Dreamcast's UK Birthday


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DDevil
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So October 14th marks the 10th anniversary of the Dreamcast's launch in the UK. I've decided to write an article for my blog about the Dreamcast's "adventures" in the UK/Europe (and if it's good enough, I'll submit it for here too).

So far I've drawn up a time line of significant events, including the first week UK sales figures for the Dreamcast... But I want more, to give me some meat to pick and choose from.

What do you guys remember about the DC in the UK? Are they any cool tidbits I should know? Other sales figures in particular would be most welcome as I'm having trouble tracking them down.
#1 at 12:18:31 - 07/10/2009
billdoor
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I remember loads...

...I had one on pre order from Special Reserve but was in the middle of my accountancy exams at the time so I put it aside after opening it and playing Sonic for ten minutes to make sure it worked okay.

At the time it was a massive step up from what was available on the PS1, games were so crystal clear and well animated it was nothing short of awesome. Stuff like Soul Calibur simply blew my mind away although I never got to grips with Powerstone in either of its incarnations.

Looking at my bookcase now, I have more DC games than I do any other format save the 360, and thats only due to EA support on the 360.

Racketboy has a good (US-centric) history of the console on his website.
#2 at 12:29:28 - 07/10/2009
Binky
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Chu Chu Rocket!
That game above all else sticks in my head. Had brilliant battles against my (now wife) on that on release day. The music still makes me smile.

As with Saturn, Dreamcast was a day one buy for me. Splooged loads of Saturday job cash on getting that on launch. I'm tryring hard to remember what games I had to go with it. Sonic Adventure, Sega Rally2 and PowerStone I think.

Crazy Taxi
Soul Calibur
Jet Set Radio
MSR
NightMare Creatures 2 (the mrs LOVED this)
NBA2K

All spent a LOT of time in my DC. Good times.
#3 at 12:36:10 - 07/10/2009
JimJam
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I got mine for my birthday the following March, with Soul Calibur, Crazy Taxi, Sonic, JSR and DOA2. Amazing system, and the one I had the most games and hardware for. 2 lightguns, mouse and keyboard for Quake 3 Arena, full Samba De Amigo box, etc. It all ended up in a box in the loft though due to space issues, so I ended up selling about £2k worth of kit for £180 on ebay a few years ago as a job lot. Still, that introduced me to the EG forums, as someone linked to my auction from a thread there, and by extension that led me to this fine establishment !
#4 at 12:53:12 - 07/10/2009
peej
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Crazy Taxi and Soul Calibur sold it to me straight away, and I picked mine up with both. Mostly, what I can remember is that for a short while it looked like it might revive Sega's fortunes, particularly when third parties started to develop a lot of stuff for it.

Course, the rest is history, Codies dropped it, EA never bothered with it, and the PS2 came along and put it in the ground - which was a great shame because out of all the retro machines sitting under my telly, the DC's the only one that really gets a regular fire up and playing with.

Best memory of the thing was probably the hours I spend playing Metropolis Street Racer's fantastic frisco tracks, which have been conspicuous by their absence from racing games for FAR too long
#5 at 16:16:05 - 07/10/2009
Mapster
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The dc was he first to give uk gamers the full speed, full screen 60hz experience. Not all games had it to start with, virtual fighter 3tb, sega rally and powerstone all lacked it if memory serves me right.

Later, it soon became pretty much standard and the saga of crap NTSC to pal conversions was consigned to history.

It shouldn't be underestimated how important the above move by sega was, as nintendo had absolutely no intention of ever doing similar, but after the DC everyone else followed.

Thank you Sega!
#6 at 16:51:14 - 07/10/2009
Mapster
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On a personal note the dc retains a special place in my heart over and above every other console. It remains the console for which I have the largest collection of games and peripherals which includes 95 pal titles and a shedload of imports.

Phantasy star online sucked 100's of hours out of my life and is just one of many brilliant gaming memories.

