The SEGA Dreamcast launched on November 27th, 1998 in Japan, making this the 21st anniversary of the famous orange-swirled console. Yet that's not all! November 30th, 1999 was the 20th anniversary of the Dreamcast in Australia, New Zealand, and the rest of Oceania, making 30-11-2019 the two decade mark for the console there as well as the final 20th anniversary for the venerable Dreamcast throughout the world.
Back in the day, many enthusiastic Kiwis and Aussies imported their Dreamcasts from overseas. Why? For one thing, the wait was so bloody long! Japan is closer to Australia than North America is, but North America and Europe got their Dreamcasts months before Oceania; Australia had to wait after all of the other territories in the world got their Dreamcasts to finally get their own amazing 128-bit consoles. It was faster and simpler to import or rent imported consoles and games from Japan a year earlier than to wait for another 12 months for it to arrive, and Japan got more Dreamcast releases than any other country in the world, so selection and variety were more key reasons. Besides, many Dreamcast JP games had English in them or were simple enough to figure out. If it were that much of a concern, then your JP Dreamcast could be sold and an AU DC purchased in short order after launch.
Some even chose to buy or rent imported games and Dreamcasts from America. Why? Depending on tariffs, other taxes, parcel & post, and the exchange rate, it might be less expensive or at least break-even to import from America than it was to buy locally. Besides, a lot of games got releases in the USA that never happened in AU or PAL territories, so importing also seemed brilliant that way. Plus NTSC games, whether US or JP, ran at 60 Hertz instead of 50 Hertz, meaning the games seemed to run 20% faster, giving movement and motions a nicer, smoother appearance than PAL games, effectively getting a higher frame-rate in exchange for losing about 20% of the vertical resolution. Then again, you had better make sure that your TV could support NTSC and PAL if you were going that route, or at the very least have a spare monitor to use the VGA cable!
A few blokes were even upset about the big delay with the Web browser. You'd think after launching in JP, NA, and EU that browser software would be ready for launch in Australia, but Aussies would have to wait until about three months later to finally get online with their Dreamcasts. It was a major selling point back in the day when you didn't have any Internet access on your PC, you know. For a lot of people, their Dreamcast, television, Web browser, and dial-up were the way they got online for the first time. Thing is, the first online game wouldn't even arrive until months after that with ChuChu Rocket!, but by then a lot of people had already imported from abroad instead of dealing with even more delays by SEGA and OziSoft.
If you were in New Zealand, Australia, Oceania, or Japan during the first years of the Dreamcast in your territory, please share your experiences in this thread!