Retro Love: Buy a Dreamcast

Sega Dreamcast Logo

It’s been quite some time since I’ve got my brand new, but also (and that’s quite an oxymoron) second hand, SEGA Dreamcast, and let me tell you, I am as happy a punter as one can be. I’m a 100% converted and a newborn SEGA fanboy (well, not a boy in the full sense, but you get the idea… at least I’m not in my thirties just yet). I’m also rather thankful to the Dreamcast Junkyard for fuelling my DC obsession.

All things considered I’m thankful to dear Mr. Elderly too, for providing this blog’s comments space with a healthy dose of Irish surrealism, but that’s definitely none of your business. All you should focus on is buying a Dreamcast (unless of course you already got one, in which case you should consider buying a second). Why? Well, because…

1) It’s a matter of price.

The Dreamcast is dead cheap. You should be able to buy a brand new one for less than 80$ (that’s 60 euros) over at Lik-Sang (try clicking on the banner at the end of the article to see for yourself), or follow my example and buy a second hand one, either at e-bay or at your local second-hand-store-bazaar-whatever for quite a bit less than 50$. And this is paying for a 100% current-gen console.
Sega Dreamcast Console
the Dreamcast (via)

2) It’s the bleeding hardware

It doesn’t only look smart, it is smart. SEGA’s Dreamcast is miles ahead from both the Nintendo 64 and the PlayStation, even though it’s not as powerful as the PS2 or the GameCube. It sports a RISC 128bit CPU capable of 360 MIPS (N64 ~120 MIPS, PS1 ~30 MIPS), a special edition PowerVR2 graphics processor, that can cope with 10 times PS1’s polygons, 16MB of RAM, a 1 Giga “GD-ROM” (aka fancy, fast and easily pirated CD-ROM) drive, brilliant 64 channel audio and a modem. Yes. The first console modem ever. Oh, and European players will apparently enjoy full 60Hz PAL support.

Sega Dreamcast Motherboard

the insides of the beast (via)

3) It’s the brilliant (and admittedly very cheap) games

With more than 300 games, the Dreamcast has something for everyone, except perhaps for us poor football minded maniacs. Most used (and abused) games should be picked up at ridiculous prices of 5-10$ (less in euros, even less in pounds), while published titles include such brilliant gems as Soul Calibur, Rez, Sonic Adventure 2, Rayman 2, Phantasy Star Online, Quake 3 (you might even be able to track down Half-Life), Metropolis Street Racer, Shenmue, Ikaruga, Crazy Taxi 2, Jet Grind Radio and the quite legendary Samba de Amigo.

Soul Calibur - Sega Dreamcast Screenshot

Soul Calibur

 

I could actually go on and mention at least a dozen more distinctive and defining games, but I’d rather mention something else. Dreamcast games are still being produced! Have a look at the 2006 released Under Defeat or the forthcoming Last Hope shooter.

Under Defeat - Sega Dreamcast Screenshot

Under Defeat

4) It’s the innovation and the quirkyness

And I’m talking innovation, beside the Internet connection or the PAL ting. The Dreamcast controller featured a brilliant analog stick, the now-standard shaped triggers and interestingly the Virtual Memory Unit, or VMU. This VMU thingy was far more than a memory stick. It plugged into the controller and used its little LCD screen to display relevant game information or graphics and even was a wee version of Gameboy, as it also functioned as a completely separate portable handheld gaming device (from hell). VMU games can be found right here, but searching and googling around will lead you to quite a few more cyber-stashes.

Sega Dreamcast VMU

the VMU (exposed)

 

As for quirkyness, one could mention the DC Keyboard, the Fishing Rod, the quite new-at-the-time Vibration Pack and above all Dreamcast’s Wii capabilities.

5) It’s the scene

By saying the scene I’m talking of the vibrant DC emulation, demo, homebrew and even amateur journalism community. On the Dreamcast you see, one can play anything from old arcade, to MegaDrive, Amiga, Atari, Gameboy, Playstation or NES games. There’s even a ScummVM port that makes those old Lucasarts adventures of yore DC compatible. Then again one can listen to MP3s, watch DivX videos, see the Dreamcast get pushed to its limits and play zillions of Tetris versions. All of these courtesy of the scene.

To start tasting sweet freeware offerings (you will need DiscJuggler to burn things on CD) try the following links: DCEvolution.net, Dreamcast Homebrew, IGN Dreamcast, Dreamcast @ pout.net.

6) There is no 6

Go on. Buy one! It’s cheap and powerful, but also quite the retro machine. Oh, and the Wii isn’t out yet.

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Konstantinos Dimopoulos

Hi, my name is Gnome, a.k.a Konstantinos and I own the blog Gnome's Lair which is all about gaming in all of its many and varied guises. It is thus about computer & video games, old games, new games, indie games, adventure games, free games, board games, ludology, game creation, RPGs, books on games, games on books, and well the theory of and in games.

29 thoughts on “Retro Love: Buy a Dreamcast

  • July 7, 2006 at 4:17 PM
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    (elderly cheeks turn dadaish) thank you!

    convincing reasons indeed, you charmer you….

  • July 7, 2006 at 4:30 PM
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    The Dreamcast is an incredible machine. If you haven’t already, head over to Retrogaming with Racketboy for a large wealth of DC info =)

  • July 7, 2006 at 6:11 PM
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    don’t forget the most up-to-date dreamcast site dreamcast.dcemu.co.uk

  • July 7, 2006 at 7:38 PM
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    Highly agree. The Dreamcast is indeed an excellent system, for which I have taken for granted in the past. I’m extremelly happy to have one and all my games for it.

