On September 9th, 2009, we will have the tenth anniversary of the North American launch of the Sega Dreamcast. It’s a system that remains a fan favourite, even though it was the death knell for Sega as a hardware supplier. It might even surprise many of you that even though Sega no longer supports the Dreamcast, games are still being published by developers who love the system and want to provide an alternative to today’s “next-gen” systems.
A few years ago we did a piece called Sega’s Last Scream which was a look back at the Dreamcast and some of our favourite games for it. Each September around the Dreamcast’s launch date, we’ve re-run it because it’s proven to be quite popular and because Bebito (our head of PR) and I are huge fans of the system. This year however, I wanted to do something quite different. I wanted to do something fresh and let our newer staff members have a chance to wax poetically about the Dreamcast. As such, for each day of September we will be highlighting a different Dreamcast game and giving you an in-depth look at it.
There are a couple things you should know about this piece:
As much as I love my Dreamcast and use it far more than my Xbox 360, it’s not without its faults. It wasn’t just amazingly gross stupidity from Sega’s marketing and management divisions that killed the Dreamcast. No, it had its share of god awful games as well. One of the things that has always bothered me when other gaming sites do a retrospective on a dead system is that they rarely cover bad or even mediocre games. No, it’s just rose tinted glasses all around with a look back at only the best and brightest that console had to offer. We’re guilty of that too, and that’s why this time we’re running the gamut from awesome games to games that helped contribute to the death of the system. We’ll cover games that were mediocre and possibly best left forgotten and games that might have been hailed as good once but have not stood the test of time. The only fair way to look back at a system is if you talk about the highs, the lows and everything in between. We hope to do that here.
In 2007, we praised games like Last Hope, Karous and Trigger Heart Excelica. In 2008, I reviewed Wind and Water Puzzle Battles. Just last month I reviewed the newest 2009 release for the Dreamcast, a fun little shooter called Dux. As such, there is no need to cover these again. You can go read those full reviews elsewhere on our site. Diehard GameFAN prides itself on covering the full range of modern releases, and not just A level games with a huge marketing budget, so rest assured, we WILL cover every Dreamcast game that is released as they are released. We recognize the system still has titles published for it, and we want to make sure that you know it too.
You know what I’m talking about. Sonic Adventure. Crazy Taxi. Shenmue 2. Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. The list goes on and on, but if you can already play the game exactly as you would have on the Dreamcast, then why devote a “Day of Dreamcast” to one of those? As such, we’re looking at console exclusives, because those always define a system. There are two almost exceptions to the rule, but as those games are noticeably different in terms of quality and content from their GCN and/or PS2 ports, we decided to allow them.
I recognize that as this is the tenth anniversary of the Dreamcast, many gaming sites are going to be putting together half-assed “specials” on the Dreamcast. Those articles will end up covering the same few titles over and over again, giving readers who didn’t get to play the system a very bad impression of the Dreamcast: that there were only a few good titles and that the library was exceedingly small. Not here. With “30 Days of Dreamcast” we’re going to be looking at forgotten classics and obscure titles lost to the sands of time. This is meant to remind you of games you might have loved but forgot about over the past decade. It’s also meant to warn retrogamers about which titles to stay far away from.
Look, I love Segagaga. I think it’s the most important title in the history of Sega as a company. It is an amazing game that basically is one giant thank you to Sega’s longtime fans and a giant middle finger to Sony. Hell, the original version of the game was so insane, it was censored by Japan and had to be re-released, albeit slightly toned tone. When Japan of all freakin’ nations censors something, you know there has to be something bloody weird and amazingly special on that disc. However, it’s never been released in the US and the print run was staggeringly low to begin with. I also realize I’m one of the few journalists out of any major sites to actually play through and beat the game multiple times, let alone once. I had my five or six pages on the game in “Sega’s Last Scream”. Let’s leave it there, because otherwise I’d just be rehashing myself and doing a disservice to that original piece and our audience.
Out of the 30 games we will be covering in September, only seven games are repeats from Sega’s Last Scream. Of those seven, three of those pieces only received a paragraph of commentary, where here they are getting full length reviews and commentary. Of the four that did get in-depth pieces years ago, three of them are by new writers and are far more in-depth. Again, they’re getting full reviews instead of a page of commentary. The only one that has received lengthy commentary both times was a game I talked about both times, and because it was such a piece of history for two companies coming together, I felt it needed to be covered.
Still, this means you won’t see Ikaruga, Bangai-O, Samba Di Amigo, Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram, SegaGaga, Soul Calibur, Power Stone, any incarnation of Street Fighter III, or the like here.
Yes, even with all these restrictions, we still managed to have thirty different in-depth pieces for the month. It’s our hope that you’ll stay with us for the entire month of September, waiting to see which game we cover each day. That you’ll join in the discussion with fellow gamers about the title and your own memories of the games we cover, be they good or bad. Most of all, this month of Dreamcast is meant to remind you all that, even if they weren’t still releasing between one and three games a year for Sega’s final system, it’s not dead. No system is truly dead if you keep it out, take good care of it and still play games on it. The Dreamcast is still alive in the hearts of millions of games as well as publishers and developers around the world. I hope you’ll join some of those people all this month here at Diehard GameFAN as we present 30 Days of Dreamcast.
-Alexander Lucard, Editor in Chief