Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I have never known a video game system which has received as much love from gamers as the Sega Dreamcast. While many gamers like a system, or like many of the games on that system, or adopt it likes a sports team to become "fanboys" and cheer on their Xbox or Playstations, the Dreamcast is beloved almost as a pet. When they die, I have had friends bury them.

There are several reasons for this. Part of it is that the Dreamcast had a far larger number of classic games than it should have. Part of it is that those games were fun and interesting, and that got transferred to the system to some extent. Part of that is the system's design, which allowed for four controllers instead of two, making party games easier. The graphics card also seemed to be made for bright colors and enthusiastic animation, leading to a fun, cartoony style (a style duplicated to some extend by the Gamecube and Wii.) The system also had its somewhat charming flaws, most notably, it sounded like a small weedwacker when it was spinning CDs. Perhaps most importantly, it was an underdog from the beginning, and within a year, it was clear that it was going to fail financially. That, combined with the quality of the games themselves, made the system something of a cause celebré.

As time has gone by, it's also become lost. The Dreamcast itself was a finicky machine, and wore down fairly regularly. Its games didn't sell enough to be found in used stores for more than a few years afterwards. I'm one of those Dreamcast-lovers, but I haven't played one in five years, or owned one in seven. Many of the games have been ported to other system (like Space Channel 5 to PS2 or Ikaruga and Skies of Arcadia to Gamecube), or have surpassing sequels (like Soul Calibur 2). But some remained unplayable.

It was one of the happiest days in my recent life when I found NullDC. It's a Dreamcast emulator for PC. It works. It works well. Damn well. The interface is a bit clunky, and it doesn't have gamepad support (though 3rd party applications can add that) but...I don't have a Wii. But I have Samba de Amigo again. Actually, I have Samba de Amigo 2000, the Japanese sequel which was never released in the US. And just seeing Jet Grind Radio made me giggle happily, although it'll require more configuration to be playable.

But more than that, just seeing that Dreamcast logo and hearing the sound makes me gleeful. It'll make you happy too, if you have the Dreamcast love.

1 comment:

Renaissance Poet said...

That samba de amigo song is STILL stuck in my head!!!

And we need to get House of the Dead...