To think it has been 20 years since SEGA not only ceased production of the Dreamcast but also ended all dreams that it would be the top distributor in the home console space. Not completely the fault of the console itself, the company made a lot of mistakes during the end of the 1990s - but instead of fading into the fog of obscurity like many before it, SEGA left with a bang!
With a built-in modem for internet and online play, a memory card that was also a handheld game system, and touting some of the strongest libraries of video games - the Dreamcast did explode onto the scene, but the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long.
And to celebrate such a unique console, we’re taking a look at some of the most stylish looks in the Dreamcast’s repertoire.
Gum – Jet Set Radio
Life in Tokyo-to ain’t easy for graffiti-tagging inline skaters as one may seem. I mean, who else is going to grind those rails and incite adolescent underground city wars? To be fair, art and general self-expression is becoming increasingly more suppressed thanks to the political corruption and interference of business moguls - and using excessive and lethal police force to control the state… thank goodness this is all fictional!
Hypothetically, if such a thing was to arise, you’d imagine the kids wouldn’t let go of a little thing called “self-expression” or “freedom” - hence why all the gangs are so gosh darned funky fresh! Speaking of fresh: Gum, the founder of graffiti gang “The GG’s” (an abbreviation of… “Graffiti Gang”) is a prime example of the skate ‘n’ spray culture in Jet Set Radio.
The level of 90s in this outfit completely transcends into heavens of nirvana, but is simultaneously grounded in reality. Sporting a faint grey athletic mini-dress and a long sleeved two-toned green striped turtleneck, the look emanates what I imagine would be a watermelon flavoured bubble-gum wrapper.
Pops of orange on Gum’s pilot’s helmet and gloves add a burst of energy, with her roller skates and headgear top and tailing the overall look in a neat package. Only thing missing is probably a set of knee & elbow guards - but I suppose the lack of total protective wear just shows how adept Gum is. Still though, the local police force has guns… - Danielle
Jotaro – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Heritage for the Future
Let us be honest, pretty much every character within JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is in some way a fashion icon. This is true for the Dreamcast release of JoJo’s bizarre Adventure: Heritage for the Future, which was a fighting game featuring many of the fashionable characters from the series. One of the most iconic though is Jotaro, who is both the main character of said game along with being the protagonist of Stardust Crusaders.
His look is a standout one not just for being so memorable but for how it takes an everyday outfit and gives it that extra flare. Based on a "gakuran", which is the name for a typical Japanese male school uniform, Jotaro’s has been modified to be trench coat length, along with featuring a tall, stiff collar complete with a large gold chain. If there was ever a piece of clothing to capture your personality and make sure everyone knows it, then this is it. Jotaro screams that delinquent energy, and it has never looked so good.
Underneath this stunning coat, the rest of Jotaro’s outfit is simple featuring an everyday sleeveless shirt and a pair of slim-fitting trousers finished off with a pair of leather shoes. Two thin belts add a little extra spice to the look without being overpowering. Finally, the iconic cap completes the whole look with a large golden plate featured on the front that matches the gold chain and buttons of the jacket.
When you realise that Jotaro’s whole look is based on a school uniform it really adds an extra layer of appreciation to the whole thing. Taking something so bland and making it so loud, stylish, and yet iconic is a true feat. Jotaro goes on to wear a similar outfit for most of the series with only minor changes seen over time, most notably the colour or pattern. The trench coat and cap, however, are always present and really do sell this look. Plus, Jotaro is a badass who can use the incredibly powerful Stand, Star Platinum. So, you know, he is both a fashion iconic and a force to be reckoned with. What a legend! - Judgemental Waifu
King - The King of Fighters Dream Match 1999/ KoF 2000
Personally, I prefer the outfit on the left (from KoF ‘98, re-released on the Dreamcast as Dream Match 1999), but I’m not actually sure whether her outfit appears in this manner in that Dreamcast title. Hence, 2000’s King is here as well.
The Red/White combo of King’s Dream Match attire presents a crisp and elegant, yet fierce look, especially with the red trim on her cuffs and torso, almost like some sort of human Premier Ball. The dark burgundy that makes up her fingerless gloves and the bulk of her two-toned ballroom shoes highlights their work as the business ends of a fight, presenting King as a well-rounded fighter with a focus on keeping herself composed and unbloodied. That being said, the deep red of her pants guarantee you know that this Muay Thai fighter’s focus is on her kicks. The striking contrast between her pants and shirt/jacket combo presents a dynamic design that shows up well, even when she is reduced down to a sprite, which is further sold by the gold of the belt that separates the two and calls attention to her manageable, yet stylish haircut, of a similar, lighter colour. This outfit, with its dynamic colour scheme, cements itself as a classic look, both on the Dreamcast and in the King of Fighters canon, crowning King as the King of Fashion.
I’m a tad less impressed with 2000’s getup, though it too is stunning, even if she looks more like she’s waiting to take me out to her bar, the “Illusion,” for a night of drinking than waiting for me to put my guard down before delivering a kick upside my head. The maroon of her velvet suit offers less contrast than her prior look, but it suits her well enough, particularly when paired with the bowtie and shoes. Speaking for myself, while the shoes are nice on their own, with the reversed colour scheme keeping them from blending in with her pants, I do also have to keep reminding my brain that the white section that makes up the most of the dress shoe is also part of said shoe and not some odd sock bandage. Likely, this is due to the fact that the shoes match King's handsome undershirt, cuff, and gloves, both of which find themselves partially concealed under the purple of the remainder of the outfit, both by design and through her confident arms-crossed pose.
