The great events of Sega before the launch of the Dreamcast with a release of around 2000 vintage photos.

The Tokyo Game Show and E3 are annual events not to be missed. The video game industry is booming. Major announcements from publishers and manufacturers often take place during these events. It was the masses of the video game. Today, in the age of the internet, these salons have lost their splendor.  Back then, that was the place for a journalist to be.

SEGA , in 1998, organized 2 major events in order to present its future console then known under the code name Katana . The announcement of a new console is always a magical moment for the manufacturer who does things big and for the fans who drool over the potential of the machine they will soon have under the Christmas tree.

On May 1, 1998, Shoichiro Irimajiri unveiled the Dreamcast to the world in front of an audience of 1,500 people during the New Challenge Conference . In September of the same year, Sega held an incredible booth for the fall Tokyo Game Show .

Tokyo Game Show 1998 Autumn
Tokyo Game Show Dreamcast outside

The New Conference Challenge

May 1, 1998, 4 o'clock in the afternoon. In front of the New Otani , a luxury hotel in Tokyo , the crowd of journalists throngs. In the ranks, the pressure mounts. In a few minutes, SEGA will unveil its future console and its ambitions for the future. What could be better than this symbolic place to organize such an event?

The New Otani was built in 1964 to coincide with the Olympic Games of that year and its prestigious setting perfectly reflects SEGA 's desires for the years to come. The winds of change are blowing through the corridors of the company's imposing building. Located in the district of Ota , and more precisely in the district of Haneda , the head office of SEGA is only a stone's throw from Haneda airport. It is also in this district that we find the Namco companies or the giant Canon .

That day, the President of SEGA , Shoichiro Irimajiri is about to live an unforgettable moment. At this exceptional assembly, more than 1,500 people, publishers and actors of the “ Katana ” project, are present. The most important ones ( CEO of NEC , Yamaha and Hitachi ) are called upon to take the stage alongside the President of SEGA . The opening, the much desired opening is there and revealed to the press. That day, a speech by Bill Gates (for the partnership with Microsoft and its Windows CE ) and several demos are displayed, one by one, on the giant screen installed in the large conference room.

The first, created by Tetsuya Mizuguchi ( SEGA Rally , REZ , Child of Eden , etc.), is a tech demo revealing the console's visual capabilities. We can see the modeled head of Shoichiro Irimajiri extricating himself from a screen, before turning on himself and speaking to the assembly with a lip synchronization and a striking realism (for the time). Through this demo, SEGA shows the console's capabilities in terms of texture deformation, visual effects, transparency, zooms, rotations… a real slap in the face that required a lot of work from the small team responsible for its design. Moreover, many were amused by the little wink made at the title screen of a certain Super Mario 64.

Then, the journalists were able to discover the demo Babylon (or Tower of Babel , Babel's Tower in English). Concocted by the great Yu Suzuki (with music, it seems, by Kenji Eno ). Everything then runs at 60 frames per second, with a resolution of 640 X 480, a great technical demo for the time. Here is what the man was able to say about this technical demo.

Tower of Babel tech demo article and download link below:

Tower of Babel Dreamcast Tech Demo version 2 and 3 Release

New Conference Challenge VIP
New Conference Challenge Dreamcast Shoichiro Irimajiri
New Conference Challenge Dreamcast VIP

The console is then expected for November 20, 98 at a price of 28,800 yen (roughly 205 euros). There is also talk of a US release in April 99 and a European release in September 99. There will be just a little delay compared to the first intentions. On the other hand, if the game demonstrations are absent, some revelations are present… 

Finally, we realize that the years have passed, nothing changes. Promises are always too ambitious. Nevertheless, SEGA is a tech-savvy company and the VMU (or VMS ) is there to prove it. The Visual Memory Unit or System is a memory card with a small screen and two buttons. 

On July 11, 1998, SEGA released the VMU Atsumete Godzilla to match the release of the new Godzilla movie. It thus became the first accessory in history to be released before the console.

