Friday, September 9, 2011

Happy 12th Birthday Dreamcast!!

The world of home console is one of the most competitive arenas. One of the saddest losses in the video game industry was the death of the Dreamcast, which ushered the end of SEGA as a competitor in the home console market. Today the Dreamcast celebrates it's 12th Birthday. For a console that had what amounted to a 2 year lifespan left a huge gaping hole in the console landscape. It was a short time period it existed when it launched 9/9/99, but for a two year time period the Dreamcast had one of the best gaming lineups in console history. The discontinuation of the Dreamcast and SEGA pulling out of the console market was one of the greatest gaming blows I will probably never recover from, but at least SEGA left the console world with one of the greatest pieces of hardware.

One of my favorite games of all time
Whent the console launched, it was a huge success. It was one of the first consoles with a shortage when it was released. The two launch games I bought on the Dreamcast was Soul Calibur and Sonic Adventure. Soul Calibur would reignite my love of fighting games, and I would pour many hours into that game. Sonic Adventure was a jaw-dropper when it was released and gave the promise of a brand new era of Sonic games. During its lifetime, it had an incredible lineup of games like: Powerstone, Phantasy Star Online, Shenmue, Jet Grind Radio, Skies of Arcadia, Canon Spike, Sakura Taisen 3 and 4, Crazy Taxi, Dead or Alive 2, King of Fighters '98, Rival Schools 2, Record of the Lodoss War, Resident Evil: Code Veronica, Street FighterAlpha 3, and many more.

One really bright spot of modern SEGA
With the PlayStation 2 looming in the distance and SEGA's old baggage still haunting them, sales of the Dreamcast slowed down and in January 31, 2001 they announced that the Dreamcast was being discontinued. With crushing debt, SEGA also pulled out of the hardware race and went 3rd party. Since then SEGA has lost much of its talent, who pined for a console to call their own. The company has produced some incredible games like the Yakuza, Project Diva (Miku) and the Valkyria Chronicles franchise, but we SEGA fans are used to SEGA making Valkyria Chronicles-quality of games on a consistent level of quality. Ever since the demise of the Dreamcast, fans of the company have been hoping for a resurrection on a hardware level and for a while it reached a fever pitch with the annoucement of the RingEdge system. Sega's new hardware was a powerful arcade machine, but it was just a painful reminder for many of us who still wishes that SEGA would come back in the hardware race.

Valkyria Chronicles is amazing, but SEGA used to pump out
Valkyria-level quality games all the time

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