Showing posts with label Community. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Community. Show all posts

Dreamcast Graveyard: Websites We Miss from the Post-Sega Era

While logging into Phantasy Star Online the other night, with my GD-ROM screeching away under the immense pressure of having to load a lobby with three other players, it struck me that my character is now 18 years old. That’s a bloody long lifespan in gaming terms, and in fact, means that this morsel of code stored on my VMU is now quite a bit older than I was when I first brought it into existence. 

Flicking through the guild cards (effectively virtual business cards) my character has amassed, and especially the early ones, I was presented with a snapshot of the Dreamcast scene of yesteryear. In the notes of these cards, aside from the frequent appeals for cannabis legalisation made by idealistic teenage stoners, the URLs of a multitude of Dreamcast fan websites cropped up - the majority of which are sadly now ceased or in a moth-eaten state.

The Grubensau of 18 years ago would be pleased to hear how his dream has now turned into a reality in some parts of the world.

So, instead of tackling one of the many unfinished D.I.Y. jobs that are strewn though my house, I’m scribbling this post and inviting you to celebrate the good times that these fallen virtual-comrades-in-arms gave us. A blog post that contains a list based on nostalgia might be a worn out trope, but that's what I'm serving up, so strap in. In no particular order...

Dreamcast-Scene.com (2002-2018)

The final Dreamcast-Scene website header image.

The project of Max Scharl and a close knit team of associates, Dreamcast-Scene was a bit of a powerhouse back in the day. As their initial moniker of ‘Dreamcast-Petition’ would suggest, their roots lie in directing campaigns for GD-ROM production to continue, and for Dreamcast ports of late-stage Naomi arcade games to be made. How influential these campaigns were is hard to gauge, but the demonstration of consumer demand certainly can’t have hurt, and the subsequent flow of shmup releases on the Dreamcast between 2003 and 2007 no doubt exceeded expectations. 

The DCS crew sticking up for the Dreamcast alongside now defunct import store, Lik-Sang.com
The DCS crew sticking up for the Dreamcast alongside now defunct import store, Lik-Sang.com, at a gaming conference in 2003. Image courtesy of jeuxvideo.com.

Rapidly expanding beyond their founding purpose, the website morphed into a place for Dreamcast news to be reported at a time when mainstream outlets had halted their coverage, and to act as a kind of life-raft for those who didn’t wish to give up on the console after Sega pulled the plug. With in-person events, contests, press releases, t-shirts, and the rest, Dreamcast-Scene was a flame that burned brightly; the website is still online, but has not been updated for five years. Founder Max Scharl would go on to establish indie publisher RedSpotGames that delivered several top quality indie games, including Wind and Water: Puzzle Battles and Sturmwind, which, alas, has also since bit the dust.