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Showing posts with label Power Stone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Power Stone. Show all posts

A Dreamcast Launch Retrospectacle: Celebrating/Ranking the Games of 9.9.99

Well, shit. It’s been 21 years since the Dreamcast’s North American launch. That makes it old enough to drink here.

Legally.

Of course, that’s hardly news for all you folks outside of the States. In Japan, the Dreamcast has been of legal libation consumption age for nearly two years, both because it came out almost a year earlier and because the nation’s legal drinking age is 20. Doubly so for most European countries. In Germany, kids as young as 14 can drink wine and beer with their parents’ consent, which means the Dreamcast has been allowed to partake in the devil’s sauce for over seven years (with permission from the Saturn and Mega Drive, of course). And apparently you Brits have been legally allowed to drink at home since you were five (?!) years old. If true, the Dreamcast has been pounding pints in the UK since the Nintendo DS was in nappies.

Anyway, I write all of this because I find it both a convenient and unnecessarily convoluted excuse to crack open some brewskies and reminisce about the Dreamcast’s iconic launch library all those years ago. In the spirit of the occasion, I’d like to think of this feature as a Dreamcast 21 run of sorts.

I’ve always been fascinated with video game console launches and the “next gen” titles that usher us into each new era of gaming. I believe these launches provide unique insights into how platform holders aspire to position their consoles and contribute to the broader evolution of the medium. Console launches give us a glimpse into the creative mindsets of developers seeking to innovate with the new technological possibilities afforded to them. Then there’s the sheer spectacle of it all, which can also be fun in itself.

When it comes to the all-time great console launches, I can’t think of a better time than the sixth generation. Leading the way, of course, was the Sega Dreamcast. You probably don’t need me to sell you on the brilliance of its launch collection. At least in North America and PAL territories (sorry, Japan), there was almost a magic surrounding it. From day one, the Dreamcast hosted a legendary library of excellent games, many of which remain widely revered by the Junkyard community. I’ve recently replayed all 19 of the North American launch titles and I’m surprised which ones have held up at least as well as, if not better than I expected. Others, less so. More than anything, revisiting the Dreamcast’s launch library has helped strengthen my appreciation for the creative risks Sega took with its final console debut, as well as the more enduring impacts its games ultimately had on the medium.

It boggles my mind to consider the rare confluence of factors that could've enabled the Dreamcast to spoil early adopters with such a wealth of launch day riches. Back then, and for a variety of reasons, console launch lineups seemed more crucial for setting the tone and tenor of the experiences we might associate with those platforms. Perhaps the relative technical strides between generations underscored the need to show off a diverse stable of games that could never have existed previously. And before development costs skyrocketed in the HD era, maybe it was easier for more devs to begin and finish their projects in the time between receiving dev kits and preparing for launch. At the very least, developers might've been freer to work in peace without us asshat fans yammering at them on social media all the time.

So now, after 21 years, I figured I’d share my thoughts on all 19 North American Dreamcast launch titles through a not-completely-sober, retrospective lens. Here are my totally biased and nostalgia-be-damned takes on the Dreamcast’s original launch lineup. And in no particular ord—actually, screw it. I’m not usually a fan of ranked game lists but I’m a couple of beers in at this point and I’m fine with being a hypocrite.

OK. Worst to first. Let’s go...

Top 5 Dreamcast Online Games...That Never Actually Existed

The Dreamcast’s online capabilities out of the box were no doubt somewhat revolutionary for a console back in 1999. Sega couldn’t have played up the fact that a modem was included much more than they did; with a heavy push on web browsing and emailing when the Dreamcast first launched.

The promise was that online gaming would follow shortly and whilst we did get some outstanding online experiences eventually, I think looking back now, it is fair to say that Sega didn’t really live up to their pre-release “up to 6 billion players” hype. There were some great games designed around their online features, but there were just not enough.

The sad part is that the Dreamcast was ahead of its time when it came to online gaming on console, and I can’t help but think that with a few more quality online-focused releases earlier in the Dreamcast’s lifespan, it could have turned an also ran feature into THE reason to buy Sega’s wonderful grey box.

Walk with me as I uncover the five Dreamcast online sensations that never actually existed, but I think wish really should have...

Dreamcast On The Go With PlayStation Vita

The PlayStation Vita is quite easily one of my favourite handheld systems. I've owned plenty of other portable gaming devices - and still do - but for me the PS Vita blends console-quality gaming with the types of games you'd expect on a handheld. Currently in my collection I have an Atari Lynx, Neo Geo Pocket, Nintendo DS, Game Gear, PSP Go, Gameboy Micro and Gameboy Pocket. I appreciate them all, but not as much as the Vita. I wouldn't go as far as saying it is my all time favourite pocket-sized gaming device, for that title would undoubtedly go the the Gameboy Advance SP AGS 101 (the one with the sexy backlit screen), but it is definitely up there at the top of the pile.
Regardless of the way Sony has handled the business side of things when it comes to the PS Vita, the fact remains that it is a great bit of gaming tech and a worthy successor to the PSP in terms of features and technology. Much like the Dreamcast with Sega, the PS Vita does represent something of a missed opportunity for Sony as there are so many things that could have been done with the hardware; but ultimatley the system is now being kept alive by third parties and indie devs. Now, you'd be forgiven for asking yourself why the hell I'm praising the Vita on a Dreamcast site? This is The Dreamcast Junkyard, not The Vita Lounge dammit!

Calm down, dear - I'll tell you for why. But before I do, let me just say that after having more than a passing interest in the Dreamcast for the best part of 20 years, I'm well aware of actual portable Dreamcasts. Oh, and Treamcasts. Now that's out of the way, on with the show...!

Power Stone Reborn - Lastfight Review



I’m going to be a really cheeky boy here and stretch the definition of Dreamcast game ever so slightly to encompass modern games inspired by classic Dreamcast titles. Yep, I’m taking the piss a bit now, you’re not wrong...but hear me out!

Ask anyone to name some of the Dreamcast’s most defining games and the words 'power' and 'stone' are bound to get a mention. Whereas Street Fighter III, Soul Calibur and Marvel vs Capcom 2 were all fantastic Dreamcast fighting games in their own right, their respective series didn’t really have the same strong exclusive tie with Sega’s white disk churning box of magic as the Power Stone games can boast. Years later, Capcom did make the rather inappropriate choice of porting the games to the PSP (of all systems...idiots), but we’ve not heard anything of the 3D party brawler since.
Unfortunately, it seems to have faded away into the mists of time, and with Capcom in their current financial predicament, I don’t think any of us would be wise to expect a new entry anytime soon. To make matters worse, despite being two of the greatest multiplayer brawlers of all time, few companies have ever tried to replicate or take inspiration from them, not with success at least (I’m looking at you Sonic Battle *shudder*). Until now, that is...