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Vol. 2, Issue 1
November 11, 1999

Pad Happy:

Sega's Sonic Boom

by Nick Ferguson



The Dreamcast is finally here. So stop crying about PlayStation 2 and buy one, says Nick F..

ey, so you've had a Dreamcast for 6 weeks already and you've probably got more games for it than I do (I'm surviving on Soul Calibur right now). You're pissed that Shenmue has been delayed again, and you're champing at the bit to get your greasy, pizza-stained hands on a Dreamcast Zip drive and a copy of Biohazard: Code Veronica, right? Right? What the hell do you mean, "I didn't buy a Dreamcast?" Come over here and let me kick your ass for you. Alternately, sit down and let me explain to you, slowly, the multitude of reasons you need to hightail it down to the store and pick up Sega's spanking almost-new goody box ASAP. Brace yourself...

Reason #1: Sega is back

You could practically hear the silence on the Sony newsgroups immediately following the Dreamcast's launch, or at least the sound of a number of PlayStation fanboys (typically guys called "Highwind" or "Squall_69") munching their words. Almost amazingly, Sega is back. Even I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised after my first Dreamcast experience (see my old Console Wars article) I wasn't convinced the console had the power to survive even the whispers surrounding PlayStation 2. Since last Christmas, however, we've seen the Dreamcast go from strength to strength, culminating (so far) in the almighty Soul Calibur unquestionably one of the greatest beat-em ups ever to grace a console. I wager Shenmue will drop a few jaws even further when it eventually gets released, although the jury's still out on those "revolutionary" Quicktime Event gameplay mechanisms. It all seems a bit Dragon's Lair for me (hey, I loved Dragon's Lair too, but these days let's keep it on the Gameboy Color where it belongs)... The point, hotshot, is that those memories of laughing at Saturn owners can finally be put to rest: it is most definitely cool to be a Sega cadet again.

Reason #2: Sony is the new Microsoft

Forget Bill Gates (he's just a front), Ken Kutagari is the real anti-Christ. PlayStation isn't just a games console anymore; it's a global brand. Think Coca-Cola meets Microsoft (minus the Supreme Court verdict) and you're not far off. This is the reason Sony just had to call their next-gen machine PlayStation 2 (yawn) anything else would be throwing away billions in free branding. Sony currently enjoys the kind of market domination not seen since the glory days of Nintendo. The name "Nintendo" used to be synonymous with "videogame" (now it's synonymous with "got Elvis-fat and lost the plot"). The increasingly-cheapo PlayStation is still selling in ridiculous quantities, too: are people buying these things for their pets now or something? Unless you want your grandchildren starting their school day singing the theme from Final Fantasy XVIII, you'd better put a stop to Sony's gaming Empire. Choose life, choose a Dreamcast.

Reason #3: PlayStation 2 is vaporware

Didn't you know? All those demos are really running on SGI workstations, and that "controversial" design (hey, I like it) is lifted straight from the Sony Design Centre's 1983 manifesto. But seriously, the PlayStation 2 isn't scheduled to reach US and European shores till September next year - at the absolute earliest. The Japanese machine may well make it out for March, but by the time the real Dreamcast-killer software comes out you could have had 18 months of genuine 128-bit gaming goodness for a comparatively measly $200. That'll be the price of a single PS2 game (honest)!

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Credits: Illustration © 1999 Dan Zalkus. Pad Happy is © 1999 Niick Ferguson. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, so watch it - we know kung fu, gaijin.