The Dreamcast is a video game console released by Sega in November 1998 in Japan, September 1999 in North America, October 1999 in Europe, and November 1999 in Australia. In the first 24 hours of release 225,132 units were sold and a total of 500,000 in the first two weeks.
On January 31, 2001, Sega announced it would discontinue the production of the Dreamcast in March 2001 and concentrate solely on software. Even though the console production was discontinued, Sega of Japan still continued to sell refurbished consoles until 2007.
Only a few different models were produced over the short production-period of the console along with a few special edition models. The original released in 1999, a limited edition black model, a blue model, and in 2000 a CX-1 only available in Japan, which is very rare and considered a collector’s item. This unit had a keyboard, controller, mouse and came with a trivia game.
Some third-party games are still being produced on CD-ROM and the console still supports independent game releases. Over 10.6 million total units have been sold since its release.
The Dreamcast does not have an operating system; each game disc has its own operating system and is downloaded into the unit when the game is loaded. Most of the operating systems Dreamcast games used were from Windows CE, developed by Microsoft.
All Dreamcast consoles were shipped with modems allowing users to browse the internet and play games online through servers SegaNet, Dreamarena, and GameSpy. The first online game was ChuChu Rocket, which was a multiplayer game. Alien Front was an online game and the first to offer live online voice chat. Sega announced on June 10, 2010, that Dreamcast games would be available for Xbox live and PlayStation Network.
The unit itself has a 200 Mhz CPU, 128-bit graphics engine, 16 MB RAM, 8 MB of video RAM and 2 MB of sound RAM. The GD-ROM drive has a 12x max speed.
Some accessories include a VGA adaptor that allows play on a computer or an HD television, a vibrating jump pack, a memory card with a small screen for various games, an arcade stick, and light gun controllers are also available. Also a camera, remote control, cables, and keyboard are available.
A Dreamcast Broadband Adapter is available and can replace the original modem for a higher speed connection.
The Dreamcast has 688 official available games in its library and independent game makers continue to release titles compatible with the Dreamcast for use online. Seven game titles can still be played on the console, 4 x 4 Evolution, Maximum Pool, Phantasy Star Online, Quake III Arena, Sega Swirl, Unreal Tournament, and Starlancer.
Image Caption: A North American Sega Dreamcast video game console. Console is shown with controller and VMU. Credit: Evan-Amos/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)