Sega’s final home console, the Sega Dreamcast launched September 9th, 1999 (9/9/99) in North America. The console received much critical praise, and is still one of the most beloved game consoles, despite its short 3 year life. There are multitude of reasons why the Dreamcast, and ultimately the Sega of old ended the way they did. That is not the focus of this piece- not to examine its martyr like demise, but to celebrate a true game console, that lived and died with a fantastic library at its side. It’s no coincidence that my first look at video game collecting here on A Gaming Genesis is about the Sega Dreamcast, its ultimately my favorite video game console of all time, as well home to my loftiest goal as a game collector. What could such a lofty goal be? To own a complete copy of every NTSC (North America) Dreamcast game released. There were approximately 250 games released for the Dreamcast in North America, it’s not a small number, but it’s doable, especially when compared to other consoles, like the Nintendo Gamecube, which despite poor sales, still had upwards of 600+ games released! There were also 17 titles released in the “Sega All-Stars” line of re-releases. Essentially a greatest hits line, they featured an orange spine, and orange on the box art, versus the white / black of other games. I plan to get those as well.
While owning every North American Dreamcast game is the biggest goal for Dreamcast collecting, it won’t end there. I would also love to add PAL (Europe) exclusives games into the mix, thankfully, there aren’t many games that were only released in PAL territories for the Dreamcast. As for Japanese releases, there’s no way I will own them all. The Dreamcast was supported massively in Japan, with officially licensed games coming out until around 2008, 7 years after the console was discontinued. Granted there were not a ton being released, but it gets far to pricey for my tastes and I’ll probably just end up collecting the “must own” Japanese games. Which brings me to the last set of Dreamcast games I want to talk about. As I mentioned earlier, licensed games were being released for the system long after production of the console ended, but even still, in 2015 homebrew and indie titles, as well as fan ports of arcade games are still being released for the Dreamcast. While I would love to own all these, due to the low key nature of these games, I’ve yet to find a definitive list, so I’ll ultimately end up just picking up some of these, the star of my collection will be the complete US library anyway, which will include all US Dreamcast Magazine demo discs, Dreamcast Generator demo discs, and Web Browser software discs.
With the talk of what I want to collect for the Dreamcast out of the way, I guess I should talk about the “why” of it. It’s hard to explain. I did say earlier that the Dreamcast is my favorite console of all time, as well as having a stellar (yet small) library. In all honesty, I would say the Dreamcast has the best ratio of “good games” to “bad games” out of any console released. All in all, I think my love of the system and its library make me want to do it. I am a champion of the Dreamcast, I always have been and always will be, I share it with friends, and recommend it to new gamers and people who may have missed out on it. The system is cheap, and most of the games are cheap too, sure it has a few pricey games, like Project Justice, and Cannon Spike but overall, it’s a cheap and easy system to collect for. I think the biggest reason is that I just want to celebrate that such a great console was released, with such an amazing library of games. I want to celebrate, to show my love to everyone and show just how much the Dreamcast means to me as a gamer. Maybe owning a complete US collection isn’t the best way to show my love for it, but it will be a good starting point. Perhaps one day after I own every US game I will then review every US game! It’s hard to say, or commit to such a lofty goal and such a long term plan, but it’s something I would like to try to do at the very least!
So where does my collection stand currently? I talk of such lofty goals that I must have made some kind of notable progress right? As of the writing of this article, I own about 50 complete Dreamcast games. It’s my largest library of any console (though the PS3 is close, at around 40). I have been buying the games alphabetically using a nice checklist compiled by fans (modified by myself, to note which games had Sega All-Stars re-releases. I own no PAL, Japanese, or Homebrew games. So my collection is still in its infancy, though I do own a number of more sought after titles, like Skies of Arcadia, and Shenmue. I’m not actively seeking the games out though, typically, I just buy games when I find them, but I have on occasion splurged some extra money into buying 5 or 10 games in one sitting from eBay. So that’s that. A small look at my goals for collecting on the Dreamcast, why I want to do it, and where my collection stands so far. If you’ve never played the Dreamcast, I highly recommend you do. It’s got a fantastic library, and features a ton of great games that won’t break the bank, and will offer you hours of fun, classic Sega Gameplay- you’ll quickly see why its my, and so many others favorite console of all time. It’s thinking.