Awesome machine with awesome games, a really truly innovative console in so many ways.
#7 at 17:02:15 - 07/10/2009
billdoor
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The fact that you can dl iso's of most of the games makes it very accessable as a retro machine too. I have a big catalogue of UK games but also a load of CDR's of import stuff like Ikaruga, Last Blade 2, JoJos whateveritis Adventure and so on.
#8 at 11:58:50 - 08/10/2009
peej
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Never really looked into the ISO side of stuff but I'd be interested in doing so, sometime. There's still a lot of games on the thing that I never got round to playing.

One thing I'm NOT missing are those fucking boxes. If ever a company produced a game box that instantly self-destructed the minute you peeled the seal off, it was Sega with those GD Rom boxes. They were properly shite!
#9 at 12:20:35 - 08/10/2009
billdoor
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None of mine are broken :p which is more than I can say for all the Saturn games I've bought on ebay, those boxes are 2nd only to the shite SNES cardboard boxes in terms of poor durability.
#10 at 12:29:45 - 08/10/2009
peej
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I used to get a lot of preowned so I did have a lot more of the really fucked up boxes.

Most of the bought-at-release stuff I've got is mint though.

N64 and SNES boxes were so rubbish though, I mean those things were better than silica gel for soaking up moisture and turning to a nasty spongy mess.
#11 at 12:50:34 - 08/10/2009
DDevil
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I've put a couple of hours into this today. 500 words in so far, and I've only just got to the UK launch...

Still to write:
Why EA didn't support the DC
Perhaps something on why Codies dropped the DC
Those fucking games cases!
Best UK games releases.
Stuff that never made it over here (like different console colours).
Significant events in the fall of the DC (like Half-Life's delay and cancellation).
The end in the UK.
And a bit on the Dreamcast since 2003, which was when the last servers were switched off.

Phew, it's gonna be a long one - I'm wondering if I should have started sooner on this. It's my 30th birthday on Sunday, so I'll be a bit pushed for time... Still, I have Friday, Monday and Tuesday to go. I'm positive though, I'm happy with what I have written so far.
#12 at 14:13:57 - 08/10/2009
peej
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It's a massive subject and hats off to you for even attempting to tackle it. Whenever I start off a bit of rose-coloured console gazing I usually realise what a mammoth task it is, and bin the article before it's even got halfway.

I used to subscribe to the Official DC magazine, and I remember their section on what was happening with the DC in japan, and remember all the stuff that never made it over here so that'll be interesting reading.

One thing's for sure, you've made me want to dig mine out again for its quarterly dusting, distate at the horrible colour it's gone (even though I don't smoke and it's not stored in direct sunlight it's still taken on that horrible nicotine-stained-yellow tint) and probably a hunt for a VMU that still works.
#13 at 14:17:12 - 08/10/2009
DDevil
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I think looking at games that never made it over here would be suicidal... Maybe one or two significant ones. I'm thinking more about hardware and mad-arse peripherals though.
#14 at 14:32:12 - 08/10/2009
peej
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Aye tis true.

One of the things that's always fascinated me about the DC is quite WHY the PS2 put it in the ground. The Playstation 2's initial bunch of releases were bloody awful, whereas comparable DC stuff was at the point where developers were really getting a handle on the beast's inner workings and producing some amazing stuff for it.

#15 at 15:39:27 - 08/10/2009
billdoor
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:) I just found my Amazon review of DOA2 on the DC: DOA2, 19 Aug 2000
#16 at 15:39:33 - 08/10/2009
JimJam
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peej said:Aye tis true.

One of the things that's always fascinated me about the DC is quite WHY the PS2 put it in the ground. The Playstation 2's initial bunch of releases were bloody awful, whereas comparable DC stuff was at the point where developers were really getting a handle on the beast's inner workings and producing some amazing stuff for it.



Agreed - but Sony did some very clever marketing with the PS2 in Japan and the States, and by the time it got over here it was unstoppable.

1) People at the time fell for the E3 'in-game footage' stuff pre-launch, along with all the polygon-pushing numbers. In reality the architecture was even more convoluted than the PS3 and took a lot of time and effort to get good results.

2) Providing built-in DVD playback to a market (Japan) where standalone players were still very expensive, and offering that functionality in the West for a kid's bedroom.

3) Either through luck, lack of confidence in Sega, or an enormous amount of cash, managing to get the two biggest Western multi-platform publishers to essentially go exclusive.

