Revisionary Dreamcast

I simply adore my Sega Dreamcast, but there are areas in which it could have been improved. To be fair, many of these points are easier to see now, in hindsight, but Sega could have seen some of these "issues" beforehand. I did, and I'm sure I wasn't alone.

First, the controller:

  • Dual analog sticks. The Playstation did it already, so it seems odd that Sega would not follow suit. They really help when it comes to camera control.
  • Buttons. The Sega Saturn controller had two more buttons than the Dreamcast. The six button layout proved excellent with both the Genesis and the Saturn, yet they opted for a more Super Nintendo/N64 layout. Quite odd. I would have left the buttons in.
  • The cable. I've never seen a controller with the cable coming out of the bottom and now I see why. It's rather annoying, getting in the way, and reducing the distance you can have from the console. Fortunately though, Sega was at least wise enough to put a little divot near the bottom front, which can "grab" and hold the cable as if it was at the front. This makes this only a minor issue.

The system:

  • The Fan. It is simply too noisy and they could have easily used a more quiet model.
  • The VMUs. Not everyone wanted to play the mini-games on their memory cards and when the two batteries ran out, the VMU would emit a high-pitched beeping sound on the system startup. You really should not have to physically cut the cable to the VMU speaker as the only other way to avoid this. Put in a warning beep on/off function!!
  • Copy protection. The PlayStation had it. The Saturn included it. ...yet for some reason Sega decided to forgo any real copy protection for their system. Result? Most games were so easy to copy, that anyone could get free games instead of paying for them. Stupid.

The release:

  • The date. I know that Sega was in a bit of a bind with the Saturn not doing so well, but even then I was telling people that Sega's decision to release a new system before the competition was a mistake. Sega should have noted how starting before Nintendo in the 16-bit era, proved detrimental in the end, as it gave their rivals the chance to release shortly afterward, with superior hardware. (...or at least superior in Graphics/Sound.) They made this error with the Saturn as well, and rushed it out of the gates to try and beat Sony to the stores, but the Dreamcast release was an even greater error. Had Sega played possum, and waited until the PlayStation 2 was finalized, they could have increased the specs for their system (which admittedly were still somewhat comparable), but there is another more vital hardware upgrade they could have went with...
  • DVD. Had Sega simply waited, they would have seen the rise in popularity of DVDs. The Japanese would have purchased Dreamcasts for use as DVD movie players, and instead of a mere 1.2GB of storage on GD-ROMs, they could have had up to 8.7GB of storage for their games.

Again, I feel that I must point out that I believe the Dreamcast to be one of the best systems I've owned, but I can't help but feel that Sega's fall from the hardware market could have been avoided, had they simply considered their steps more carefully...

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R.I.P. Old "Friend"

Even though I replaced the thermal paste a good while back, my 60GB PS3 yellow lighted today. None of the on-line tricks worked to get it going again. I took it apart, got my Gran Turismo 5 disc out and ordered a new 160GB slim model. I still have a recent backup for my GT5 save, but most of my other save backups were fairly old. Somewhat frustrating is that, I was a good portion into Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, had unlocked a lot of stuff in Mortal Kombat, but the real annoyance will be that I have to go through Resident Evil 4 again on normal and professional modes. (Not to mention Separate Ways.) I never got around to doing the "Mercenaries" and the "Assignment Ada" modes...

Yet, it could have been a lot worse, as I still have my 500GB HDD to swap into the new model. The new system comes with a free copy of Modern Warfare 2, and I can sell that along with one of my old controllers, the new 160GB drive, and various parts from the old 60GB unit.

I had some good times playing on that system, which was purchased used in 2008. (Six years old as it was a launch console.) The PS2 backwards compatibility won't be too missed, as I never found the HD upscaling to look quite as nice as the games did with a real PS2 on a CRT television. Thanks old "buddy", you did good.

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Resident Evils

Slowly, I begin to adjust from the Resident Evil 4 style of gameplay to the original Resident Evil way of things. (GameCube remake.) It was jarring at first, given that you can't simply shoot everything in sight, but I'm getting better at moving around zombies, and have finally picked up the lighter for burning their corpses. Just wish I knew exactly how I'm supposed to use the C-stick to dodge. While I have played through some of the PS1 release, I must say that I am disappointed that the ribbon/typewriter system is still in use. It's certainly manageable, and makes sense from a certain gameplay perspective, but having limited saves makes for some inflexibly awkward situations when real life calls... :-( Still... I'm starting to enjoy things. Between RE1 sessions, I've been alternating with Smash Cars for the PS3, which isn't that bad a game either, and makes for a nice change of pace.

Now if only the jerks on eBay would stop selling GameCube component cables at such terribly inflated prices, things would be perfect.

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Rainbow Six: Vegas 2

 Finished Rainbow Six: Vegas 2.  Once again the silenced P90 and G3 w/ Scope prove to be a winning combination; plenty of ammo for up close and some nice stopping power/accuracy for taking out ranged opponents.

They give you the option of customizing your character, and you can even choose gender, which was a pleasant change of for a game like this.  In some ways, I felt that the story lacked the substance of the first, and the levels were certainly more varied in Vegas 1, but the gameplay was there, and I ended up thoroughly enjoying it.   
You can play through the story with a friend in co-op mode, and given the chance to do this, I would play through it again.

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