  • July 7, 2006 at 7:46 PM
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    amazing post – and thanks a million for the plug. The Dreamcast is a truly great system, altough the slowdown in certain parts of Soul Reaver hints at it’s technical deficiency…

    btw, the People’s Mario thing has gone down a storm over here – all thanks to Gnome’s Lair.

  • July 7, 2006 at 7:54 PM
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    Dadaish cheeks, how very interesting Mr. Elderly. And the agreeing trend goes on… Excellent!

    Thanks for the link Jakanden. And of course same goes to our Anonymous friend.

    Gamer C, I’m glad you too agree 🙂 It’s a nice habit you know… Not bad a hobbit either.

    Don’t mention it Tom… Just elaborate on this people’s Mario thing. I’d like to know 😉

    Cheers for the comments guys!

  • July 7, 2006 at 8:18 PM
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    the only sega console I have not owned is the dreamcast. but gnome you have tempted to me to change that and go hunting on ebay. I cant believe they are still making games for it.

  • July 8, 2006 at 5:28 AM
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    They are also making new games for the Jaguar (CD)… Anyway… Glad I talked you into the DC 🙂

  • July 8, 2006 at 8:40 AM
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    Interesting article Gnome… as always. 🙂

  • July 8, 2006 at 10:24 AM
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    Thanks Tom!

  • July 10, 2006 at 1:41 PM
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    I STILL PLAY ON MY DREAMCAST TO ME ITS THE N1 CONSOLE TOO BAD THEY KILLED IT TOO EARLY IT HAD EVERYTHING eX: RPGS:SKIES OF ARCADIA, DRIVING: TOKYO RACER, OFFICAL PSX EMULATOR:BLEEMCAST, BEATTHEMALL: GUTS SWORD OF BERSERK, PUZZLE: CHU CHU ROCKET, FPS:HALFLIFE1 (UNRELESED BECAUSE OF EARLY KILL BUT GOLD AVAILABLE ON THE NET), HOMBREW AND EMUS: A LOTTTTT, EASY BACKUP BOOT: SOFTWARE BOOT (VERY IMPORTANT SINCE MANY OF MY GDROMS GOT WHITE MUSHROOMS (LIVE NEAR SEA))….EVERYTHING (T_T) TRULLY SAD

  • July 10, 2006 at 4:33 PM
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    Mushroomed GD ROMS must have been quite a sight…. Sort of funny/sad.

    Anyway, thanks for the comment mate, and it seems like we mostly agree, even though Half-Life had terrible loading times and huge save-files…

  • July 11, 2006 at 6:16 PM
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    …….did someone mention mushrooms?

  • July 12, 2006 at 4:29 AM
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    It must have either been Mario or jackkill…

    Not sure who started it though.

    Would you care for some fried mushrooms Mr. Elderly?

  • July 12, 2006 at 7:35 PM
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    never tried em fried, change from dried..though i’ll give you that

    sits down at Gnomes table, thanks Gnome your a pal…..

  • July 13, 2006 at 5:21 AM
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    Don’t mention it. Now pick a sauce.

    (seemslike another f*cked spacebar. Great)

  • July 15, 2006 at 11:51 AM
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    (reaches for brown sauce)

    no not again……whats it with spacebars?

  • July 15, 2006 at 12:50 PM
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    They’re thrice-cursed (from now on) and my sworn enemies.

    On the other hand, I could have bought the marginally more expensive keyboard.

  • July 16, 2006 at 11:18 AM
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    statistically, the mariginally more expensive keyboard was more likely to have taken longer to lose its spacebar functionality, but using murphys law that might not have been the case.

    its obvious your ganinja powers are playing havoc with your spaces….maybe you could “ground” yourself first……

  • July 16, 2006 at 12:07 PM
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    Perhaps you’re right. And somehow I’d managed to forget wise-old Murphy.

    Still… I’ll buy the 8euro one next time…

  • July 16, 2006 at 12:59 PM
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    (brushes keyboards with magic feather duster)

  • July 17, 2006 at 11:40 AM
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    But, but…

    It’s a kind of Magic!

    (cue happy 80s Queen music)

  • July 17, 2006 at 3:25 PM
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    (elderly takes to the floor, pushes couch back agains wall, moves to the groove, soon the ailing keyboard is forgotten as the friends raise the dust in gnomes cottage)

  • July 17, 2006 at 7:02 PM
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    How perfectly suitable an ending…

    🙂

  • October 13, 2006 at 2:37 PM
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    Fantastic post Gnome!
    Itis heartening and satisfying to see our favourite machine sosuitably praised and exalted in such an excellently written and illustrated way!
    Top marks!

  • October 13, 2006 at 3:00 PM
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    Thank you very much father krishna… Now, guess I’ll have to blush all over again…

    🙂

  • October 24, 2006 at 6:51 PM
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    I love my Dreamcast as well. The best part is that it doesn’t require a mod chip to play imports either, just a boot disc.

  • October 24, 2006 at 7:33 PM
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    AND the boot disc is available for free too! Quite a piece of hardware, dear Josh…

    There’s also a version of ScummVM, which makes playing Day of the Tentacle on a nice TV screen quite possible…

    🙂

  • May 4, 2011 at 10:54 AM
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    *sniffle* Liksang
    :'(

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