<-- -!>

Featured Article

Showing posts with label soul calibur. Show all posts
Showing posts with label soul calibur. 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 Games That I Would Play If I Were Stuck on a Desert Island

I'm sure you've seen it before. The "what X would you take if you were stuck on a desert island?" or "What X would you Y if that was the only thing you could Y?" Or something of the sort. Those silly, annoying questions that ask you to pick a few things, not even considering the fact that picking a favourite X may cause you great emotional distress, turmoil and mental unrest and ARRGRGHRGHH...

Sorry about that.

Still, they are interesting sometimes. Trying to think of article subjects the other day, this one was a potential topic. Instead, I went with the fruitless "hidden music track" quest. That quest showed me one thing - my Dreamcast collection is surprisingly small. This top 5 would represent almost 1/4 of my collection of 23 games! Fortunately, this is a hypothetical scenario, so I can give myself all the Dreamcast games, even the unreleased ones. I could even give myself a Dreamcast 2!

Deciding this list depends solely on one thing: replayability. (Or replay value, if you want to be a hater.) Can I play this game many times without getting bored? Can I learn speed-running techniques to learn and master the game? Can I find some wicked glitches to totally break the game? Also, soundtracks are an important consideration. Despite this, it's still rather difficult to imagine that scenario, given that I have over a dozen systems plus a robust emulator on my Mac.

So, in no particular order, here we go:

SegaShiro goes Soul Calibur Fishing!

When I was a guest on the SegaShiro podcast a few weeks back (if you didn't hear it, go download it now) I recommended (or should I say demanded) that the Shiro guys should try playing Soul Calibur with the Fishing controller at least once, and sure enough DJ Fob Fresh took up to the challenge and he uploaded a 20-odd minute video of his playthrough! I can't seem to find a way to embed the video here so you'll just have to head over to their site to see it. It also sounds like DarrenIndeed will be next on the site to do the same, wahaha!

First Soul Calibur XBLA screens

As I'm pretty sure you all know, Soul Calibur, the best launch game ever and still one of the best fighting games ever made (if not THE best), is coming to Microsoft's game download service, Xbox Live Arcade. This conversion is enshrouded in some controversy, due to the fact that it's going to lack any sort of online play, making it somewhat redundant. After all, exactly why would we want to play for it if we're not getting anything new? Of course, there's the online leaderboards and the HD graphics, but speaking of those, and as expected, they don't look that much better than the Dreamcast game running on a HD tv through a VGA cable. See for yourself here (they're probably on other sites too, but this was the one I saw them on first, so here it goes), and share your thoughts on this matter.