Dreamcast 21st anniversary

I almost missed it due to living in an orange fire world (a lizard part of my brain wants to say: oh, it‘s orange out for the dreamcast’s birthday).

Anyhoo, the dreamcast rules and here's an article I did for the 20th anniversary: https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/BrandonSheffield/20190909/350345/Dreamcast_20th_anniversary_interview_extravaganza.php

I got to interview a lot of people who don't usually get talked to about this stuff! Give it a read if you're into the platform.

Also, let's just talk about what we liked about the dreamcast because why the heck not! I'll start: Mars Matrix is one of the best shooters of all time and the Dreamcast has the only port!

And believe it or not I really like Pen Pen Tri-Icelon. It has a great sense of place and environmental design, and while the "walk here, slide here" gameplay of it was frustrating, it made me envision a game I still want to make: A racing game which has 4 types of terrain, which would be equal in length on each track, and each vehicle excels in a certain type of terrain. So you will have this bouncing back and forth where you'll shoot ahead in your speed zone but get slowed by others, and others will be neutral for you - basically each car type gets one "speed" zone, one "slow" zone, and two "slightly better/slightly worse" zones. This can be broken up quite simply or in two block segments, and it'd be pretty neat to try I think.

pen pen tri-icelon is obnoxious to listen to but it looks pretty good for a launch title!

The Dreamcast is probably my favourite console that I never owned. My best friend had one and everything about it seemed futuristic.

Pro-skateboarder Tony Hawk, recipient of the award for "Favorite Dreamcast Game" for "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2," poses for photographers at the 7th Annual Blockbuster Awards April 10, 2001 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Chris Weeks/Liaison)

I just spent a bunch to get the HDMI mod put into two my Dreamcasts and so I‘ve had to consider why I would keep investing in this old system. This is what I will say about Dreamcast. I has at least one good example of every type of game genre. It has a fantastic selection of pick up and play games that can all be beaten rather quickly. It still has online functionality. Still has an active homebrew / hacking community. I dunno, I also recently shelled out for the handmade link cable just to be able to play system link Virtual On OT because its one of those arcade experiences you just don’t get in the same way in the next 21 years of gaming. If you have nostalgia for that time and that aesthetic, it is no better realized than on the Dreamcast.

how do those hdmi mods work and look?? and why would one want this over VGA, aside from modern tvs supporting it? (maybe that's the whole reason)

DF Retro goes into more exacting detail than I ever could


But my thoughts are this. It means no fiddling with the games that don't support VGA. VGA is becoming less and less of an option on modern TVs. From the video it looks like a better quality image to me. And the ease of use thing is huge if one of my goals is to be able to lend out my systems (with GD Emus) in them as well. If a friend wants to play a Dreamcast game I can let them borrow the system and not have to field calls about hooking it up to a modern display. Hell, even if I just bring the system over to play some Typing of the Dead with, there's not need to worry about not being able to play it. It just fits with my thinking of Dreamcast as arcade party console. Just the removal of that friction could get a group together (post Covid sigh...) and playing 4 player Pen Pen Tri-Icelon over some beers.

The Dreamcast WAS the future. So many 60fps games with that crisp 480i resolution. Was mostly impressed with Ready 2 Rumble, ESPN 2K sports games and Sonic Adventure, but sadly I didn‘t own one until 2005 when I worked at EB Games and they had a buy 5 used DC games get the system free = hell yeah! deal. Setup the same DC with a GDEMU last year and been playing it off and on with quick games (Sports, SF Rush, Daytona, Power Stone, Hydro Thunder), but I really want to play through Soul Calibur (loved II on the GCN), Berserk, Canon Spike, Toy Commander, Border Down and Dynamite Cop. (I’ve did play most of the GCN ports since that was the only console I had in high school)

Also where else can you get a HASSY?!

@robinhoodie @exodus I use VGA with an OSSC and it looks great (2x scale 480p = 960p). Still have to play JoJo over S-video on a CRT but if you want a good solution for the PS2 as well (or any system you like 480i bob-deinterlace scanlines with) the OSSC is your best bet without modding (although it's a bit pricey).

