Crazy Taxi, Illbleed, Power Stone, there are many fantastic Dreamcast games out there, yet it took me years to actually add one to my collection. I used to buy all my stuff at a webshop that had a ton of retro games and machines, but it wasn’t until I really felt that itch to play Crazy Taxi that I realized the underappreciated Dreamcast was not something he dealt in. This forced me to go to Marktplaats, a Dutch website where random people post stuff they wish to sell, and this lead me to buy a cursed Dreamcast.
No, this is not some lame Creepypasta in which an undead-looking Sonic invades other games and butchers the cast of Jet Set Radio; it was not that kind of curse. The Dreamcast I found belonged to a girl in Amsterdam that had a peculiar story for it. She used to have an American boyfriend and the machine was his, but the relationship ended and he forgot to take it with him. Now she was moving abroad and needed to get rid of it fast. The machine was pretty cheap, though this did mean it was untested and the description was vague. She would include “cables” and “games”.
50 euros and two days later a box arrived on my doorstep containing the Dreamcast of Doom. A machine that, three years later, still manages to haunt me. As I unpacked my loot, it immediately struck me that the console had been tampered with. The screws on the bottom keeping the plastic hull attached were missing, so you could easily access the insides. The games all came stacked together in one of those plastic holders and were clearly burned, with the exception of a legit copy of ChuChu Rocket!, and the mysterious girl had failed to include a power cable.
I called in a buddy to come check it out and we used one of his cables, but no amount of effort could persuade the console to play either ChuChu Rocket! or any of the burned games. Some testing later and we concluded that the laser was dead and, as far as I know, that is not something you can really fix. I was afraid that I was ripped off and the perp had fled, but after sending a strongly-worded email to the seller I actually got a response. She apologized and refunded the money, didn’t even want the console back since it was clearly worthless and too much of a bother to take with her.
My friend that helped me test the console then offered to sell me one of his three Dreamcasts for the same money. That is where our story would end: I got two Dreamcasts, one of which actually works, and finally got to play me some Craaaaaaaaaaazy Taxi!. However, just a few weeks ago this tale got another twist.
For three years the Dreamcast of Doom sat in my collection as a display model. I offered to sell it once to a friend of mine that likes game consoles even though he doesn’t play games, but the missing screws were an issue for him, even if I had offered to give it away for free. Then the man who gave me his power cable and sold me my working Dreamcast needed some help: one of his two remaining systems had broken down and he wanted to loot the Dreamcast of Doom for parts. Since it was worth just as much with or without the internal electronics at this point, I was happy to oblige.
We took the parts to his place and gave it a shot; the Dreamcast was alive once again. We celebrated this by grabbing two keyboard and playing some Typing of the Dead. All was well until we got to the first boss. A sharp, whistling noise emerged from besides us, followed shortly by a torrent of white smoke. Immediately we pulled all cables out of the wall and opened the windows. We grabbed the Dreamcast and put it in front of the window, set up the fan right next to it, and evacuated the cat to another room. It was chaos.
When the smoke faded and we had mustered the guts to pry open the console, the part we had salvaged from the Dreamcast of Doom was fried. We thought we were dismantling the problem, yet failed to realize we were actually spreading the plague. A mistake we wouldn’t make twice; we submerged the thing in water and literally tossed it out the window. Perhaps, though, some unlucky sod will one day find the part, and the curse of the Dreamcast of Doom will strike another.