The Launch of the Sega Dreamcast (1999) | Classic Gaming Quarterly


Success in the North American home gaming
market eluded Sega during the 8-bit era, but they struck gold with the 16-bit Sega Genesis. Mis-steps in the waning days of the console’s
lifespan eroded consumer confidence, and questionable decisions about the launch of the Sega Saturn,
along with shifting priorities at Sega of Japan, doomed any chance the company had against
the Sony Playstation on this side of the globe. But in the late 1990’s, it was Sega who
would kick off the next generation of gaming when they developed what would become their
final home console. On this episode of Classic Gaming Quarterly,
we take a look at Sega’s swan song in the home hardware market, with the 1999 launch
of the Sega Dreamcast. In the early 1990’s, Sega was arguably at
its peak. They were still heating up the arcades with
cutting edge titles like Virtua Fighter and Daytona USA, and were also releasing new takes
on established properties, including Outrunners and The Revenge of Death Adder. Although home console success had still been
elusive in Japan, elsewhere in the world the Mega Drive and Genesis had become a hit, on
the backs of such legendary franchises as Sonic The Hedgehog, Streets of Rage, Phantasy
Star, and the EA Sports lineup, which helped to create an entire generation of sports gamers. In 1994, as a stop-gap measure until the next
generation of hardware was ready for release, the Segas of America and Japan jointly developed
the 32X, an add-on for the Mega Drive and Genesis that allowed gamers to play 32-bit
games on their 16-bit consoles. Released in North America in time for the
1994 Christmas season, the 32X got off to a strong start, but also created consumer
uncertainty, as it was released in the US at the same time that the real 32-bit system,
the Saturn launched in Japan. The 32X would become a public relations black
eye for Sega when, after releasing a meager lineup of titles for the system, it was discontinued
just 18 months after launch. Development of the Saturn began in Japan in
1992, and was first shown to the public at the Tokyo Toy Show in the summer of 1994. Designed initially with sprite-based graphics
in mind, the Saturns system specs were altered late in the development cycle in response
to the upcoming Sony Playstation’s polygon-centric design, with the end result being a far more
complicated hardware architecture. The Saturn hit Japanese stores in November
of 1994, along with a home port of arcade hit Virtua Fighter, a game that on launch
day sold nearly as well as the system itself. The Saturn was scheduled to be released in
North America in September of 1995, but at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in May,
in order to beat the forthcoming Sony Playstation to market, Sega of America president Tom Kalinske
shocked the gaming world by announcing that the system had already been shipped to select
retailers. Consumers, who may have felt wary about supporting
Sega after the under-supported Sega CD and 32X, largely balked at the system’s initial
$400 price tag. Sega also damaged relations with retailers
who had been frozen out of the console’s surprise launch, with mall mainstay Kay-Bee
Toys vowing never to carry the system. Sony would ultimately sign exclusivity deals
with both Kay-Bee Toys and Circuit City, making the Playstation the only 32-bit console sold
at 1,500 retail locations nationwide. Developers who thought that they were readying
launch titles for the Saturn also soured, with Electronic Arts, Sega’s biggest third-party
developer on the Genesis, having a vastly reduced presence on the new console. As time wore on, Playstation sales continued
to eclipse those of the Saturn, and Sony began signing exclusivity agreements with developers
who had been putting games out for Sega including Eidos, whose perhaps most-famous title Tomb
Raider, had for a time been the best-selling game on the Saturn. But while Sega was struggling to stay afloat
here in North America, the Saturn was actually selling well in Japan. In fact, the Saturn was the most popular console
Sega had released in Japan, selling a total of 6 million units over the course of its
lifetime. Sega was finally experiencing success in their
home country and was blaming Sega of America for a lack of success here. This new trans-pacific dynamic between the
two Segas would ultimately cost the American side perhaps its most valuable asset, when
Kalinske resigned from the company in the summer of 1996. Whether due to hubris or self-delusion, Sega
believed that their first-party titles were the real meat & potatoes of the Saturn’s
library, and were at least outwardly not bothered by ever-shrinking third-party support. Although the Saturn had for a time been able
to maintain a marginal lead over the Playstation in Japan, it was the 1997 release of Square’s
Playstation-exclusive Final Fantasy VII that finally pushed Sony’s console into the lead
and foreshadowed the Saturn’s demise. In 1980, Bernie Stolar co-founded arcade game
company Pacific Novelty, releasing Shark Attack the following year. Pacific Novelty put out a handful of other
games, including NATO Defense, before being bought out by Atari, just prior to the video
game crash. But Stolar’s next business venture, creating
conversion kits out of Japanese arcade games like Mr. Do! ultimately lead to a job as president
and head of product development at Atari Corporation under CEO Jack Tramiel. At the time, Atari had re-entered the dedicated
home gaming market with the Lynx, a 16-bit full color handheld. This became Stolar’s primary focus, and
he championed the technology as the most advanced when compared to the Game Boy and Game Gear. But by 1993, Stolar was frustrated with Atari’s
knack for creating great hardware with poor software support. That year, he joined Sony Computer Entertainment
of America where his role was to attract third-party developers to the forthcoming Playstation. This included signing a six-month exclusivity
deal with Williams for Mortal Kombat 3, which would become one of the hit Playstation releases
of 1995. In 1996 Stolar joined Sega of America as the
executive vice president of product development. Brought on board to help usher in a new era
at Sega with the underperformance of the Saturn, in an interview with Electronic Gaming Monthly
Stolar famously stated that that the Saturn was not Sega’s future. Here, in an effort to minimize financial risk,
Stolar enacted a “Five star game” rule, meaning that the only titles to be published
on the Saturn should be bonafide hits. As a result, there simply wasn’t enough
quality software coming out for the Saturn in the west. By the end of 1997, the system accounted for
a dismal 2% of the North American home gaming market, and as successful as the Saturn was
in Japan, overall Sega was in poor financial health, having lost by some estimates over
a billion dollars over the course of the Saturn’s lifetime. Stolar, who by the spring of 1998 was serving
as president of Sega of America, knew that if the company continued to hemorrhage money,
they would lack the cash needed to stay in the hardware business. In March of 1998, the American division announced
the final first-party games for the platform; House of the Dead, Burning Rangers, and Shining
Force III, and after their release discontinued the system. For the first time in 12 years, Sega of America
would no longer have an actively-supported home console. Development of a follow-up to the Saturn was
being discussed as early as 1994, but it wasn’t until 1996, with the release of the Nintendo
64, that Sega decided to get serious about a next-generation machine. In the mid 1990’s, 3D graphics acceleration
was the hot new thing in PC gaming, and the company leading the charge was 3Dfx, who made
the popular Voodoo line of accelerator cards, popularized by games like 1996’s Quake. In February of 1997, Sega partnered with 3Dfx
to design a graphics chipset for their next-generation console. In fact, as a collaboration between 3Dfx and
Sega of America, a successor to the Saturn was being developed completely outside Sega
of Japan. Code-named “Black Belt”, the effort was
led by former PowerPC design engineer Tatsuo Yamamoto. With input from developers who had released
games on the Saturn, Yamamoto attempted to address that systems shortcomings and create
