Where were all these people when the system was still alive?
Core News Story
After looking over all the stuff at E3 (through coverage on the net), I still think the Dreamcast had the best lineup of software at launch and continues to have the best and most innovative software of any console to date. Nintendo might come close with Gamecube this Fall, but Sega still has my full attention.
It may be a long time before any of the upcoming systems (or PS2) can come close to the library of Dreamcast games current and future. This is an ugly business.
PS - Peter Moore stole the show at Microsoft's press conference for Xbox (which I watched live on the Xbox site). He was a presence when he walked out there and talked online games, Crazy Taxi Next and sports.
By Supertanker on Monday, May 28, 2001 - 01:57 pm:
It just shows me that you can't beat a $99 price point. With games at $40-$50, $99 seems minor. $99 I can talk my wife into, $199 is a stretch, but $299 is right out and I don't like to pay more than $199 for a console (and personally I don't like to pay more than $199 for a console - any more and I would rather upgrade my PC). I imagine the same goes for many parents. The GBA is my next purchase, not PS2 or GameCube or XBox.
Is it only sold out in Japan, or the USA/Europe/Asia/world as well? If not, is there any indication of remaining supply in other regions? I have several people I am pestering to buy a DC, and I don't want them to miss out.
By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Monday, May 28, 2001 - 05:53 pm:
Well, it's not sold out because it's selling really well, it's sold out because they stopped manufacturing them months ago, and the trickle of sales they've had has worn down remaining inventory.
>The GBA is my next purchase, not PS2 or GameCube or XBox.
Well, it IS out in like two weeks, compared to five months for the Gamecube and Xbox. =)
I see what you mean, though. The GBA is a sure-fire hit if there ever was one. Just be prepared to buy a light for it, too.
By Aszurom on Monday, May 28, 2001 - 11:06 pm:
Ya know... this is my one and only real peeve with the GB. Why can't they have a backlight? The screen is so ultra-reflective that I feel like I'm playing a game on a mirror. Talk about immersion, I can actually see myself in all the games! Woo!
The wormlight is a good idea, but then I end up staring at a bright white spot on my screen. There has to be a better solution.
As for the Dreamcast... when they run out, how high will the price go on ebay? Hrm. Perhaps I should buy a crate of them and await my impending fortune?
By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 02:46 am:
>Why can't they have a backlight?
It's a battery life thing, or so I understand. We're talking 20 hours with no backlight vs. 4 hours with.
They could give us a choice by having a side-lit screen and lights inside the system, but that was nothing but trouble with the orginal game boy model--the lights just aren't sturdy enough and they don't light evenly. Plus it makes the system more expensive.
I'm gonna examine all the lighting solutions and find one that doesn't have a light get in the way. One of those ones that's also a screen protector, but NOT a magnifier.
By mtkafka (Mtkafka) on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 04:21 am:
I'd like to see a DC emulator for pc. I would love to play some of these games on a PC only for the fact that i wouldn't have to move my ass to the tv!!!
By Dave Long on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 08:58 am:
Get a VGA box for your Dreamcast. Specifically one with a VGA passthrough for your monitor (or get a monitor with two VGA inputs). The box is about $20 and is the single best investment a PC gamer can make for playing Dreamcast games.
I'd like to see a DC emulator for pc. I would love to play some of these games on a PC only for the fact that i wouldn't have to move my ass to the tv!!!
An emulator for the DC would still be a good idea. Especially considering that they're no longer making the Dreamcast, but they're still making games. They could deliver games to a whole new market of folks that don't have a DC.
By Bernie on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 10:13 am:
Well, there are at least two emulators for PSX games on the PC that I know of. Bleem! and Connectix's Virtual Game Station (VGS). I got VGS and it works pretty well.
There was talk at one time of the Bleem folks doing a DC emulator for PC cleverly titled "Bleemcast" but I don't know what became of it. I'd gladly buy one just to finally play this Virtua Tennis I keep hearing about.
By Dave Long on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 10:28 am:
Actually, Bleemcast is already available and the idea is not to emulate the DC on the PC, it's to emulate the Playstation on a Dreamcast. The original plan was to support 100 games per "Bleempak" and then you paid $20 for a Bleempak. With the pitfalls of perfect emulation biting them consistently, they decided to release Bleempaks to support only ONE game at a time.
