Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Gaming History Pt. 5

This blog series is going to be a look back through time as I recall my 20+ gaming “career,” if you will. I'll take you through the ups and downs, the trials, tribulations and the triumphs. The sleepless nights, the gorging on pizza, the tournaments, the competition, the fights. The friends made over gaming, and the friends lost ov-no wait, I can honestly say that I have never lost a friend because of gaming. That would be rather pathetic, would it not?

Part Five (Part 1 can be found HERE; Part 2 HERE; Part 3 HERE; Part 4 HERE)

My Gaming History Pt. 5

Thus far we have traversed the landscape of my personal gaming history ranging from the beginning in the late 80's with the NES to the mid to late 1990's with the Nintendo 64. We now find ourselves looking back at an older magx01. A magx01 for whom some of the magic of gaming seems to have abated somewhat. A magx01 who found himself playing less and less games, and who found himself running out of options. The Nintendo 64 had some great games, sure, but the release schedule was pretty barren and the third party support was fairly lacklustre compared to the support seen on the Sony side of things. The was no PlayStation to be found in the house, nor was one wanted, and so with options dwindling, magx01 decided to acquire himself a Sega Dreamcast. And so I did just that.

And it was underwhelming.

Any Dreamcast owner knows the pain felt by a Dreamcast owner. It should be a subcategory under the dictionary definition of pain. Medical dictionaries should list Sega Dreamcast Owners' Pain as a medical phenomenon. Sega Dreamcast Owners' Pain, or SDOP for short, is:
 pain, previously considered idiopathic in origin by clueless medical 'professionals' induced by ownership of a Sega Dreamcast console; said ownership being accompanied by hope or optimism, especially, but certainly not limited to, that brought on by the promise of online play.
-Taken from the MOCOPAPADAD2010 (magx01's official compendium of psychological and physiological afflictions definitions and descriptions 2010).
Instead of a kickass next generation console that broke ground, innovated, and kicked ass for a decade, leading the future of gaming into a place where even the mighty Sega Genesis (SEGA's best console imo) would be toppled, we got a cool, yet severely flawed system. The DC's biggest issue was that it was released just early enough to be the unfortunate victim of the advent of DVD's, which it just missed but its next competitor (PS2) did not; and, as an added kick in the balls, the new type of media used for the Dreamcast (the GD-ROM), in addition to the lacklustre security in the console, left it wide open for piracy.

So, not only did it lack the storage capacity afforded the PS2 (and later the xbox) ( a mistake later replicated by Microsoft with the 360 and the advent of post-DVD technology) by the advent of DVD's, but it also lacked the added security provided by the new medium (this security proved to be but temporary in the end (ditto for the security afforded the Gamecube by their usage of those....whatever the hell they were lol), but this did Sega exactly....no good in the end).

The system, as I previously mentioned, was really cool, and also quite flawed, even beyond the affinity for being pirated and the storage issues. The system had a built in modem for online play. However, at narrowband speeds, the online play was not quite what we had imagined. Sega innovated even further with the release of SegaNet, an online platform that supported both the gameplay and internet browsing, including a disc based browser. This service was also a bit clunky and not terribly fast. Eventually, a broadband adaptor was released to allow for users with broadband internet (cable and DSL) to take advantage of the higher speeds afforded them by their superior internet pipelines. This, however, came too little too late. Things had darkened considerably for the Dreamcast then, and so the broadband adaptor was essentially pointless. In addition to it being too little too late, broadband was not terribly prominent at that time, and, consequently, it ended up being too early in addition to being too little too late.

Yes......somehow the adaptor was both too late AND too early.

The controller also unfortunately held them back, as it had but one analog stick, something that the upcoming three consoles were addressing. Again, Sega seemed to release the Dreamcast just a tad too early, almost at the exact worst possible time, as it came on the cusp of some new innovations like the dual analog control scheme and the aforementioned DVD medium. The controller also oddly resembled an alien spacecraft. Perhaps an homage to Space Invaders on Sega's part?

Seriously, wtf. "We have come to take over your planet. All your base are belong to us."
The memory units, which were called VMU's, were also innovative, but, unless I missed something, the innovations were pointless and amounted to nothing but extra battery drain (oh, sure, you could play Virtua Tennis entirely by looking at the VMU.....but WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO? Play it in black and white, 1978 looking sprites on a couple inch screen, or look up at the big, colourful television graphics ten feet away....hmmmmm, such a hard choice......)

Oh, and the controller cords were way too damn short. You needed to either have the console closer to you than you would probably want it, or you would need to channel your inner Inspector Gadget and Go Go Gadget yourself some elongated arms.

As for the games, well, Dreamcast games seemed to have a distinctive 'feel.' I don't know if anyone else besides my best friend will understand this, but you just knew you were playing a Dreamcast game when you booted one up. They just....felt....a certain way. I suppose they felt a lot like arcade games, which many of them basically were. The Dreamcast library was filled with shallow, arcadey games. Sure, there were games that bucked the trend, but for every Shenmue you had 3 House of the Dead's. Not that House of the Dead isn't awesome. I played a TON of HOTD 2. I also played the hell out of Dynamite Cop (one of my all time faves),

Zombie Revenge, Virtua Cop, and some others, so it's not like I didn't enjoy the more arcadey, shallow games. It's just that for the most part, there did not seem to be a robust library full of lengthy, deep, detailed games.

Oh, and another thing that the Dreamcast did not bring me:

A new Ninja Gaiden :(
I Has a Sad :(
(Although, unbeknownst to me, Team Ninja was actually developing a new Ninja Gaiden game for Tecmo, and it was planned for the Dreamcast (!!!) (seriously, it really was!) but then moved to the PS2 when the Dreamcast was killed off. It was later moved again, this time to the upcoming Microsoft console, the xbox) (in the end, this was the best place for the game, as the power of the xbox allowed them to make one of the best looking games at the time, which also happened to play insanely fast AND run at 60fps....a remarkable achievement).