Ahead of it‘s time in so many ways. Fondly remembered despite a small time on the market. Universally loved. So good that most of the ideas and some games carried over to the original Xbox. A memory card that was it’s own portable game machine. Mindblowing graphics at a time when they were still novel. It felt like the future was here, at last. Being chased by the Orca in the first level of Sonic Adventure felt incredible, and still does to this day. The use of analog triggers for precision gas/brake inputs was a revelation that every controller has now. It was also Weird. Weird in a way we won‘t see again, probably. To me the Dreamcast era marked the last bit of optimism and forward thinking of the 21st century, before 9/11, before things really really started to go to shit. Maybe I’m putting too much on this console, I probably am, but that's how I think about it.

Mostly, I think the early games' large continuous worlds, like Crazy Taxi and Sonic Adventure, were something I hadn't really seen before. The city in Crazy Taxi really felt like the size of a city, something you could get lost in and not map out entirely. I think the only game that came close to that (for me) was Super Mario 64, but this was running at a higher frame rate, and had much more detail going on, and it had The Offspring.

During it's run I was only ever able to play it at mall kiosks, so it's always felt like something mysterious and rare. But eventually I did get one (and then another) and a small collection of mostly burned CDR games. And most of these, for me, were racing games, naturally.

I should, rightly, do a stream with it tonight. perhaps I will. I think the dreamcast represents an idea more now than a set of games, an idea that anything was possible and your imagination could be realized. That's probably too flowery and five minutes into Sonic Adventure I'll be like "actually this isn't as great"

@copySave#5903 I also worked at EB Games, and got a Dreamcast only once they'd dropped the price to 99 Canadian dollars. And also, I would like to have a Small Hassy now.

Here in 2020, Nintendo is the last bastion of "video games should just be a fun toy that you play with" ideology. 21 years ago, though, Sega felt that way too, but in a way that seemed cooler than Nintendo's approach. Stacked up against the PS2, which was Sony's attempt to entertain everyone in the world (it's also a DVD player!), and the Xbox, which wanted to be a tougher, meaner PS2, the Dreamcast was a charming little guy that just said, "Hey, do you guys want to hang out at the arcade with me and drink some colourful soda?"

@marlfuchs2 has already beautifully summarized what I would have said, but I'll add this: cables at the bottom of the controllers?!

I also loved:

  • - The issue of EGM that celebrated the launch of the Dreamcast. It made me feel like a bright future was possible.
  • - Best launch lineup for any console, ever. No question.
  • - Shenmue is probably the reason I live in Japan now, for better or for worse lol.
  • - Seaman made my friends and me laugh like idiots and I'll never forget the time Leonard Nimoy's voice trolled me about not having a girlfriend while I was sitting in the room, playing the game with my girlfriend beside me. She thought that was hilarious, and so did I.
  • - The Dreamcast did 2D graphics so well. I owned legit copies of Marvel vs Capcom 2, Mark of the Wolves, and King of Fighters Dream Match 1999, and a crappy, clacky arcade stick.
  • Funny story. My house burned down in 2000 and I had to buy a new Dreamcast and the same games all over again…that's not very funny. Hmm. Dreamcast ruled!

    On my note about Dreamcast being continually interesting on the homebrew / hacking side: Completely new fan Sonic Adventure DLC was released today that plays on original hardware



    It's been a while since I played sonic adventure and I completely forgot he often had to take the train to his next destination! What a fun dumb thing.

    @exodus#5917 “What a fun dumb thing.” There we go, that's tag line for the Dreamcast right there.

    The Dreamcast is the only console I ever got on launch day. I remember preordering it from Toys R Us and having my mom drive me there so I could get it and a copy of Sonic Adventure. I loved that console and it has some great and unique games: Space Channel 5, Seaman, Shenmue, Jet Set Radio (I hate that it was renamed to Jet Grind Radio for the US), Skies of Arcadia…

    I bought a ton of games when they were on clearance, but I was a teenager who didn‘t have a ton of disposable income. I’m still kicking myself for not getting now rare games like Illbleed, Mars Matrix, and Gunbird 2… But I've still got a pretty good collection!

