Happy Anniversary to the Sega Dreamcast!

Sega's short-lived but innovative final system celebrates its birthday today

On 9/9/99, Sega launched the Dreamcast, a system that carried its hopes and dreams for the future, aiming its market almost exclusively at longtime hardcore gamers. While it ended up collapsing under those ambitious intentions, gamers still ended up with one of the best console libraries ever.

 

Having learned from the mistakes of the Sega Saturn with its surprise launch and lackluster exclusives, the Dreamcast was released after plenty of build-up and forward-thinking ideas. With four built-in controllers ports like the Nintendo 64, a unique "VMU" memory card that could double as a keychain-style game by itself, and then-revolutionary graphics, it seemed like the Dreamcast couldn't fail.

 

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That moment where you go Super Saiyan Sonic for the first time? Priceless

 

Many systems don't deliver at launch, instead bringing out their big guns within the first year of hardware release. Not so with the Dreamcast: SoulCalibur and Sonic Adventure led the pack of excellent launch titles including arcade favorites like Hydro Thunder, Marvel vs. Capcom, Power Stone and The House of the Dead 2.

 

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NFL 2K was also available at launch, but I think I was the only one here playing that game

 

The Dreamcast had a massive variety of great exclusive (for the time) content, with top-notch fighters, RPGs, actioners, and even a handful of great first-person shooters. Even with all these great titles, the Dreamcast still failed to really catch on with the public, and the mind-blowing trailer for Metal Gear Solid 2 only further convinced people to wait another year for the PlayStation 2. I can't really blame them, but I also can't help it if I still feel kinda bitter toward the Little Black Dress of Videogames for all but killing the Dreamcast on hype alone. Here's a few excellent DC titles, and their current availability if you're interested in checking 'em out:

 

Sonic Adventure- Tear through the scenery as Sega's lightning-fast hedgehog Sonic, accompanied by a variety of friends with a variety of gameplay styles, from survival horror with Amy Rose to, uh... fishing with Big the Cat? Currently available on Xbox Live Arcade and PSN, also available as Sonic Adventure DX on GameCube.


Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike- The best 2D fighting game ever made deserves a mention--the DC was the only home system at the time that could handle it. Currently available on Xbox Live Arcade and PSN as Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition, also in Street Fighter Anniversary Collection for PS2/Xbox.


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Grandia II- In this RPG, Ryudo is a gigantic tool who takes on a simple job (protect a girl) that ends up becoming much, much crazier (stop the apocalypse from happening). Familiar, but really fun. Also available on PS2, but it's gonna be an adventure on its own just finding a copy.


Zombie Revenge- Sadly, this amazing and hilarious House of the Dead side-story brawler is only available on the Dreamcast. Check it out sometime!


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Garou: Mark of the Wolves- The pinnacle of SNK fighting games is right up there with 3rd Strike in providing smart, exacting fighting gameplay and stunning 2D graphics. Currently available only on Xbox Live Arcade--the PS2 port never saw a North American release.


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Skies of Arcadia- Vyse is an air pirate, but he's also kind of an idiot. Join him and the treasure-loving Aika as they take on the ruthless Valuan Empire. Any of you who've played Valkyria Chronicles might recognize main characters Vyse and Aika--they were soldiers in the first VC! Currently also available as Skies of Arcadia: Legends on the GameCube.

 

Shenmue- Investigate your father's murder in a fully-realized video game world. Check every drawer, talk to every person... buy a drink for the deliveryman who never seems to have any cash on him. Shenmue is termed a "F.R.E.E." (Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment) game, but at its heart it's a great Japanese RPG with a frantic Virtua Fighter-inspired combat engine. So far, it's also only available on the Dreamcast.

 

Jet Grind Radio- Fight oppression with the power of art! Take on the tyrannical Rokkaku Group and paint over their propaganda with stylish graffiti, avoid their thugs with an arsenal of aerial tricks, and do it all to one of the best soundtracks ever! Currently available on XBLA and PSN.

 

Did any of you own a Dreamcast? What were some of your favorite titles?

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