Anyways, once the PS2 came along, it was all over for the Dreamcast, although I did not get a PS2, as I (again) had no interest in the Playstation brand. I had some experience with the PS1, and apart from Resident Evil, I wasn't too impressed (Resident Evil was great, mind you. I just wasn't into RPG's, which the system has a ton of, and nothing much else really grabbed me, although I am sure that games that I would have liked existed, I mean come on.....they did for the PS2, as I eventually got one (very late) and have enjoyed several games for it).

Up Next....Fight Time!!
So, for the time, I kept playing my older systems, and for the Dreamcast, I think my most played was Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) as my buddy and I played a TON of multiplayer. That game is one of my favourite Dreamcast games and, actually, it's one of my favourite fighting games of all time. Truly awesome game for its time, and still now. Awesome fighting egine, very fun. Good mix of arcade and simulation, several game modes, decent character creation, excellent control, and great graphics. Truly an excellent game for the time. And what was great about the matches between the two of us was that we were fairly evenly matched, so we had a nice rivalry going (I was better overall, but not overtly so...although he accused me of taking it easy on him sometimes............).  

Probably About to Get Tapped, Like Claudio Always Was to Me, the Superior Fighter ;)
 Ineffectual from the Top...Which is Incidentally Also Something HIs Wife Complains About....OOOHHH
He and I also played a ton of Virtua Tennis. Much fun was had.....and much rage expressed (mostly on my part, I fucking HATE playing him in tennis games, stupid asshole always wins).

If that was Him vs. Me, There's a Good Chance that Serve Would be an Ace :(
This continued for a while, until Christmas of 2001, when our parents broke their long held resolution not to purchase us any more gaming consoles and bought my brother and I an Xbox.
Gaming was about to make a huge resurgence in our residence.

Raise the Proverbial Roof!!
See You in Part Six!! (the final countdown!!! dududududu dududooodooooo dududududdu du dudu dudu du dudududoooooo dudududu dudududuuuu dududu dududududu du dudu dudu dududu dududuuuuuuuuu......alright, let's end this now....wtf)


  1. Damn we have different memories of the Dreamcast and after reading this I see why. We had different expectations. I had no plans to play online at that time and even today don't do it often. Although I do wish to do it a little more often.

    The controller didn't bother me in fact I liked it a lot. Hell to be honest I went to the Xbox next because the controller was similar feeling(as well as the hard drive). As for the VMU it was the single best thing to happen to football games up to that point. No longer did I have to worry about trying to pick plays so that my opponent didn't know what it was.

    As for the games of course you know my love of Shenmue, but it was rpg's that carried the day for me. Both Grandia II and Skies of Arcadia killed tons of hours for me. Then of course there was Seaman getting through to my mother and getting her to play everyday.

    You are right on all of the other negatives and as the system slowly died off I often found myself wishing it had come out a year later to take advantage of all of the advances the other systems had.

  2. By the way I know you love talking about religion so I thought you may want to check out Ruston's latest blog. [url=http://www.gametrailers.com/users/Ruston/gamepad/?action=viewblog&id=530428]here[/url]

    While going back and forth with her it reminded me of your own blogs.

  3. I never played any football games, so I missed that particular advantage afforded you by the VMU, but I can say that it does actually sound really useful. Odd how that never carried forward with the other consoles....

    I wasn't into RPG's back then, so I missed out on some of the best games.

    The controller didn't bother you? Not even the short ass cord that inserted into the bottom (wtf) of the controller?

  4. Btw, I got your comment re: Ruston's blog in my email, but once again one of your comments seems to have disappeared...wtf.

    Anyways, it was great, when it was her own. There were parts she literally ripped from other people and did not quote/give credit, taking claim fro words stated by others. Tisk tisk, and especially bad in a blog that's largely about atheistic superiority when it comes to morality......

  5. I think it is unusual for a gamer to get into rpg's later. I want to say you said it was Fable that eased you into the genre.

    As for the short cord I have a habit of sitting in the floor when I play video games. I don't do well when I'm leaning back on a coach for some reason. I have to be leaning forward for some reason and apparently sit like a cheer leader.

    Yeah I had fun going back and forth with her a bit on the subject myself. I didn't notice the parts you mention because I'm not really knowledgeable on the subject like you. When it comes to beliefs I just go with my instincts.

    Lastly do the links themselves actually show up in your emails at least? It would be nice to know that my habit isn't a total waste here.

  6. Yes, it was Fable. Quest 64 extended my time sans RPG's.....

    I can sit back, but I cannot play while laying down.

    Well, she definitely did do it. Poor form, imo.

    Yes, the links show up in my email, so no worries.

  7. It doesn't effect you game play when you sit back? I always lose my edge if I relax. I also just find it hard to picture you not sitting at the edge of your seat while playing Ninja Gaiden. As a matter of fact when I picture you playing the game I see a pile of broken controllers beside you and a constant stream of profanity flying from your lips as your blinking your eyes because of all the sweat (and possibly tears of frustration). But that is probably just me projecting what that game would do to me onto you.

  8. But that is probably just me projecting what that game would do to me onto you.

    Pretty much this, to be honest. I mean, I've had my blowups, but generally, I'm relaxed, but this is likely due to massive experience with the game(s).

    ....Ah, wait, NGII on PotMN did probably shave 20 years off of my life though. I might have been sitting back but I was fucking PISSED most of the time lol

    Reason being, well, aside from the extreme difficulty, I took that difficulty on after being away from the game for months.....bad fucking idea. Still did it though, but bad fucking idea.


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