The Dreamcast, Console of the Avant-Garde


We argue that the Dreamcast hosted a remarkable amount of videogame development that went beyond the odd and unusual and is interesting considerd as avant-garde. After characterizing the avant-garde, we investigate reasons that Sega’s position within the industry and their policies may have facilitated development that expressed itself in this way and was recieved by gamers using terms that are associated with avant-garde work. We describe five Dreamcast games (Jet Grind Radio, Space Channel 5, Rez, Seaman, and SGGG) and explain how the advances made by these industrially productions are related to the 20th century avant-garde’s less advances in the arts. We conclude by considering the contributions to gaming that were made on the Dreamcast and the areas of inquiry that remain to be explored by console videogame developers today.

This publication has been generously supported by Simon Fraser University through the Research Opportunities Committee, Faculty of Education and through a serial publications fund grant awarded by the University Publications Committee.

About Nick Montfort

Nick Montfort develops computational poetry and art, often collaboratively. Recent publications include Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities, second edition (MIT Press) along with several computer-generated poetry books: Golem, Hard West Turn, The Truelist, #!, the collaboration 2x6, and Autopia. He has worked to contribute to platform studies, critical code studies, and electronic literature.


More articles & chapters


Share this Post