Since last month marked the twentieth anniversary of Dreamcast’s launch in North America, I’ve been thinking about how a console that hasn’t approached five years of life (officially, mine is still hooked up to TV in cooking) shaped my love for this day. If you’re looking for a historical analysis of the console, going over all of its headlines and sad death, it’s time to get off the boat; This take on console history is going to be biased, personal, autobiographical, and quite egocentric, so I’d like to relate you to the “forensic retrospective” that our fellow Eurogamer.net writer Dan Whitehead wrote ago. at some time. a decade, so you don’t feel like you’ve wasted your time.
After years of my parents’ iron refusal to let a console enter our doorstep, on Christmas 1999 they made a dream screening for my brother and I. Although until then they let me play every now and then at a friend’s house, in mine they only allowed me to have one Game Boy with three games inherited from my cousin. With the last Sega console, it was Sonic Adventure but, in a move that would repeat itself years later with the PlayStation 2, the arrival of the console and that of the memory card were about six months apart. In my case, this resulted in having etched in my memory the first two hours of the game, especially that initial cutscene that seemed to lead us into a kaijus movie. Aside from Sonic Adventure, it only had the demos that came with the official Dreamcast magazine.
When we talk about the history of video games, it’s easy to forget that these types of material conditions existed; Hardly anyone has had a typical experience like the one that would describe a more objective exam. I think, for example, of the way miniaturized consoles polish those edges – which allows us to save games anywhere with standard hardware – and makes us forget the limitations and peculiarities that platforms presented to the time. Beyond the difficulties of recreating the LCD screen from visual memory and its unique mini-games, would a hypothetical Dreamcast Mini retain such things as the recognizable sound of the disc player when turned on?
In May 2000, they gave me a visual memory and I was finally able to enjoy Sonic Adventure. Soon after, the second game returned home: Crazy Taxi. It’s the first title I can remember committing to the pursuit of development skills, scratching the seconds at every turn and perfecting customer journeys. It is also the first where I can draw a clear line between what I loved and what obsesses me today: the brief and intense. playable loop In its main way, with efficiency scores and style bonuses, it reminds me of how it might attract the interest of companies like Platinum, Housemarque or Vlambeer, who were able to channel and update the spirit of arcade like few others. Beyond the leaderboards and challenges, Crazy Taxi didn’t need a memory card: the game’s origin was in arcade games and from there it inherited direct action that didn’t have too long to explain it or needed it.
This isn’t the only title it shares that origin with – thanks to the console’s compatibility with the Naomi card – and precisely the next game that returned was Virtua Tennis. My little brother was mostly related to this game and another arcade classic: Sega Rally 2. In the case of the driving game, I paid the least attention to it; If a title doesn’t allow me to enter a skid curve with the handbrake, it’s likely to receive little attention. But with Virtua Tennis, we both agree on the tastes, which have hardly been repeated over the years. Although my brother got disconnected from video games almost a decade ago, a few months ago he went to the trouble of fixing the Dreamcast and since then he has spent more time than me, especially Virtua Tennis. . I guess you found it a quick and immediate experience, with little input friction, something that has lost popularity in the industry. And we can both play on the same screen, something more and more complicated.
Multiplayer allows me to advance to the next title on my list, albeit with the included spin. Dreamcast was one of the pioneers in implementing online gaming with its built-in modem, but truth be told, I never got to try out a game’s online multiplayer. I used it as a browser. Internet and thanks to it I got a free game; Sega gifted ChuChu Rocket in Europe to those of us who logged in to the Dreamarena online service. A seemingly small and content puzzle title, which showcased all the elements at a glance and only grew based on remixes of a few elements. It presents a clarity of ideas that is still enviable to this day.
I still have the official console keyboard, the one my family used to connect to the Internet for the first time at home (there was still enough for a computer to enter). This is one of the images that I recorded the most in my head: the minutes of preparation by disconnecting the phone and deactivating the voicemail, inserting the GD-ROM which contained the browser and we all meet. four in front of the living room television. Enter the Internet as an event, not a routine. The image is beautiful, but I am not blinded by the nostalgia: I now keep the connections.
