Since Sega's announcement last year to stop production on the Dreamcast system, the call went out across every gaming message board and website. Stating simply, "Dreamcast is dead."
Sure, there were a few final games released (with the final game officially being NHL2k2) but for the game (and technology) hungry public, DC was dead and gone. However, like most things, especially since the advent of the internet, all was not as it seemed. Along the way there had always been some unofficial Dreamcast software released, such as the Bleemcast! software, which emulated perfectly (and even improved) upon three of the classic Playstation games: Tekken 3, Metal Gear Solid, and Gran Turismo 2. With these emulator discs came smoother graphics, better colors, and hordes of would-be console programmers saying, "I can do that!"
And they did. Since the fall of the Dreamcast, the underground had released scads of neat things for your 'dead' console. Through the wonders of bored programmers, and leaked dev kits, the Dreamcast can now do quite a few things that it's successors cannot. The first 128-bit console can now play VideoCDs, MP3s, DivX movies, and has at least partial emulation for almost any console that came before it. Feel like playing Burger Time? Find a ROM and pop it into your DC with the Dreamcast M.A.M.E. port, and you are on your way to retro heaven. There is nearly perfect emulation for the 8-bit NES, SNES, Genesis, Sega Master System, Neo-Geo Pocket, and even ports of Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, and Quake! There is even a Linux Distro for the DC that fits on a single CD. Try playing Paper Boy on your Xbox.
The Dreamcast online community is picking up where Sega had to let go. Any given week sees a new version, a homebrew coding contest, or a new PC-interface workaround. Some brave souls have even set-up their Dreamcast to reside on their Network, via the broadband adapter. And best of all, the chance of Sega coming down on the 'scene' is greatly lowered now that they don't develop for the system. They're not losing any money, right?
If you are a retro console enthusiast, the Dreamcast is your new best friend. Sure playing your real NES is great, but not so portable with all the games you have. All you need to bring a Nintendo and 1000s of games is your Dreamcast, and two blank CDs. Ahhh, technology.
Links: dcemulation.com & planetdreamcast.com