Earlier last week was the 20th anniversary of the release of the Sega Dreamcast in North America. WTF is that, you ask?
It was an ill-fated console thrust into the market in 1999 to compete with the already popular PlayStation. Shortly after, Sega's console legacy was no more. For some reason I had a Dreamcast, and my middle sister and I played the hell out of it growing up.
Here are four games that have imprinted themselves into my memory, for better or worse.
Jet Set Radio Future
The crown of Dreamcast. There is no denying JSRF's coolness. You play as a character from a gang of in-line skaters tearing up the streets of futuristic Tokyo — where freedom of expression has been banned — whilst tagging the buildings with graffiti. It was over the top in every way, electric, rebellious, and filled with catchy (original!) electro-pop tunes that I still can't get out of my head to this day. JSRF was the game that popularized the "comic book look," aka cel-shading.
"What are these people wearing?" I still remember my mom asking me as I pit two scantily clad female fighters in the ring. I grew up playing fighters like Mortal Kombat, but Soulcalibur, first released for Dreamcast, was the first time I really appreciated the beautiful graphics and silky smooth fighting mechanics.
"Get out of my room, Mom!"
King of Fighters '99
KoF is often overlooked in the realm of fighters. It was my first real foray into anime, and I was totally hooked. Although KoF '99 didn't utilize the Dreamcast's full potential for graphics the way Soulcalibur did, it capitalized on a large list of playable characters. Unlike other fighters, (e.g. Street Fighter), KoF had a much larger contingent of badass non-male characters to choose from, from the overtly sexual Mai, to the gender-bendy "King." Its male characters could also run up and down the gender spectrum, for that matter. Dangerous stuff back in 2000. (PRO TIP: A live-action film called King of Fighters exists. Do not see it.)
Back in my day we didn't have no Grand Theft Auto 3! Before GTA's PS2 launch, us kids had to cause mayhem on the streets via Crazy Taxi. The goal of this game: Pick up and deliver your clients BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. By default, you couldn't run over pedestrians. Total bullshit. ♦