a console that facilitated ease of game design. Predictably, for Black Belt Yamamoto initially
paired the Voodoo graphics chipset with a PowerPC 603e CPU. Seeing the operating system as another fault
of the Saturn, the American design team looked to Microsoft to provide Black Belt with a
developer-optional Windows-based operating system, again with an eye toward simplifying
game development. In the summer of 1997, it was revealed that
Sega of Japan had also been designing a successor to the Saturn. Code-named “Dural” after the Virtua Fighter
character, the project was led by Hideki Sato, the hardware engineer who had overseen the
development of nearly every Sega console, including the Saturn. The Japanese design centered around the the
Hitachi SH-4 CPU, the follow-up to the SH-2 used in both the 32X and Saturn. Sato’s team chose the PowerVR graphics chipset,
at the time owned by Japanese electronics giant NEC, and while not the household name
that VooDoo was, it potentially offered a superior value for its performance. And Microsoft, it turned out, had been working
with both design teams to provide a more developer-friendly OS. Naturally, Sega of America favored Yamamoto’s
design, while Sega of Japan backed Sato’s. In the early fall, when the time came to decide
between the two, for reasons that can only be speculated upon, Sega of Japan over-ruled
its western division, choosing the Dural to replace the Saturn, causing an expected mass-exodus
from the American design team and a costly lawsuit from 3Dfx. In early 1998, Sega announced that the new
system, now code-named “Katana”, would ship out to Japanese stores in time for that
year’s Christmas season. That May, at a press event called the “Sega
New Challenge Conference”, Shoichiro Irimajiri, who had replaced ousted Hayao Nakayama as
president of Sega, officially unveiled the Sega Dreamcast, outlining its final hardware
specifications, and showing off a handful of tech demos. Six days later, at the 1998 Electronic Entertainment
Expo, Bernie Stolar announced the Dreamcast to the western world, with an expected release
in the autumn of 1999. The Dreamcast’s hardware specs easily bested
anything that the console gaming world had seen up to that point. Under the hood, the system is powered by the
aforementioned 32-bit 200 MHz Hitachi SH-4 RISC processor, an NEC Power VR 2 graphics
chip, and a Yamaha 64-channel Super Intelligent Sound Processor. 16MB of dedicated system RAM is joined by
8MB of video memory and another 2MB for sound. The Dreamcast can output video via composite,
s-video, and RGB at both 240p and 480i resolutions, but compatible games can also be displayed
in 480p using a VGA adapter. The front of the system offers 4 controller
ports, reflective of Sega’s desired emphasis on multiplayer play. The controller itself features both an analog
thumbstick and traditional d-pad, 4 action buttons on the face, and two spring-loaded
analog triggers. The controller also has two expansion sockets
at the top, into which one can plug Sega’s Jump Pack, adding force feedback. But more importantly, into these sockets plugs
the Visual Memory Unit, or VMU, which serves as the console’s memory card but also features
its own LCD screen along with both a d-pad and action buttons. The VMU contains 100kB, or 200 “blocks”
of accessible storage space, which is used for both game save data, as well as mini games
that can be downloaded from certain Dreamcast titles. The VMU’s LCD screen is also viewable when
the unit is plugged into the controller, a feature of which a number of Dreamcast games
take advantage. Management of the VMU’s storage is performed
using the console’s built-in menu system, which automatically loads when the system
is powered on without a disc or with the drive door open. Along with the power and multi-AV jacks, also
found on the back of the console is a serial port, which is compatible with a seldom-used
system link cable, but through a collaboration with SNK, the serial port is also compatible
with the Neo-Geo Pocket cable, allowing data to be transferred between certain SNK-published
Dreamcast titles and their analogous Neo-Geo Pocket releases. At this time the system also included a 33.6
modem, which allowed for online multiplayer play with compatible games, as well as web
browsing with the Dream Passport disc that would be included with Japanese consoles. DVD support had been rejected on budgetary
grounds, but Sega also wanted to avoid using the CD-ROM format, which by the late 90’s
was too prone to piracy. As a collaboration with Yamaha, Sega developed
the Gigabyte Disc, or GD-ROM. The format allows a compact disc to hold 1.2
gigabytes of data, and being proprietary, is neither readable nor theoretically writable
by standard CD-ROM drives. Developed in parallel with the Dreamcast was
Sega’s newest arcade platform, the NAOMI. Similarly based around a Hitachi SH-4 CPU
and PowerVR chipset, the NAOMI was essentially a beefed-up Dreamcast, and a number of the
NAOMI’s releases, including Crazy Taxi, Power Stone, and Ikaruga would subsequently
be ported to the home. The Dreamcast hit Japanese stores on November
27, 1998 at a price of 29,000 yen, or around $240, and the system’s launch lineup was
comprised of just four titles. Godzilla Generations, July, and Pen Pen TriIcelon
were all fairly forgettable. But the most popular game, by far, was Virtua
Fighter 3tb, an updated version of the arcade-only Virtua Fighter 3, that went home with nearly
every Dreamcast console at launch. Sega sold 150,000 Dreamcast systems at launch,
and 300,000 more in the weeks that followed, but with the rumored Playstation 2 looming
on the horizon, Sega wanted to build an installed user base as quickly as possible. But a shortage of graphics chips from NEC
prevented the manufacture of additional consoles, with Sega president Irimajiri estimating that
200,000-300,000 additional systems could have been sold in the weeks after launch. With the Dreamcast’s North American launch
still a half-year away, hype for the system was building with word of new games hitting
the Japanese market, including Sonic Adventure and Sega Rally 2, along with an announced
$199 price tag. Behind the scenes, Bernie Stolar was mending
fences in the post-Saturn era, ensuring that the Dreamcast would be available wherever
games were sold, and much as he had at Sony, also worked to bring back third-party developers. But on March 2, 1999 Sony held a press conference
to announce the Playstation 2. With the specious promise of a 128-bit CPU,
DVD storage media, backward compatibility, and graphical performance that, Sony claimed,
would best even high-end Silicon Graphics workstations, even before launch, the Dreamcast
would already be living under the shadow of the PlayStation’s then non-existent successor. Sega of America began advertising the forthcoming
Dreamcast in the early summer of 1999, beginning with the “It’s Thinking” advertising
campaign, a series of print and television ads that may have been a bit too nebulous
in that it wasn’t always obvious just what it was that Sega was selling. In July, still 2 months away from launch,
gamers could rent the Dreamcast along with Sonic Adventure from one of over 1,000 Hollywood
Video locations nationwide, and at the same time could pre-order the console from one
of over 15,000 retail stores. For the North American market, the Dreamcast’s
modem was upgraded to 56k, and just like the Japanese model, is removable to allow the
console to keep up with changes in modem technology. While Sega’s dedicated internet service,
SegaNet, was still a year away, like the Japanese console, the North American Dreamcast came
bundled with a Web Browser disc giving the console instant online functionality. None of the Dreamcast’s initial games featured
online multiplayer play, but a few took rudimentary advantage of the systems tele-connectivity. The following month, due to what Bernie Stolar
called a disagreement between himself and Sega Chairman Isao Okawa, he was abruptly
fired from Sega of America and replaced by underling Peter Moore, who would later oversee
the Xbox and Xbox 360 at Microsoft, and serve as the head of EA Sports. The Dreamcast was launched at the stroke of
midnight on Thursday, September 9, 1999, known affectionately as 9/9/99. Between Thursday and Sunday, Sega sold 372,000
units, 300,000 of which were pre-orders, and after the nearly 1 million Dreamcast consoles
