Watching the success of 2K Sports in recent years, particularly the flagship NBA 2K series has always brought a slight tinge of bittersweetness. Not that the games aren’t great – I’ve faithfully pre-ordered NBA 2K the past 3 years and have always felt the series constantly raises the bar in sports simulation, Freqin & Vibin be damned.
It’s just that seeing the 2K logo on-screen brings back fond – and painful – memories of the first console I have ever owned – the Sega Dreamcast.
Few people know that 2K sports was originally Sega Sports back in 1999, comprising a single development studio Visual Concepts that was eventually sold to Take-Two interactive. NBA 2K was a Dreamcast exclusive, and the game was so far ahead of its time, the competition didn’t matter.
Seeing the 2K logo on-screen brings back fond – and painful – memories.
But for the Dreamcast – the competition did matter. Through a series of management missteps, EA being an asshole, amongst other reasons, Sony’s Playstation 2 crushed the already-flagging console and a little more than 18 months after its launch, the Sega Dreamcast was dead.
Cheesy as it may be though, the memories live on. How Kobe moved – and looked – like Kobe with his fro and footwork in NBA2K. The jaw-dropping gameplay immersiveness of Shenmue (BRING BACK SHENMUE 3). The multi-player madness that was the Power Stone collection. And my goodness , the sheer audacity to launch an MMORPG on a console with Phantasy Star Online – released at a time where we were still moving away from our 56K dial up modems in 1999.
Oh and did I mention its perfect emulation of arcade heavy hitters like Soul Caliber, Virtual Fighter, Virtual Tennis and Crazy Taxi? YA YA YA YA YA!!!!
Make no mistake – it sucks to own a console when the games start drying up. When publishers abandon what is by all accounts an extremely dev-friendly environment (at least more so than the PS2), and you start to see the dwindling, increasingly esoteric release list on gamefaqs.
But that scarcity made me dig deeper into Skies of Arcadia. I spent hours spray-tagging walls on Jet Set Radio. I continued to freak myself out on Resident Evil: Code Veronica (those friggin dogs get me everytime, dammit!).
Also, and I hate to say it, but it was the last time Sonic was great on a console. #SonicAdventureForever
The Sega Dreamcast remains one of the biggest what-ifs in history of gaming. It also made me realise as a young adult that being good in itself not nearly enough to becoming successful. So much goes into making something work that you start to be amazed when things do work at all. *Downs a shot of happy, two shots of sad.*
The Sega Dreamcast remains one of the biggest what-ifs in history of gaming.
The Dreamcast will be remembered and loved, as much for its quirky, cutting-edge games as much as its balls to take on corporate magpies like EA and Sony. It came, it saw, it got punched in the guts and died. The king is dead, long live the king!
If nothing else, the Dreamcast will forever have the greatest start-up screen of all time, and no one can take that away from us.