After 15 Years the Dreamcast is Still Alive and Well
I remember the launch of the Dreamcast on 9/9/99. I had been a Sega fan since the Master System days, but passed on the Saturn because of it's price and opted for a Playstation instead. That changed when Sega announced the Dreamcast. I happily stood in line to pick up my console at midnight, then went home and played Soul Calibur and Sonic Adventure. Then, later that year I spent hours and hours online with Phantasy Star and NFL2K football and loved every minute of game play. Then the Playstation 2 hit and crushed the little white system. I spent months driving from store to store buying Dreamcast games on clearance before they all disappeared. I even went so far as to import Shenmue 2 from the EU so I could play it. Of course, if you had told me then that in 2014 I could still buy new games for the Dreamcast and play my classic games in HD I would have call you a liar. It's like they say, you can't keep a good thing down.
Most gamers probably don't know this, but there are a few people out there still making games for the Dreamcast. Shmups have been a staple of the indie Dreamcast scene for some time. Hucast released DUX 1.0 and 1.5 and are currently working on The Ghost Blade. DUX is a very good game and a great example of what indie developers can do on the Dreamcast. There is even an FPS in the works called SLaVE which should be out in 2015. Just the other day The Dreamcast Junkyard reported that Retro Sumus is working on a detective adventure called AMEBA for the system. It's not unusual to see some indie developers releasing games on long dead systems, but most are on the NES or Atari. To see high quality games released on a disk based 3D system is exciting and says a lot for the quality of the Dreamcast.
You are probably thinking, these games look really cool and exciting but I don't have a system or a big old tube TV to play it on and I don't really want to hook the Dreamcast up to my HDTV and have games look all blurry, smeared and bad. Well, you are in luck because the the Dreamcast was again ahead of its time. You can play the Dreamcast in HD and you can do this a few different ways. There are VGA adapters available for the system. The best one out there is, of course, the official Sega one that is very rare, expensive and hard to find. There are cheap knock off ones that work, but not very well. Now there is a third option, buying a system with a professional VGA adapter built into the system. Justin Capozzelli, has been modding Dreamcast's for several years. He can not only do a standard region free mod, but can hand make a built in VGA adapter in the system. The result is amazing. I have a 3rd party VGA adapter that gets the job done and looks ok in HD, but having the VGA built right into the Dreamcast made a night and day difference. Pair that with an HDMI 1080p upscaler and games look great on an HDTV. I can not recommend Justin enough and his work is superior. He does not make these very often, but if you are interested let him know. He hopes to start making them more regularly. Also, check out his YouTube page to see how the process works. Justin's work isn't the only thing, there are even projects coming that will allow you to add an HDD to your Dreamcast and play games from that, making the system last even longer by not using the disk drive.
With people out there like Justin and Hucast, the Dreamcast lives on and will do so for a while. To this day, it is still my favorite console ever made. I play it once or twice a week and even stream my playthroughs from time to time on our Twitch page. If you have never owned a Dreamcast, do yourself a favor and get one. The library of games is great and are not too expensive. From Shenmue to Jet Set Radio, there is something to interest everyone. The older games still hold up today and there are new games coming in the next year. Even after 15 years, it still seems to be a great time to own a Dreamcast.
Do you have a Dreamcast memory or thoughts about the system? Leave a comment below and share with us!