Next we have Sega’s penultimate console, the Dreamcast, oh what a story.
After the not-so-successful Sega Saturn, Sega made another console known as the Dreamcast and it would make graphics more advanced than ever, at the time of 1998 (or 1999 if you lived outside Japan), the PlayStation and the Nintendo 64 still existed and when the Dreamcast came out, everyone saw the graphics and looked as advanced as the PC. As it turned out after doing some research, despite Sega saying that it’s a 128 bit system, it’s actually not, this is a 32-bit OS with a 128-bit graphics capability running on a 32-bit CPU. So they lied out of their backsides, the PS2 would be the first 128-bit console. It went on for a few years, but I think Sega were biting off more than they could chew since they were making another sequel console to the Saturn, at a time when people just got introduced to it, Sega made Shenmue I and II, two of the most expensive games Sega ever developed and it hurt them pretty badly, sales weren’t doing well and Sega tried to find ways of making it successful again and it worked with having strong support and good sales…but then it was assassinated by one new console simply knows as the Sony PlayStation 2.
In 2000 The PlayStation 2 just out right killed the Dreamcast, and thus Sega lost so much money that not only did it discontinue the console in 2001, but it had to shut down it’s hardware department and Sega had to turn their business into the third-party developer we know today, with Nintendo, Sony and even Microsoft picking Sega up from the floor, Sega will never be the same again. But the story doesn’t end there for the unfortunate console as not only are there a plethora of homebrew games released but independent developers, as of 2014, are still making proper games for it and published independently by GOAT Store Publishing and RedSpotGames, I’d recommend checking them out if you want more games to play.
The console’s design is a lot better than the Sega Saturn, it’s white, it’s small, it might have weight to it this time around, but it’s advanced hardware like a PC. It’s controller is not that great, whilst the analog stick is ok, not a problem with that and the buttons are functional, there should have been a second analog stick, this was released after the PlayStation and that had two analog sticks if you brought one of those, and a normal controller has the wire sticking on top of the controller, this Dreamcast controller has it at the bottom, it can be a little irritating, but it doesn’t bother me all the time.
But the one thing I haven’t talked about was the VMU (Visual Memory Unit), well that’s the American name, Europe was VM (Visual Memory, though we still called it VMU) and Japan was called the VMS (Visual Memory System), this device is connected into the controller, it can be used as a memory card to save games but it can do more. It has in-game features for some of the games like Daytona USA, on the screen it shows a steering wheel in game while driving, Dino Crisis shows you your remaining health and ammo count and then there is the Power Stone games that enable you to play mini-games. I find it to be innovative for its time, it does saving and other features too, but I never use it to play the minigames on it, the batteries drain way too fast and not all games don’t use it anyway. But do you know what the best thing about this console is…importing games for it is so easy, you just need to make a boot disk you can get on the Internet for free, burn it into a disc and that’s it, I’ve only tried it with homebrew games so far but it proves that it works.
Overall, it’s a pretty good console but it has flaws that make it almost perfect for the time, it could have been one of the best consoles of its time if it didn’t have the faults but I’d still recommend it because it’s a console that’s still cheap to buy, I got mine at a game shop for £15, that’s still great value for money, even the games can go around for cheap so there’s no reason not to get it.