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What People Used To Say About The Sega Dreamcast

Illustration for article titled What People Used To Say About The Sega Dreamcast

Today, we've got Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony vying for control of the console market. But there was a time when Sega was also a contender. Their last home console, the Dreamcast, is still getting games (sort of) despite being fourteen years old. But what was it about the Dreamcast that inspired such devotion? Let's take a look.


  • The hottest computer at my house isn't the homemade box I usually work on, or the old Pentium 90 Linux server, or even the blazing Athlon tower I borrowed from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Instead it's this little beige box, roughly the size of a package of software, that sits on the floor next to my TV set. It's the new Sega Dreamcast—a limited and in some ways rather crude machine, which nevertheless could teach any PC a thing or two about serving up realistic, razor-sharp electronic entertainment.
  • Hiawatha Bray: Being good at games: UPGRADE; The Boston Globe, September 30, 1999.

The Dreamcast, converting hardcore PC enthusiasts everywhere.

  • "'Dreamcast is the hot new system,' said Anne Scott, store director at Toys R Us, 131 N. Milwaukee St. 'It's $199.99, but if you are a gamer or have a son or daughter that's into that stuff and are looking for the hot system, that's the way to go.'"
  • Michael Deeds: VIDEO GAME BLITZ: Buyers need to think carefully before picking home gaming machine; The Idaho Statesman, November 26, 1999.

Might as well grab two if you're a gamer with kids.

  • "Pop quiz: which did more business during its first 24 hours in the marketplace, Sega's new Dreamcast console or the movie 'Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace'? Surprise answer: Dreamcast, by a score of $ 97.9 million to $ 28.5 million."
  • Nathan Cobb: Game Boys Grow Into Game Men; News & Record, November 28, 1999.

Honestly, I'm not all that surprised.

  • "Sega of America Inc. knows that the gaming audience wants entertainment that is hip and fun, not practical or mind-expanding. So the company isn't touting the Internet features built into Dreamcast."
  • Mike Langberg: Dreamcast's Hidden Internet Feature A Boon To Buyers; The Augusta Chronicle, September 22, 1999.

Mind-expanding? Are we talking about the same Internet?

  • "'I think it's great,' said Matt Hill, an employee at Electronics Boutique and a regular video gamer. 'It's got 128-bit processing compared to PlayStation's 32-bit. It's more real. You can really see and tell the difference on NFL2K and Soul Calibur, but mostly on the NFL game. It's like broadcast quality."
  • Barry Courter: Sega Dreamcasts Long Shadow; Chatanooga Times Free Press, September 26, 1999.

That's a bit of a stretch. Real football players have way better models and textures.

  • "'It's like trading in a Ford Taurus for a Lamborghini Diablo,' said Ed Christensen, 17, who traded up from a Nintendo 64 system. (...) And he's been hearing a lot from friends ever since. 'I go to his house every day to play,' said Christensen's friend Rory White, 17, of River Forest. 'If you have the game, your status rises.'"
  • Jim Frost: Teenagers atwitter over latest, greatest video game system; Chicago Sun-Times, September 20, 1999.

A legit status symbol. Just like a Lamborghini Diablo.

  • Sony says its Playstation 2, due next year, will make Dreamcast look like a pocket calculator. But for now, Sega holds the lead.
  • Hiawatha Bray: Being good at games: UPGRADE; The Boston Globe, September 30, 1999.

"For now" is right. A pity.

So, what about you? Has the Dreamcast managed to ensnare you, too? Share your experiences below.

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Honestly, if there is one thing I think the Dreamcast did right, it's that it inspired a "fun" tone of video-games.

I know it's strange to say that, because it literally has nothing to do with the hardware itself, but you have to admit; when you look at the Dreamcast's library, it consists almost entirely of "feel-good games".

Much of that was thanks to Sonic Team, who were really at the top of their game. I mean, hell, even Phantasy Star Online managed to be upbeat, and the actual story consisted of two planet-wide apocalypses!

I really wish games would get away from trying to be "mature" all the time. There was a wonderful article right here on Kotaku a few months back, on how Jet Set Radio managed to be relevant, without being violent (I'm too lazy to find and link it). I think that's something Gaming needs more of; games that exist simply to put a smile on your face, with no other baggage.