The Dreamcast will always have a special place in my heart. I considered myself a hardcore gamer well before its announcement, but it wasn’t until the Summer before the Dreamcast launched that I realized gaming would be part of my identity for the rest of my life.
The announcement of Sega’s triumphant return to the console market came out of nowhere and then felt as if it was everywhere all at once. Everyone was talking about it. It was going to be powerful. It would have a built in modem for online gaming. They were calling it Dreamcast! To this day I’ve yet to hear a better name for a gaming console. Sega fanboys were back with a roar, and the gaming community at large was reinvigorated with new flame wars.
There was something special about the Dreamcast. Perhaps it was the name, or the startling specs that could emulate arcades perfectly. Or maybe I just realized this was Sega’s last hurrah. But it stirred something in me. I obsessed over every detail, I analyzed every marketing move they made. I’d sit on my bed with a box of gaming magazines and pour over every detail, every interview, every screenshot. I learned how the console was made, how the heat sink kept the console cool, how it was upgradeable. I ate, slept, and breathed the Sega Dreamcast during that time.
Eventually, the realization hit me that I’d need to find a way to pay for my new obsession and I decided it was time to get my first job. Luckily for me, George Lucas was about to begin the most expensive trolling campaign the world had ever seen in Star Wars Episode 1, and that left lots of movie theaters desperate for help. I walked into a theater with 30 others applicants and we were all hired on the spot. Ladies and gentlemen, I now had corporate funding.
The rest of the Summer was spent putting money away, buying magazines that had the Dreamcast on the cover, and arguing with anyone within earshot about why Sega was going to make its comeback.
And then finally, the launch day was here. September 9, 1999 was significant for two reasons. First and more importantly it was the launch date for the Dreamcast of course, but it was also my first day of my senior year in high school. So like any self-respecting gamer, I lied to my mother, told her school didn’t start for us seniors until September 10th. We were special, and blah blah blah, given my situation it wasn’t a hard lie to tell to be honest and I’ve never once regretted it.
So that morning I woke up bright and early, and had my friend Victor drive me to the local EB where my Dreamcast was being held hostage. We pulled up to the mall, I got out, and 15 minutes later I returned to make my getaway with my brand new Dreamcast, an extra controller, two VMU units, two rumble packs, and five games; Sonic Adventure, Power Stone, Trickstyle, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing, and of course Soulcalibur.
When he dropped me off back at my house I wasted no time running up to my room and opening everything up. I hooked up the console, read through the manual a few dozen times, played all my games, and basically had some nice one on one time with my new baby. It sounds geeky and it was but I tell you, it’s one of my fondest memories in gaming. It was finally here. It was surreal in a way, all those months of waiting and wanting finally culminated that day and it was everything I thought it would be. A dream. Later on that day my friends came over after school and it was a great nightcap to a perfect day. Hanging out with friends, taking turns against each other, oohing and aahing at the shiny new graphics. It didn’t get better than that, and as I write this 14 years later, I’m not sure it ever will. Thanks for the memories SEGA.