Today is the twentieth anniversary of Sega's release of its final console (not counting reissued mini hardware), the Dreamcast, in North America. It seems like everyone in the gaming community has a Dreamcast story to share today, and so do I. In fact, I have just one Dreamcast story. Only one. And this is it. 1999 was the year that I graduated high school and moved away to the big city to start college, so by September of that year I was on a trajectory that took me away from video games for a brief while. My main console was still the Nintendo 64 and the last game I'd bought for it was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time nearly a year prior. I wasn't gaming much and even if I had been, I was a Nintendo gamer through and through at this point in my life, so whatever Sega was doing after the bombshell that was the Saturn wasn't really on my radar. 9/9/99 came and went for me without notice or awareness.
Skip ahead almost two years. By 2001 I was catching up on the last few N64 games I'd missed out on such as Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo-Tooie with my eye on the upcoming Nintendo GameCube. One summer weekend I was browsing around at the mall, killing time at FYE, when I saw a Dreamcast kiosk for the first time. By now Sega had announced it was withdrawing from the console market, so I really don't know why FYE went to the trouble of setting up a demo station for the console, but nevertheless it was there and showcasing the recently released Sonic Adventure 2. If any game during the Genesis years would have made me cross over to the Sega side of the street, it was Sonic, so I picked up the controller and took the game for a run. Instead of a speedy Sonic level, my first experience with the game was the Dr. Robotnik mech shooter level at Prison Island. The game caught me by surprise with its playable villains and emphasis on story in addition to action. Next up was my introduction to Shadow the Hedgehog, a character that, for me, came out of nowhere and made me wonder just how much I'd missed in the post-Genesis franchise lore, but the sense of motion and twisting level designs had my attention. This was fun! It was a shame that this game was tethered to a dead console. If only it was ported to GameCube, I would be able to enjoy it properly. That was the end of the demo, so I put the controller down, walked away to the DVD aisles, and didn't really give it a second thought.
I'm sure you know where this story ends. Sega brought Sonic Adventure 2 to the GameCube less than a year along with, shortly thereafter, the original Sonic Adventure, and eventually both games were made available on a variety of other consoles and on PC, so there are no shortage of ways to play these games today with a variety of gameplay and visual enhancements compared to the original Dreamcast versions. Everyone remembers how the Dreamcast was quirky, inventive, and trailblazing in its own way, but my only firsthand exposure to the system is bemused curiosity at a kiosk demo for a dead platform and idly wishing its marquee series would end up on a console I owned. It seems to me that given all of the other Dreamcast titles that made their way to other platforms means that both legacies are valid.