Work colleagues who have a passing interest in gaming or retro tech find out that I spend my free time writing this guff, and at first they think it's cool or intriguing...then become a little puzzled. And sometimes I have to just sit there and ponder to myself...why Dreamcast indeed? What is it about the Dreamcast that has fuelled my desire to continue to churn out podcasts, videos and articles and haul all my stuff across the country to events for the last 11 years? I generally fall back on the old "the Dreamcast represents so many missed opportunities" response; but the more I think about it, the more I think I have another reason. But before I share it with you, dear reader, some more about my other gaming habits...
The Museum of Obsolete Media or Techmoan on YouTube for further information.
To get back to the point, I love all forms of old technology and by extension I am fascinated by all forms of gaming devices. My collection of consoles and games is by no means gargantuan or exhaustive, but the little corner of my house in which I store all my trinkets of deceit is full of consoles by manufacturers that aren't Sega. Nintendo, SNK, Atari, Philips, Microsoft, Panasonic, Sony, and Amstrad devices are all jammed together in my makeshift shrine to the antiquated...and that's because I'm format agnostic. I love games of all types and from all manufacturers. So to bring it back around,what I'm trying to say is that I don't love the Dreamcast simply because it was made by Sega. And I don't blindly eschew games or consoles from other manufacturers - I just love games. That's it. I care not one iota who makes them.
I used to just sit on my own in that shitty room surrounded by junk and boxes of broken crap that middle aged men accumulate in spare rooms, playing Metropolis Street Racer for hours, trying to beat hot laps to get the next car in the showroom. I didn't really have any friends - something I partly put down to the area being ever-so-slightly racist, but that's a different story - and so I just spent all my spare time playing on the Dreamcast. It's weird to think back that I was ever like that, but there it is. Through that period of just being a bit of a waster and a lazy student bastard, I played on MSR and the various other games I could get my hands on through trading stuff in and spending the money I got from my summer job before going to university. While at university I got rid of the original Dreamcast, then bought another...then sold that one too and then went for several years just going through the Gamecube and Xbox systems before finally buying another Dreamcast in 2005 and starting this whole thing.
But this is the crux of the matter. The reason the Dreamcast is so special to me, is that it really was - and this sounds so pathetic - my only friend at times. Stems of depression, years of being kicked out of this school or that school, zero self esteem and the usual teenage angst bullshit mixed with being split between one parent living in an inner city ghetto and another living in a fairly rural, prejudiced area, combined with no real sense of self identity or worth. It didn't matter when I was playing a hot lap in MSR. I didn't buy games to show them off on Twitter, or say 'look at all my retro games - aren't I awesome?!' to randoms on a forum (also - neither existed in 2000!). I bought them because they were a way of occupying myself through the shit times of my late teens. The Dreamcast literally became a sort of crutch. Other stuff happened in that period that I'm not comfortable sharing on a public blog (plus, I don't know who is going to read this); and to be honest if it'd been any other system other than the Dreamcast I probably would have found myself oddly attached to that one instead. It's just how the stars aligned, I guess. That I happened to be born when I was, and that I happened to reach my late teens at the same time that a Japanese gaming firm decided to release their final console.
I also owe a lot to the Dreamcast - without it I would never have started this blog. Never have started writing about games and never have gotten to the point where I have had articles published in actual magazines and on proper games and tech websites. I wouldn't have been able to attend so many events, and I would never have met so many awesome people who have gone on to become true friends...simply because we share a passion for the Sega Dreamcast. The Dreamcast helped me through some really tough times, and also opened up a lot of doors for me. So when somebody next asks me: "why Dreamcast?" I'll be sure to send them a link to this post.