that were part of the initial shipment had sold through, American retailers had trouble
keeping hardware in-stock in the weeks that followed. As was standard for the Playstation, the Dreamcast
came bundled with a demo disc. The first such disc was Dreamcast Generator
vol. 1, which features playable demos of 6 of the system’s launch games, plus Sega
Bass Fishing, as well as two non-interactive movies. In a continuing effort to put pressure on
Sega prior to the release of their own Playstation 2, ahead of the Dreamcast’s launch Sony
dropped the price of the Playstation to $99, and scheduled the release of Final Fantasy
VIII for September 9th. But on that day alone Sega sold over 225,000
consoles and brought in almost $100 million, which at the time stood as a one-day world
record. Just like the chip shortage that hampered
the console’s release in Japan, the Dreamcast’s domestic debut was marred by a rash of defective
discs affecting a large fraction of some game titles. Nevertheless, the North American launch was
a huge success, and unlike Japan’s meager 4-game lineup, on September 9th, 19 games
were on store shelves, four of which were among the top 10 best-selling games in the
month of September. While zombies in popular media date all the
way back to the 1930’s, it was with the 1968 horror film Night of the Living Dead
that zombies essentially became what they still are today; the dead reanimated as flesh-eating
cannibals. In 1996, zombies returned to the forefront
of pop culture thanks to the release of two games; Capcom’s Resident Evil, which itself
inspired the numerous zombie-based survival horror games still being made to this day,
and Sega’s The House of the Dead, a light gun game developed by Sega AM1 using the Virtua
Cop engine. With gameplay expectedly similar to Virtua
Cop, The House of the Dead is an on-rails shooter in which you have to fight your way
through waves of zombies in order to save your girlfriend from the clutches of a mad
scientist. The House of the Dead was ported from the
Model 2 arcade platform to the Saturn in 1998, but that same year AM1 developed its sequel,
The House of the Dead 2 for the Sega NAOMI. This was was ported to the Japanese Dreamcast
in the spring of 1999 before becoming a North American launch title. Aside from some awful voice acting, the game
is a solid rail shooter even when played with the standard controller, but naturally shines
when played with a light gun Sega’s “Dreamcast Gun” was the official, first-party gun released
in Japan, but due to the then-recent Columbine shooting, Sega chose not to release the peripheral
in North America. Instead, in this region the Dream Blaster
by Mad Catz served as the official light gun, while Interact’s StarFire LightBlaster was
also available on launch day. Like the first game, The House of the Dead
2 features branching paths, with the player’s direction dictated by split-second reactions. While The House of the Dead 2 was one of only
a small handful of Dreamcast games with light gun support, thanks in part to the system’s
limited lifespan, at least for fans of the genre The House of the Dead 2 on its own made
a light gun a worthy purchase on launch day. The developer with the largest presence on
launch day was arcade mainstay Midway, and while four of their day 1 releases had arcade
roots, the fifth, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing, was developed specifically for home consoles. Ready 2 Rumble is an over-the-top arcade-style
boxing game, in the same vein as Nintendo’s Punch-Out!! series. The game takes its name from the famous line
uttered by Michael Buffer, who served as the ring announcer for seemingly every boxing
match you’ve ever seen, and who reprises that role for this game. With a cartoony cast of characters and an
approachably-simple control scheme, Ready 2 Rumble includes a standard “arcade mode”,
which includes basic 1- and 2-player play, but also features a meatier, single-player
“championship mode”, in which you fight in prize matches to earn the money you’ll
need to both train your fighter and enter title matches. The four face buttons on the Dreamcast controller
correspond to left and right high and low punches, and the game being 3D allows you
to roam around the ring rather than being stuck in one spot. Landing harder punches will fill up your “RUMBLE”
meter, which can both power up your character, and let you unleash the “rumble flurry”. Ready 2 Rumble Boxing has a slick presentation
with graphics that, while colorful, also show off the power of the system. The characters are highly-detailed and smoothly-animated,
and even display visible injuries as the fights go on. The game offers an entertaining single-player
experience, but really shines when played with a friend, and its popularity during the
Dreamcast’s heyday made it one of just 17 titles, and one of 7 launch games, to be included
in Sega’s All-Stars lineup of budget game releases. Largely forgotten by the sands of time, Expendable
was created by British developer Rage Software, and is a 3D run & gun game not unlike Loaded
or Contra: Legacy of War. You take the role of a super-soldier who has
to fight off an invading alien race in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The game employs a top-down oblique perspective,
and through the use of the Dreamcast’s triggers allows you to strafe as you fire off a variety
of weapons. Sadly, what this game would really benefit
from is the dual-stick controls used in games like Smash TV, but that of course was not
possible with the Dreamcast’s controller. In the old-school tradition, Expendable features
20 discrete levels most of which culminate in a boss battle, and thankfully as the game
is tough, also allows for 2-player cooperative gameplay. The game received mostly lukewarm reviews
upon release; understandable as it feels more like an early PlayStation title than an early
Dreamcast one. That being said, 20 years later when none
of that really matters anymore, Expendable is actually pretty fun. The game has an atmosphere-appropriate soundtrack
and great sound effects, and the graphics still look great in 480p. People seem to take the term “weekend rental”
to be derogatory, but it’s meant to describe games like Expendable, which while perhaps
not worth full price when released, still have what it takes to provide at least a few
days worth of fun. The genre with the largest representation
on launch day was actually racing, making up seven of the nineteen games available. Japanese launch day release Pen Pen TriIcelon
had, for better or worse, reprised its role as a North American launch title. The game features penguin-like creatures called
Pen Pen competing in an ice triathalon, or TriIcelon. The game certainly isn’t short on character,
once again looks great in 480p, and does support 2- and 4-player split-screen versus modes. But awkwardly, it’s a kids’ game on a
console that was not being marketed towards children, and I suspect that Pen Pen TriIcelon
may have been the least-popular title on launch day. Half racing game and half extreme sports title,
Trickstyle is a hoverboard game developed by racing specialist Criterion Games, who
would later develop the hit cross-platform series Burnout. After choosing a rider, you’ll enter the
velodrome, a skate park that offers areas in which to freestyle, a trainer who has various
challenges for you to complete, and a hub from which you can depart to the races that
make up the real meat & potatoes of the game. At least early on, the races aren’t too
challenging, and can be won fairly easily after a bit of track familiarization. Trickstyle has a total of 18 races run on
14 unique tracks, but each track has to be unlocked one-by-one by winning the previous
race. Trickstyle is really the tale of two games. While the racing portion is a lot of fun,
the freestyling is not. Unlike games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater,
your character doesn’t start off knowing many tricks, and has to learn them by beating
the trainer in various challenges which are ultimately required to advance the game. But while Trickstyle’s controls are adequate
for racing, they lack precision, turning the training challenges into exercises in frustration. The game has impressive visuals, especially
for a launch title, and like a few other of the Dreamcast’s launch day offerings is
not technically VGA compatible, but can be tricked into running in 480p. The techno soundtrack is reminiscent of games
