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 couldn’t understand all the fuss over the last console—the 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 “family”—they 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 didn’t 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 I’ve 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 one—not 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 didn’t wait. Since then I’ve 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 I’ll 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. What’s your Dreamcast story?