You should be able to go to EB and get the Bleemcast pak for Gran Turismo 2 right now. I think they're $5.99 each. Then you either buy or own GT2 already, pop in one disc, then the other and you're playing emulated and enhanced GT2 on your DC. I plan to search one of these out this week.
bleem for Dreamcast GT2
By Dave Long on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 10:32 am:
BTW Bernie, you can get Virtua Tennis for just $19.99 now. So for $100 for a DC (or $120 for either the Sonic bundle or the Smash Pack which are better deals because they contain a VMU) plus the $20 price of the game, you could be playing Virtua Tennis right now. Throw in an extra controller and the maximum cost is $160 before tax. It's a phenomenal deal and the best in console gaming right now IMO.
By Land Murphy (Lando) on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 11:38 am:
Anyone have a suggestion on where to pick up a VGA box--I'd much rather have the Dreamcast in with my PC anyway!
By Dave Long on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 11:52 am:
This is the one I'm using. I really like it.
I've seen this one and it's also nice...
NAKI VGA box
This one looks cheesy, but who knows?
Pelican Brand VGA Box
You could also try ordering from Gamestop or NCS. Both are reputable retailers of console items an NCS is the import king as far as I've seen.
By Lee Johnson (Lee_johnson) on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 01:54 pm:
I saw GT2 running under the Bleem! disk on a Dreamcast at the EB a couple of weeks ago... it looked pretty nice.
By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 04:11 pm:
>and you won't have to retire to the living room to enjoy it.
Personally, I LIKE retiring to my living room. My futon is a lot more comfortable than my computer chair, and my 29" TV a lot easier to see. Now, some of my DC games look a lot better on the monitor, but it's not worth parking my butt in front of my computer when I'd rather sit on the couch. Plus, on my 19" monitor most of the games looked very pixelated (not all, but most).
I think it's not offered on the PS2 because it's a very niche market. The Xbox guys did some research on it to see if they should offer one for the Xbox, and it turns out only like 10,000 VGA boxes sold through. When they visited hundreds of gamers' homes to see how people played, they found that even half of the people who bought a VGA box don't use it. They did what I did--they were thrilled for a week, but ultimately wanted to play on the couch or bed or whatever in front of a TV.
J Allard told me they're not going to make a VGA output just for that reason. They'll make one for developers to use with debugging of course, but not for the open market.
By Dave Long on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 04:39 pm:
Well, considering that the Dreamcast never reached more than 4 million installed customers, it's hard to say what the impact of a VGA box would be on a successful console. What I don't get is where is the harm in allowing that output? Sega didn't exactly pay a mint to allow the functionality and given the tech in the Xbox, it probably wouldn't cost Microsoft anything either.
Also, how do they arrive at 10,000? 10,000 Sega brand VGA boxes is pretty damn good if that's where they got it from given that you cannot find a Sega branded one anywhere (and they cost a lot more than 3rd party ones). I doubt they've talked to all the makers of VGA boxes to get a count.
Sure, I love playing in the living room on my TV. I can still do that super easily by picking up my DC and walking it over one room and attaching the cable that's already connected to my TV and plugging it in. Thankfully, with the VGA box though, I can play my DC when my wife is watching TV, which in the evening hours is very often.
I think it's more a case of people not knowing the DC has the capability than anything to do with where they want to play. The more PC gamers I've told about the VGA box, the more that have thought once again that they could set it next to their PC with no problems. It effectively solves that one annoyance with a console: You simply can't play it when the rest of the domicile wants to watch TV.
My computer chair is one of the best in the house too. I never like to skimp on things that directly affect my enjoyment of the PC. Chairs, monitors, keyboards, mice...if I'm going to be in front of this thing as much as I am, I want to be comfortable.
By Alan Au (Itsatrap) on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 07:55 pm:
I personally surprised that the HDTV stuff hasn't caught on more. I blame the broadcasting corporations, but I personally don't think that living room computers will really take off until that happens. It's the whole thing where the broadcasters are waiting for the installed base to catch up, but the consumers are waiting for the content. Probably someone needs to bit the bullet, make a signal converter, and do it that way.
The other thing is that PC interface stuff needs to become deskless, but that's something else entirely.
By Brad Grenz on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 08:19 pm:
I split my console time between my desk and my TV too. I don't have a VGA box, I actually have an old amiga monitor that still works pretty well. I hook both my Dreamcast and Playstation up to it on occasion and play while using my computer.
I'm also curious about that figure of 10,000 VGA boxes. Not counting third party VGA boxes would be silly considering the Sega one sold for $60 and most third party ones are around $20.
