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Pad Happy:
Sega's Sonic Boom

Vol. 2, Issue 1 
November 11, 1999 
Reason #4: Online gaming

OK, 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

Fact: 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

OK, 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 arcade.

Reason #7: Sega's staff are weirdos

Sounds 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).



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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.