like WipeOut, which seems like it could take place in the same universe as Trickstyle,
and was composed by influential hip-hop artist Kurtis Mantronik. Trickstyle also includes a VMU game: Trickstyle
Jr., which is really just their version of Snake, the first cell phone game that most
people played, when it was included with the Nokia candy bar phones that were seemingly
ubiquitous around the turn of the millennium. Trickstyle is a game that I really want to
like. The racing is reminiscent of SSX, which was
one of the best titles available at the launch of the Playstation 2. In fact, so similar is the racing to SSX,
in terms of atmosphere, gameplay, even the racers talking smack to one another, that
I have to assume that the developers at EA were playing the former while developing the
latter. But while SSX chose to do one thing and do
it well, the inclusion of the free styling component along with controls that simply
aren’t up to the task sadly prevent Trickstyle from being one of the standout titles of the
Dreamcast’s launch. In the 1990’s, The Nashville Network, better-known
as TNN, was a cable television station primarily centered around country music, but that also
featured extensive motor racing coverage from a wide variety of racing series. When CRI’s “Buggy Heat” was brought
over from the Japanese Dreamcast, a TNN license was added and the presentation altered, with
the game now called TNN Motor Sports Hardcore Heat. The game is, as the Japanese title would suggest,
based on off-road dune buggy racing, with a very arcade-like feel. Some reviewers complained about the game’s
controls, and while there is some validity to this criticism, as it is easy to lose control
of your vehicle, the Dreamcast’s triggers are analog for a reason. Emphasis is placed on driving smoothly rather
than treating Hardcore Heat like a drag race, and once you wrap your head around this, there’s
plenty of fun to be had. Hardcore Heat also has some of the best graphics
of any of the launch titles, and an appropriately hard rock-themed soundtrack. All that being said, on launch day, Hardcore
Heat might not have been a game that you’d want to drop $50 on but, once again, would
have made for a great weekend rental. Two real-world racing games were available
on September 9th; one based on the CART series, better-known as Indycar, and the other on
Formula 1. Released in Japan as Super Speed Racing, Flag
to Flag is fully-licensed Indycar game developed by ZOOM Inc. and published by Sega. The game features 27 real-world drivers on
18 teams, and 19 tracks, although the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is noticeably missing. The game’s controls take some getting used
to, as in an apparent attempt to mimic real world physics, your car’s steering becomes
less responsive as your speed increases. Once I got used to this however, I found a
racing game that was far more enjoyable than most reviews would lead you to believe. As is the case with real-world Indycar racing,
Flag to Flag features a nice balance of both ovals and road circuits, which is a refreshing
change from most racing games. As a whole, the audio visuals are nothing
special, but there are little details here and there that stand out. For example, when playing from the driver’s
perspective, dead bugs will accumulate on your visor, and you’ll actually wipe then
off from time to time. The game is probably not worth tracking down
today, but at the launch of the Dreamcast, if you were a motor racing fan looking for
something pseudo-realistic to play, Flag to Flag was definitely your best bet. Monaco Grand Prix was developed by Ubi Soft
and released on the PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and Dreamcast. The game is licensed by the Automobile Club
of Monaco rather than the FIA, so all of the team and driver names are fake, but 17 real-world
Formula 1 tracks are included. While the game looks good, how well it controls
varies wildly according to which view you select. The guy on the radio yelling at me to “hurry
up” is also irritating, but thankfully he can be shut off, as can the obnoxious music. By the time of this game’s release, the
Playstation had already hosted the Psygnosis-published Formula 1 series for several years, and by
comparison, Monaco Grand Prix just feels substandard, which is unfortunate because the inclusion
of a “Retro” game mode that allows you to drive a classic, pre-aero F1 Car around
a caricature of the Nurburgring would otherwise make this a standout title. Speaking of standout titles, another of Midway’s
launch day releases was a home conversion of their speedboat racing hit, Hydro Thunder,
which at the time of the Dreamcast’s release was itself only 6 months old. No stranger to arcade racing games, Midway’s
prior releases include the Cruis’n series, as well as the Rush series although those
were actually developed by Atari. Hydro Thunder is the first installment in
Midway’s “Thunder” series, and was followed by Offroad Thunder
and Arctic Thunder. At the outset of this game, you choose from
one of three speed boats, and one of three “easy” tracks. Once the race begins, you pick up boost fuel
along the track, which obviously provides you with a speed boost, but also imparts your
boat with the “mighty hull”, allowing you to plow through fellow racers. Boosting also allows you to perform the “boost
jump”, which both enables you to grab seemingly out-of-reach power-ups, and is needed to access
many of the track shortcuts, which are key to success in the game. Hydro Thunder does have a soundtrack, but
it’s almost inaudible over the chorus of sound effects that, while loud, both make
the game more immersive and more arcade-like. The graphics, which look great, are interesting
in that the boats and foreground are vividly colorful, while the backgrounds have a more
realistic look. The level designs are all unique to one another,
with each feeling like a themed Disneyland ride. There are a total of 13 tracks, 10 of which
need to be unlocked. This alone is no small feat, and in itself
provides countless hours of gameplay, but thankfully you can save your progress to the
VMU, so that there’s no need to try to unlock everything in one sitting. You can also play 2-player split-screen, which
within the practical limitations of home hardware is a welcome feature, but pales in comparison
to a pair of arcade cabinets networked together. Hydro Thunder provides an awesome arcade-at-home
experience, but it would have been nice to see the game better fleshed out for the Dreamcast,
perhaps including options like championship and time attack modes. Even as-is, the game is still legendary among
the Dreamcast library, and sat near the top of a launch lineup that already included multiple
must-buy games. Japanese street racing was at its peak in
the late 80’s and 90’s, even making its way into pop culture in the form of manga
series such as Initial D and Wangan Midnight. Cars like Toyota Supras, Nissan Skylines,
and Mazda RX-7’s were modified so that they could reach speeds upwards of 200 miles per
hour, and in the wee hours of the night were raced, illegally of course, on Tokyo’s Shuto
Expressway. In 1996, Japanese game developer Genki released
Tokyo Highway Battle on the PlayStation. The game allows you to modify a number of
classic Japanese sports cars and race them on various courses modeled after Tokyo’s
highway system. In the summer of 1999, Genki released Shutoko
Battle on the Japanese Dreamcast, and the game was brought to North America as a launch
title under the name Tokyo Extreme Racer. Endorsed by Import Tuner Magazine, Tokyo Extreme
Racer continues the formula started by Highway Battle, and while simple arcade modes are
available, the “Quest” mode is really the main event of the game. You start off with a modest sum of money,
with which you buy your first car. The cars are all referred to by their real-world
chassis codes, as this was the the parlance of the Japanese street racing scene, but they
can be re-named when purchased. Driving around a large circuit of Tokyo’s
Expressway, rival drivers are identified on an overlaid map. Pulling up behind them and flashing your high
beams triggers the race, but unlike the lengthily multi-lap races of Tokyo Highway Battle, Extreme
Racer lacks a delineated finish line. Rather, both you and your rival have what
