The Dreamcast sealed games niche

The story of the Dreamcast’s demise has been told countless times, and countless times have fansites and journalists alike, explored the many great and innovate features that have seen the Sega Dreamcast ascension to the cult status that it now holds. However something that I know myself, and others, are fascinated by is the sealed games market that the DC scene seems to support.

Among the many great things about the Dreamcast, the cases, or more specifically the PAL cases, are quite frankly an abhorrent crime against design and manufacturing standards.
I love a sleuth through ebay and the like, but despite my role as the self proclaimed ‘Sega Dreamboy’ I actually buy very little DC stuff that requires posting. A conscious decision because of the aforementioned case quality. The fragility of the cases is bad enough, so when you add in the risk that trusting those already crappy cases to the disgruntled savagery of your average British post office worker, it all just factors up to just not being worth the stress.

Sealed game collecting though is nothing new, in fact it has a slightly murky image among some who don’t value the idea of buying and not playing; previously I would have very firmly been in the camp of not considering it something I am particularly fond of. I consider myself a gamer first, and a collector and enthusiast second, however gaming has enough needless divisions so personally I’ve matured into just wanting games fans of all ilks to be left in peace with their collecting desires.

Anyway! The sealed Sega Dreamcast market seems to be entirely it’s own niche, purely because the issues that plagued the consoles commercial life, and the companies seemingly over ambition have lead to an abundant amount of really affordable sealed games, particularly your cheaper games or the North American sports series, that are perfectly priced to actually open and fondle to your hearts content. And herein lies the difference to the other machines, where sealed games tend to stay sealed.

The next 100K sealed game?!

£10 for a pristine copy of MSR, Chu Chu Rocket or Tony Hawk 2  can all be found within about 7 minutes of your reading of this article. All games that are worth playing and whose preowned value isn’t much less than that price. The mark up on the new and sealed in that scenario does seem like value. Whilst most of you who are reading this will no doubt own them, yet there are plenty of other sub £20 titles around, many I don’t have in my collection but am interested enough to try. Then you can factor in that it is possible to great brand new copies of NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB (silly boys rounders) for less than £20 in these here land. Any type of poll or discussion that involves the US Dreamcast fans will frequently see those titles heralded as either peoples favourite games, or those that influenced their decision to get a Dreamcast in the first place.

Throughout the umerous DCJY podcasts, different members of the crew have spoken about that feeling of receiving a sealed game with the intention of playing it. It’s an odd feeling to describe, especially in word form, the intrigue that the game was created and meant for a specific purpose in the early 00s, yet had made it all this time sealed away, and mostly not through collection or sealed lust, however instead through miss management and the consoles tragic under-performance, is both vastly nerdy and rewarding to many of us it seems.

Opening your intact hinged case and seeing the pristine manual and disc. And thinking about the odd fact it hadn’t been seen by anyone since it was first packed and sealed away for retail, is both a nostalgic and empowering feeling I find. Especially if you have lived through the disappointment of opening or finding smashed up or worn cases during your fandom.

Now Italian retailer Halifax (HX) are heavily featured over the vast majority of supplies you can find of sealed games. They seemingly backed the Dreamcast market hard and fast, and then fire saled a lot of their excess stock when the system tanked. I actually tried to contact the Italian chain to see if they had anyone around who was part of that era, and to see if they could explain how it’s come to pass that there sealed games are now all over ebay,  unsurprisingly they showed little interest in discussing the Dreamcast in 2019! And my messages remained unanswered.

Halifax - not just a shit place in Yorkshire

A more successful channel however was the sellers themselves, I spoke to ebay sellers ‘Berroo’ and ‘resting-raver’ - The first who a lot of the games pictured here came from in the Summer. He recounted that a lot of his supply he picked up when he heard about a wholesalers clearout. Whilst he trades in sealed games for a lot of consoles he was personally a big fan of the Dreamcast and wanted to get involved with collecting and trading. Telling me that originally a lot of what he picked up around 2005 actually arrived in very poor condition, with boxes covered in dirt or cases that had been cracked open and manuals damaged. Leading to him having to spend time sorting and organising through it initially, and that sadly some was only fit for the bin.

The collection of games I picked up from him, that inspired this article were all titles I had never played. And whilst it isn’t exactly a stellar crop quality wise bar the sports titles, the idea that they were arriving in mint condition really influenced my decision to finally get round to buying and playing them. Particularly as I had been on a bad run of discs not actually working for the last few auctions I had won.

My second source ‘Resting-raver’ gets his merch via a link who has a contact with an Ex Sega employee, more than that he doesn’t know and has never probed too much as respects his suppliers desire to maintain his source. He currently has a good selection of games up on his store, informing me he has more Dreamcast games arriving in May too.

'He used to work for Sega, more than that I can't say...'

Again some of them are proudly baring the Halifax logo, Rob (as he is known in the real word)
passed on that some of his items arrive to him with old European shipping information still intact on it, so it’s likely some of his selection had been part of the same stock as Halifax mass sell off. Or like that was simply intended for the European market but never made it to the customer.

In amongst his Pal cased games though, he also has a fine selection of NTSC-U games, the Sports series I pictured below I obtained from him (along with a kindly thrown in boot disc) as had missed out on them at the time, blissfully unaware how well received they were.

So, we'd love to hear your thoughts. Are you into the niche of 'sealed to play', or do you actually collect games and keep them pristine. Or are you one of the GDMU master race and transcended discs all together? Let us now if the comments folks.

I'd also like to thank the sellers for taking the time to respond to my queries about their stock.

Resting Raver Dreamcast games

And whilst he doesn't have anything up at time of publish, still want to thank seller Berroo with a link to his store, for anyone who may be reading this down the line.

Berroo ebay store


straitJacket said...

I’ve bought the occasional sealed game as back up. Useful when I wanted to play MSR and found my original copy was scratched to shit, opening a new copy was a pleasant experience.

Kev Mason said...

MSR was one of the first I got two, I had picked up two preowned copies and neither worked due to scratched discs, then spotted a brand new copy was about 5.99 at the time.

hoogafanter said...

A sealed game is a sad game...

JaseTheSpottyDog said...

I buy two copies of Dreamcast games - a copy to play and a copy sealed to treasure..

way2easy said...

I sometimes buy the cheaper games sealed and then open them to play as I like to play my games. However I do have a sealed copy of evil twin that I can't seem to force myself to open.

Animated AF said...

I buy sealed games if they are no more expensive than a used copy...and tear them open to play them. Mind you most sealed games I buy are rarely super sought after collectable ones that might appreciate over time, but rather stuff like Hello Kitty Magical Block.

Wonderboy said...

I do have had several sealed Dreamcast games, many bought from 'berroo' so I was really interested to hear a little bit of his backstory! I tend to buy sealed if there no more expensive, I open them though, they have to be played.

Sarah Jacb said...
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