By Mark Asher on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 11:42 pm:
HDTV is just too expensive. For what you get, it's not worth the money. When HDTV sets drop down to $600, they'll sell.
By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 01:58 am:
>The more PC gamers I've told about the VGA box, the more that have thought once again that they could set it next to their PC with no problems.
How many of them ended up actually purchasing it, and how many of those still used it a month later? I have three friends who bought one, but they all went back to using their TV.
I don't know how they arrived at 10,000. I would guess they got sales figures for the most popular SKUs from retailers, not from the manufacturers. Even if the console was more successful, 10,000 out of 4 million is .25 percent. Even if it was four times as successful, we're talking 2% here. If the console sold 10 times as many, and forty times as many VGA boxes, that's still only 2%. I honestly don't think the market at large is losing any sleep over it.
FWIW, my computer chair is great. I'm with you, Dave--I spend too much time here not to make everything comfortable and easy. But it still doesn't compare to my futon and pillows, 5.1 speakers, and big 'ol TV screen.
>HDTV is just too expensive. For what you get, it's not worth the money. When HDTV sets drop down to $600, they'll sell.
I TOTALLY agree. I've seen a 36" DTV for $1400--just a little more expensive than a comperable Sony Wega. My next TV will be a DTV, but probably not until fall '02 or early '03. My current TV is pretty good, and fine for now.
I think DTV is great. The picture is amazing. But the sets just cost too much. Prices HAVE fallen a lot, and I think they'll fall a lot more over the next couple years. You'll still pay a premium, but it'll get to the point where it's "worth it."
It's good for consoles to be ready for it. I think DTV will be big, particularly among those who tend to buy the most console games, while the latest console generation still has 2-3 years of life left in it.
By Supertanker on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 02:02 am:
My boss mentioned the other day that he bought a 60" HDTV. I have no idea what that cost, but I'm sure it was a lot.
I have been looking for a DC VGA box with a pass-through, and it appears the only one is the Interact Performance VGA Adapter. The IGN review is very favorable. They are out of production, and going for $40 or so on ebay.
By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 02:17 am:
I think I remember reading that there were 500,000 Dreamcast systems in the warehouses and in the pipeline at the time they stopped production a couple months back.
I'd guess that by Black Friday, they'll only have a quarter of a million left. They'll sell 'em all, sure, but Gamecube and Xbox will sell 3X as many on Day One.
By Brian Rucker on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 01:19 pm:
I did some scoping into TVs after getting heavily into my Dreamcast. The prime option for me wouldn't be a TV at all but a digital projection system (Large Format Gaming). The one I looked at ran about 15 grand. I just looked. I didn't even breath on it. You can hook up cable, your PC and several video game boxes to it and it projects a very crisp image onto a 6' by 6' screen. I recommend good blinds though.
As for HDTV and widescreen. I agree that HDTV is overpriced and it's best to hold off. Also deciding what precise factors matter to you can take alot of research. What level of calibration do you want, what kinds of cabling will you be using, how much do you want to fiddle with stuff or how much could be left automatic? Is this HDTV really HD ready or just HD compatible? I'm going to wait until things get a bit more standardized, low priced, and low browed. I found some good information on epinions.com that explains the technical stuff. It's a generally good site for info on anything you know nothing about.
The problem with widescreen for games seems to be burn-in. The screen in projection TVs is evidently sensitive to the images displayed on it. Many even come with automatic locks that block signals from video games (no, I don't know how that works but that's something I've seen.) If you play a game that has set graphic elements, like a speedometer or a life bar, for extended periods (and who doesn't?) it can permanently burn into the screen.
The above is the conventional wisdom I accumulated in a couple weeks of wide-eyed amateur research. YMMV.
I ended up sticking with an affordable conventional TV but I eyeballed it for resolution and didn't skimp on size.
By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 11:08 pm:
>If you play a game that has set graphic elements, like a speedometer or a life bar, for extended periods (and who doesn't?) it can permanently burn into the screen.
Even on the worst of all recent TVs, including projection TVs, you have to have that screen element on there unaltered for several hours to even begin being at risk. If that spedometer stays there after the 8-minute race during the menu screens, you can start to worry. It's an issue with pausing the game and leaving for awhile, though.
Some projection TVs do have the protetion you're talking about (and no, I don't know how it knows it's a game either). But really, those projection TVs are too big and not bright enough for me anyway. Tubes don't get as large, but they get plenty big for MY living room, and they generally have a brighter picture and better contrast.