Everybody loves to game on the go don’t they? From the Game Boy and Game Gear, to the Vita and 3DS. These things sell like hotcakes. We all love being able to take our favorite games with us wherever we go, right? Well, slow down a bit, it’s not so much the same for me.. I must admit, I do like the concept of handheld gaming, however in my case it just typically doesn’t work in practice for whatever reason. Before I go into more detail, let me get this out of the way now- I’m not bashing or putting down handheld gaming, I’m glad people enjoy it, and I enjoy it myself from time to time. This piece is merely an outlet for me to express my thoughts and opinions about handheld gaming, and why handheld gaming just doesn’t work for me in most situations.
I suppose I should go back and briefly explain my history with handheld games. I never had an original Game Boy, Game Gear, or Lynx growing up. My first handheld was the Game Boy Color, which I got in Teal for Christmas. I was six at the time, and I took that thing with me EVERYWHERE. No matter where my mom would take me, my Game Boy and Pokemon Yellow were in my pocket. If you’d like you can read more in-depth thoughts and memories on my GBC & Pokemon Yellow by clicking here. This trend continued on, through the 2nd and 3rd generations of Pokemon and me and my Game Boy Color were inseparable. It was around this time I got very brief exposure to the Game Gear, because my 18 year old cousin had one that I played when we moved from Ohio to North Carolina. To be honest, I don’t remember too much of my experience playing it. I chalk it up to being so young, and playing it so little, as an adult owning one now, I think the Game Gear is neat little system, but I don’t often find myself playing it, as with most other early handhelds, the console versions of the games greatly outdid the often poor handheld counterparts.
I believe I got the Game Boy Advance day one, and I loved playing it too. I don’t remember what games I had at launch, but I think it was most likely Sonic Advance, Sega Smash Pack, and possibly Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku. I remember harassing my then-new step dad to take me to Wal-Mart to buy both Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire at midnight on launch day, and trying to play Sapphire, with the non-backlit GBA and no light source in the car, using every street light as a chance to see more of the game, and honestly I loved every bit of that. I spent countless hours crouched by a lamp, just to play my favorite games into the late night hours, neglecting my rest that I needed for school (and really, not much has changed there!). My handheld love seemed to peak with the GBA SP. I logged hundreds of hours into that little silver box playing all the Pokemon games, Drill Dozer, the Sonic Advance trilogy, the DBZ trilogy, Zoids: Legends, and numerous other games. I still have my original GBA SP and today its battle torn, and scarred from hours spent in my pocket. It was literally everywhere I was. Later on in life, I got a Game Boy Micro for a great price, and it became hands down my favorite way to experience GBA games (yes, even over the DS and Game Boy Player), they looked and sounded so much better. The small screen and form factor showed just how beautiful those games really were. Though sadly, I seem to have lost it during a move, I found the charger, but not the system, a true crying shame, and something I definitely want to replace.
I remember when the DS was first announced, I honestly wasn’t impressed. I’ve never been a big fan of touch screen gaming (or motion controls, for that matter). So I didn’t get one, didn’t even WANT one, it was the first time I never really wanted the new Nintendo handheld, maybe my falling out of love with handhelds started here, I can’t say for sure. My friends tried showing their DS’ off ti me, and I just didn’t want anything to do with it. I thought it was an unneeded gimmick, and I wanted no part of it. Not even new Pokemon games could make me interested in the DS, and to this day, Gen IV is still my least favorite Pokemon generation. Let’s Flash forward a bit to 2009, I haven’t gamed handheld wise for about 4 years or so. I was talking on the phone with my at the time fiance (now ex-fiance), and she was talking about how her mom was getting her Pokemon Platinum as an Easter gift, and she joked about how I couldn’t beat her, even if I tried.
And with her words, a burning flame reignited within my heart, the flame of a Pokemon Champion. I told her that there was no possible way she could ever beat me at Pokemon. I told her I would go out to town the next day (which was Platinum’s launch day) and buy a DS lite, and Platinum, just to prove I could beat her. And I did, I went into town the next day to GameStop and purchased a red DS lite. I remember them asking me if I wanted a red or ‘gold’ DS, I remember thinking a gold one sounded awful. At that time I didn’t know it was the limited edition Legend of Zelda DS, hindsight being 20/20, I should’ve bought it. I asked if they had Pokemon and they told me they were sold out. Frustrated, I went to Wal-Mart and found they only had one copy left which I snatched up. I logged well over 300 hours into Platinum, and it got me hooked and handheld gaming again, having someone I loved to share it with (and she was actually pretty good, our win-loss records were typically pretty even).
