Sega's Sonic Boom
2, Issue 1
November 11, 1999
#4: Online gaming
so this site is probably not the best place to plug a console
on the strength of its online capabilities. Sue me. The fact remains,
regardless of what us loonygames-reading types think, and the
mass market doesn't play online games - yet. The mass market does
seem to be buying a shitload of Dreamcasts, though, and every
one of those puppies ships with a modem - Sega's Trojan horse.
I have a hunch that when the first batch of multiplayer games
hit the US and Europe, Sega are going to have to upgrade their
Dreamcast networks pretty quickly. Sega Rally 2 is fine
and dandy to start with, but could you really resist once Half-Life
DC and Phantasy Star Online make it out? Thought not...
Reason #5: Arcade conversions
Sega and Namco make the best arcade games in the world. If you
want to play enhanced versions of some of the finest games of
the last few years, you'll need to buy a Dreamcast. Virtua
Fighter 3, Sega Rally 2 and House of the Dead 2
are fine representations of their arcade counterparts, although
the best is yet to come with mad free-roaming racer Crazy Taxi
and the sim-tastic F355 Challenge waiting in the wings.
As for the likelihood of further titles from Namco, the sheer
effort they put into their way-better-than-the-arcade conversion
of Soul Calibur gives a strong indication of their faith
in the console's future. The Dreamcast may munch up a few months'
worth of quarters, but in the long run you're guaranteed not to
regret it. Broom-broom!
Reason #6: Dinky VMS stuff
so the jury's out on whether the Visual Memory System is a useful
tool or a fun gimmick, but the idea is certainly a good one. Essentially
a glorified memory card (akin to Sony's PocketStation), the VMS
is the tool you use to connect your Dreamcast games to their arcade
counterparts. In Japan, a VMS (and a copy of the Shenmue
Passport demo) enables you to save your F355 arcade performance
data for playback at home in a crazy wireframe replay mode (think
Metal Gear's VR mode with cars). We can only hope that
with the continued success of Dreamcast, Sega sees fit to increase
the potential for interaction between home users and arcade-goers.
Think about it - you could spend time at home earning a really
cool secret vehicle in the Dreamcast version of some racing game,
and then pose by using it in front of the crowds at the local
#7: Sega's staff are weirdos
like a dumb reason? Well, maybe you should stick to the PlayStation
if you like your games with increasingly big numbers at the end
of the title. Personally, and as much as I can't wait to play
Resident Evil 3 or Final Fantasy 8 (hey, I'm getting
to it), I'm feeling a little let down by Sony in the originality
department. OK, they gave us Parappa the Rapper and "survival
horror" (for which I'm eternally grateful) but it's time for something
else. Sega may yet fall flat with Shenmue, but it's a brave
experiment. Likewise, the direction they took with Sonic Adventure
was a brave move when everyone seemed to be expecting Mario
64 in hi-res. Look at the wacked, drug-induced stuff they've
been churning out of late! Get Bass, Powerstone
and Seaman: are these the products of healthy minds? I
think we should be told...
Shenmue delayed again? Nick Ferguson
is out for blood (and not that wussy green stuff, either).