The Dreamcast
Developer(s) Sega
Release Date(s) Japan
November 27, 1998
North America
September 9, 1999
October 14, 1999
November 30, 1999
PAL region
December 3, 1999
Colors Grey
Units Shipped 10.6 million[1]
Best-selling game Sonic Adventure, 2.5 million[2]

The Dreamcast (ドリームキャスト Dorīmukyasuto) is a video game console developed and initially released by Sega in 1998. The first installment of the sixth generation video game consoles, the Dreamcast reported selling over 10 million units worldwide within its four years of release.

History Edit

The Sega Dreamcast began development in 1997 while the Sega Saturn was nearing the end of its lifespan. Hideki Sato, an engineer under Sega, led a team alongside IBM researcher Tatsuo Yamamoto in order to develop a new gaming platform to outsell the Saturn's competition.

The operating system used by some Dreamcast titles was developed by Microsoft after two years of work with Sega. Optimized by Windows CE supporting DirectX, the Dreamcast was considered creative and innovative, and ahead of its time.

Initially released in Japan in November 1998, the system had already flopped on the Japanese market. However, with the extravagent sales of the U.S. release of the console, the system sold half a million units the first two weeks alone. In total from the launch, the system garnered $132 million USD in sales.[3] Sales from launch only grew rapidly throughout 2000, ahead of its competitors by far. However, with the launch of Sony's PlayStation 2 console, the system began to dwindle in sales.

The Sega Dreamcast was initially discontinued on January 31, 2001, and production of the console ceased in the spring of that year. By the summer of 2002, all regions had shut down production of the Dreamcast.[4]

The system has been recognized as one of Sega's finest hours, being one of its most remembered systems. In addition, to date, the console is still supported through various independent developers and retailers.

Technical specifications Edit

  • CPU: 200 MHz SH-4 with an on-die 128-bit vector graphics engine, 360 MIPS and 1.4 GFLOPS
  • RAM: 16 MB 64-bit 100 MHz main RAM, 8 MB 4 × 16-bit 100 MHz video RAM and 2 MB 16-bit 66 MHz sound RAM; VQ texture compression: 2 bpp or even 1 bpp
  • Graphics: PowerVR2 CLX2 chipset, capable of 7.0 million polygons/second
  • Colours: 16.78 million colors (24-bit)
  • Video: 640 × 480 resolution

VGA adapter Edit

The Dreamcast's VGA adapter allowed the system to dsiplay high-definition graphics.[5] The accessory is appended to the console simply through a separate accessory called the "VGA box," which adds a VGA port near the AV output.[6]

The Dreamcast's VGA was initially part of its hardware, however, certain releases of the console in North America in Europe feature

Visual Memory Unit Edit

The Visual Memory Unit of the Sega Dreamcast sported a monochrome LCD screen which was featured on a standard Dreamcast controller. Sega eventually released a 4X memory card, but these cards did not have the VMU screen or stand-alone abilities, but they had four times the space due to the switch between four 200-block sectors.

Accessories Edit

Arcade Stick Edit

Using similar assemblies as commercial arcade machines, Sega designed the Arcade Stick controller to be used for games that resemble those of classic arcade titles.

Dreameye Edit

The Dreameye add on to the Dreamcast featured a new digital camera to the system. This accessory was only released in Japan, however.

Fishing Rod Edit

The fishing rod accessory of the Sega Dreamcast was one of the few accessories during its time that was built with motion controls. Few games were released to be used with the fishing rod:

  • Bass Rush Dream (only released in Japan)
  • Lake Masters Pro (only released in Japan)
  • Reel Fishing: Wild (Fish Eyes Wild in Japan)
  • Sega Bass Fishing (Get Bass in Japan)
  • Sega Bass Fishing 2 (Get Bass 2 in Japan)
  • Sega Marine Fishing

Light guns Edit

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Microphone Edit

The Sega Dreamcast's microphone accessory was released to be used alongside version 2.6 of the Planetweb web browser. Several other games such as Alien Front Online and Seaman were released that used it. The microphone accessory made the Dreamcast the second console to use voice recognition software in Japan, the first being Nintendo's Nintendo 64 and Hey You, Pikachu!.

Mouse and keyboard Edit

The Dreamcast was known for its successful web-browser accessory. In order to accommodate the web-browser, Sega released an official set of a mouse and keyboard to be used with the Sega Dreamcast system.

References Edit