It was the night before Christmas... actually it wasn't. It was about a week before Christmas. I was playing CoD: World at War on my XBOX 360 and I realised I was bored. Really, really fucking bored; Run. Shoot (using crappy WWII guns). Run. Shoot. Grenade. Die. Run. Die. I was beginning to wish I was hurling the grenades at SEGA, angry at them for buggering up the 32X, Mega CD, Saturn and Dreamcast. For selling games on Sony's Gaystation. So much rage, so much hate. So I turned it off, headed down to Entertainment Exchange (CEX.co.uk) and got £33 for my annoying, boring FPS. Sure, I am dissing CoD a bit too much - it's an OK game. I preferred CoD4 massively though. This is not the point though. The point is... what did I do next?
I booted up my Dreamcast. Yes, it's 2009. Yes, that makes the DC 10 (as we all know), but the point is that the Dreamcast is still a console that, with a bit of time and effort, can take centre stage once again. And here's why:
Arguably the Dreamcast's biggest selling point (or resale point) is that it has some of the best games ever made for a home console. Yes, the Mega Drive, NES etc all have great games, as does the Saturn... but it's the Dreamcast that has the top tens (as seen on our very own DCJY) which are constantly argued over. I could like a top 20. Easily. Top 30? No problem. This console has so many great games that keep your coming back for more. The VMU is another added bonus. I'm lucky enough that I don't give a crap about what people think about me to be looking after my Chao whilst walking through the Arndale shopping centre. There are so many top - notch titles that are so different in every way that the Dreamcast will always stay.
OK, so the XBOX 360 and PS3 have HD graphics that display 1080i no problem and lifelike... bla bla... People are calling the Wii 'revolutionary'. Sure, it has a neat controller, but it's graphics are very close to the Dreamcast's graphics (I think that if SEGA were still developing DC it could match it), which shows why the DC can still live on strong today. The Wii not revolutionary. The Dreamcast had a fishing controller and maracas that are actually better than the control system in the Wii version of Samba. Look and Shenmue and Virtua Tennis. Gorgeous. Not impressed? Get a VGA box. Still not impressed? Sod off.
It's 10 years old for God's sake. 10 years old. The community is huge and people love this system. It's going to stick around for a long time. It's been noted that Sony et al. think that this generation (current) of consoles will last longer than any other post 1990. With that in mind, I think the Dreamcast community will also live long and prosper.
4 built-in control ports. Powerstone 2. Endless party fun. Many racing games also support this, as do some of the FPS games. This really is a great console for people with friends that want to play games. Being as people have started playing Wii's after dinner parties thesedays, I say "bring out your Dreamcast".
Back in '98 when the DC was released in Japan, the internet was not used by most people. Broadband didn't exist in the UK and people had only dreamt (no pun intended) of playing against or with people that weren't in the same room. Anyway, the DC has a built in 33k/56k modem which would make dialup calls and connect to SEGAs servers.
I didn't play much online back in the day because of the dial-up costs and subsequent lack of useable phoneline once you're in. Anyway, the Dreamcast can still connect to the internet. You can either use dial-up or your Broadband Adaptor (left in pic) to connect to the internet to browse or, more importantly, play online. The games that currently work online are:
Phantasy Star Online
Getting these games to play online using custom servers isn't the easiest thing in the world to do, but if you need a hand, I might be able to help. I played PSO for the first time yesterday and I loved it. I met a couple of German guys in the DC-Talk/Schthack lobby that helped me get started as I had no idea what to do in the game. When I levelled up they both congratulated me! It was great. I kind of see why all those people like WoW now... the community spririt on PSO is great. What's more, you're playing with people on a 10 year old console, when we could all be playing some HD games instead. This brings us full circle.
The Dreamcast is getting older and some of the games are starting to look a little dated, though there are many games full of eye candy. There are games that will keep you hooked for weeks and others that you'll only play for an hour or so, just to beat a lap time or high score. There are innovative games like Samba de Amigo that will have people asking you why your Wii is a funny shape and says SEGA on it.
I purposely left out shooters and arcade beat 'em ups.