Released in 1999, the Dreamcast was Sega's last video game console. The Dreamcast was packed with innovative, cutting-edge technology considerably ahead of its time, a trait common to most Sega systems. Cancelled in 2001, Sega continued to produce games for the Dreamcast through 2004, with some independent games released as late as 2005. Named by Popular Science magazine as one of the most important and innovative products of 1999, the Dreamcast continues to have a cult following today.
The Dreamcast included several notable firsts. It was the first system to have a built-in modem. It supported VGA output to computer monitors and HDTV two years before anyone else. Its processor was the first to break the giga-barrier for floating operations per second. It also utilized a proprietary Giga-CD for both improved content and copy protection. Amidst great buzz, the initial sales of the Dreamcast rivaled the opening weekend of Star Wars: Episode I.
Unfortunately, the release of the PS2 demonstrated that brand-name superiority trumped technological sophistication. With the release of the X-Box and the GameCube in 2001, Sega closed production of the Dreamcast. However, there remains a community of hackers who continue to program free "home-brew" games for the Dreamcast. (DL)