Dreams Never Die
Ken takes a look at Sega's ill-fated system, ultimately picking up a second lease on life...
Article by Ken Horowitz (Email)
January 7th 2005, 03:53AM
Many people might be quick to downplay the importance of these recent releases, citing each of the aforementioned title’s availability on the Playstation 2, Xbox, or GameCube. However, there’s no denying that Sega’s little white box still has a spark left in it, a spark that is slowly but surely being fanned into a bonfire through new releases and the ever growing homebrew scene.
For example, if you head on over to the Senile Team web site, you can download their amazing homebrew game Beats of Rage. Based on the classic beat-‘em-up franchise which ran three games on the Sega Genesis, it uses sprites and backgrounds from SNK’s King of Fighters series. All it takes is a decent internet connection and a blank CD-R to partake in perhaps the most professionally made homebrew release to date. A top notch job that runs smooth as butter, the game had me reminding myself on more than one occasion that it was a free download. The first big homebrew release for the Dreamcast, it not only set a high standard for later works but has also been made available for use in the design of other mods. Already, several beat-‘em-ups based on the engine are ready for download, including games featuring characters from Mega Man, Final Fight, Caveman Ninja, Road Rash, and even Day of the Tentacle. Demand has been so great for games using the engine (Beats has already been downloaded more than a quarter of a million times) that a collection has been organized featuring the original and the five most popular mods, all available in a single download.
(Pictured l. to r. Beats of Rage, Chaos Field)
It doesn’t stop there, either. Other teams have continued to release original titles and emulators. Moreover, a portable version of the console (called the Treamcast) is available in Hong Kong and features an LCD screen, a la the PSone. Folding snuggly on top of console, the whole package comes in a neat little nylon case. Sure, it infringes upon about a half dozen copyrights but think of the possibilities!
It’s hard to believe that four long years have passed since Sega officially announced the discontinuation of the Dreamcast. The continuous trickle of new releases and the homebrew activity have kept it in the public eye far longer than anyone expected and it’s almost a guarantee that it will enjoy a long life as a platform for up and coming programmers to create and share their work. It’s been a fun ride so far and it can only get better from here.