In a slight departure from my regular tone here on The Digital Home, I wanted to share an experience with you that has helped me regain my love for old video games and force me to reconsider my thoughts on what video gaming should be.
And although it wasn't one of the most welcome consoles in the history of video games, I truly enjoyed my Sega Dreamcast. Was it perfect? Certainly not. After all, this is a console that was advanced when it came out and disgustingly obsolete once the Playstation 2 hit store shelves just one year later.
But for all of its bad (can you say Sega's awful business practices?), the Sega Dreamcast was one of the greatest consoles of all-time.
Success in this business isn't always measured in sales and revenue, sometimes it's measured in what it does for the average person. And while Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo left Sega in their wake, the Dreamcast provided an experience that acted as the forerunner to many of the consoles we enjoy today.
Simply put, the Sega Dreamcast was great when it was released on 9/9/99 (in the US) and I'm a firm believer that Sega should release Dreamcast 2 on 9/9/09.
So where did this sudden change in mentality come from? Well, I got a bit nostalgic last week and I decided it was time that I break out the old consoles to have a go at some of the games that played an important role in my life -- Shenmue, Virtua Tennis, all the Sega Sports games and of course, Sonic Adventure.
After playing through each of those games (and a few others -- Fighting Force, Toy Commander, Skies of Arcadia), I realized once again just how great that console really was.
Consider this: the Dreamcast was the first major console to offer networking capabilities and although the device was only capable of dial-up connectivity (a major blunder), it still set a precedent that obviously had a far-reaching impact.
Besides that, the Dreamcast was the console to have if you wanted to play outstanding sports games from Sega Sports and although it was a bit funky, the console's controller provided a comfortable feel and a downright advanced schematic. Take a look at the Dreamcast controller then peek at your Xbox controller. Do you see some similarities there?
And although the Dreamcast only had 323 official games in its library, it was the first console to bring you Shenmue and for all of you Sonic fanatics out there, Sonic Adventure was easily one of the most fun platform games ever made. And if you have never played Skies of Arcadia or Soul Calibur on this console, you should try to find yourself a Dreamcast and play it now.
But for many gamers, the allure of the Dreamcast has not worn off. Sure, it's outdated and the graphics on it are enough to make you vomit when compared to today's offerings, but it has a nostalgic appeal that begs us to be played.
And it's for that reason that I would like to see Dreamcast 2.
Now, I'm well aware of the fact that my hope for a second Dreamcast will fall on deaf ears over at Sega's headquarters, but I can't help but ask that a newly upgraded Dreamcast hit store shelves.
I want Dreamcast 2 to look exactly like its predecessor and use the same crazy controller and those utterly ridiculous VMUs and rumble packs. I would like to see the innovative gameplay that used to be Sega's hallmark to come back and solidify itself on the new platform. I want a console that thumbs its nose at the competition and is created for the benefit of gamers -- not suits. I want a second Dreamcast that balks at derivative gameplay and welcomes an online space and old-fashioned gaming that will let the younger gamers among us finally see what it's like to play in a world where games are made for gamers and not for a profit.
But more than anything else, I want Dreamcast 2.
Who is with me?