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40 Years of Gaming

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Sega Dreamcast

Sega Dreamcast
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The mid to late 1990s was a ground-breaking time for home video gaming and we perhaps didnt realise at the time how privileged we were to experience it. There was an arms race for better graphics and more innovative game play and increasing competition within the industry which ultimately lead to a general reduction in price. Many of the early pioneers in home video gaming consoles were struggling to meet this growing demand and the ever-increasing expectations of the average home gamer. This certainly was the case for SEGA and there is no better example than the Dreamcast.

The Dreamcast, the first of the sixth generation, 128-bit gaming consoles was released in Europe in October 1999 with a retail price of £200. It was reported by BBC at the time as Sega Dreamcast to spark price war commenting that the unit would have the lowest ever release price for new generation gaming technology. It launched with its trusty mascot in Sonic Adventures, and whilst the game was generally well received by dedicated fans, this quirky little hedgehog had lost some of its appeal, certainly in the west. The general gaming population where growing up fast and many fans of the original Sonic the Hedgehog were entering their raucous teenage years and early twenties and were looking for something a bit more graphic.

The Dreamcast would be a first in so many ways, first 128-bit system, first to offer built in internet capability, but in this world of rapidly evolving home entertainment, first to market would not be to SEGAs advantage. The Company spent a reported $500 million developing the console and a further $150 million marketing the unit across the US and Europe. By this time Sony had secure 75% of the £1.5 Billion UK market and the price of the PS1 had been reduced to less than £70, with access to a catalogue of around 1,000 games.

Looking back today, the writing appeared to be on the proverbial wall, from the beginning of the Dreamcast project.

The history books will show that the general availabilty of the Dreamcast lasted only 3 short years and in January 2001 SEGA announced it was terminating its production. This would be the last of SEGAs mainstream home video gaming consoles, a must for any retro gaming collector. Still, nobody can say of SEGA that they went down without a fight and it is thanks to their tenacity and pure love of video gaming that we have such a vibrant retro gaming community today.

I was not one of the 9.13 million people that bought the Dreamcast at the time and added this unit quite recently. The model no. reads HKT-3030 and its in good condition, is boxed and has 2 original controllers (each with a visual memory unit), rumble packs and a keyboard.

Its still a very pleasurable experience to sit down today and play a few hours on the Dreamcast. Other than the obvious gulf in game titles, the Dreamcast is clearly a better console than the PS1, but does not quite match the PS2 for general power.

The games collection is growing slowly as follows (11 in total):

Aerowings, Chu Chu Rocket, Fantasy Online, Headhunter, Quake III, Soldier of Fortune, Sonic Adventures, Star Wars Episode I Jedi Power Battles, Toy Racer, Ultimate Fighting Championship, WWF Attitude

Things I am on the lookout for:

- Arcade Stick
- Sega Rally 2
        

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