Sega Dreamcast legacy

Its been years since a kid walking into a game store could look at the shelf and find a new Sega console. In fact, since early 2000, the Dreamcast fluttered away with the emergence of Sony's juggernaut of a system, the Playstation 2. But this hasn't diminished Sega's 128 bit processing machine in the minds of retro gamers. Still today, hardcore collectors flock to flea markets, ebay, and independent video game stores to find the very best that the Dreamcast had to offer such as Marvel vs Capcom, Sonic Adventure, Jet Set Radio, and most importantly, the RPG masterpiece Skies of Aracadia. With Nintendo preparing for its launch of the Gamecube during that time, Sega focused more on serious-minded games, software ip's that would buck the trend common to other companies.  Shenmue was the perfect example of this with its day and night weather system, hyper realism, and voice over dialogue that pervaded its breathtaking atmosphere.  This was a title only a company like Sega could release at the time.

Everything was in place for a full comeback from the parent company of Sonic, but reality came crashing down on all this initial success.

Dreamcast inferior to Playstation

Even with a built-in internet modem, four player outputs for controllers, fantastic titles, and a virtual memory unit card that felt like having a portable console at your disposal, the Sega Dreamcast couldn't keep up with Sony's brilliant marketing campaign. At the time, the Playstation 2 had two things which determined its superiority over any of the competing consoles at its launch: the cheaper production costs of its software, and most importantly, its dvd drive. At the time, Sega had amplified its intended dominance on the market with its reported 80 million dollar release of Shenmue, but this proved to be its first of a continual decline on its gaming home base.

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Shenmue failed to live up to its hype, having sold only half a million units worldwide and staggering on the domestic video game market.

A critical masterpiece, but a tremendous commercial flop, Shenmue had nearly bankrupted Sega's software development team. The second, and most important nail in the Dreamcast's coffin was its lack of a dvd player along with backwards compatibility in its mainframe. Sony at the point had been brilliant in waiting for its turn to up the ante on the next gen market, allowing the Sega Dreamcast to have almost a full year before it unleashed the beast the was the PS2. Upon release, the PS2 immediately grabbed a foothold on Sega's sales, having within a few months a launch line up that included Unreal Tournament, Madden 2001, and Summoner. Not only did it have titles that could push it past Sega's meager earnings, but it also created a brilliant marketing campaign that usurped the DVD revolution that was beginning to spread on the mass market audience.

Significance in gaming history

Consumers were flocking to a console that could not only play its older games from the original Playstation, but could also watch movies right in the convenience of their living rooms.

What else could an adolescent ask for? A console that could play its older Playstation games, movies, and cd's, all on one technology. But even with all this, the years haven't washed away Sega's last stance. With the rise of homebrew and independent gaming, the Dreamcast is still alive and well, producing an array of shoot em ups, rpgs, and adventure titles that are as relevant to gamers as the latest Madden title. The Dreamcast shouldn't be perceived as a failure but a bright spot in video game history. It was the last of a line of consoles that produced within a short lifespan a series of games that were as unique and undeniably rich in charm than any other competing console of its day. The Dreamcast keeps dreaming, and fans can still dust off their old VMU sets, and boot up a copy of Sonic Adventure with the same gleam in their eyes as they did on September 9th, 1999.