Sega opted for a dialup modem just as everyone was starting to switch to broadband. My family had broadband at this point, so we bought the broadband adapter. As I remember it, it only worked at all with a handful of games that were designed for it (e.g. Quake 3).
DC was literally ahead of its time, unfortunately only by a year or so. By 2000, I had pretty much stopped working for Sega because I was going to be busy with college, but brought my Dreamcast along. And every dorm at that point had broadband. So while broadband hadn't necessarily reached the classic middle American modem-using household yet, a good portion of their target audience (18 year-olds like me) was probably heading off to college. By the time they got around to the adapter, it was kind of too late. That, and lack of a DVD player, and the death of the president (if I recall he forgave a bunch of debts and the end result was massive layoffs in Japan.) But overall, the games were better than what PS2 brought to the table, at least at first, and the graphics were arguably better. Powerslave and Jet Set Radio are still two of my favorite games, and if I recall, PS2 had Ridge Racer on launch and little else, but people could watch DVDs on it, so that's one less device to move, assuming you're switching dorm rooms every year, or in my case getting the fuck out of the dorms mid-semester. I dunno.
*Powerstone* (however Powerslave is one of my favorite Iron Maiden albums ever) :)
PS2 had a bunch of games with online multiplayer ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_PlayStation_2_online_games ), though how well most of them played online I don't know. I remember playing Tony Hawk's Pro Skater online and it was fine, but they never really marketed the online aspects of the PS2.
The weird thing is, and correct me if I'm wrong, but you literally couldn't use the Dreamcast's broadband adapter to play say, ChuChu Rocket, or any other game not developed for the BBA. Or I didn't figure out a way how, anyway. Quake 3 was Quake 3, except with a Dreamcast controller, so... yeah, terrible.
Hehe.. I didn't *work* for Sega, just wrote for a sega website around the same time as Oldmanmurray back in the 90s (that's kinda why I've been on poe, even though the really old school people might remember that sega otaku and portal of evil had some war going on that I wasn't a part of.) But for a while we were pretty big, so Sega would pay for me to go down to cover e3 and things like that.. we decided to sell the domain to a now-defunct entertainment company when we could've sold it to some little thing nobody's heard about called IGN.. so it goes :)
Q3 worked pretty good on the DC by the way, if you wanted to you could get a keyboard and mouse, but for the most part the buttons worked as the strafing and up-and-down view, and the analog stick and digital controller, although close together, made it pretty easy to jump around, so it really wasn't much different from Goldeneye 007, and felt about as natural as some newer game like Half Life 2 on the Xbox, but since you didn't have to move objects around and stuff and for the most part were just shooting each other up.
Dreamcast used gdroms-- it was never going to compete with the multimedia capabilities of the ps2 (which was also backward compatible with the old psx). Zest-- which site did you write for? That was still early in online game journalism, and I remember being obsessed with reading as much dreamcast content possible. Also, you are right about the online games available on the ps2, but I guess my perception of its online library is influenced by the fact that those games did not roll out until much later.
I don't think I'm being a snob, but I think that was the best generation for consoles-- all four consoles had their merits, and there were tons of great games. I feel that pc indie games are filling that void now, because this generation is too expensive for a lot of companies to develop games, let alone games that are interesting or original.
I was with Sega Otaku mostly. I remember a big forum war with poe/OMM and sega-otaku, and I honestly can't remember what it was about, but that's what brought me to poe. I was never good at video games (except for pinball) but I liked to write so they gave me a job. My initial plan was to go to college for journalism so I thought it'd be great experience but I sort of decided on philosophy instead once I got there, ending up in music ed once I realized that the journalism world was nothing like IRC, which unfortunately it sort of is now. Oh well. I have plenty of bartending and bouncing experience. Perfect for poeTV ;)
re: boner "Dreamcast pretty much turned out to be horseshit, though"
Your mileage may vary, but I love driving games and the Dreamcast had many great ones: F355 Challenge, Metropolis Street Racing (Bizarre Creation's precursor to Project Gotham Racing on the Xbox), Sega Rally 2, Test Drive: Le Mans, and, of course, two Crazy Taxi games, and there are several other Dreamcast racing games I don't have in my possession that I would still love to play, especially the Formula 1 game.
Also, if we're including non-car racing games, Hydro Thunder is still one of my favourites on any console.
Crazy Taxi is fun, but on the Dreamcast it gets laggy sometimes and goes into slow motion. It's indicative of the general lack of attention to detail on this console. The controllers are way uncomfortable, cables are short, disk drive is noisy, fan is noisy, load times are often long.
The controller cables also stuck out of the BOTTOM of the controller, and had a little notch in the top that was supposed to guide the wire. Completely inexplicable and possibly the dumbest design decision of the whole console.
There was a very sad couple of months in my life where the dreamcast was my only access to the internet, as our home computer had died!
If I remember correctly, the internet browser actually wasn't all that bad all things considered, at least on par with Web TV and in many ways superior to the Wii's, but still, that sucks man. My house didn't pay the cable bill and I was forced to write all most of my college thesis after work in the one place that had the internet and was open, an adult video store my friend worked at. I'm really not sure which of our stories is the sadder one..
I love how this ad completely predicted what XBox Live would be like.
I was online, day one, with Phantasy Star Online. Absolutely incredible experience for someone who had never really done any sort of MMO games except MUDs and MUSHs. The game was great, community was great for the most part, and jesus I spent so much time playing that game with my close-knit game group it's not even funny. So, for me, Sega's online will always be a great memory. Quake 3 was pretty awesome, too. I remember that one of the player skins you could choose was this brown skeleton that basically blended into almost every wall texture in the game and if you played that you could mop the floor with everyone, heh.
I had a Dreamcast, but never played anything online. But seriously, how great was the Sega Channel?
None. The online games on DC were coded immaculately and used the 56k connection to it's maximum smoothness at the time. I heard that supposedly the Windows CE architecture of the console had something to do with how well it handled online play. But yeah..no issues at all. And one of the last online games (if not THE last) was Alien Front Online which introduced primitive voice chat via the microphone that came with Seaman and even with voice it still ran brilliantly (some arcades here and there still have the old Alien Front kiosks)
For whatever failings they may have had in other areas, Sega really nailed it with the advertising.
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