The Top Ten Most Influential Video Game Consoles of All Time

The Top Ten Most Influential Video Game Consoles of All Time

  • By: CM Boots-Faubert
  • Posted 21st Dec 2011

(9) Sega Dreamcast
(6th Gen September 1999)

Perhaps it is fair to say that the Dreamcast is and remains the unsung hero of the home gaming industry m but if so it is largely because it had a lot of great ideas that were unfortunate in that they came along before the world was ready for them...

With graphics so realistic that games like NFL 2k caused gamers to do a double take to see if it was actually a game or broadcast TV they were watching, the Dreamcast delivered 3D graphical gaming pleasure before any of us really understood what it was and why we wanted it.

When Sega Net was first bandied about it had a lot of gamers scratching their heads and wondering what we could possibly need an online service like that for? Who would need it? Who would want it? How could it really change the way that we game? Of course this was before Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network, and before online games were the driving force in the marketplace. When we played baby, we played alone or with the bloke sitting on the couch beside is, and we liked it! We loved it! Well, at least until we understood just how freaking awesome online gaming would be once there was, you know, that online thing called the Internet to make it happen!

For the Dreamcast online meant a slow modem unless you were really lucky and lived in one of the three cities that had broadband AND the Internet at the time... But even if you did the cost was high. Still Sega did what it could, building support for online play into games like the NFL 2K series and Quake III Arena so that it fully utilized the stock 56k modem. And it was cool, really. We just did not know why yet.

The gamepad that the Dreamcast used was an improved variation of the gamepad established by earlier systems as the all-purpose controller -- and it solidified that model and capability in the industry -- look at the controller you are using on your PS2, PS3, Xbox, and Xbox 360 and think about it...

Many of the contributions that the Dreamcast made ended up being contributions that have appeared on other systems that came after it -- or are about it. Do you remember the video display on the Dreamcast gamepad? I am thinking Wii U now. How about the fact that the development of the original Xbox was heavily shaped by the (by then failed) Dreamcast?!

The biggest contribution that Sega's Dreamcast made to the industry was to show it where it needed to be going -- when the time was right. It just was not right for Sega, or the Dreamcast.

(1) Videogames: In the Beginning, by Ralph H. Baer, Rolenta Press (April 26, 2005), 280 pps, ISBN-10: 0964384817 / ISBN-13: 978-0964384811