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!
Hey, so I’m getting back into retro gaming as well. Picking up the old consoles and games. Have come across your articles (nice by the way). I scour eBay and yard sales but have no luck on anything near as good as the deals you find. Going to try so flea markets later. I was just kind of curious if you would share where you get these incredible deals? Retro gaming is starting to get expensive…
Hey there! The flea markets sound like a great idea, hopefully you’ll get lucky and find something awesome! I personally get a lot of my best deals (including both the Dreamcast and the Mega Drives which I wrote about recently) at local car boot sales, although unfortunately now we’re nearing Winter I know many of these are about to stop for the year. It really depends where you live, but it’s worth checking out anything local and trying to find something that’s nearby and on every week, that way you can go back and find more stuff! Of course you never know what you’re going to find though, so whilst eBay might not be the cheapest place to shop (although there are some good deals to be found!) you’ve got an incredible selection, so it’s great if you’re looking for really specific stuff and don’t mind paying a bit extra. Hope this helps and best of luck retro hunting!
All dreamcast titles can be burnt onto CD’s thus when piracy began with consoles the Dreamcast was the first to be hit in a very large way – As the PS2 used DVD’s and so on and so forth.
I think it’s due to poor security features that the Dreamcast suffered so much from piracy, as burned games can be played with zero modification to the console. Even the Saturn, which also uses CDs, can’t play burned discs without first installing a mod chip.
These days a few of the best Dreamcast games are really expensive, so I think it’s good that gamers can enjoy them for free, but personally I’d consider the abundance of piracy to be one of the main reasons the so many of the retail games are still really cheap to buy, and this suits me perfectly!