Famitsu Dreamcast Special!

The latest edition of Japanese gaming publication Famitsu came with a nice surprise as it dropped through my (virtual)inbox this week - an awesome 21-page feature on the Dreamcast in celebration of the console's 20th birthday. 

Yes, it really has been 20 years since the console launched in its homeland and Famitsu took the opportunity to take a look back at the Dreamcast's unique hardware, check reader's favourite titles, and even poke around with the team who led the infamous Yukawa commercials. Finally, there is a chat with the Famitsu guys who were around at the time of the system's launch, and it wouldn't be Japan without having some useless paraphernalia for you to pickup before you leave.

Let's take a walk through the article together.

The first couple of pages cover the Dreamcast's unique name, and how as the first "next generation" console it displayed much potential, especially for online gaming. We see that the console launched on November 27th with a reasonable retail price of 29,900 yen, and yet just 2 years later on January 31st, 2001 it was discontinued. Was it really just on sale for that short time? :'(

The Dreamcast would still go on to the deliver great games for years to come with Sega's final game Puyo Puyo Fever released in February 2004, and the final official title for the system being the Milestone shooter, Karasu which dropped as late as March 8th, 2007.
Next up, is the hardware and we get some more breakdown on the console's name with a brief explanation that Dreamcast is an abbreviation of, "Dream" and "Broadcast", who knew! The article includes some of the console variations with the Hello Kitty, Sakura Taisen and Seaman models all featured and more noticeably the CX-1, which apparently launched for an eye watering 8888 yen back in 2000.

The  system's array of peripherals are also covered with the gun being the cheapest at 3000 yen, while the Get Bass fishing rod was somehow just as costly as the Twin Sticks and Samba Maraccas at 5800 yen (which was a great deal cheaper than the 100 pounds it would retail for in the UK). Interestingly, the article mentions that these devices are based on "MODEL 3" technology which would surprise those who always connect the Dreamcast with Naomi hardware.
On the next couple of pages we get some info regarding connectivity with the Dreamcast launching with a built-in 33k modem like in Europe, while those lucky Yanks got bumped up to 56k, and there is also a small blurb about the DreamEye, Dreamcast Karaoke and Neo Geo Pocket cable - all of which aren't much use now but have quite distinct packaging and look great on the shelf. 

On page 44, we get a couple of lovely pie charts with information regarding the average Dreamcast fan, and drum roll...............yes, no surprises for guessing that most Dreamcast fans are male, and in their 30's (sound familiar?). Readers offered up their most nostalgic memories of the system which include, "the beeeeeeeeep noise the VMU system made", "Shenmue's infamous production cost", and "Being ahead of its time". And you were there thinking they might mention a memory of playing a game. 

Famitsu readers were also invited to vote for their favourite video games and dropping into the 30 - 20 slots are classics like, Marvel vs Capcom 2, Powerstone, Segagaga, and erm...Kita e White Illumination. If Capcom vs Snk 2 doesn't make it to no.1 in the charts there will be trouble Famitsu, so let's hurry along.
Making it into 20th place is Biohazard Code: Veronica (colon placement?), and we get the games you would expect such as Seaman, Eternal Arcadia, Jet Set Radio and Atsumare! Guru Guru Onsen. That last one surprises me as it's a title that covets most bargain bins in the country, and it's hard to see a game about trump cards and mahjong being that thrilling. I'm guessing there are tits somewhere. 
Also, they must be saving Capcom vs SNK 2 for the top slots.
And in number 1 we have..........fuck me, it's Sakura bloody Taisen 3! Sakura Taisen 3 is apparently the most highly rated Dreamcast game in Japan! Sure it's okaaay, but the best title on the system, come on Japan? And the first Taisen game also came in at number 5 and that was originally a Saturn release. It would be good to see a Western chart for comparison with possibly Spirit of Speed 1937 clinching top spot.

"Do you still use your Dreamcast?" is the next question which features in our pie chart-lovin', and almost results in a tie with 341 people saying yes, 302 replying, no and 12 people having a bit of trouble with the question stating, "Not sure." Sega fans also listed the Sega consoles they own with the Saturn coming clear favourite, but 17 hard core fans claimed to own an SG-1000 II which is as rare as hens teeth. Lastly, we have some shout-outs to the Dreamcast with one fan claiming, "I love Dreamcast so much I have 5 back-up units!!" Just 5? what a newb!

Below are some final interviews, as well as the Dreamcast merchandise which Sega are currently peddling in Japan, highlights are the $100 umbrella and the Dreamcast bathroom scales which is obviously a natural progression for the best console ever. Enjoy!