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Cancelled Dreamcast Game Looks Like An Online Pioneer

Illustration for article titled Cancelled Dreamcast Game Looks Like An Online Pioneer
Total RecallTotal RecallTotal Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.

These days, Visual Concepts are best known as the studio behind the NBA 2K series. But at the turn of the millennium they were making a demo game for the Dreamcast that, as rough as it looked, was very much ahead of its time.

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That game was called Internet Game Pack, and as Hidden Palace report, was originally intended to appear as a cover disc demo for the Official Dreamcast Magazine in 2001. The console’s demise that same year put a stop to that, though, and Internet Game Pack never saw the light of day.

Silly name aside, that’s a bit of a shame, because it looks like something that would have done pretty well on Xbox Live Arcade (remember how popular Uno was?!) 4-6 years later. Internet Game Pack was designed to showcase the Dreamcast’s internet capabilities, and would have allowed players to take part in a range of basic card and board games against online opponents (though the games could also be played locally).

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Just another example, almost 20 years later, of just how far ahead of its time the poor lil’ Dreamcast was.

If you want to download the game and try it out yourself in an emulator, Hidden Palace have the game files right here.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

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DISCUSSION

Ah yes, the Official Dreamcast Magazine...these are all 12 of the issues I got as a subscriber back in the day, as well as most of the cover discs.

Curiously, the final issue (March/April 2001) was the only issue (other than I recall the premiere issue) that didn’t have a demo disc. According to the editorial inside, they said it was because Sega was going to try another way to distribute demos. I remember there was talk around that time of Sega licensing out Dreamcast technology to a third-party so people could download games and demos but given that 56k was still dominant at the time, pretty sure that was a non-starter.

Perhaps this Internet Game Pack was meant for that issue?

Still love my Dreamcast, still hooked up to this day. Soon gonna start playing Sonic Adventure 2 on it so I can make comparisons to Steam’s version (which is based on the Game Cube version anyway).