FileBlog: Requiem for the Dreamcast
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Requiem for the Dreamcast

April 03, 2007


Does my cartoon make me look fat? The date? 9-9-99. The console? The Sega Dreamcast. It's one of the saddest chapters in gaming history. Sega, struggling from the failure of the Sega Saturn, needed to score an absolutely brilliant comeback with a killer gaming system. Within the company the Sega Dreamcast was known by the codename Katana: It would either be the weapon Sega used to cut Sony to ribbons, or it would be the instrument the company used to commit seppuku.

Unlike the Saturn, the Sega Dreamcast had a lot going for it. It was powerful, but not too complicated to code. It had nice, comfortable controllers and memory cards with gimmicky LCD readouts. It had a rudimentary online system, including web browsing. And it was coming out in North America a full year before Sony's PlayStation 2.

On September 9th, 1999, the system launched in North America and we in the gaming community were blown away. Soul Calibur on the Dreamcast was such an amazing game that it still looks good and plays great today, eight years later. Crazy Taxi was a hoot. This was a fantastic gaming system!

But the cold, harsh reality of the gaming business is that it takes more than a great system to succeed. The marketing has to click into place, and dozens of third-party developers have to get on board... It's a strange soup you have to brew, a mix of consumer expectations and publisher support that has to feed off of itself in order for a console to take off. Sega learned this in 2000: games matching the quality of Soul Calibur were few and far between, and the system stopped selling. People held off, waiting to see what the PlayStation 2 would offer. The Dreamcast started to slump, then went into a freefall, and was irrelevant within a couple of years.

I bring this up now because according to SegaNerds.com, Sega has announced it will discontinue hardware support for the Dreamcast. The system had a small die-hard fanbase, and even occasional game releases, until very recently. It looks like this might be the final blow. Farewell, Dreamcast. You always had friends here.

In the meantime, in my house today, there's a grey custom-molded briefcase containing a Dreamcast, two controllers, a VMU, and a copy of Soul Calibur. Yep, it's a dedicated Soul Calibur machine, ready to be busted out at parties. I'd better take care of that sucker.

      -Fargo

Today's Geek Stuff:
Mod News:
Hardware Links Courtesy of Voodoo Extreme:

Posted by at 11:47 AM PDT
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