The Dreamcast has turned ten! Wait? What? Holy good god shit. Where did the last decade go? Wasn’t I just hooking up my Dreamcast and playing Tony Hawk on it for fifteen hours straight? I turn around for like, four seconds, to grab another Pepsi and a decade passes?
Jesus Christ, I must have gray hairs on my balls.
I was pretty stoked on the Dreamcast. To the point that I ended up getting a Japanese one for Christmas of ’98. Way to go parents, and you wonder why I’m a freeloading asshole, totally enabling me and shit.
I remember that Christmas morning, unwrapping the fuck out of my presents to see them sitting there for me: a Dreamcast, and a copy of Sonic Adventure. Language barriers? Get thee to a nunnery, I don’t want to hear about any language barriers!
Isn’t Sonic a universal language? The golden little hoops symbols of light, which we, as idealized innocent little creatures chase endlessly? Isn’t that what life really is, honestly?
Naw, probably not, huh. Kick a hooker and buy some crack!
I can’t roll off the countless hours my friends and I sat in front of Sonic Adventure, rocking the shit out of Dr. Robotnik. It was like that douchebag’s skull was designed for a spiky hedgehog to dance upon it. A Christmas break spent plowing through level after level. Mowing down shitty fast food and playing Primus and Dream Theater too loud. Life was good.
We even played through all the bullshit levels. With Amy Rose and Big the Cat and shit. I’m not sure why cracked out member of SONIC TEAM thought to himself or herself, “Let’s put a fishing game into Sonic”, but they should kick themselves squarely. But we had to. Why? We needed to get Super Sonic, fucking duh!
So there we were. Navigating shitty Amy Rose levels in Japanese, just so we could get to go all Super Saiyan and shit. Of course we did, of course we were victorious.
Sonic Adventure wasn’t the only game that got heavy rotation on my Dreamcast. I shit you not; I probably played my Dreamcast twice as much as I’ve played my Wii or my Gamecube.
Jesus Christ did I burn through hours in Phantasy Star Online. An online RPG, made by Sega, running through my 56k modem. Brilliant. I can still remember the phone wire running awkwardly across my entire room, underneath my beef geek legs and beanbag (not the nut sac variety, for once) and into the console. I think it actually ran better than Battle.net, which isn’t saying much for the time. It was addictive as fuck, and it’s yet another reason I put on like sixty pounds my senior year of high school. If you can think of a better way of spending the month of February than blasting Helloween and swinging swords through dragons and shit, I’m soliciting recommendations.
I’ve got like…at least fifty or so Februaries to go, I could use the tips.
And then there was the Great American Tony Hawk Challenge in the summer of 2000. In the summer of 2000, teenage boredom combined with raw adolescent competition to give way to the biggest measuring of E-Peens I’ve been a part of. Every friend I knew somehow had come across a Dreamcast, and a copy of Tony Hawk.
As an aside, do you remember when Tony Hawk was a must-have? That shit used to be tight. I remember just falling slowly out of love with the series, but goddamn did those first few games hook me.
For reasons I can’t even remember, the challenge was simple: If you can get the highest score on the first level in Tony Hawk, you’re a superior human being. I’m not really sure why it was the first level. It was just understood by all of us. God dammit, it has to be the first level! It’s obvious! You fool!
It was a raging competition that had been born out of the fires of our Crazy Taxi obsession. My dreams were filled with power sliding for hours while picking up douchebags to go to the Gap and shit. That was just the training ground for this electronic cock-measuring extravaganza. Crazy chaining combos, as my friends and I one-upped one another. You better not fucking restart your turn while I’m browsing Square Gamer! I will fucking stab you!
Who won? I have no idea. At some point, it eventually faded into the white noise of life. Left behind in turn for some other obsession. A new game, a new something. We probably picked up drinking, which cut seriously into our gaming time. For…like a week. And then it was gaming again. Losing the brain cells we probably forgot what we were playing and opted for something else.
So I ain’t got nothing but love for the Dreamcast. An underappreciated little system that was shelved too early in lieu of the titanic Playstation 2. But I’m going to remember it forever as the home of Crazy Taxi, Sonic Adventure, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Seaman, Sega Marine Fishing, Tony Hawk, Soulcalibur, Dead or Alive, Phantasy Star Online and on and on and on.
Happy tenth birthday Dreamcast, you beautiful piece of shit.