basically amount to life meters, which deplete when either car falls behind. With the money earned from these races, you
can further modify your car in order to boost performance, as well as purchase additional
cars. While the game received average reviews at
the time of its release, both Tokyo Extreme Racer and its sequel are fan favorites on
the Dreamcast, and it’s easy to see why. The game features the car collection and customization
aspects of Gran Turismo, in a trimmed-down package with a more arcade-like feel. Of the six racing games available on launch
day, Tokyo Extreme Racer arguably offered the most complete gameplay experience, and
would have been well-worth picking up for even the most casual of racing fans. The lone launch title published by Activision,
Blue Stinger is a dark comedy survival horror game developed by the same team that would
later produce cult classic Illbleed. The game takes place off of Mexico’s Yucatán
peninsula on the obviously fictitious “Dinosaur Island”, where a series of events has led
to mass deaths and the outbreak of a variety of mutants and monsters. You take control of the main character Eliot,
but are quickly joined by a sidekick named Dogs, and you can switch freely between them
throughout the game. Maybe coincidentally or maybe not, the two
characters are voiced by the same actors who performed the roles of Sonic and Dr. Robotnik
in fellow Dreamcast launch game Sonic Adventure. As is the case with the genre in general,
you roam around a semi-open world fighting monsters and completing tasks in order to
advance the storyline. Blue Stinger is considered by some to be “so
bad that it’s good”, but I don’t see what’s so bad about it. The controls aren’t perfect and there are
issues with the moving camera, but these were common problems with games of that era. The plot is engaging, the voice acting is
above average, and if there’s one thing that the game isn’t guilty of that many
others of its ilk are, it’s taking itself too seriously. As you find yourself buying weapons out of
vending machines and engaging in comically-bloody battles with mutants in a shopping mall while
Christmas music blares over the PA system, it becomes quite obvious that the game has
its figurative tongue firmly planted in its cheek. Blue Stinger also stands out amongst the launch
lineup as one of only two games that has a plot-driven, sink-your-teeth-into-it style
of gameplay, rather than the more arcadey, pick-up-and-play character shared by the majority
of day one releases. Blue Stinger is often unfairly compared to
games like Resident Evil, when what it is is the video game version of an intentionally-campy
horror movie. If Weird Al Yankovic’s Slime Creatures from
Outer Space, an issue of Tales From the Crypt, and a copy of Army of Darkness sounds to you
like the recipe for a good time, Blue Stinger is likely right up your alley. Electronic Arts was famously absent on the
Dreamcast. This is often blamed on fallout from the Saturn
era, but at one time EA had wanted to create games for Sega’s next-gen hardware. In fact, Electronic Arts CEO Larry Probst
approached Bernie Stolar about becoming the exclusive publisher of sports games on the
Dreamcast. Stolar however had just purchased veteran
sports developer Visual Concepts for $10 million, and wasn’t willing to forgo producing first-party
sports titles. The two sides were unable to reach a compromise,
and as a result Electronic Arts would not develop games for the Dreamcast. Visual Concepts most-noteworthy sports title
up to that point might have been Madden ‘94, quite possibly the best football game on the
Super Nintendo. They also developed NHL 97 for both the Saturn
and PlayStation, which while not great, brought the franchise into 3D for the first time. For the launch of the Dreamcast, Visual Concepts
burst off the line with NFL 2K, a fully-licensed simulation football game that was one of the
biggest releases in the early days of the console. Obviously 20 years later, a sports game is
not going to seem as noteworthy as one of the many ageless releases on the Dreamcast,
but it bears pointing out the impact that NFL 2K made in its own time. When this game was released, the Madden series
was on its tenth installment and sat squarely at the top of the video football firmament. But with this one game Visual Concepts redefined
what simulation football should be, and by itself gave hardcore sports gamers a reason
to buy the Dreamcast. NFL 2K includes all of the modes and features
one would expect from a proper sports title, and as such there’s really no need to go
over each of them here. The game sports a broadcast-quality presentation,
a level of graphical detail , and smooth animation far beyond anything seen previously on a home
console. The player models all look amazing, and every
stadium in the league has been painstakingly recreated. Rather than using known broadcasters, as most
sports games of the day would, the game introduces the fictional Dan Stevens and Peter O’Keefe,
whose commentary further adds to the games realism, never seeming to get repetitive or
stale, and who stayed with the franchise through its entire run. NFL 2K has a playbook just as deep as the
Madden series, but overlays the formations and plays on the field, making it easier to
visualize what’ll actually happen when they’re run. The game also has a far more intelligent AI,
so much so that NFL 2K defaults to rookie mode when you first start playing. There aren’t too many criticisms that could
reasonably be leveled at NFL 2K at the time of its release. The game does place an emphasis on passing,
as it’s nearly impossible to break out for more than a few yards on a running play. There’s also the size of the game save file,
which at 191 blocks, basically necessitates the purchase of a separate VMU. If you were a sports gamer who picked up a
Dreamcast on 9/9/99, you went home with one of the very best titles of the Dreamcast’s
launch and the first game in one of the finest franchises
in the history of sports video games. After the end of the Dreamcast’s life, Sega
and Visual Concepts turned NFL 2K into a cross-platform franchise that culminated with ESPN NFL 2K5,
a game that was sold for just $20 in order to compete with Electronic Arts, and is often
heralded as the greatest video football game ever made. Sadly, EA’s solution to this was to sign
an exclusivity deal with the league, effectively killing off the NFL 2K franchise. The other football game available on launch
day was NFL Blitz 2000. Midway practically invented the extreme sports
genre popularized by 1993’s NBA Jam, and in 1997, they applied the same no-holds-barred
style of gameplay to football with the original NFL Blitz. In 1998 Midway released the first sequel,
NFL Blitz 99, and this game was ported to home consoles the following year as Blitz
2000. Once again, the game features 7-on-7 football
with no refs and no rules. Blitz is equal parts football and professional
wrestling, with plays ending on body slams and elbow drops. In fact, the original game was too over-the-top
even for the NFL, who pushed Midway to tone down the violence for subsequent releases. All 31 NFL teams are present along with real
player names, and in order to flesh the game out for home consoles, the original arcade
mode is joined by a playoff mode, as well as the option to play a complete season. The game also has team-specific playbooks,
as well as a play editor for those who want to get more creative. At the versus screen, various codes can be
entered into the game using the logos in the lower corner. Some are just cheat codes, while others modify
the game by changing the weather, or even the size of players heads. NFL Blitz 2000 features colorful play-by-play
commentary, provided by voice actor Tim Kitzrow, who as well as doing the rest of the Blitz
series, is most famous as the voice of NBA Jam. The game makes no attempt at visual realism,
instead featuring disproportionate players and vivdly-colorful graphics. Regardless of its arcade origins, Blitz 2000
features all of the same control options that you’d expect from a simulation football
game, as you can leap, spin, and stiff-arm your way through the defense. Blitz 2000 is certainly no substitute for
a proper video football game, but it was also never meant to be. It is, in some ways, the spiritual successor
to the Tecmo Bowl series, which fell by the wayside with the rise of the Madden franchise. Blitz 2000 certainly offers a fun single-player
