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EDITORIAL - Why You Didn't Buy a Sega Dreamcast... But Should
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posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
date posted: 04:59 PM Sat Jan 1st, 2000
last revision: 04:59 PM Sat Jan 1st, 2000

By Jeff Luther

In the grand scheme of things the Dreamcast hasn't sold as well as it could have and I don't think there's any real mystery as to why this is so. A lot of people felt like they got burnt by the Saturn and they've lost faith in Sega's ability to deliver the goods. Gamers coughed up 299 bucks to take a stroll through the next generation system, but then a little something called the PlayStation showed up and preceded to whoop Sega's ass all up and down the isles of your local videogame store. When Resident Evil came out it gave gamers an experience they'd never had before and the Saturn was on the ropes. Sony landed jabs and uppercuts and if you listened closely you could hear bones breaking. Final Fantasy VII rolled out and "Fatality" echoed in the background. FFVII helped sell a bajillion more Playstations, and the Saturn basically just disappeared. When the dust settled and the blood was mopped up Sony was the undisputed champion of the console world and Sega's mangled remains were unceremoniously kicked aside, and the videogame world moved on.

So its natural that gamers are a little bit hesitant to drop $199, plus the cost of games, on a Dreamcast when Sony's Playstation 2 looks nothing short of phenomenal. There's a difference between what happened to the Saturn and what's about to happen to the Dreamcast. Throughout its short history, the Saturn never convinced me that it was a viable system, and it never convinced me that it could deliver the kinds of games it needed to. I've been enjoying my Dreamcast immensely for the last ten months, but I've also been skeptical of it's ability to compete with the host of next generation systems. No longer; I believe that Sega has proved that the Dreamcast can deliver, and they're about to deliver in a big way.

That's not to say that you should buy a Dreamcast instead of a Playstation 2. I'm going to be waiting somewhat less than patiently at my local retailer on launch day, ready to pick up my Playstation 2. Of course I preordered, but if it becomes necessary I'll kick little kids out of the way, beat down old ladies, slap the hell out of the sales clerk, and do whatever it takes to walk out of there with my new bad-ass system. Everyone is going to buy a PlayStation 2, and it's going to be incredible. But that's beside the point. Buying another console is like having another child. You don't love one less just because you have a new one. You find room in your heart to love them both, and this is what I'm advising. Without further delay, allow me to make my case.

The Deal: Get your Dreamcast for free

Ok it's not really free, but it's sort of free. If you sign up with SegaNet for Internet service, they'll cut you a check for two hundred bucks to cover the cost of your Dreamcast, or if you prefer they'll just mail you the Dreamcast. They'll also mail you the Dreamcast keyboard, no matter which option you choose. This also goes for anyone who already owns a Dreamcast; you don't have to bother with a proof of purchase, anyone who signs a two year contract with SegaNet is eligible for the deal. The two years of service is $21.95 a month, for a grand total of $526.80 over two years. For this you get a free Dreamcast, and an ISP that's optimized to run Dreamcast games. SegaNet has also announced that they will be supporting broadband connections, and it's a standard ISP so you can dial-in with your PC, plus you get a swanky email address.

On-Line Gaming

This is the big one. The on-line games available for SegaNet's launch in September are awesome. It seems like every time I turn around I hear about a new game in the works for Internet play. Just a brief recap of some of the big ones: Quake III and Half-Life are going to be huge in the FPS genre, but also watch out for Soldier of Fortune and Star Lancer. On-line Racing games include 4x4 Evolution, and Gorka Morka,an over-the-top Warcraft-based combat racer that has its sights set on the Twisted Metal and Vigilante 8 franchises. Phantasy Star Online is going to be Sega's first on-line RPG, and every time I learn more about it I drool just a little bit. NBA 2K1 and NFL 2K1 are promising not only internet play, but also world wide tournaments supporting up to four players on each Dreamcast. That's practically an entire basketball team playing in your living room, playing against friends, relatives, arch- enemies or total strangers. Sports fans will also be excited to see Ready 2 Rumble 2 supporting on-line play. The smack talking possibilities are practically endless. And fighting games. . . .Ohhh the fighting games. Capcom has announced that Marvel vs. Capcom 2 will support on-line play. That's fifty-five of the most bad-ass characters from the Marvel and Capcom universes slugging it out across the globe. When I found out I would be able to fire up this magnificent piece of artwork, sink into my busted up ratty blue couch and pick fights all across this great nation I did the following things:

1. Squealed in pure ecstasy

2. Got up and put on a fresh pair of underwear

3. Shouted for joy

4. Felt bad for all the poor wayward souls who would miss out

5. Decided to write this article

These games are just the highlights because the list goes on. Most of these games are due out in September to coincide with the SegaNet launch, and others are due out a little later in the fall. The Playstation 2 promises on-line play but it doesn't have a modem out of the box. Sony's looking into the future -- broadband gaming. Broadband will rock when if finally comes around, but for the moment this simply isn't an option for many gamers, and it will probably take a while to get on-line service up and running in any event. That's to say nothing of the games. No matter how impressive the PS2 is, it's going to take awhile to get an on-line gaming roster anywhere near this impressive. So here's what I suggest. Buy a Dreamcast with the money you've been saving for that PS2, and sign up for SegaNet's on-line gaming deal. Spend the next four and a half months playing awesome Dreamcast games, including the on-line games in September. Take your two-hundred dollar refund check from Sega and put it down on your reserved PlayStation 2. By the time October 26th rolls around you'll have so many bitching games you won't be able to see straight. Life is good. Life is very good.