I've always been regretful that I missed out on the Read-Only Memory Genesis/Mega Drive collected works, so when I saw there was a Dreamcast Collected Works book available, I jumped at the chance for a well-produced coffee table book about one of my favorite retro consoles.
The attention to detail is really second to none. You've got well formatted, easy to read text, beautiful page layouts, artwork keys, and more. The book is set out as an **** history book, with chapters breaking up the short lifespan of the Dreamcast. You have interviews and stories from past Sega executives, developers, designers and marketing teams as they tried to make the Dreamcast a success and while ultimately it failed, the book highlights the brilliance of the Dreamcast platform with interviews, stories and artwork.
The artwork in particular is amazing. You have everything from high quality plans and schematics for the Dreamcast controller, renders from games like Crazy Taxi, Shenmue and Space Channel 5, artwork from Puyo Puyo Fever and Jet Set Radio and VMU screen graphics on their own special monochrome pages. The middle of the book has amazing colour spreads of the Dreamcast peripherals like the VMU, the Twin Stick and the Karaoke Base, as well as concept art for the Dreamcast system itself, and scenes from games like Shenmue, Sonic Adventure and Outtrigger.
It would have been nice to see deep dives into some of the games that helped sell the system, like SoulCalibur or Virtua Fighter 3TB, or some more interviews with staff about various games, like Yoot Saito for ****** or Takashi Iizuka for Sonic Adventure but there's so much here already that it's basically a "hungry for more" situation. Despite the book's many interviews and stories straight from designers and executives, there are moments where it feels like the real meat of the story is just out of sight, sometimes as though something is being left unsaid in the interviews. Some of the development stories don't dive as deep into the games as one would like, and many of the interviews omit the inter-company politics that plagued Sega of Japan/Sega of America and skirt around how the Sega Saturn set the Dreamcast up for a hard fall. I don't know if this coffee table book celebrating the Dreamcast is the right place to bring that stuff up, so this more food for thought - a Read-Only Memory Sega Saturn Collected Works book would be a very fascinating read.
Of course, it's easy to say what should have been added or could have been put in, but this is a fantastic book. It's rare to have such a well-made product about a game console, but what we have is an amazing collection of artwork and stories about console that lived and died before its time. It's great as a coffee table book, a reference book and an retrospective. Absolutely worth a buy and deserves a place on your shelf.