Sega released its last console the Dreamcast 17 years ago today in the United States. The Dreamcast lived a short life, a console to ambitious for its time remembered for some of its most innovative and experimental titles like Shenmue, it truly was a thing of dreams.
The Dreamcast saw its original release in Japan on November 27th of 1998 and was Sega’s last shot to get it right after the Saturn failed to compete against the likes of the Playstation and Nintendo 64. I was far too young at the time to appreciate the experimental and groundbreaking games on the console. The vibrant colors and music of Jet Set Radio still hold up today; we can look back on Shenmue as the first game to create a world that felt lived in, day and night cycles, NPC’s on schedules it was all so new then. Sonic saw his first step into real 3D with Sonic Adventure, and I’ll always have a fond memory of the bizarre game that was Seaman. Even the memory card or VMU ( Visual Memory Unit) was unique. I’ll never forget watching my knockout count in Shenmue go up on the VMU’s screen.
The Dreamcast had a short life. Unable to compete with the popularity of the Xbox and PlayStation 2, Sega discontinued the console in 2001. The price would be lowered in an attempt to offload all of the remaining units, and Sega would get out of the console space in favor of game production.
The Dreamcast will always hold a place in my heart as a dream just a bit too big for its time. It’s important, however, to remember the innovation that the Dreamcast brought foreshadowing how games would evolve. Let me know some of your favorite memories of Sega’s last console in the comments.