The SEGA Dreamcast was a great system, but sadly not one that could keep SEGA in the home console market. After the console war with Nintendo and the SEGA Saturn getting just demolished by Sony and Nintendo, SEGA had one last chance to make it in the home console market, but sadly, it would be their last.
I loved my SEGA Dreamcast. I remember very vividly the commercials I would see for the system when it was coming out in 1999. Not only was it a new system, but the new Sonic game looked AMAZING! My 9 year old brain couldn’t believe it. Sonic was coming in full 3D, and not just the horrible 3D like on my PC version of Sonic R (yes I played it and loved it at the time but that conversation is for a different day) but crisp and clear graphics. It was a literal and (no pun intended) dream come true. I begged my parents to get me one but they weren’t very keen on getting new consoles for my brother and I when they first came out. It’s not that they were super stingy or anything, they just wanted to make sure we still played outside and weren’t stuck in front of a TV all hours of the day. Unfortunately I wouldn’t get to own my own Dreamcast until well after they were discontinued. It was Christmas of 2002 when my parent’s finally caved and my Dreamcast graced my home. Me being only 12 years old at the time I had no idea the system was essentially dead, but dang it I didn’t care. I finally had my Dreamcast. Of course I had the classics like Sonic Adventure 1 & 2, and Crazy Taxi, but also I had a trio of sports games, a Genesis greatest hits game, and a little gem called Toy Commander. If you’ve never played it think Toy Story but much more violent and you’re fighting other toys with the final boss battle being in the attic. It was a fun game from what I remember. Of course me being a die hard Sonic fan I would be re-playing the Sonic Adventure games as well as yelling at Sonic Shuffle (again, another story for another day).
We all know why the system didn’t do as well as it should. The Playstation 2 was coming out one year later and even though the Dreamcast could play games online right out of the box, nothing could compete with a built in DVD player that the PS2 had. This was practically always SEGA’s Achilles’s heel, being ahead of their time way too early. It happened with the Saturn, and in some cases the Genesis with all the extra hardware. Online console gaming didn’t really take off until the Xbox came out and even though it was a great idea, it wouldn’t pan out until much later. Sadly even my Dreamcast didn’t make it, it died when I tried to play it with a friend of mine whom never played a Dreamcast before. The system wouldn’t load up on the screen and we triple checked to make sure it was plugged in right. It was heartbreaking, a system that I loved, my only SEGA console, was dead for good.
This year the Dreamcast would turn 20 years old this September, and luckily it is still loved to this day. It had the big games sure, but it also had gems like Jet Set Radio, Shenmue, and Power Stone to name a few. Event though my system died, I have not completely abandoned the possibility of finding another one and rebuilding my Dreamcast collection. It may have been SEGA’s last major home console, but it will always be loved, even 20 years later.