A 9-Year-Old Plays Dreamcast in 2016

I couldn’t wait for the US launch of Dreamcast. I mean that literally. I first saw Sonic Adventure running on an import Dreamcast at an independent game store nearly a year before its US launch. In that moment, I made a ludicrous impulse purchase — I plunked down $700 and walked away with a new Japanese Dreamcast, Sonic Adventure, Virtua Fighter 3tb, and a controller. I quickly followed these purchases with Soul Calibur, Power Stone, House of the Dead 2, Street Fighter III, and (regrettably) Blue Stinger. I felt like I was playing something from the future. I knew that mechanically, Sonic Adventure was no match for Super Mario 64, but it just looked so… damn… good!

Flash forward 17 (!) years, and I have a nine-year-old daughter who loves playing Rayman Legends and Super Mario 3D World with me on WiiU. I had just gotten a new-in-box Dreamcast with a slew of games — a mix of legendary and laughable — and I wanted to get Winnie’s take.

She wanted to see Sonic Adventure 2 first.“This is just like a WiiU game,” she insisted. “It’s fun. Except the part where you have to play as Eggman. I wanted to play as Shadow instead.”

The game does age well, apart from the fact that it looks stretched and blurry when presented through a composite cable on a 55″ HDTV. The side character missions were never my favorite, and still aren’t, but man, the Sonic stuff is still pretty captivating.

Next up: The Grinch

 Winnie didn’t like this one at all: “Too much potty humor. And it’s boring. You just burp on people or crush presents with your butt. And it’s too easy to get lost.” Indeed. This is a pretty terrible licensed game, featuring environments and character models that were clearly intended for the PlayStation 1. Everything from the UI to the character models look z-grade. The concept is interesting enough: spoil Christmas by destroying Whoovile. But the execution is incompetent. If anybody ever received this turd as a Chirstmas present, I’d love to know how they felt when they tore off the wrapping paper. Wanted Jet Set Radio? Sorry, kid. Your parents don’t love you that much. Konami couldn’t give Dreamcast a Metal Gear or Castlevania… but apparently this game was just fine?

…and then we opened Stupid Invaders.

This was a point-and-click adventure from Ubisoft – on two discs! It’s based on a TV series called Space Goofs. “I don’t really want to help them so much, because they really are stupid idiots,” insisted my daughter.

Not much to say on my end. The first gag involves a toilet. Same holds true inSouth Park: Stick of Truth, but at least that game had a great writing team behind it. Stupid Invaders is all slapstick stupidity with no subtlety.

Maybe NBA Hoopz would fare better?

“The people look all like blocks, like they’re from Minecraft,” said Winnie, dropping some competitive set gaming knowledge.

Hmmm… I remember this game was pretty exciting when it first came out, and I don’t even play sports games. It was basically NBA Jam evolved, featuring sports stars who filled the screen. I guess after playing NBA 2K 14 on PS4, there’s no going back… even if you’re nine.

18 Wheeler: America Pro Trucker has to fare better.

Winnie’s opinion: “This is pretty fun. 8/10.”

It is pretty easy to pick up, and while the game is quite shallow, it really does have the slick look and feel of a late nineties arcade machine. Clearly, it’s from the same era as Crazy Taxi, but it’s nowhere near as fun.

and finally, the big winner…


“This one is super fun!” Winnie squealed with excitement. “I wanna play again.” Yeah, Virtua Tennis will do that to people, regardless of age.

Up close, the character models look pretty creepy, but this was a fun one to play with Winnie in both competitive and co-op modes. The court still looks great.

There were a whole box of games that we didn’t get to, but we will, over the course of future weekends. It was a nicer nostalgia trip for me… but Winnie? She just wanted to go back to Fantasy Life on her 3DS.


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