You can tell this was one of my active systems when I took this photo – it lived the good console life longer than it had any right to. I have two Dreamcasts; a Japanese and a US model, although the Japanese model is now redundant given the various boot disks that were released late in the system’s life. Pictured above is my US system – when I want to play an import game (say, Ikaruga), I just use a boot disk.
Here are the boxes for both systems:
I like the understated Japanese box; the US box is okay but I always thought it was overdesigned for a game console. A bit too high-concept, with the blurry image and whatnot. Japanese system boxes are often very simple like this.
I love the Dreamcast; it’s one of my favorite systems of all time. It really was a shame that the public never took to it; it was probably the last of the truly hardcore arcade gamer systems. You could almost see an era changing right before your eyes, from the arcade-based simple pick-up-and-play style that had defined console gaming from the beginning, to the newer, more complex, more violent genres that would become so popular on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The Dreamcast was the last of a breed.
These days, a lot of the Dreamcast’s best games have been either remade, ported, or sequelized on the PS2 or Xbox (or even GameCube, in Ikaruga’s case). So some of what made it so unique and essential has worn off, but there are still some real lost gems out there, like the Treasure-developed Bangaio, Capcom shooters and fighting games such as Power Stone, Project Justice, Tech Romancer, Mars Matrix and Giga Wing 2, Sega’s own Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram and the original Jet Set Radio and Crazy Taxi (both of which are superior to their Xbox sequels).
One thing I disliked about the system was its reliability. Dreamcasts had a common problem where their laser would get out of alignment and the system would no longer read discs. It happened to me – that’s actually my second US system up there. The first is dead. Fortunately, you can find used Dreamcast systems loose for about $10 – that’s what I paid for mine.
I do still play my Dreamcast quite a bit, although it’s no longer active in my a/v rack.