Games

Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Dreamcast 20th anniversary memories

Ah, the Dreamcast, easily my favourite console of all time and one of my most treasured possessions now. My current one, the 10th or so Ive owned, is in mint condition, still has the inner battery working and runs like new. Alas, Im well aware how quickly it can change so I treat it with great care. I have most of the peripherals released for it too, like the really rather good arcade stick, fishing rod for Sega Bass Fishing, two lightguns for The House Of The Dead 2, maracas for Samba De Amigo, the Starfire gun, a few keyboards, mice, etc., etc.

I remember buying my first Dreamcast with Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, Zombie Revenge, and Wacky Races (strange trio I know – Gamestation didnt have a big selection of new games and I didnt even realise at the time they had a row of pre-owned ones) and bought it purely as Im a big Resi fan and Code: Veronica was touted as being an exclusive and a very good one at that.

I loved it right from the start, the graphics were astounding compared to my old PlayStation 1, the VMU seemed such a clever little addition, and Im one of few that actually liked the pad, and still do despite them being very fragile.

Some of my best gaming memories are from the Dreamcast, whether its spending hour upon hour on Phantasy Star Online, marvelling at how great online gaming was, or speaking to gamers all over the planet on Dreamarena, long, long, long before social media was a thing. Playing co-op on Zombie Revenge or The House Of The dead 2 with my best mate, or nearly fighting with him over results in Power Stone.

Even now my all-time top 20 games is made up of a large proportion of Dreamcast games, Shenmue being my number one (with Final Fantasy VII, I cant pick one over the other) and joined by Power Stone, Skies Of Arcadia, Jet Set Radio, Grandia 2, and Phantasy Star Online – as well as other favourites that dont get quite as many mentions now like Headhunter, F355 Challenge, Metropolis Street Racer, Hurdy Gurdy, Soulcalibur, etc., etc.

I know a lot made it to other platforms but, I only played them on the Dreamcast itself.

I was absolutely devastated when I read that Sega had pulled the plug (it might have actually been on Digitiser on Teletext, or whatever it was called in 2001/2) and even now I wish theyd have given it a bit more time or done things differently so it sold more to begin with, rather than sponsoring Arsenal. I dont remember ever seeing much in the way of advertising and some of my gaming mates werent even that aware of it and were all waiting for the PlayStation 2. More recently Id compare the general apathy for the Dreamcast at the time with the Wii U, a console that to this day Ive never seen in someones home, nor do I know anyone that owned one. Thats how I remember the Dreamcast being, with me being the only person in my social circle that had one.

I was 21 when I bought my Dreamcast, so my adoration of it isnt even based purely on nostalgia as Id owned at least four to five consoles and three home computers prior and had great times with all of them. I just remember the games rather than the console itself, whereas I think the Dreamcast had a sprinkling of magic, and a lot of gamers that were on board with it within its lifetime often have a real, slightly irrational love of the console. It seemed so ahead of its time, its crazy to me that after the Dreamcast I didnt play games online again for another eight or so years when I got an Xbox 360 late on and Ive never held a piece of plastic with circuit boards in such high esteem since. And even then, people were still amazed by online console gaming like it was a new thing.

I could live till Im 100 and I dont think Ill ever be wowed as much with a game as I was when I first started playing Shenmue – I have a really vivid memory of telling my then girlfriend to come and have a look at the cutlery in a kitchen draw as it seemed so real. And she then ended up coming in often afterwards to watch me feed the kitten. Until that point she was a gaming naysayer, within a few months she was playing it herself and developed a real addiction to Chu Chu Rocket and Space Channel 5.

To me at least it was like the Dreamcast had been brought back from the future, and was so superior to anything Id ever played or seen – the closest anything has gotten to it since was playing Astro Bot on the PlayStation VR and hitting the water level.

To this day, the boot up noise of the Dreamcast makes me smile (partly down to the fact I know mine hasnt given up the ghost yet) and I miss the sound itd make while using dial-up to connect to the Internet, Id hate to think how long I spent watching and listening to thaRead More – Source