By Gigastormz 5 Comments
Do you remember 9/9/99? Today marks the 9th birthday of Sega's last video game console, the Sega Dreamcast. I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge this date on my blog and bring some attention to the much loved Dreamcast. I don't have a fancy video to show you, or even a picture of my own Dreamcast, but I will tell you of my initial experiences with the console.
September 9th, 1999 more or less came and went for me. I didn't buy a Dreamcast on launch day, but I remember the commercials vividly. I honestly have no idea what I was playing back then, but it was most likely Final Fantasy VIII. It wasn't until the summer of 2000 that I really became interested in the system. I repeatedly saw advertisements in GamePro, EGM, EGM2 and other magazines for Marvel vs Capcom 2 and I just had to play that game. I was a huge Marvel fan at the time, and I couldn't wait to play as Wolverine, Cable, Dr Doom, Omega Red, and several more of my favorite Marvel characters.
I was working at Toys R Us at the time, so I was no stranger to the Dreamcast. We had demo units in the electronics section and I was quite familiar with the likes of Soul Calibur, Crazy Taxi, Sonic Adventure, House of the Dead 2 and more. So when MvC2 was released in June of 2000, I finally made the plunge and bought a Dreamcast. I can't remember all the games I purchased right away, but I know I got Soul Calibur, Sonic Adventure, House of the Dead 2 along with MvC2. I may have even picked up Resident Evil Code Veronica right away as well. I had an absolute blast with Marvel vs Capcom 2, but I think I ended up liking Soul Calibur even more. At the time, that game was the definition of perfection.
One neat thing about the Dreamcast is that it had online functionality, even if it was only dial-up. The system itself came with a web browser so you could surf the net on your TV if you wanted. I actually did this quite a few times because it was neat seeing things on our big TV instead of the small computer monitor. My first online experience would come from Phantasy Star Online. There was no voice chat, just some pre-typed phrases like "hello" "follow me" or "help!" Unless you had the official Dreamcast keyboard like I did, you were forced to use those phrases. I ended up playing PSO mostly by myself in the single player mode, mainly because after I played online for awhile I found out that most people were cheating to obtain very high level items and I figured whats the point of trying to play fair when everyone else I play with cheats? Its still a fun game and its a shame that they charge a monthly fee to play its latest incarnation, Phantasy Star Universe, otherwise I'd probably be playing that all the time.
My one guilty pleasure with the Dreamcast would have to be The Typing of the Dead. If you aren't familiar with the game, its basically the House of the Dead 2, but you type words to kill the zombies instead of shooting them. All the cutscenes are almost exactly the same, only the characters have Dreamcasts strapped to their backs and keyboards attached to their waists. Its totally over the top and an absolute blast and funny as hell, especially two player. At first its just kind of weird typing out letters and single words, but then you get to a point in the game where you have to type out entire phrases and sentences. Some of them are so ridiculous that you find yourself laughing hysterically instead of typing out the sentence before the zombie kills you. The game isn't easy though, and you seriously need some typing skills to play it. I found it to be great practice and I wouldn't be surprised if a school somewhere used it as a teaching aid! The game is available on the PC now as well, so you can check it out that way if you don't have a Dreamcast.
The Dreamcast ended production in 2001 and the last game to be shipped was NHL 2K2 in 2002, although several games have since been developed and released in other ways since then. For some in depth thoughts and memories of the Dreamcast, I highly recommend you check out the latest episode of the Retronauts podcast.
Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to fire up my Dreamcast and relieve its glory days. Goodnight, and may the Dreamcast Rest In Peace.