If there's an odd thing to say about launch line-ups, its that a launch line-up is "The best launch line-up since the Dreamcast." I see it happen with several people regarding any launch since, well, after the Dreamcast
. Apparently the Dreamcast had a really great launch line-up. I can't really say because I didn't buy one at launch as a poor college student - I only got one year later when I was suckered into one of those two-year deals with MSN at Best Buy that would net me a Dreamcast for "free."
Meaning, I was pretty stupid back then. Two years of an internet service I couldn't use, but had to pay for. I really didn't think that one through.
Anyway, I feel like "best launch line-up since the Dreamcast" is just something people say for gamer cred and to make the console or handheld they're excited about look exciting to others. I mean, if we're to take Dreamcast's launch line-up as the best a console ever had that means whatever I relate it to is also really good and must be awesome.
And those that hated Dreamcast must also hate babies.
No one really even mentions what the great launch games were for Dreamcast because it is clearly not important when you're stating an absolute. That Dreamcast was ravaged by Playstation's comparable and cheaper library and crushed under the hype for the PS2 at the time is not important. That Dreamcast, like Saturn before it, was short-lived and had no games by 2002 - also not important.
Never mind that stuff. Dreamcast had a great launch, launches are important and that is all that matters for the sake of people who want to liken PS4's launch line-up to it after E3 2013.
No one ever compared PS2 to the Dreamcast, even though it did have a really great launch. This is because PS2 was the vile beast that had slain the heroic Dreamcast in its prime. Well, that's how the remaining embittered Dreamcast fans would later frame it, anyway. I thought the PS2 launch was good, not so much the nine-month dry spell that came after, but all systems have that no matter how much Vita fans sweep it under the rug. At least they can play Final Fantasy VII again now.
This Dreamcast comparison really started with the Xbox, which inherited just a tiny
bit of Dreamcast's glory in the form of exclusives like Jet Set Radio Future, Gunvalkyrie, Crazy Taxi 3, Panzer Dragoon Orta and Shenmue II. It was a savvy move by MS to lure some Dreamcast fans into a console that would eventually be buried in angry, brown shooters. Most of the exclusives were indeed good, but I'm not sure about Gunvalkyrie going along with that that "glory' bit. I thought the soundtrack and its insane monologues were cool, though.
The clever swine and porcupine have gone their separate ways - and neither one has spoken for a thousand years and days.
For a console to even begin to warrant a comparison to Dreamcast, its games must be high on ambition, a mixed bag on execution and generally make people look at it and go "WTF." Sega was the Master of WTF in the Dreamcast era. Space Channel 5, Crazy Taxi, Samba de Amigo, Jet Set Radio, Seaman and Typing of the Dead all make you wonder what world you just fell into and why you are so happy to be there. If that era of Sega games had its own gated community then Wario Ware, Katamari Damacy and No Heroes Allowed! would be invited right in because they are straight-up bonkers.
So basically, there have been no Dreamcasts since the Dreamcast. Dreamcast-esque games, perhaps, but no console has really claimed the mantle. One does not simply compare another console's launch to that of the Dreamcast or even a console's lifespan to it because of the density of insane content required will not be able to be matched within two years - and then console would die and the platform holder would go third party.
If you're wishing this on your future platform of choice, do so at your own peril.
There will never be another Dreamcast, no matter how much you want there to be one. The Vita is clearly not a Dreamcast and I don't see how the Wii U will be one. I really think that spirit has passed on to the indie market where risks are taken on a regular basis. Its not in the mainstream market now, save for rare moments like Rhythm Thief, Tokyo Jungle or Rhythm Heaven Fever. The only games even in spitting distance of Dreamcastyness for Wii U right now are The Wonderful 101 and Tank! Tank! Tank!
What the Dreamcast has is a special place in history and perhaps as it fades into retro status in the years to come its spirit will continue to live on in other ways. There was lots to love about the Sega Dreamcast and while that goodwill may not be shared by fans toward the Sega of today its kind of unfair to both Dreamcast and other consoles to compare them to each other. Dreamcast catered to a special niche in a risky time to be doing so and that's what made it a real standout. I don't think any launch line-up or console could recapture the zany times of that little white box
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