    The best and most annoying feature of the console is the VGA output. The 480p output looks GREAT even today and helps some games look better than PS2 titles. But the fact that not all games support it makes it a pain because I have to find a different cable and move my console to my CRT TV. And then there's the baffling fact that some games will only output VGA after patching them with a hex editor but then work without any problems; I have no idea why they didn't ship with the compatibility.
    480i looked good to my eye when I was younger, but now I'd kind of prefer either 240p or 480p, the softness of interlaced graphics just doesn't excite me as much. Similarly, the modem was a great feature, but now that broadband/wifi is more common, the modem's kind of just a sad reminder of what once was.

    One title I feel not enough people talk about is D2, which is probably the most playable the best Kenji Eno game. I remember it being a bit too easy, but absolutely bizarre in its storytelling ambition and being a lot more fun to play than D or Enemy Zero were.

    Fun lil story on the game inbetween D and D2: Enemy Zero.

    It was shown first at the Playstation Expo 1996 and on stage Kenji Eno showd a movie of the game with the Playstation logo popping up at the end. The logo however started turning to the Sega Saturn logo.

    What a rockstar.

    I've been meaning to give D2 another try… I will soon!

    I'll keep my love story short, but the Dreamcast hit right around my first full time game industry writing gig. I had been in the industry a year or so before in other positions, but this job was, “Living the Dream”

    It was just an amazing time in my life. I tend to remember all of my fuck ups and asshole moments way more than anything else when I remember my past, but the Dreamcast is kind of the marker for what felt good back then. And not to get too personal and depressing, but I think it was the last time in my life where I felt truly happy about everything in my life, and looked forward to the future.

    I vividly remember at one point in the middle of its short life span thinking, "Gawd. The Dreamcast seems to be really amazing. And I don't think it's just that I'm riding high by being amazingly lucky to be in this position. I think I'm actually witnessing and getting to write about something really, genuinely, good!"

    And it absolutely was. SEGA was so ahead of its time with this one. To put it short, a colleague made the comment, "It's a gamer centric machine."

    I know the word "Gamer" has been morphed and perverted into an icky concept, but the context of what my friend said then holds. If you liked video games, SEGA pushed ideas with the Dreamcast that served your interest not just in the (1999/2000) present, but going forward. Cool ideas. Blue sky game-centric ideas that were attainable in concept, and could be perfected later.

    Oh lord. The library as well. SEGA was in full renaissance mode with their first-party offerings (Jet Set Radio, REZ, Space Channel 5, Shenmue, Phantasy Star Online, Etc.), and their third-party support was so good. As a hardcore Capcom fan especially (and a competitive FGC person at the time), it was a dream machine.

    Man ... gawd ... just such a good time. I could dive so deep into any one thing about it, just babbling for a million words, and it would be all love.

    Crap. I said this would be short.

    Yeah, the dreamcast was extremely “video games, the console.” everything was in service of the games - it had a modem so you could play online games. it had a VMU to expand the world of those games. the peripherals were all in service of games, not like… the eyetoy, where it felt like something Sony came up with and then had to find a use for.

    As others mentioned, the PS2 with its DVD player was like the start of the "all in one home machine" which sure did work, but also represented a big industry shift that kind of changed games forever. The dreamcast was also very much before the apocalypse was truly upon us, so lies firmly in that more optimistic time (for americans anyway). I don't think you'd be faulted for feeling worse and less optimistic since then!!

    Weeks ago I bought a Dreamcast from a friend and it‘s been a truly entertaining experience, I played a lot of its well known exclusives before via remastered ports or emulation (Jet Set Radio, Project Justice, Sonic Adventure 2, Ikaruga, Space Channel 5, etc) and well, getting a console I always wanted for years gave me the opportunity to try some under the radar games like Napple Tale or Frame Gride. Been playing D2 those days and so far it’s been an interesting take of absurdity and horror.

    The console surely was ahead of its time in terms of games and features, it truly was the "real" gaming focused console before the multimedia machine mania with the launch of PS2. It truly means the end of an era for video games. I think something died when Sega stopped making consoles, even when great consoles came out after, it never was the same.

    Napple Tale has music by Yoko Kanno, which for us Big Nerds was a Big Deal back in the day!

    Got link Cable VOOT up and running. F355 and Sega Tetris are nice bonuses. If they ever get Daytona 2001 and Outtrigger back online, I will do everything in my power to figure out how to build a LAN set up with my four Dreamcasts.