experience, but was really meant to be enjoyed as a multiplayer game. Unfortunately, as was the case with all of
the Dreamcast’s launch titles, it was not possible to play Blitz 2000 online, but the
game supports up to 4 players locally. Were you both a sports fan and someone looking
for a party game on launch day, NFL Blitz 2000 would certainly fit the bill. Aerowings is a flight simulator game from
Hardcore Heat developer CRI. The game was released as Aero Dancing in Japan,
where it was the first of a six game series on the Dreamcast. Although the game has you flying jet fighters,
the obvious comparison to be made here with with Nintendo’s Pilotwings franchise. At the title screen, the game offers an optional
basic training mode, which definitely helps orient new players and introduces the basic
controls of a flight simulator. Once you move on to Aerowings proper, three
game modes are available. The first, called Blue Impulse Mission, whatever
that means, is effectively an advanced training mode, teaching you various techniques like
taking off and landing, and flying in formation, while a guy who sounds like he’s really
unhappy with his life choices yells at you over the radio. The
second mode, Sky Mission Attack, has you flying through floating targets, and the third, Free
Flight, is self-explanatory. Unfortunately, while Aerowings has a very
polished presentation, the gameplay is unengaging. It lacks the variety found in the Pilotwings
series, and while it does offer a more realistic flight experience, it is too often brutally
hard in a way that makes you not want to try again. Aerowings would likely have been a major disappointment
for anyone who on launch day, took it home expecting an Ace Combat-style experience based
on the games cover art. If however you were looking for an Ace Combat-style
experience on launch day, then the Dreamcast had you covered with Konami’s Airforce Delta. The gameplay itself is really quite boilerplate
for anyone familiar with the Ace Combat series. Each mission is preceded by a briefing, after
which you pick your aircraft and take to the skies. The game defaults to a simple control scheme
that combines pitch, roll, and yaw, but thankfully this can be changed in the options menu. Your plane is of course loaded-down with an
unrealistic amount of ordinance, so that running out of ammo is really no concern. Mission objectives include things like shooting
down a sortie of enemy bombers or destroying a naval convoy. Once you clear these objectives, the mission
ends and you have the option of watching a replay, which is actually pretty neat. After that, you’re awarded cash compensation
based on the number of enemies you’ve shot down, which you can then use to buy new aircraft. The game is not VGA-compatible but the graphics
still look good in 480i, and for a game that has you visiting fiery death upon the enemy
at 10,000 feet, Airforce Delta has an oddly upbeat, jazzy soundtrack. Though the game would have made for a fun
weekend rental, with a total of 20 missions that naturally increase in difficulty, there’s
enough content here to justify the game as a launch day purchase for fans of the genre. Three fighting games were on store shelves
on launch day, and might have provided the biggest reason to also go home with the official
Dreamcast Arcade Stick, sometimes referred to as the “Agetec Stick” in North America. With an MSRP of about $60, it features Japanese-style
controls and has both a color scheme and layout consistent with Sega’s Japanese arcade cabinets. Although a handful of other sticks were produced
for the Dreamcast over its short lifespan, it’s this that remains the most sought-after
for Sega’s final arcade-at-home console. Capcom created some of the greatest 2D fighting
games ever released, but in the late 90’s the 3D fighting realm was being dominated
primarily by franchises like Tekken and Sega’s own Virtua Fighter. But in 1999 Capcom unveiled a unique take
on the genre with Power Stone, released on Sega’s NAOMI arcade hardware, and ported
to the Dreamcast in-time for its North American launch. Power Stone is a one-on-one fighting game
that takes place in a 3D arena, around which both players can freely roam. The space is fully interactive, allowing you
to jump on to platforms, swing around poles, and even hang from the ceiling. You can also throw various objects at your
opponent, and pick up a variety of constantly-respawning limited use weapons. The game takes its name from the power stones
that appear during each match. Each player begins the fight holding one such
stone, but collect and hang on to two more, and the character temporarily changes into
a more powerful form complete with a set of special moves. Eight characters are available to choose from,
and as is standard for fighting games, each has a distinct set of moves and as well as
their own arena. The vibrant graphics look great in 480p, and
the soundtrack has a cinematic quality. Power Stone’s cartoony presentation belies
its depth and complexity. The game is easily on-par with Capcom’s
extensive catalog of fighters in terms of fun, challenge, and replayability, and both
Power Stone and its sequel rightfully take their place among most beloved games on the
Dreamcast. Although Power Stone was Capcom’s only release
for the Dreamcast’s launch, the company would arguably go on to be Sega’s biggest
third-party supporter with such marquee hits as Resident Evil: Code Veronica, Mars Matrix,
and Marvel vs. Capcom 2, which is considered by some to be the best game on the system. At the time of its release Power Stone was
one of the most unique fighting games ever seen, was one of the must-buy titles on launch
day, and was the first in a long line of innovative games that highlight the Dreamcast’s library. Mortal Kombat Gold is a home adaptation of
and upgrade to 1997’s Mortal Kombat 4, which itself was the franchise’s final arcade
release. Along with the standard arcade modes, also
included are a team battle option, along with several endurance modes and a welcome practice
mode. The game brings back a handful of characters
that were included in earlier installments in the series but were omitted from Mortal
Kombat 4, and whereas the arcade release introduced character-specific weapons to the gameplay,
Mortal Kombat Gold allows you to choose the weapon your character uses. Aside from this new weapon system, Mortal
Kombat Gold still follows the same basic gameplay as the rest of the series, one-on-one fighting
punctuated by extreme violence, including the series signature fatalities. When Mortal Kombat 2 was released in 1993,
it was hailed as one of the best released of what was, in retrospect, arguably the golden
age of arcade fighters. But 6 years and a few Mortal Kombats later,
a few minor gameplay tweaks notwithstanding, the series felt like it was on autopilot. It might therefore come as no surprise that
Mortal Kombat Gold was not well-received by the gaming press. Criticisms included the aforementioned stale
gameplay, as well as the game’s graphics, which were lackluster considering the Dreamcast’s
capabilities. This does make sense however, as visually
the game is a fairly faithful arcade port, while the Dreamcast is more powerful than
Midway’s Zeus hardware. No doubt Mortal Kombat Gold was taken home
by many a hardcore fan of the franchise, but the third fighting game available on September
9th, which is widely regarded as one of the best games ever published on the Dreamcast,
was the lone launch day release from one of the most storied arcade developers of all
time. Soul Calibur was a Namco System 12 release,
and is the sequel to 1995’s Soul Edge. The company entered the 3D fighting realm
with the critically-acclaimed Tekken in 1994, and Soul Edge was a successful attempt at
adding weapons to the same formula. The game was subsequently ported to the Playstation,
and was released in the west as Soul Blade in early 1997. Soul Calibur debuted in the arcades in 1998,
and Namco ported it to the Dreamcast, where it was released in Japan in early August of
1999, before becoming a North American launch title. Plot-wise, the game picks up where Soul Edge
left off, if that matters, bringing back most of the characters, while adding several new
ones. When you begin the game, you can choose from
10 characters, but can unlock eight more by beating the game’s arcade mode with the