During the Tokyo Game Show, SEGA announced the signing of approximately 350 third-party publishers, while Capcom revealed the incredible Resident Evil: Code Veronica . In Consoles + of November 98, we even learn that Yoshiki Okamoto of Capcom unbridled everyone by throwing to his Square colleagues: “I tell you: the Dreamcast is cool! I invite my friends from Square to develop alongside us! »

TGS Autumn 1998
Console Dreamcast Prototype
Iri San Tech Demo Dreamcast
Dreamcast Tech Demo Iri-San
New Conference Challenge Sega Dreamcast Show
New Conference Challenge Dreamcast Show
Dreamcast exhibition TGS 1998
exhibition VMU Godzilla Dreamcast TGS 1998

If that will not be the case, the journalist insists on the bewildering side of the evening which followed the conference, with a crowd of developers congratulating SEGA . Even the pundits at Sony were disgusted. And for good reason, Namco is mounted on the stage and a handshake between the boss of SEGA and that of Namco made the rounds of the press. The two rivals of the arcade, hand in hand, it was unheard of!

Capcom TGS 1998 stage
Namco Stage TGS 98
Tokyo Game Show Square Stage

Note that SEGA presented the Dreamcast to the European press on September 6, 1998 during the ECTS in London . The wait then became difficult to manage.

European events (ECTS and launch of the Dreamcast)

The " European Computer Trade Show " ( ECTS ) was a video game trade fair for industry professionals and journalists taking place in London each year from 1989 to 2004.

In some years it competed  E3 before disappearing to the detriment of the " Game Convention " in Leipzig and then the " Gamescom " in Cologne .

Sega was absent from ECTS in 1999. At a date so close to the European launch of the Dreamcast , that seemed surprising. Sega preferred to focus on operations in each country. Gossips immediately thought of the astronomical sums devoted to sponsoring the football teams of Arsenal and Saint-Etienne . Sega had nevertheless caught up by organizing a party. The big boss of Sega , Shoichiro Irimajiri and actors of Austin Powers 2 had moved for the occasion.

Dreamcast Event Austin Powers Actors
Dreamcast European Launch
Dreamcast European Event

Launch of the Dreamcast in the United Kingdom (to be confirmed). The photos come from " https://www.facebook.com/Dreamcast-UKEU-185918598097655 " This kind of photo being rare, I wanted  also archive them on my site. We find boxers Lennox Lewis and Chris Eubank . The short actor Verne Troyer was present during this evening. Store shelf photos must be from a Virgin Megastore .

European Sega Dreamcast Launch
Dreamcast Arsenal sponsoring
Lancement Francais de la Dreamcast

To welcome the release of the Dreamcast in France , the Virgin Megastore in Paris on the Champs-Elysées had closed its doors at one o'clock in the morning instead of midnight, in order to sell consoles from the first minutes of this blessed day of October 13, 1999. For this event, the star of X Rocco Siffredi had moved in person signing the consoles and other objects that were presented to him. It was the occasion of a great celebration, with the presence of the bosses of Sega France . Finally, to nail the show, the store had decorated its front with a giant poster in the colors of Sega.

In 2000,  the " ECTC " exhibition took place at the Olympia in London . SEGA was there. The Japanese company had organized an attraction ( Dreamcast Première ) at the Empire cinema in Leicester Square in London outside the show on September 3 from 6:45 p.m. Before attending the previews of the games to come on Dreamcast , in the corridors leading to the projection room, exhibited movie posters diverted for the occasion: " Mad Max ", " The Magnificent Seven ", " West Side Story ", " 60 Seconds Flat ", and " The Game of Death "!

There were representatives from Sega of Europe , a few people from Japan including the editor of Famitsu and some  senior Sega executives during the event mixed in with regular gamers for a night of stellar partying.

A video  of one hour presented the titles to come and the future online mode. There was an amazing Shenmue trailer . Other games like Samba De Amigo , Power Stone 2 , Tokyo Highway Challenge 2 , Black & White , were also presented without forgetting F355 Challenge , Jet Set Radio , Space Channel 5 , Xtreme Sports , Sega GT , Alone in the Dark , Half Life , Speed​​ Devils Online , Headhunter and Quake III .

The firm's emblematic characters strolled through the crowd. We could see Sonic , the boxers of Ready Rumble , the undead of House of the dead or even a sexy Ulala welcoming players at the front door.

Anyone could try their hand at Sega GT , Shenmue , and Virtua Tennis in the theater lobby. The really cool stuff, like Quake 3 Arena , Toy Racer and Dream Dorobo (Planet Ring) were in the VIP area  as did the booze and the press kit containing a playable demo of MSR .

Unaware of the absolutely incredible press disc that one could obtain, the First Disc , SEGA had shone with its aura this evening!!!

