9/9/99. This was the launch date of the SEGA Dreamcast, the final home console SEGA would ever release, fifteen years ago today. The demise of the Sega Dreamcast is well documented. While SEGA fought tooth and nail against the Super Nintendo with its Sega Genesis console, it took a huge hit when Sony entered the console market with the original PlayStation. The Saturn and Dreamcast struggled against the competition (especially the dominant PlayStation 2) and eventually was forced to bow out and focus solely on software.
Rather than dwelling on the past, let’s look back to the good times. Specifically, let’s watch some of the fantastic launch commercials and goofy TV spots that led up to the release of to the now dearly departed Dreamcast.
SEGA, known for their over the top commercials and campaigns, heavily promoted the catchy 9/99/99 launch date in the United States with great success. Despite a poor launch in Japan, the Dreamcast was quite popular right away in the United States with a strong lineup of games including Soul Calibur, Sonic Adventure, and NFL 2k. Most importantly perhaps, bits were still a thing people cared about back then, so the fact that the Dreamcast came packed with 128 bits (a whole 64 more than the Nintendo 64!), was quite significant for many consumers as local news spots which occurred around the time of the release hilariously illustrate:
Additionally, the hype train was was fed through heavy advertisement of its launch date in popular gaming magazines and other video game news outlets. It was commercials such as these that made the Sega Dreamcast such a memorable launch for many. No one does commercials quite like 90s SEGA anymore.
The Dreamcast was the console we deserved, but not the one we needed…