Still, there are a few additional tiny details that help to complete the suit, like the white pearl earrings or the gold cufflinks, though these are not immediately apparent when viewing King as a sprite. I will at least admit that they do a better job of showing up at that reduced level than they did in her Dream Match outfit, where I had missed them entirely. The belt is back as well, a signature inclusion that helps to raise 2000’s King’s fashion statement from a disappointment to a respectful disagreement. - Erin
Marrow - Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was the first occasion I came across the mutant Marrow. I’d always been a Rogue fan and something about Marrow just totally edged her out into a distant memory.
The blue and green colours of her matching top and bottoms set complement each other perfectly, highlighting the striking green of her eyes and simultaneously providing the perfect contrast to her spiky tangerine pixie cut. Her outfit is completely skin tight, which allows for freedom of movement and shows off an insane amount of muscle definition. The high neck and exposed arms give me serious action movie vibes, and you just know she has the move set to match.
Marrow has the ability to enhance the growth speed of her bones, which can erupt from her skin and can be removed or even shot from her body, her own in-house weaponry. It’s fitting then that the accents along the trim of her cropped top are clearly bones, creating an almost jaw-like illusion above her midriff. The bones are also featured as caps over her knees (knee caps as knee pads?) and fan out from her spine, looking like sinister bony wings.
She’s a little bit punk, a little bit sexy and a whole lot of iconic. I’ve not one bone to pick here. - Emsey
“Regina” (Alias) - Dino Crisis
Whoever designs the gear for the Secret Operation Raid Team really skirted the limit of fashion over functionality. For a stealth mission, I'd assume it would be serviceable. For your causal dino infestation romp in Jurassic Center Parcs - perhaps not.
Regardless of realism, Regina’s look is absolutely dino-mite. A little really does go a long way, as the uniform relies on shade rather than colour. The consistency of the black glossy “protective” outerwear from her knee high boots, fingerless gloves, and one-piece bodysuit act as visual bookends that naturally tether her outfit cohesively together; whilst the neoprene-esque matte grey spy suit underneath and matching detached compression arm sleeves fill in the blanks.
She’s at least kitted out with a tactical brown leather waist belt and leg harness… which is better than nothing I guess! And how could we not talk about the vibrant ruby red head of hair of hers! It’s about as sleek, sharp, and straightforward as Regina herself; as is evident from her surviving an island of rabid raptors to her blasé reactions to dismembered cadavers. - Danielle
Tofu - Resident Evil 2
Fashion is a statement, a declaration of unabashed authenticity and expression. Where we could resign ourselves to existing in our clothes, fashion has the ability to excite us, inspire us, challenge our preconceived notions, and dare us to go beyond just what is visible - but to the many other senses available… no matter the reaction we get from fashion; it’s purpose is to incite a reaction… to feel something.
You feel the texture on your skin, smell the fragrance of the fabric, heck - maybe even taste it too. No other fashion statement is so bold as to forego fabric entirely to become a block of sentient bean curd - Tofu; the ultimate fashionista.
Not only is Tofu entirely made up of tofu, but it’s also an active advocate of Naturism (a cultural movement commonly known as “nudism”). This legume-life look could be taken as an antithetical response to Lady Gaga’s meat dress, an anti-fashion proclamation, or the umbrella corporation he works for.
Throughout his journey to escape Raccoon City and deliver the G-Virus sample to HQ, Tofu seasons himself with healing herbs and sewage water for extra oomph. Not only do the infected he encounters recognise his great source of protein and iron rich exterior as a pivotal reprieve to their cannibalistic fad diet; but his crew are aware of his silky smooth texture and low calorie intake - as Tofu sacrifices a part of himself for the team’s in-flight miso soup meal. - Danielle
Ulala - Space Channel 5: Part 1 & Part 2
On the cusp of the 26th century, life as we know it has drastically changed; alien lifeforms have arrived to enforce their dancing regime, television still exists, and Michael Jackson found the fountain of youth… and the cure for death… and has been uncancelled… a lot happened within the last 500 years.
And where there’s deceased controversial figures, alien warfare, and televisual programming - there’s a new story waiting to be reported! Oh… Hold on, news just in! Space Channel 5’s correspondent Ulala is on the scene to jive and journalise, and also hostage negotiate through the power of dance to stop these extra-terrestrial Neo-Geneva convention war crimes… in style!
Rocking the Y2K retrofuturistic optimism of 1960’s inspired gogo dancers and 1990’s bubble blobby blobitecture, Ulala dons a structured hooped mini skirt, reinforced wide-necked crop top (with the Space Channel 5 logo), elbow length gloves, and scarlet-soled platformed knee-high gogo boots; all made from the a special fabric of the future!!!!!!... (probably PVC). Accented with a chunky headset over her bubble-gum pink piggy-tails, and an aqua blue zap blaster with thigh holster - her outfit oozes 90s Sci-Fi!
Depending on the game, the colour theme differs from Part 1’s warm and fun orange and white trim look, to Part 2’s clean, pure, white aesthetic. Even though the dress code seems pretty lax in the year 2499, some things never seem to change… the rampant oversexualisation of female news reporters for the sake of viewer ratings! - Danielle
Those were just some of the games and characters that graced the SEGA Dreamcast’s four years of life. There were so many gaming gems to put on the list that we could probably fill a second list!