Since the inception of video games in popular culture, there has usually been a console war between the major game companies out there. Today, the battle is largely between Sony and Microsoft, with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 fighting over fans until the next generation of consoles emerges in a few years from both companies. For new gamers, this may seem like it’s always been the norm, but back in the 90’s, Sony and Microsoft were either small or nonexistent players in the console war. Instead, the war waged between video game giants Nintendo and Sega, thanks to iconic systems and icon mascots (Sonic the Hedgehog for Sega and Super Mario for Nintendo). While both still remain today developing consoles or games, the current state of Sega or Nintendo doesn’t compare to the success they enjoyed in the 90’s (other than Sega Saturn. The less said about that, the better).
Deciding which company was better is moot, as both had their great strengths and weaknesses. Instead, I would like to take a look at what I feel is the two best consoles Nintendo and Sega put out; the Nintendo 64 (or N64 as it’s largely referred to) and the Sega Dreamcast. Both consoles are the peak of both companies, and a true look at gaming done in the absolute perfect way. The question is; which one is better? Let’s break it down into six different categories and take a look.
Sega Dreamcast vs. N64
Console Design: While neither is extraordinary or terrible, the Dreamcast was less clunky and in some ways a bit futuristic. Gotta love the swirl logo too.
Graphics: One of the two toughest talking points here, as both system’s graphics were light years ahead of what Sony’s Playstation was giving at the time. Ultimately, the Dreamcast barely wins out thanks to two games; Soul Calibur and Jet Set Radio. Both games graphics were revolutionary for their time, and are so good that they still hold up when being compared to games of today.
Slight Edge: Dreamcast
Controller: Hmm, let’s see; the N64 provided a controller that was the perfect size, shape and was easy to understand, while the Dreamcast controller was laughably large and incredibly difficult to learn. It’s really not even close.
Huge Edge: N64
Features: The Dreamcast really takes an edge here, mostly because of its use of compact disks for games as opposed to the N64’s ROM cartridges (which have since gone out of style during the next generation era of gaming). Unlike N64, the Dreamcast was able to play CD’s (the second system to do so after the PlayStation) and was the first video game console to feature internet access and online play. The fact that the Dreamcast came out three years after the N64’s launch only confirms that Nintendo never had a chance.
Huge Edge: Dreamcast
Games: An incredibly tough call, as both systems’ feature a hall of fame class of games, including Sonic Adventure 1 and 2, Golden Eye, Soul Calibur, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Jet Set Radio, Mario 64, and Shenmue among others. Ultimately, the deciding factor is that for all the great games out there, none beat Ocarina of Time, which continues to be the Michael Jordan of video games.
Slight Edge: N64
Longevity: Whether fairly or unfairly, the Dreamcast isn’t even close here, only lasting a little over a year and a half before production was discontinued in 2001. The N64’s longevity; six years from 1996-2002.
Huge Edge: N64
As you can see right there, nothing is exactly solved at all, as the two consoles tie three to three in advantages. So which one really is the better console? It’s hard to say as I truly love both systems and I think for their time, no system comes close (including the newer systems). For all of the revolutionary things the Dreamcast does do with internet play and graphics however, nothing to me matches what the N64 brings to the table as far as games. Ultimately, the replay value of games such as Ocarina of Time, Mario 64, Super Smash Brothers and Donkey Kong 64 make the N64 the better of the two.
There you have it. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know in the poll below.
licketysplit on December 05, 2013:
I think it's more than a "slight edge" for Dreamcast as far as graphics goes. The N64 doesn't even come close (although it's not really a fair comparison since they're from different generations. It's like comparing the Playstation 1 to the Playstation 2....)
Anyway, other than that, I prefer the Dreamcast to the N64. It just has a more appealing library of games for me.