The system was discontinued in March 2001, with the company announcing that it would henceforth be a third-party software publisher - even going as far to release Sonic The Hedgehog on Nintendo systems. In gaming terms, this was akin to Jeremy "Red Jez" Corbyn stepping down as leader of the Labour Party, and opening an octopus cafe with all profits going to support UKIP.
After 18 years or so as a hardware manufacturer, the company no longer had the resources or support to compete. Years of poor decisions - from the Mega-CD, to 32X, to the Saturn - had damaged Sega's bottom line - and, indeed, its bottom.
Whatever you might think of Sega, the Dreamcast has to be seen as a fantastic machine that was simply a case of too little too late. The self-harm Sega had done to its own brand, and Sony's continued dominance of the games industry, ensured that confidence in the Dreamcast was virtually non-existent. Electronic Arts and Squaresoft - two of the industry's biggest third-party publishers - declined to support it, ensuring that many of the big brands never made it to the system.
Really, it's a massive shame. The Dreamcast deserved a better fate than the one it received. Sega's time as a console manufacturer didn't end with an ellipsis so much as an exclamation mark.
Here are ten reasons why it should've "twanged" more "of" your "goitres".
Also, as a name, Dreamcast - though clearly Sega's attempt to launch a PlayStation-esque brand which kept the hardware at arm's length from Sega's own damaged brand - is both lovely and playful. It suggests much, without labouring the point; this is a machine which is going to make your dreams come true.
Unless you're Sega, in which case it'll simply manifest your worst nightmares, and make you wet the bed...
Plus, by making the Dreamcast a brilliant white - the most pale of colours - it succeeded in standing out from both the prevailing none-too-black winds of its soon-to-be-rival PlayStation 2, and its own unloved predecessor.
Furthermore, by being so compact it did away with the hollow feeling which slightly blighted the Mega Drive and Saturn, making them both feel cheap. Also, that triangle light bit managed to make it feel magical and high-tech at the same time.
The various buttons and triggers were easy to access, and it even had a pair of expansion ports (typically, one held the storage system, while the second was used to add a rumble pack).
Plus, it was the first joypad to feature a screen - which was, to boot, removable. The VMU (Visual Memory Unit), which doubled as the storage device, could be programmed to display information pertinent to the game, and in a handful of occasions even its own Tamagotchi-like minigames.
It ended up being rather under-utilised, but you can't fault Sega's foresight. It created what was, at that point, the best console controller ever made.
Choke on this: Jet Set Radio, Crazy Taxi, Shenmue, Metropolis Street Racer, Power Stone, Space Channel 5, Virtua Tennis, Seaman, Skies of Arcadia, Soul Calibur, Resident Evil: Code Veronica, Rez, Headhunter, and Chu Chu Rocket were all worth the price of admission. Most of these games were unlike anything available on other systems, giving the Dreamcast a unique identity. And that's before you even get into its peerless catalogue of 2D beat 'em ups.
Additionally, Toy Commander, Bangai-O, Ooga Booga and Floigan Bros. may not have captured the public's imagination, but they were quite unlike anything else, a direct result of Sega asking its developers to experiment more.
The results speak for themselves. And mostly they say: "These are really good games, which not enough people wanted to buy."
Regrettably, both were fairly under-used - console gamers simply didn't really understand what online meant at that point - with only really the great Phantasy Star Online making full use of it. Neverthelesss, had more developers embraced online back then, the Dreamcast could've really shown up its rivals as yesterday's hardware.
Indeed, in the US at least it got off to a flying start - but this was tempered by the fact that, straight out of the gate in Japan, it ran head-first into a fence, got tangled up in some bunting, then ran shrieking onto a busy motorway, where it was run over by a metaphor delivery truck. Or it might've been carrying similes. Doesn't matter.
Point is, the hype that Sony was building over its imminent PlayStation 2 was simply too much for Sega, its finances battered by years of bad decisions, to compete with. As the launch of the PlayStation 2 got closer, so sales of the Dreamcast faded away, and with it Sega's chance of remaining a player in the hardware game.
Sonic Adventure was ready from day one on the Dreamcast, and though it might not have been exactly the game we'd anticipated, there's no denying that it was an intriguing and well put-together effort, which didn't merely replicate the Super Mario 64 template.
Heck, Sega even managed to release Sonic Adventure 2 before the end of the Dreamcast's life. Albeit, by then, the donkey had swollen up like a big grey balloon, and floated off into space.
Alas, with gaming in the process of "growing up", it was - for the vast majority of gamers - time to put away frivolity, and paint their bedrooms black. Sony succeeded in appealing to this prevailing trend.
However, Sony's PS2 was over the horizon, and Sony was preparing to convince the world that it was a powerful enough "super-computer" that Saddam Hussein would use it to power his weapons of mass destruction. For pity's sake.
Even though Dreamcast games remained better-looking than most of what the PS2 had to offer, the Sony hype blinded players to its many visual charms.
And they were just the official peripherals; third-parties embraced the Dreamcast with train controllers, dance mats, and more. Indeed, the Dreamcast represented something of a golden age for weird hardware and unique ways to play games - at least until the Wii came along.
Rest well, Dreamcast. You were a real nice thing, and deserved better than you got.