Dreamcast in memorium


Ssh-- it's thinking.

10 years ago at this very hour, Sega's fans lined up in legion outside video game stores nation wide. They had folding chairs and cases of soda. They had a year's worth of Game Informer under arm to keep them company during the long wait. They had bedrolls and pillows and blankets and portable T.V.s and Stratego boards.

And what they also had was a fistful of cash and high hopes. Because at this very hour a decade ago, Sega was preparing to go nova with the Dreamcast, its valiant last stand in the console battle.

For those who don't remember, the initial results were staggering. The Dreamcast debuted on 9/9/0999, and broke records. It wasn't just the best selling Sega console; it wasn't just the best selling video game hardware in history; it was the single most lucrative day in the history of entertainment media. No movie, no album, no book had ever made more money in 24 hours than the Dreamcast.

Sega had cut its teeth with its previous two consoles by being first in the fight, and first into the ground. The Sega Genesis was a pioneer of 16 bit technology, but couldn't match Super Nintendo's software edge. Ditto with the Saturn, which fell ignominiously to Sony's scrappy Playstation.

So it was with the Dreamcast-- Sega planted its flag in the realm of fully 3D, 128-bit gaming, unleashing teams of developers into wholly uncharted territory of game design. The fruits were immediately clear. With titles like Soul Calibur, Shenmue, Seaman, and Sonic Adventures, a gaming public's eyes were flung open to a new frontier of gaming-- true color, soft edged, fluid, endlessly three dimensional worlds were theirs to explore and vanquish, to conquer and to liberate.

Alas, the Dreamcast was not long for this world. As Sony and Microsoft shored up their forces to advance on the Dreamcast, they also snapped up crucial development studios, like EA and Square, and before long, Dreamcast's viability had suffered under a steadily declining trickle of new titles. A last ditch price cut to $99 couldn't save it, and by 2001, just two years after its debut, the Dreamcast was officially declared dead on the scene.

But look close-- though Sega has been relegated to the world of software development, and the world can be all but certain they'll never see another Sega logo on a piece of hardware again, Dreamcasts still populate people's T.V. cabinets. Copies of Virtua Tennis live on in the future generation, and in the past. And Dreamcast's seminal titles sell for veritable mints on Ebay and in vintage game stores the world over.

Gone but not forgotten, the Dreamcast was the video game market's Wake Island Marine-- the fearless little soldier who rushed headlong onto the battlefield, unafraid to pave the way and perish first. Rest in piece, little doodle. We know you're still thinking.