The Problem with Innovation
While performing my daily ritual of avoiding work while surfing the Web, I came across this nugget:
This without a Sega warranty, no less.
Why would anyone want a last generation console more than seven years out of production and one that all but bankrupt one of the fine old companies of gamedom?
Because the Dreamcast rocked.
No game critic of the era (seven years ago, that is) would disparage the Dreamcast. You couldn’t do it. House of the Dead, Soul Caliber, Jet Grind Radio, Shenmue, Space Channel 5 and Seaman. Seaman alone would blow the weird art freak doors off any Noby Noby Boy you cared to offer. And NFL 2K? This was the game that reintroduced sports to the world of dude gamers! Here was the console with a fishing rod controller well before Nintedno birthed the “Wiimote”. And lest we forget Samba de Amigo….No one, and I repeat no one, has had Sega’s nerve to ship a maraca controller. Never will, if you ask me.
The Dreamcast was a masterpiece of design. It was cool, it had killer, innovative games and it died on the vine.
We could go into the myriad of problems that it faced—not the least of which was the impending coming of the PlayStation 2, the lack of big franchise titles and that oddly sandwich –sized controller.
The point worth noting here is this: Innovation didn’t save the Dreamcasst when it needed it. Sure, it is a reason we will always venerate the machine and why fans will snap up cherry machines online.
But thinking ahead just isn’t enough to make it in the game world.
It’s a scary thought. Unfortunately, it’s the only conclusion you can come to. The consumer for games is, in the final analysis, a dumb, slobbering beast. Gamers get suckered into the crushing flood of whatever is hot and something that really rethinks things and tries to push the envelope, well, it does so at risk to its own health.