Cast Off Your Dream

On September 9, 1999 I was was sitting at my workstation waiting for the sky to fall. Alarmists were predicting the pre-curser to the Y2K fiasco. It was my task to make sure all the clocks in the office computers would function properly. Planes were supposed to fall out of the sky. Nothing happened.

I had spent most of my high school and college working in the electronics department at the local Wal-Mart, and I was there for quite a few console releases. The Nintendo 64 was the last. I was a huge PC gamer at the time (a game a paycheck) and I couldnít understand all the fuss over the last consoleóthe Nintnedo 64. People came in at midnight to get it.

On 9/9/99 I had been married a month and was a year and a half removed from Wal-Mart. One of my old wedding buddies was still employed there. We (I still feel a part of the ďfamilyĒóthey were that good with loyalty) were the best store in the district. Sold the most goods. Made the most profit.

I remember my friend telling me that they sold one Dreamcast. One.

So began the rise and fall of the critically acclaimed Sega Dreamcast, a system that almost killed a company and eventually became a cult console.

I didnít own one until I saw a used system on eBay used in 2004. By then the console had already been proclaimed a failure and I was buying it just to experiment, but more importantly to play a rare imported game that I came across that had become sort of a cult classic itself. I was a closet shmup fan, and I had spent more on the game than the system itself. Ikaruga was and is one of the best games Iíve ever played.

Over the course of the next year I came across Crazy Taxi, a Sonic game here or there, Soul Calibur (I still burn to play that oneónot the sequels), and Ready 2 Rumble. After a year of play, in a state of confusion I sold the system and the games on eBay for a profit. I kept Ikaruga.

In April of this year the website Thinkgeek came across of a supply of new, unopened systems, and they were selling them for $100. I didnít wait. Since then Iíve toyed with the idea of making a MAME cabinet using the console or at least an Ikaruga arcade cabinet.

The Dreamcast is now officially ten years old and it still has a little bit of life in it. With over 660 games it does see a few new releases a year although most of them are homebrew or done by an independent developer. Systems can still be had for a price and there is a relatively large underground market for games.

I have in my possession what I to believe to be seven of the most influential games on the system, and starting tomorrow and over the course of the next seven days Iíll be giving a little review of each one.

Do you have any favorite games on the system that you miss? My life with the console is short-lived and maybe some of you have married the system. Whatís your Dreamcast story?

Update:

Comments

  1. I was scheduled to work on 09/09/99 at 10AM. I didn’t have a car at the time, so I would normally take the bus. But on that day, there’s no way I could just go straight to work and complete my full shift, knowing my Dreamcast was sitting in the EB just down the hall.

    I had my roomie take me to the mall to pick it up and then bring me home. I played Sonic Adventure for a whole 20 minutes before taking the bus back to work. The idea was just as stupid then as it is now, but it was totally worth it.

    One year later (give or take), my wife saw me play Phantasy Star Online for 10 minutes. She immediately ran out to Target and bought her own system and copy of the game.

    The Dreamcast is my second all-time favorite console, right behind the Super NES. I think it is a shame that so many gamers ignored it until years later.

  2. @Will – I’m surprised you didn’t have to go in at 9AM.

  3. @Will – that story alone firmly ensconces you in the “Hardcore Gamer” camp. Playing a game minutes before work is awesome.

    Only because we’ve all been there.

Trackbacks

  1. […] actually gotten a couple of emails mentioning that I missed Day 7 in my salute to Dreamcast games. Actually, I havenít. Itís mostly done but needs a little cleaning. I was in a roofing accident […]

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