The Dreamcast might be dead, but in many ways, its legacy is still going on. Not only have many features survived and a lot of innovations found a new place in the current generation, but the games themselves also just keep coming back. Hit the jump to see just how big the influence of Dreamcast still is up until today.
When the Wii U was shown off for the first time at this year’s E3, one of my very first thoughts was that this is actually the missing link: The last feature that was Dreamcast exclusive has found its way into a mainstream console. I’m talking of course about the VMU, the memory card with a screen that you put into the Dreamcast controller, giving you a second screen that displays extra information and the like. You could even take it with you in order to play certain mini-games. This was a great feature that didn’t find it’s way into the more current console generations up until now and I wonder whether or nor Nintendo took some inspiration from Sega when they designed the Wii-U controller.
Of course, that isn’t the first feature to find its way into other consoles. While the Sega Saturn already had some form of Online-gaming, the Dreamcast took it a step further by implementing a modem and featuring the first console MMORPG, Phantasy Star Online Episode 1 and 2. Online gaming now is a feature that is essential to console gaming, since the original Xbox introduced Xbox-Live, but it was the Dreamcast that effectively pioneered that area. Another technical innovation in terms of graphics, Cell-Shading also took one of its first steps on the Dreamcast with games like Jet Set Radio
It isn’t all about technical features though. Many Dreamcast games have become proper legends all by themselves and some are being re-released. Right after Sega went out of the Hardware business, they ported quite a lot of those games to other consoles. Space Channel 5 found a new home on the PS2, while Skies of Arcadia and Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 found a new home on the Gamecube. Crazy Taxi has been ported all over the place and Shenmue 2 got a release on the Xbox. Download-platforms make things even easier: Ikaruga and other Shoot’em ups found a new home there, while Sega is releasing some of their classics for the new platforms too. ChuChu-Rocket was a perfect fit for portable devices and by this, entirely new generations get introduced by the gaming goodness that the Dreamcast once featured. It’s also important to note that to this day, small developers still create games for the platform, since it is well explored in technical terms.
When in some decades, the last Dreamcast will die, Sega can still be proud of their last console: It left a bigger impact on the videogame industry than a lot of other, more successful consoles. The end of the Dreamcast isn’t a tragedy or bitter, its influence reaches out way further than anyone can imagine right now, because we can’t imagine how videogame scholars and historians will look upon it in years to come. Even if we only learn from its mistakes, it will be a lesson well learned.