A canonical tale to follow the history of the console would continue with Shenmue at Christmas 2000. I’m not going to deceive you: when I was nine, I had the idea of playing a title completely in English and I jumped completely. The game I associate with this era is Jet Set Radio. I find this coincidence in time (in Europe; Shenmue was released in 1999 in Japan) between the title of Yu Suzuki and that of Masayoshi Kikuchi very nice. It reminds me (on a much smaller scale, of course) how the emergence of motivational photography accelerated the creation of Impressionism and therefore the inevitable leap to the fore of the early 20th century. Faced with this painstaking and trustworthy reproduction of Shenmue’s reality, which even recreates the true meteorology of the era it shows, Jet Set Radio engages in a radical break with realism in the pursuit of style in all its aspects. shapes. facets, from the hyper saturated color palette to the energetic soundtrack, which I still listen to from time to time today. I admit that a lot of games come to mind and few games have come in this way like Jet Set Radio.
The story of my relationship with Dreamcast comes to an end with Skies of Arcadia, which was my first approach to JRPG; the rest is history. It’s the title that reminds me of how my way of playing games has changed over the years. At that time, I could only play on weekends and the number of titles entered the house was very low. Spending time exclusively on one game for months seems impossible to me, especially in my profession. When I like a track, I want to be able to spend hours on it without pressure; trying to replay Skies of Arcadia I realized right away that it wasn’t going to work because I couldn’t find the gaps, when I went there I was going to shoot instead of stopping to watch and eventually the game was not very respectful of my time, something I enjoyed at the time.
The last game to hit our console was San Francisco Rush 2049, found in a Mail Center outlet drawer. A racing title where vehicles could shoot with modes. death match share the screen entertaining enough It’s a game that won’t go down in history, hardly anyone will remember, and probably wouldn’t be included in a hypothetical Dreamcast Mini, but I can’t understand my console history without she. When we access the catalog of older consoles, we almost always do so with great limitations. Remasters, retro collections, and miniaturized consoles tend to avoid the worst of each platform; It makes perfect business sense of where they’re coming from, but I can’t help but think that this way of eliminating defaults softens and distorts the story. Preservation of the medium’s history must also include the preservation of mediocre or directly bad titles in order to know and study them. A story in which these games have no place is an incomplete approach to their legacy.
By the time we got tired of San Francisco Rush 2049, the console was dead. Dan Whitehead’s article talks about the descendants of Dreamcast in terms of a lack of third-party support or Sega’s image issues, but to tell the truth at the age of ten, he had no idea what was going on. was happening. On a personal level, the death of the console was marked by the disappearance of the official Dreamcast magazine and the day they forced me to throw away all their copies and game boxes “because they took up a lot of space”.
A few decades later, what was a hobby turned into a job. The pros are obvious, although there are some downsides to the pack that no one warns you about, such as difficulty logging out even when you’re not playing to prepare for a scan. Recording the history of video games through news, articles, and analysis, I’ve seen more consoles born, grow and die, but few have had as much of an impact on my life as the Dreamcast. Rediscovering how their games made me feel two decades ago is impossible – they’re not exactly as I remembered them and I’m not the same person. I have the Dreamcast always connected in the kitchen, but when I present the games, I can only crush the memory with the new sensations that are generated by passing through the filter that gives the experience.
But somehow I have encountered the Sega console time and time again. I ended up liking games that I couldn’t enjoy in their day like Ikaruga or Rez, tried to get ports of those console titles that time seems ready to forget, like Maken X (Maken Shao: The Demon Sword on PS2), and I found niches in titles that were trying to move forward in finding those feelings that made me fall in love with the medium. Two decades have passed since the European launch of Dreamcast, and to this day I’m still trying to find heirs to its heritage.