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Showing posts with label Dreamcast 20th Anniversary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dreamcast 20th Anniversary. Show all posts

The Dreamcast Games of 2018

Welp! It’s February already and we haven’t even done a year in review for 2018 yet. Shame on us.

If you recall, 2017 was an unprecedented bumper year for Dreamcast games. There was a total of 27 physical releases last -  er.. the year before - including nine brand new titles, various re-releases and packaging variations. Along with the physical releases, we also got out hands on the previously unpublished game Millennium Racer: Y2K Fighters during 2017 as well. It was going to be hard for 2018 to top this lot.

Just what did the year that heralds the 20th anniversary of our little white box have in store for us? Let's take a stroll back down memory lane through the Dreamcast releases of 2018.

Every Dreamcast release of 2018

20 Years Of Dreamcast: The Past, Present & Future

It's hard to believe that the Dreamcast has been with us now for two whole decades. Twenty years since that November day back in 1998 when Sega finally unleashed its successor to the Saturn on the world. I can't recall a console launch prior to the Dreamcast launch where fever pitch was at such a level, and the initial reports - at least the ones I read in magazines, being a young oik at the time - all pointed to a system that heralded the dawn of a new age in gaming.
The Dreamcast reveal at The Sega New Challenge Conference 1998
An age of arcade perfection in home ports, and one which ushered in the widespread adoption of online console functionality. As the Dreamcast reaches this milestone, we thought it would be appropriate to celebrate the coming of age of the system with the a brief look at the past, the present and the future of the Dreamcast scene. Happily, this will not include the coming of three ghosts, and will not include one of those ghosts having two small children under his coat. Also, you're well within your rights to feel like a bonafide old git when it sinks in: yes, the Dreamcast really is twenty.

The Past
I think at this point most people are pretty well versed in the history of the Dreamcast. As alluded to earlier, it was launched on 27th November 1998 in Japan, and the following year in the rest of the world. Initial sales were strong, and the system had an air of technological prowess about it. Graphics were far ahead of the console competition at the time, and in some cases superior to what PC gamers were enjoying too. But it wasn't just about the graphical capabilities; as the hardware too was new, fresh and exciting. The VMU in particular turned the humble memory card into a standalone console in its own right, and the controller, while it still to this day splits opinion was interesting, with its analogue triggers and aperture for a second screen of sorts. And of course, the modem that came packaged with the console as standard (apart from some very early editions) opened the door to a whole new way of playing on consoles - against people over the internet.
Eager gamers spy a delivery of Dreamcasts on the morning of the launch
The modem also offered access to the Dreamcast's Dricas service, which was an online portal designed to allow Dreamcast owners to communicate, earn loyalty points and even see on a primitive map where other gamers were located. All of these services are pretty much the norm in today's climate, but back in 1998 these online options were a huge deal. Of course, we now know how the whole party turned into a bit of a shit show after the initial wave of euphoria, and the Dreamcast wasn't long for this world as a fully-supported hardware platform.

The utterly boring debates still rage to this day about why the console failed, and why Sega decided to ditch the console after a relatively short period in the west at least (the last official game was released for the Dreamcast in 2007 in Japan); but the main reason is that many people were more interested in the PlayStation 2 and waited for Sony's new machine rather than buy a Dreamcast. Yes, there are boring debates about software support from certain publishers, and there are boring debates about the ease with which games could be pirated and the lack of a DVD player...but the main reason is that the PlayStation 2 came along and stole the Dreamcast's thunder. It happened, let's all move on.