This Week’s Purchase: SEGA Dreamcast
Last week I talked about my recently amassed collection of Mega Drives, and since then I’ve got my hands on another SEGA classic; The Dreamcast. Today I’ll be looking at SEGA’s final machine in detail, and discuss my own experience with this notorious games console.
Admittedly I wasn’t actually in the market for a Dreamcast, but this week I came across an irresistible bargain that included the console, two controllers and a big pile of games for a fiver. In all honestly it’s one of the best deals I’ve come across, and this was largely down to the fact that the person who sold it to me didn’t really know what it was.
I mean I say it came with a big pile of games, but only three of them were actually for the Dreamcast. I got some great titles including Tekken 2, Time Crisis (no light gun though sadly) and Rayman 2, but these were for PS1, and out of a total of ten games only Speed Devils, Toy Racer, and Chu Chu Rocket were for SEGA’s console. Still, it was a good start to my collection, and since then I’ve bought a few games separately to help keep myself entertained. Most notably I’ve found there’s a great selection of racing games that are going cheap, and picked up some classics including Re-Volt (which I’ve reviewed here) Sega Rally, Daytona 2001 and San Francisco Rush 2049. There’s a few more on order too, so look out for some Dreamcast based retro reviews in the upcoming weeks!
I was initially put off the Dreamcast because so many of its most well known games have been either ported to the GameCube or re-released in another format. Skies of Arcadia, Jet Set Radio, Sonic Adventure and Crazy Taxi may all be killer titles, but they can easily be enjoyed on other platforms. Whilst some of the HD remakes don’t quite capture the retro charm, the moderately enhanced GameCube re-releases are a very tempting alternative to the Dreamcast originals.
But below the surface, you’ve got a huge library of great exclusives, and a massive selection of hidden gems. Many of the best Saturn games received sequels, such as Sega Rally and Daytona, and exclusives such as Shenmue and Project Justice are still loved today. You’ve also got several Nintendo 64 and PlayStation games that received updated ports, meaning that games like Hydro Thunder and Re-Volt may be available on other systems, but can’t compete graphically against SEGA’s machine.
Originally the Dreamcast had a few flaws, but many of these are irrelevant today. The lack of a second analogue stick was obviously a weakness when compared to the consoles it was competing against, but today it’s just a great retro machine that, like many others, only has one analogue stick. And it’s actually an incredibly comfortable controller. Its design appears to originate from the Saturn’s 3D control pad, and much like this strange shaped device, it fits in your hands far better than you’d think from looking at it.
Of course the Dreamcast also had a few features that were very ahead of it’s time. Whilst the online play isn’t going to offer much allure to the average gamer today, the console’s ability to output in high definition most likely is. This requires a specific VGA cable that costs around £25, but will be well worth your money if you plan on using the console with a HD TV.
Overall my first week with the Dreamcast has left me thoroughly impressed. As with the Saturn it has a unique mix of retro and modern, both in it’s features and selection of games. I’ve been playing a few of these quite a lot recently, so look out for some retro reviews in the near future, and I’ll be discussing some of my collection in more detail then!