Sega’s Dreamcast celebrates the 15th anniversary of its release in North America today and despite being the last console to come from the company, it still holds a place in history amongst the most innovative consoles around. The first to come with a built in modem for online play Dreamcast - for the techies out there - was also the first to render full frames (as opposed to interlaced rendering) and many games that got ported to Dreamcast were praised for upgrades the system offered.
It’s for the ability to play online that Dreamcast made most of a mark on the evolution of consoles. Peter Moore, (now of EA) president of Sega when Dreamcast launched, sharing his thoughts on Dreamcast today highlighted:
"With the Dreamcast's online capabilities, we coined a phrase 'we're taking gamers where gaming is going'. In our heart of hearts we were worried that we would not be there for the entire journey, but it was with great pride that with our Sega Sports games in particular, we ushered in the era of connected interactive entertainment.
"I don't think it is an overstatement to say that the Dreamcast and its online network laid the ground for what we all take for granted today: online gameplay, linking innumerable gamers from around the world to play, compete and collaborate, as well as enabling new content to be delivered in addition to that which was delivered on the disc."
Many gamers will remember Chuchu Rocket, a hectic party game given away free on the Dreamcast to show off it’s online capabilities and Sonic Team’s Phantasy Star Online is widely regarded as the first serious online RPG on consoles.
Other console defining games on the Dreamcast include Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio and the most expensive game of its day Shenmue, all well respected for bringing creative and innovative gameplay.
Sadly for Sega, the Dreamcast suffered from the onslaught of competition from rival console vendors. PlayStation 2 came along with the ability to play DVDs and a wealth of publisher support and with GameCube and Xbox also raining down competition the already cash-strapped Sega ended up admitting defeat, withdrawing from the hardware business in 2001 to concentrate solely on software.
Still holding a firm place in the hearts of fans the Dreamcast (unofficially) lives on via games coming from independent developers the likes of GOAT Store Publishing, RedSpotGames and NG Dev Team.
A recent kickstarter for a new Dreamcast game titled Elysian Shadows smashed through its funding goal last month and while stretch goals talk of a version of the new-gen 2D RPG for Wii U, PS4 and Xbox One we’re much more excited to dust of the Dreamcast and give it a go.
We're hopeful that in another 15 years from now the Dreamcast will still be getting the love it deserves and of course, more games.