I went on to own about 25 or 30 DS games and really loved the systtem, but over time, the DS began to feel stale, and it lost a lot of its appeal to me. So I sold off nearly all DS games I owned, keeping Pokemon HeartGold and Platinum. I went on to buy a PSP, which I had a brief and passing interest in. I took it to my College classes a few times, and did enjoy it, but the novelty wore of quickly until I hacked it for rom usage, that too couldn’t keep my interest, and so I got rid of that as well. It seemed that to me, I didn’t have any reason to play handheld games anymore- as a child, I played them in the car, in Wal-Mart, when we went to my mom’s friends, or places a child would be easily bored and need entertained.. Now as an adult, I can’t play in the car, I have to drive. I can’t play at Wal-Mart, I’m shopping. I don’t play at home either, because now I have my own large tv, and I can play similar games, on a larger scale, and be more engrossed in the experience (I know popular opinion says handheld games are more immersive, but I’m in the opposite camp, when gaming on a TV nothing around me effects me, but when I’m playing a handheld, I tend to get distracted very easily).
One game had temporarily changed this. I was at a GameStop picking up something (I don’t recall what it was anymore) and the clerk was pushing pre-orders on me, in typical fashion. I had originally denied, until I looked up at the list of coming soon titles. I read a name…and was unsure. I asked him about the game’s release date. He told me, and I didn’t think I could pay it off on time (being unemployed and in college will do that to you). Nevertheless, I decided to preorder it, and slowly payed off the $32. The game was set to release on March the 15th and I couldn’t wait. On the 13th of March, I had to go to GameStop, I had to make a return and it was the last day I could do. I passed casually by the DS shelf on my way to the counter, when I saw a game on the shelf. In shock and disbelief, I asked the employee when I could pick the game up…he told me, it had broken the release date and I could get it today! I excitedly took the game and my pre-order bonuses back to my car and drove home ASAP to make a YouTube video showing off the game, bonuses, and how I got it early. Then once the excitement fell, I put the game in my DS and invested a lot of time into it (around 20 hours, so far- and that’s 2015 time!)
So what was this game you may ask? It was Okamiden. This cute, incredible, and stylish game had rekindled my love of handheld gaming. I became incredibly psyched for the 3DS, which I unfortunately couldn’t get at launch. I did finally get the 3DS for Christmas of that year, Cosmo Black, with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and Super Mario 3D Land, and both were terrific games. I was madly in love with the 3DS and bought quite a few games for it including Ridge Racer 3D, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and Sonic Generations. Despite loving my 3DS, and the games I have for it, it often finds itself resting in it’s carrying case with a few game staples. I liked Mario Kart 7 well enough, but it wasn’t as good as Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and later, Mario Kart 8. However, my 3DS does see more use than I ever expected though, as now on Thursdays after work, my friends and I go out to eat at a 24 hour gas station, and play games there- typically Pokemon X/Y, Pokemon Alpha Ruby & Omega Sapphire or Super Smash Bros. for 3DS though sometimes a round or two of Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition will pop in and sometimes even my non-gamer friends will jump in and play different games we share with them and we always have a good time, staying out way later than we probably should into the wee morning hours.
The 3DS has given me games I never thought I would get the chance to play like Luigi’s Mansion 2: Dark Moon and introduced me to series I had never tried before, like Animal Crossing and Ridge Racer. My love affair with handheld gaming has had a checkered past- both times of great interest and great apathy. I tend to take less risks on handheld games, typically sticking to “safe” games like Pokemon, Mario Kart, and similar titles. It was great to see a handheld version of Smash Bros. even if it is inferior to the console version, but it’s an even trade to be able to take a fantastically fun game anywhere you go, and I guess, that’s the true appeal of handheld gaming. Perhaps, I’m not as apathetic towards handheld gaming as I thought, and revisiting my experiences has made me appreciate it more as I’ve gotten older, but no matter what the case, I know I’m not in love with handheld gaming anymore. I can still enjoy it from time to time, and can still have fun with it- but if given the choice I can safely say I would take a home console over a handheld any day, and that’s okay. Maybe you feel differently, and that too is okay. In the end we are all gamers, playing video games, loving them, and having fun playing them- and that’s what it’s really all about isn’t it?
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed finally came to the 3DS nearly 3 months after it’s initial release, but the wait was way worth it.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed takes racing with just cars 2 steps further by adding boats and planes. Almost every lap in a race will be different, 1 lap you will be in your car, the next you could be choosing whether to go the car or the boat route and so on. This game has a great choice of characters ranging from sonic (obliviously) to Alex Kidd and even Danica Patrick.