existing ones. Perhaps the biggest improvement to Soul Calibur
over Soul Edge in terms of gameplay is the 8-way run, which allows you to move freely
about the ring, evading enemy attacks and even attacking from the side or rear. The Arcade mode is joined by team battle,
time attack, and survival modes, and just like Mortal Kombat Gold, also offers the opportunity
to practice. Although I wouldn’t call Soul Calibur “easy”
it is one of the more accessible fighting games out there. While each character has an expansive moveset,
you can do well using just the basic moves, and then start to layer the various combos
into your working arsenal as you gain experience. To that end, the Mission Battle mode includes
a short game tutorial to help familiarize the player with the games controls; particularly
those that were added to or improved upon from Soul Edge. Mission Battle mode also features a variety
of battles that allow you to uncover parts of the storyline, and completion of both the
training missions and the subsequent battles earns you points, which you can then use to
buy art cards that unlock additional features in the game. Soul Calibur’s graphics are one of the game’s
biggest talking points, and are not only gorgeous, but are actually better than the arcade original. The home version has an expanded color palette,
improved lighting effects, and uses higher-resolution textures to achieve a level of detail that,
running at a smooth 60 frames per second, makes Soul Calibur one of the best looking
games to ever appear on the Dreamcast. The sound has also been improved upon, with
the game’s music, sound effects, and speech being of much higher quality and clarity than
the arcade original. Soul Calibur’s announcer is voiced by Jeff
Manning, an accomplished video game voice actor who also played the announcer in the
original Super Smash Bros. I’m not sure that’s it’s even possible
to use too many superlatives when talking about Soul Calibur. Over the course of the console’s lifetime,
few titles better showed off the Dreamcast’s audio/visual capabilities, and on top of that,
in terms of gameplay it also represents a high watermark for 3D fighters. Not content to simply release an arcade-perfect
port, as they easily could have, Namco rebuilt Soul Calibur from the ground up, adding numerous
features and improvements and taking advantage of the Dreamcast’s hardware superiority
over their System 12 platform. In doing so Namco created what was arguably
the best game available at the console’s launch, and certainly one of the greatest
titles in the Dreamcast’s library. Soul Calibur was also one of the best-selling
games on the console with over a million copies shipped worldwide. But the 19th and final game available at launch
was also by far and away the most successful title ever released on the Dreamcast. Sonic The Hedgehog was one of the most popular
game franchises of the 16-bit era, but was oddly under-represented on the Sega Saturn. But Sonic was coming back for the Dreamcast,
in one of the most hotly-anticipated games of the system’s launch. The Sonic franchise had made forays into the
3D world as early as 1992, in the form of the chaos emerald collecting bonus rounds
in Sonic The Hedgehog 2, but its first dedicated 3D game was 1996’s Sonic 3D Blast, which
appeared on the Mega Drive and Genesis, but also the Saturn, where it was one of the console’s
better-selling titles. Also appearing on the Saturn was the 16-bit
compilation disc Sonic Jam, as well as Sonic R, a racing game that was the only of the
three titles purpose-developed for the console. Although Sonic The Hedgehog was Sega’s flagship
franchise on the Genesis, notably absent from the Saturn was a mainline entry in the series. The American-based Sega Technical Institute
had been working on just such a game, Sonic X-Treme, even showing a playable demo at 1996’s
E3, but the project was cancelled not long after. The following year, Yuji Naka’s Sonic Team
finally began working on a game for the Saturn, placing a greater emphasis on storytelling
and set in a fully 3D world, but this project too was shelved, with what was completed being
added to the Sonic Jam disc in the form of a bonus level called “Sonic World”. Naka was subsequently made aware of the forthcoming
Dreamcast, and Sonic Team began re-working the aborted Saturn project for the new system. Sonic Adventure was unveiled at a press event
in Tokyo on August 22, 1998, three months before the Dreamcast’s Japanese release. The game was however not a Japanese launch
title, appearing on store shelves just in time for Christmas. The game was however rushed out the door to
meet the holiday deadline, and effectively unfinished, was hampered by camera and control
issues. Thankfully, the game was in a finished state
by the following July, in time for the system’s North American pre-launch roll-out to Hollywood
Video locations. As was the case with the aborted Saturn project,
Sonic Adventure is far more story-driven than previous entries in the series. The game has 6 playable characters, including
Tails, Knuckles, Amy Rose, Big the Cat, and the E-102 Gamma robot. Only Sonic is selectable at the outset however,
while the other 5 characters become unlocked at various points in the game. Sonic Adventure is split up into both “Adventure
Fields” and “Action Stages”. The adventure fields generally involve performing
actions, such as placing this statue into its keyhole, in order to gain access to the
action stages, whose gameplay is much more akin to the Sonic titles of yore. Some of these action stages incorporate games-within-the-game,
including snowboarding, and even a Nights Into Dreams themed pinball table. The transition to 3D can be a bit jarring
for veterans of the 16-bit era, but once acclimated you’ll find a game that maintains the spirit
of the franchise while ushering it into the modern era. But gamers expecting the 3D world to bring
with it an element of exploration may be disappointed, as Sonic Adventure’s gameplay is still quite
linear. Common to earlier third-person perspective
efforts, Sonic Adventure does suffer from some camera issues, and exacerbated by Sonic’s
trademark speed, the game doesn’t control as well as some of its peers. But, these are fairy minor issues that can
be worked around. The graphics on the other hand look incredible,
and while the game generally tries to maintain the pseudo-cartoony visual style of the series,
some areas still end up looking drop-dead gorgeous. The voice acting can be hit or miss, and some
of the game’s sound effects seem less punchy, but the soundtrack is top-notch, and while
Sonic and Sonic 2 composer Masato Nakamura had long since moved on from video games,
Sonic Adventure brought back several sound designers from the earlier titles. In addition to the main story, which takes
nearly 10 hours to complete, Sonic Adventure also offered downloadable content including
special events, like the Samba GP, a cart race commemorating the release of Samba de
Amigo, which can still be downloaded and played today using a DreamPi to connect your Dreamcast
to the internet. Along with NFL 2K and Soul Calibur, Sonic
Adventure offered the best bang-for-your-buck in terms of longevity and replayability, and
was a no-brainer purchase for all but the most vehement of platformer haters on launch
day. The game sold 2.5 million copies worldwide,
and spawned one sequel; 2001’s Sonic Adventure 2, the last title in the franchise to appear
on Sega hardware. Though it came to market over a year before
any other console of its generation, was competitively-priced, and ultimately was home to a myriad of titles
still considered must-play games to this day, the Dreamcast was ultimately unable to successfully
compete against the juggernaut Playstation 2, though the console’s demise is more a
reflection of the time than a reflection on the system itself. Sega ceased production of Dreamcast hardware
in the spring of 2001, and the last official North American game, NHL 2K2, was released
in February of 2002. Sega would subsequently shift to cross-platform
third-party development, releasing numerous titles on what could be argued was the spiritual
successor to the Dreamcast, Microsoft’s Xbox. But, that’s all a story for another day. That’s going to do it for this episode of
Classic Gaming Quarterly. As always, thanks for watching, and we’ll
see you next time.