4) Getting other publishers to drop Dreamcast versions of games by offering them money that Sega didn't have.

I think if Sega had been more financially buoyant they could have kept hold of a few of the multi-platform titles that would have sold a lot of systems for them. They wasted a lot of marketing money though.
#17 at 17:21:23 - 08/10/2009
billdoor
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That pesky T-Rex and the supercomputers in Iraq story have a lot to answer for.
#18 at 17:27:26 - 08/10/2009
DDevil
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EA not supporting the DC helped a hell of a lot. FIFA (and Madden in the US) holds a lot of sway with people.
#19 at 19:34:58 - 08/10/2009
JimJam
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Exactly - when the big after pub games became exclusive to the PS2, that was the beginning of the end. If you remember, EA didn't support the Xbox for quite a while after it launched either.
#20 at 19:38:47 - 08/10/2009
Binky
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I recall that in my interview for my job at EA, I blamed EA for the death of Dreamcast outright.

I got the job.
#21 at 11:22:22 - 09/10/2009
JimJam
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Binky said:I recall that in my interview for my job at EA, I blamed EA for the death of Dreamcast outright.

I got the job.


Good for you Binky - they probably agreed, and were grateful that someone who was honest and forthright had applied for the job !
#22 at 12:17:32 - 09/10/2009
DDevil
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I doubt the Japanese consumers gave a fuck about EA. Might explain why it lasted that much longer over there, even after production of the console stopped.

Glad I'm concentrating on the west though :-D
#23 at 12:46:05 - 09/10/2009
peej
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At that point I didn't give a fuck about EA either, but was pretty miffed when Colin McRae Rally 3 got dropped by Codemasters.

It was a really quick snowball effect and the official DC mag just became filled with reports of games that had their development halted.

Such a pity.

DD - not surprised you're keeping things "westernised" - the Japanese DC back catalogue is gigantic and bizarre to say the least.
#24 at 12:58:41 - 09/10/2009
billdoor
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#25 at 13:09:50 - 09/10/2009
Sillothian
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My favourite DC game was Le Mans 24 Houurs.

This is the one of the best racing game I have ever played. The graphics were excellent, the handling model superb and the ai was spot on.

It has features that you still don't see in many modern racers.

Proper dynamic weather. Here the weather actually could change during the race. Now you had an added element of challenge to your race. Do you risk staying out on slicks hoping that it is only a shower? How far can you push your wet tyres on a drying track? Why no other developer has bothered to include dynamic weather in their games is a mystery to me.

Tyre wear and fuel usage. We see this in many games, but here you could increase the usage rate to force one or multiple pit stops even on short races. Combined with the fact that the ai actually used a variety of pit strategies (though none dumb enough to cost them good position) added an extra level of tension to the races.

I loved Le Mans and it is the only game that makes me regret trading in my DC many moons ago.
#26 at 13:36:10 - 09/10/2009
peej
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Twas awesome wasn't it. We managed to stay up all night to do the big and proper 24 hour challenge, doing it in shifts - course back on the DC there were no real achievements for doing so but the state of the house after that was over with made it look like a bunch of MMO poopsockers had moved in :)
#27 at 14:04:05 - 09/10/2009
DDevil
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Woah, I had Le Mans 24 hours. A free promo copy... I think I threw it away recently - I never played it :-D

edit: Anyway, I'm keeping it mostly UK-centric as so much has been written about the Dreamcast in Japan and the US, and far better than I could ever manage. Keeping mainly to the UK and Europe let's me write "at my level".

Anyway, 1,338 words in and I'm close to finishing. Sadly I have stuff to do so it shall wait until Monday now. I'm really pleased with my work and look forward to a critical mauling :-p
#28 at 14:18:12 - 09/10/2009
Sillothian
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DDevil said:Woah, I had Le Mans 24 hours. A free promo copy... I think I threw it away recently - I never played it :-D


;_;
#29 at 14:33:47 - 09/10/2009
DDevil
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It's up, you've got the choice of AATG or my blog.

My blog has pretty pictures as well :-p
#30 at 11:47:18 - 14/10/2009

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