demonlapin (527802) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @11:43AM (#29367557) Homepage Journal
    After you paid somebody to do a chip or softmod (or did it yourself), and bought a hard drive. Neither of which you needed to do with Dreamcast. Burn and go.

    The only advantage to Xbox was that you could pirate a friend's game easily; Dreamcast really needed someone else to do it for you, and you d/l the ISO.
  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @11:44AM (#29367575) Homepage Journal
    Wow, the DC had good games, that's for sure, but it was also plagued with one of the least comfortable controllers since the awkward devices of the 8 bit era. I can't be the only one who couldn't play a DC game too long before my thumb felt like it was shredded to ribbons. That was the sharpest D-Pad ever to grace a controller AFAIK.

    The Visual Memory Unit was completely gimmicky as well.
  • Re:ahh good times (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @12:09PM (#29367951)

    There is a difference between 'possible' and 'stupidly easy'.

    It was only stupidly easy if you had a CD burner, a broadband connection, and knew your way around IRC and warez sites... in 1999. You may have had several buddies doing it, but the masses weren't. Piracy did not kill the Dreamcast.

    What did kill the DC was Sega needed to make 10 million more units and had no money to do it. Limited growth potential, limited developer support.

  • Re:ahh good times (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iamhassi (659463) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @12:38PM (#29368447) Journal
    "What did kill the DC was Sega needed to make 10 million more units and had no money to do it."

    Nope, what killed the Dreamcast was the Sony media spin, which went into full swing Spring 1999, touting the next gen Playstation 2 to have "Toy Story" graphics [cnn.com]. Everywhere I went I kept seeing reviews and commercials for PS2 and the amazing graphics, so everyone just waited for the PS2. By the time they got a PS2 and found out the graphics were not even close to the movie it was too late for DC. Plus it didn't help that the Playstation already had some excellent PS only series of titles, like Gran Turismo, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear and Castlevania.

    It wasn't until 2009 when the PS3 finally did bring Toy Story graphics to consoles [gamezine.co.uk].
  • Re:ahh good times (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreakNO@SPAMeircom.net> on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @01:53PM (#29369601) Homepage Journal

    The PS2 ultimately went on to produce titles like Final Fantasy X and Metal Gear Solid 3 which, while not of Toy Story graphical quality, did nonetheless show a significant improvement in graphical capability when compared to Dreamcast titles like Shenmue. Having said that, Dreamcast titles seem to have aged well graphically compared to other consoles.

    In my opinion, what ultimately sunk the Dreamcast was a lack of system selling titles. While titles like Sonic Adventure, Shenmue, Soul Calibur and Phastasy Star Online were groundbreaking and excellent games, none had the neccessary combination of wide appeal, depth of gameplay and longevity seen in system sellers like Super Mario World, Metal Gear Solid, or the Halo and Gears of War franchises. The Dreamcast never found its way out of its niche and into a wider audience. You need system sellers to sell systems, which attracts developers to make games for your console, which in turn attracts a wider audience, and so on. The SNES and PS2 epitomise this method, but these consoles had system selling games like Super Mario World, A Link to the Past, Metal Gear Solid 2 and Final Fantasy X. Moreover, these consoles kept bringing out such titles well into their runs, e.g. Super Metroid or God of War 2.

    The Dreamcasts best titles were good, don't get me wrong. Very good. Some of them were groundbreaking, unique and timeless titles. But they were all ultimately too narrow in their, albeit ambitious, scope to attract the number of players needed to bring the console out ahead. The Dreamcast's ultimate downfall was its great ambition. In trying to fulfil all it promised, the console and its developers often overreached their aim and failed to land a knockout punch.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @03:58PM (#29371593)

    this is one of the most interesting things I've ever read, where else do writings on such topics exist?

  • DreamOnCast (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @04:20PM (#29371907)

    I wouldn't say the hardware was ahead of its time. The PowerVR chipset in there (Neon250) was barely up to RivaTNT speed, and it lacks screen buffer features that the PS2 and Gamecube shined in, so even if it were still fighting the fight through 2002 it'd still have a short lifespan.

    So many of its fanboys say it has untapped potential really need a reality check. The games the DC got exploited its hardware fully and that what you see, is what you get.

  • Re:A great console (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @04:31PM (#29372031)

    they destroyed a Dreamcast on stage

    ...the fuck?

    they'll make you angry over the years

    Know what makes me angry? Destroying Dreamcasts on stage.

  • by Myria (562655) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @07:01PM (#29373501)

    So....

    you admit to being one of the people that fucked it up for everyone else?

    Yep, although the damage I did to the game was mostly indirect. I did far more damage by giving out our cheat codes than in anything I did myself.

    However, when some cheats went too far, like with the hack to break into password-locked games, I emailed Sega with information on how to fix it. Sega Europe had some people who spoke Japanese and were willing to translate my emails for them. That hack was one of my regrets - I was the one who made it.

    Congratulations. You're a fucking douchebag. I hope you get cancer and die.

    That's nice. Statistically speaking, your wish probably will be granted, but not likely for a few decades.

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