Untitled Document


Sega Dreamcast
us: now
europe: now
japan: now
web site:


24:aug//2K - dreamcast, so far...


Sega, the very word will probably come to mean "cock-up" in the future such is the number of giant mess-ups that the company have been involved in. The Megadrive (Genesis if you prefer) was great, it was more powerful that the "home computer's" that were the dominant games machines at the time and it had Sonic! It was the PlayStation of its day - however Sega managed (somehow) to taint its image with useless add-ons like the Mega-CD and the ill-fated (but in my opinion it could have worked out great) 32X.

Then came the Saturn, which had a few really excellent games - Virtua Fighter 2, Sega Rally, Virtua Cop, NiGHTS and Panser Dragoon Saga, but it was a bit under powered compared to the PlayStation and hellish to programmer for (or so said whining, lazy, 3rd party programmers at any rate). However, the public had already decided to abandon the sinking Sega ship and the Saturn turned into another failure.

Beaten, Sega changed its attitude and designed a console which was going to be easy to program for, was more powerful that any of the current consoles and more importantly, they were going to listen to what people had to say. The result was Dreamcast and at the time it was announced looked as if it might just restore Sega to greatness.

Initially it sold quite well, easily beating the first days sales that the PlayStation managed on its launch and it had a fairly impressive launch line up, which included a Sonic game - something which had been missing from the Saturn launch. Unfortunately, things started to go wrong almost immediately - hardware shortages blighted the first few months of the consoles life (and pushed the European launch date back). Add to this constant rumors that Sega were developing a DVD add-on drive and the fact that even though the console had a modem there were no online games to play and the service itself was just a little dodgy.

You would have been forgiven for missing the European launch (well in the UK at anyrate), two crummy adverts shown once or twice were all we got. Since then it has been all down hill, poor sales of both hardware and games have kinda put pay to any hopes Sega had for the console reclaiming the PlayStation's crown.

It's a bit bizarre in a way, considering the amount of quality titles that are available for the format - Crazy Taxi, Bass Fishing and Power Stone to name but three. Guess it has paid dearly for not having a decent football game.

With the PS2, X-Box and stupidly named StarCube just around the corner, offering superior performance (well eventually) than the Dreamcast can ever hope to provide, things for the console look bleak. It is still got a lot going for it games wise, the forthcoming Shen Mue for example but the majority of the quality games are coming, worryingly, from in-house - just like what happened with the Saturn.

If you are looking for something to fill the space between now and whenever your chosen format eventually appears then it is worth buying a Dreamcast. You can pick then up for practically nothing these days and certainly its a lot cheaper than the ridiculously priced PS2. A with a large back catalogue of decent games, it will be a while before any of the new formats have anything similar.

As for Sega, in my opinion, it's the end - at least as a hardware manufacturer. Once the Dreamcast goes under, I really don't expect to see a new console from Sega and besides they would be better concentrating on what they do best - making games. Leave the hardware battle to the others and let everyone enjoy playing some of the finest games available.

//agi. [agi@fsmail.net]