Why is the Dreamcast still held in such high regard? That’s one of the questions that SEGA Dreamcast: Collected Works attempts to answer, through a mixture of editorial, contributions from key personalities – including Yu Suzuki, Tetsuya Mizuguchi and Peter Moore, among many others – and a whole lot of gloriously reproduced imagery.
That question isn’t definitively answered, but the coffee table format – fairly light on text, heavy on visuals to pore over – ideally lends itself to an afternoon gently contemplating the Dreamcast: where it came from, what it achieved, why it endures.
The text takes a fascinating look at the story of the console, and several of its key titles, devoting most of the column inches to material from its interviewees, which yields plenty of insight without needless editorialising.
The overwhelming impression is one of creative people being given remarkable freedom, and passionately trying to make the Dreamcast a success. Other than Bernie Stolar, SEGA of America’s President and COO, who comes across as his own biggest fan and the kind of executive you’d want to steer well clear of. Honestly, he comes out with some remarkable stuff.
The text is a secondary concern though. This is about ogling the Dreamcast, and there is ample opportunity to do that: stunning photos of the console and its peripherals; production drawings of the hardware; fold-outs featuring VMU graphics; utterly bizarre hardware concept art. The game art – both from production and in-game – did less for me, and the one thing I think is missing is actual screenshots – they wouldn’t be as clean as the art, but without them I think the book is missing a crucial part of the visual history.
But that’s being picky. The Dreamcast holds a special place in our hearts round these parts, and Collected Works is a fitting celebration of a beautiful, ambitious, esoteric piece of gaming history.
SEGA Dreamcast: Collected Works is published by Read-Only Memory. You can buy it from them. (Incidentally, a word on their packaging: remarkable. Royal Mail left it on my doorstep in the rain, but it was still in perfect condition.)