Disc Première Dreamcast bundle.jpg

You can download it below:

Sega Dreamcast Premiere Press Kit with  archive.org

ECTS 2000 Dreamcast Event
Première Disc Dreamcast Flyers_20220317_0001.jpg
Outside the Dreamcast Première London

Testimonial from a person taking ECTS 2000

Sonic Disc Première Dreamcast Event
Ulala Cosplay Dreamcast ECTS 2000
Tokyo Game Show 1998 Dreamcast Stage

To keep the emotion aroused by this testimony, it has not been translated.

 

"I was at the event. A story of pure luck and a misunderstanding.

 

I was at the sega booth at ects and was on the final boss of space channel 5 (I had an import of it) the rep was impressed, not thinking I had played it. He asked me not to complete it and said I should come to an event at a cinema at Leicester Square, i said will there be queues and he said to mention he had invited me if there was any issue.

 

I got there and the the queue was massive, so saw a host near a door to the side and mentioned the rep had invited me. Well it turns out that was the vip entrance and my friend and I ended up in the exclusive part of the event.

 

We got the press kit, there we dreamcast premiere disks everywhere and swirl branded popcorn.

 

We played a load of betas of the last games to be released. I was picked to play planet ring as the dreamcasts first UK online player (I was awful at it ) I hope there's no footage of it out there.

 

We then went to the balcony to watch the showcase of all the games due to be released. I was hyped for Black & White and half life.

 

Afterwards we got talking to some of the sega guys and they invited us to the arcade next door (or above, I think it was sega world at the time) and played arcades until it was time to get our train.

 

One of my most favorite gamer days ever. I wish I'd filled my bag with the disks"

The 1998 Fall Tokyo Game Show

Even if the Dreamcast stand was imposing, the real stakes around this new machine were revealed during the Sega Conference 2 , a gigantic assembly bringing together journalists from all over the world which had taken place 2 days earlier. Surprise event, revelation, were linked to satisfy the most curious.

Sega Dreamcast Stage Tgs 1998

The Dreamcast wanted to hurt and at first glance it had succeeded. If Sega 's know-how in Arcade benefited titles like Sega Rallye 2 , Sonic Aventure , Blue Stinger etc., that the realization was neat, it was reheated. There was no gameplay innovation and game principle yet.

After all,  this was only the beginning of the console. You can't be too demanding at the start of a new machine's life. Knowing its history, it innovated more than any other console with iconic games like Shenmue , Jet Set Radio and Phantasy Star Online .

In addition to the classic steering wheels and joysticks, Sega unveiled a wide range of peripherals in order to give the Dreamcast the possibilities of a real computer, internet access via a special modem or the creation of a web TV. While walking on the stand of the Japanese firm, it was possible to admire under a window, as in a museum, various accessories as well as some strange prototypes of consoles and controllers.

Dreamcast console prototype tokyo game show 1998
Dreamcast Pad prototype TGS 1998

List of games in presentations:

Blue Stinger logo
Blue Stinger artwork
Blue Stinger Dreamcast
Blue Stinger Sega

Blue Stinger

Blue Stinger is a survival horror video game, created by Climax CEO in Japan and published by Activision in North America and Europe .

Blue Stinger on Dreamcast puts the player in the shoes of Eliot Ballade , a lifeguard at sea. You will explore Dinosaur Island , an island on which an object from space crashed and which, shortly after, surrounded by a mysterious protective bubble.

Climax Landers (Time Stalker)

Climax Landers Dreamcast logo

Time Stalkers , also known as Climax Landers  in Japan, is a role-playing video game released in 1999 on Dreamcast .

Time Stalkers on Dreamcast is a role-playing game that takes you into a mysterious world of strange lands and twisting labyrinths. Play as Sword and discover the origins of your world. The quest leads the hero to use magic weapons and spells in turn-based battles, each success to gain experience and at the same time, to become more powerful.

Climax Landers Dc Artwork
Time Satlkers Dreamcast tgs
Time Stalkers Dreamcast tgs 98

Prototype to download here: Time Stalkers Dreamcast prototype release

Cool Boarders Dreamcast logo
Cool Boarders Dreamcast Tokyo Game Show 98
Snow Surfer Dreamcast tgs

Cool Boarders (Snow Surfer)

Snow Surfers is a snowboarding game developed by UEP Systems , the creators of the Cool Boarders series. It was released in 1999 for Dreamcast .

Try a session in Snow Surfers on Dreamcast , where style matters as much as speed. Incredible jumps and gravity-defying tricks are now at your fingertips in this title that is in the vein of Cool Boarders .