I love the music in this game. It’s the kind of game you want to have the sound on every time you play it. Though after a few hours it will get repetitive.
This game has some of the best I’ve seen on the system though the shadows do get a bit glitchy at times. The UI is very easy to navigate and is very straightforward and simple.
For me when I buy a game on the 3ds the 3d is a big part of my decision. This game does it very well, the depth works very well it really pops out in your face.
With local play, online play, and download play, multiplayer is a great way to play. You can use any characters that you’ve unlocked, and you could even unlock some stickers to use. Though the online lobbies can be hard to find someone to play with, when you do you could race with the person(s) that you found for as long as you all want.
This is a definite must buy for any 3ds owners who are racing or Sega fans (or both).
4.5 out of 5
#10 – Tomb Raider
The welcome reboot to a beloved series, Tomb Raider, was released on the 5th of March in 2013. Crystal Dynamics establishes Lara Croft’s origins for a second time. Tomb Raider is set on an island where Lara must save her friends and escape whilst being hunted down by a cult. The beautiful graphics, amazing story, and extremely fun and engrossing game play make this one of the best games of 2013 that is very much worth your time.
#9 – Sonic Lost World
Sonic Lost World was the reboot to the series that I was waiting for. Combining great platforming with a surprisingly interesting story, this game gets almost everything right, except for the stupid colors. Oh man, these color powers drove me quite insane. The control could be so frustrating at times that I was nearly throwing my device across the room. but once you got past the level where it introduced a new power, it became very enjoyable, and beautiful at that.
#8 – Shin Megami Tensei IV
You probably don’t know, but I am a huge Atlus fan. I buy almost any new game they release. So naturally I bought Shin Megami Tensei 4 the second it was available, and I was not disappointed. First of all, it is one of the best looking systems on the system, by far. It also gives the great gameplay and story that the series is famous for. One of the greatest RPGs on the system and one of the best games in the series.
#7 – Ryse: Son of Rome
The one exclusive launch title for a next gen console that I was actually exited for. Ryse: Son of Rome is the most beautiful graphically advanced game I have ever seen on my television. But graphics don’t make a game, luckily with a great simple to learn hard to master combat system and a fairly good story, this game will have you wanting to play from start to finish, multiple times.
#6 – The Stanley Parable
Originally released as a mod back in 2011, a high-definition remake was released in 2013 as a stand-alone title. The Stanley Parable is an interactive fiction game where you choose different paths that will effect the outcome of the game. Though very short, the time you get out of The Stanley Parable will be very enjoyable.
#5 – Dust 514
I was hyped for this game from the very beginning, I was playing from the very first beta test and I still am. Dust 514 is a FTP MMO FPS, yeah quite a a mouthful. I know that you may think that because it’s FTP that it is pay-to-win, but not at all. Sure you can pay to get stuff, but it is by no means required. Set in the same universe as Eve Online, players from that game can interact with this game in an awesome unique game with many mechanics and gameplay features that I have never seen done before.
#4 – Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins
Though I never got to play the original Lego City Undercover because I don’t have a Wii U, it’s prequel was one of the most fun gaming experiences I had this year. For my full thoughts on the game check out my review by clicking here.
#3 – Fire Emblem Awakening
This game was my introduction to the series, and also to the 3DS; and man was it a great introduction. Fire Emblem Awakening is the newest game in the strategy RPG series, released near the beginning of the year to give us a sweet early 2013. Taking the classic tactical RPG formula and adding it’s own special mechanics to it, along with an greatly captivating story, and customization options, makes this a game you do not want to miss.
#2 – Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed
Sure, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed was released on most systems in 2012, but not on the 3DS. Taking not only many of the classic Sonic characters, but you also get to play as many of Sega’s iconic characters that we all know and love. Racing in this game goes through 3 parts: karts, boats, and planes. As you progress through the stage there will be different points where your vehicle will transform into one of these 3 different types, and along with that most stages will have multiple paths you can take to get through it. Sometimes the stage will change on each lap, so that you never get bored during a race. For a more in-depth look, check out our review by clicking here.
#1 – Project X Zone
Imagine taking iconic Sega, Capcom, and Namco Bandai characters; and putting them into a hybrid tactical RPG fighting crossover game. You would get Project X Zone. This revolution in video games blessed us with it’s presence this year, showing us a new take on the genre and taking many risks almost every step of the way, and they all were for the better. If you have not played Project X Zone yet go and buy it right away, you will not regret it.
2013 was a great year for gaming, and 2014 is promising to be great as well. Let’s hope this trend of amazing games continues.