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Reader Comments

  1. Classic Gaming Quarterly

    This video was available early and ad-free to Patrons and channel members. If you'd like early access to all CGQ and CGQ+ content, or just want to support the show, you can become a Patron using the link below or can click the "Join" button on this page to become a channel member here on YouTube. And if you don't want to do either of those things, well that's totally OK, too! https://www.patreon.com/cgquarterly

  2. Electric Flesh

    I have very fond memories of this system. I remember picking up my pre-ordered Dreamcast on 9-9-99 from Toys R' Us. I was so blown away by the graphics and couldn't believe that it looked as good and better than some arcade games.

  3. Harry Toeface

    Ouch seeing that Hollywood video sign, I remember exactly where one was replaced by a AutoZone…and Babbages…that disappeared, and now the mall I live near is completely gutted, no video games are sold there…the arcade bare and empty…no more competitive play

  4. leftyfourguns

    What an incredibly meticulous and informative video. I thought I knew everything about Sega but learned quite a bit I never knew. I also love how you actually show footage of the video games you talk about, unlike many other game "enthusiast" channels. Can't wait for your Xbox video!

  5. Derrick Small

    9:25 sega didn't listen to us enough they left massive amounts of software in the arcades never to be released on the dreamcast from 2d to 3d 👎

  6. Dallas Dal

    Why no Shenmeu one of the greatest games on the system an Iconic game for the Dreamcast that is a Must Have for any Dreamcast Owner and not just Martial Arts Adventure Game Fans.

  7. H Koizumi

    I owned both PS2 and Dreamcast during their launch. I think it's safe to say that people that owned Dreamcast were happier than PS2 launch owners.

  8. RamenShaman

    Dreamcast had a spectacular launch lineup! Five are among my favorite DC games – SoulCalibur, Sonic Adventure, Power Stone, House of the Dead 2, and Tokyo Xtreme Racer! Those memories are magical

  9. Psilocin Finite

    How many comments have you had about leaving out Shenmue? Well, here's one for ya. WTF man? Really enjoyed the video though, fantastic work!

  10. Charles Norel

    Hi from France.
    I think it's the first video from your channel that i'm watching and it's perfect !
    You did a great job and you took your time to speak about the line up games which is very interesting and also brings back good memories !
    I completely agree with Blue Stinger which is quite underrated and very fun to play with an unique atmosphere.
    I will watch your other videos, they all look great !
    Thank you for the hard work !

  11. kimitachi22

    the best lauch of a console in my opinion
    and that was just the begiining ( after that we have crazy taxy , jet set radio , shenmue 1 and 2 , sonic adventure 2, )
    in term of ratio of games , the dreamcast had more good games then any other console

  12. Ramen TV

    Can someone help me out? I'm trying to find the clip at the end of the video, or rather the full thing. I know it's Open Your Heart by Crush 40, and that's Segata Sanshiro in the beginning, but I can't find it when searching. Thanks for any help 🙂

  13. Jeremy Kegley

    Sadly I never got to play this great console! I only knew someone who owned one and she told me the football game was like playing a real life game of Football it was that good!

  14. Lin John

    I actually played every Dreamcast games shown in this video. Like… all of it. And I can’t seem to remember how I can afford all those game at 18. Then it hit me. Blockbuster rental !

  15. scott rand

    I can’t tell you how much I love and appreciate these videos. Being a video gamer since the pong and Atari 2600 days, I LOVE everything about Video Game history. These are just incredibly detailed AND incredibly enjoyable historic memoirs.

    I’ve watched each one of the videos about my favorite systems, and even about the systems that bombed. These are so well done, that each and every video is a fantastic watch.

    Can’t thank you enough. Absolutely one of my favorite channels on YouTube. Keep up the awesome work.

  16. James Matthews

    I got more from this then the Japanese but English translated DreamCast documentary. I don't what they were going for but it was too artsy and nebulous in nature. But this was awesome.

  17. Thomas Tripp

    Sega Dreamcast….The system that was the first system to me that was "love at first sight." I remember going to Best Buy as a 4th Grader in September 1999, right after Hurricane Fran and not hearing anything about the Dreamcast prior to my encounter. I had the opportunity to play Ready 2 Rumble and instantly fell in love with the system and it convinced me to get one for Christmas of 1999, along with that game and NBA Showtime – the NBA on NBC (a game I enjoyed at the arcades) and it was very fun!! Then, later on, I would get the opportunity to play NBA and NFL 2K, Jet Grind Radio, Virtua Tennis, Sonic Adventure, Power Stone, Crazy Taxi and several more. The Dreamcast was way ahead of its time and was gone way too soon!!!! Long live Dreamcast!!!!

  18. SpartanX360

    You forgot to mention Sonic adventure has the “hot new” version with updated visuals and camera same with Hydro Thunder and MKGold some other titles…

  19. minichapman

    I've only just discovered this channel, and my only regret is I didn't find it sooner. The level of detail and care in just one subject is immense and I look forward to seeing what else you have on offer!

  20. Eexpers

    God im dying for your xbox video of ALL my gaming memories dating back to the genesis NONE outside the original world of warcraft / burning crusade hold a candle to the original xbox.

    while surely the market would have standardized like today the original xbox was the first for many things notably internal storage (no memory cards) and a legitimate online platform (i know not the "first" but it IS the first well thought out planned and executed from the beginning service there's no comparison)

    i was apart of that glorious day 1 launch of xbox live which required the purchase of the mic with mech assault (here's a actual forum thread leading up to the xbl launch the 2 titles were unreal and mech assault but there was no debate: https://forum.beyond3d.com/threads/xbl-launch-mech-assault-or-unreal-championship.2065/

    i remember the rock unveiling it with bill gates which again for the times SHOULD NOT BE OVERLOOKED wrestling was hotter than its ever been you'll probably never see that again

    4 controller ports! when was the last time you saw that? they included breakaway cables too something still not standard on wired controllers

    halo for lan halo 2 online but i sunk wayyyy more time into splinter cell chaos theory online than anything else before patches ruined it (warehouse king)

  21. marcianoacuerda

    Excellent video!. Sega consoles, aside from brazil, weren't very popular in latin america. But the dreamcast was the first you could rent by the hour.

    I remember being disappointed by the lackluster PlayStation version of Capcom vs snk. It felt so dull and cheap. But when I had the chance to play it in a Dreamcast I couldn't wait to grow up and be able to buy one.
    I finally did, although a couple of years behind its heyday. And it's still a great console!!.

  22. Dreyness

    I love CGQ, now that the Dreamcast launch video is out I will be eagerly waiting for "The Launch of the Sony Playstation 2." Also in your opinion, do you think the Dreamcast would have survived longer if it had simply come with a built-in DVD player, do you think it would have been that simple?

  23. The Chosen One

    My goodness, the amount of effort and work that you put into crafting this amazing video just blows my mind. This is exactly why I am subscribed to you Chris, you provide classic gamers with some of the best retro content out there. Amazing video, I give it a 10/10.

  24. Anthony G

    It’s funny how I’m getting Genesis Mini ads for this video. It’s really kind of sad and makes me wonder what could have been if sega never released the 32x or waited on the Saturn release etc.

  25. Dallas Dal

    There is a Demo version of Shemnue called What is Shenmue where you are supposed to find and protect Director Yukawa and when you buy cans of Pop they are Coke products and it says Drink Coke and Drink Coca Cola on the Vending Machines and you can buy Coke, Fanta Orange or Grape and Sprite. Too bad they could not get the rights to the Coca Cola name for the full release.

  26. Brandon Ginsburg

    Props for the length and old print images. This channel should be on cable/dish like the former G4. However, both SegaLordX and you didn't mention the Godzilla game. And I belive VF3 was a JPN launch title too.

  27. Exigentable

    Wtf YouTube didnt tell me about this, sorry man I bet it didnt tell fuckin anyone! Been looking forward to this, cant wait to enjoy the next hour and change of my life, thanks for this CGQ!

  28. gundamzerostrike

    You comparing the F1 game on the DC to the PS1 game is kinda of weird, since, at the time, they were actually shit. The good F1 game were actually on the N64 in the F1 World Grand Prix… In fact, most of the these DC launch games don't look better than N64 titles.

  29. Kevin Nunes

    Well, that was fantastic. Glad to see you back with another amazing retrospect. I love the brief recap starting with the Genesis. While I think most hie hard gamers, especially older guys such as ourselves who were actually there for the glory days of the console wars, it really helps newcomers and younger gamers get a great perspective on the birth of the sadly ill-fated console.

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