Top 5 reasons to buy a Dreamcast in early 2000

The Sega Dreamcast released 18 years ago on September 9, 1999. Initially, it looked like Sega turned the tides after its string of failed consoles, including the Sega CD, 32X and Saturn. Sega had returned and righted the ship. It felt like the Sega Genesis days.

Unfortunately, the PlayStation 2 came out in late 2000, and the build up killed off some of the momentum for the now “outdated” Dreamcast. To add to the brewing demise, Sega executives including Peter Moore did not want to limit themselves to one piece of hardware. (Some conspiracy theorists believe Moore purposefully sabotaged the Dreamcast.)

Subsequently, the Dreamcast died an early 2001 death. But it did sell well at first. What made the final Sega console so appealing? Here were five reasons to buy a Dreamcast in early 2000 below.

1. Online Play

Online play made some progress during the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis days with the XBAND accessory. But it had not become normal to play games online with a console yet. The Dreamcast went a long way towards changing this trend with a built-in modem. Finally, gamers could go against real people even if they had no one to come over.

Surprisingly enough, there are still Dreamcast servers available today.

2. Powerful Specs

At the time of release, the Dreamcast was billed as a 128-bit console. Who knows what “bits” really means, but it did offer more power compared to the PS One and Nintendo 64. It also went above and beyond the company’s 32-bit predecessor, the Sega Saturn. The specific numbers can be seen in the website GameSurge. Here is the description of the CPU alone:

“Hitachi 128 bit graphics engine with an on-board RISC processor SH4 (operating frequency of 200MHz 360 MIPS/1.4 GFLOPS). The SH4 is optimized for floating point calculations (key to 3D) and is four times faster than the Pentium II.”

3. Sonic Adventure

Sonic the Hedgehog became synonymous with Sega after the series’ success on the Genesis. So it had to be a disappointment when the Saturn went without a proper Sonic game during its run. Oh sure, there were titles such as Sonic 3D Blast. But fans wanted a “real” Sonic the Hedgehog title. For the Dreamcast, Sega finally delivered with a worthy edition to the franchise. It really did capture the idea of what people wanted from a 3D Sonic. The levels kept going at a good pace, while the music felt as catchy as any old 16-bit Sonic the Hedgehog game. Unfortunately, the series took a few stumbles in the years after.

4. Sports Games

Sports games are not this writer’s favorite genre (unless it is golf). A couple of them can be fun though. In terms of the Dreamcast, Sega failed to lure EA Sports. However, it did acquire Visual Concepts, the company that developed the outstanding NFL 2K, NBA 2K and NHL 2K series. Besides those games, the Dreamcast also landed the Tony Hawk series.

5. VMU

The visual memory unit (VMU) was a device ahead of its time. According to a quick search on DuckDuckGo, it “is the primary memory card produced by Sega for the Dreamcast home video game console. The device features a monochrome liquid crystal display, multi-player gaming capability, second screen functionality, a real-time clock, file manager, built-in flash memory, and sound capability.” Plus, Sonic Adventure players could download Chao onto the device and take care of them.

Readers could probably think of more reasons why the Dreamcast was appealing. The list left out Shenmue after all. It deserved a better fate than its two-year run. Regardless, the Dreamcast will live on through history as a great console.

Facebook Comments