Civilian Name: Zach
Age: Old Enough
Location: The Pac-Nor
Wii Number: 2792-7530-0497-7848
Brawl Friend Code: 4488-0808-3270
Mario Kart Wii Friend Code: 2234-8528-1071
Currently Playing: Muramasa The Demon Blade
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
Will Always Be Playing: Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Bros. 3
Mega Man 2
NES: Kid Icarus
Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. 3
Castlevania 3:Dracula's Curse
Ninja Gaiden 2
Ninja Gaiden 3
Clash at Demonhead
Mega Man 2
Shadow of the Ninja
Gargoyle's Quest II
Gameboy: Super Mario Land
Metroid II: Return of Samus
Ninja Gaiden: Shadow
LOZ: Link's Awakening
Genesis Wonderboy in Monster World
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Chiki Chiki Boys
Streets of Rage 2
Rocket Knight Adventures
SNES: Super Mario World
Super Mario All-Stars
Super Castlevania IV
Super Ghouls N' Ghosts
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Kirby Super Star
Super Street Fighter II
Earthworm Jim 2
Final Fantasy III
Super Mario RPG
Super Star Wars trilogy
Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
N64: LOZ: Ocarina of Time
Super Mario 64
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
Jet Force Gemini
Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
Goemon's Great Adventure
Star Fox 64
PS1: Final Fantasy IX
Oddworld: Abe's Oddysey
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy Tactics
Parappa the Rapper
Metal Gear Solid
MGS: VR Missions
Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
Dreamcast: Last Blade 2
Skies of Arcadia
Jet Grind Radio
House of the Dead 2
PS2: Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner
We Love Katamari
Shadow of the Colossus
Maximo: Ghosts to Glory
Maximo Vs. The Army of Zin
"A candle that burns twice as bright, burns half as long"
Today is the day, my friends. A day of remembrance of Sega's last blaze of glory before stepping out of the world of console gaming for what may be forever. It's been ten short years since our dearly beloved Dreamcas came into this world, and only eight and a half when it's light was dimmed. But we must not mourn, we must not cry, today is a day of remembrance, a time to reflect and recount what this system was, why it passed far too early, and why it's impact is still felt.
The Promise of a New Beginning
As I said in my Genesis blog, I did not grow up a Sega child, I was a Nintendo kid. Not out of malice or antagonism towards The Blue Blur's company, just that we were a Nintendo household and that was that. By the time the Saturn rolled around, the situation was worse. While I was fairly apathetic towards the Genesis / Megadrive, I actively made it clear to Christmas buying parents and friends that I had no interest in a Saturn. That may seem shocking in retrospect, with the many cult classics the Saturn is now known for, but keep in mind most of the titles people think of when they hear "Saturn" were either never released in the U.S. or were never given the big media push by Sega of America they should've gotten. When news came that Sega was going to quit releasing games for the Saturn early at the end of the 32 bit era, no tears were shed by me. Vindication was especially felt when it became clear that the 4MB ram cart and Capcom's arcade perfect fighting ports were never going to see a release in the U.S.
My opinion changed on Sega when the first word of the Dreamcast started leaking out of Japan. It became quickly clear that Sega was not going to repeat it's mistakes of the past with the Dreamcast:
It was going to have a robust library on both sides of the Pacific, that Sonic was going to be given the new lease on life he never got on the Saturn. Arcade perfect ports were promised and delivered, strong third party support was prevalent, it finally seemed that Sega cared enough to attract new consumers that dismissed them during the CD / 32X / Saturn fiasco's of the past. Dreamcast was the first Sega system I owned.
These were good months. Triple A game after Triple A game came out of Sega, Capcom and Namco at this time, the last stalwarts of the arcade industry: Sonic Adventure, Crazy Taxi, Jet Grind Radio, Soul Caliber, House of the Dead 2, Shenmue, Space Channel 5, Chu Chu Rocket, all the Capcom fighters, Skies of Arcadia, nearly every title for the U.S. launch was worth getting into, the Dreamcast had, and has, a rock solid library, easily beating the libraries of games for consoles that lasted three times as long in the marketplace.
Sega Gives Up the FIght
When Sega prematurely called it quits on the Dreamcast, I felt betrayed, betrayed because I was finally rooting for the underdogs, they finally gave me something to cheer them on for, it looked like if they could hold they're feet to the ground, they could win this one. Alas, it was not to be, Sega's old financial woes from the 16 and 32 bit days finally caught up to them, and sunk the best console they ever made. I believe this particular luminary summed up my feelings on Sega's backing out quite well:
(Just mentally replace the girl getting yelled at with Sega's board of directors and it totally works.)
Preach it Tyra, preach it.
Ultimately, the Dreamcast's still-born existence seems to have killed online play prematurely until this past generation. If Sega had made it a few more years, online would easily been the norm during the PS2 / Xbox / Gamecube era rather than an afterthought. Sega's last stand also was the last time that arcade games were seen as serious system sellers instead of games relegated to download-only status. In retrospect, it's kind of amazing how Sega picked up their strategic ball from the Genesis years in being the consoles for the home arcade experience, something that didn't happen with the myriad of add-ons to the Genesis and the Saturn.
Unfortunately, it speaks to how quickly things change in this industry when I go to PAX this year, and see Sega's booth relegated to a two table booth towards the wall, when these guys were once giving Nintendo, still a dominant force in the industry, a run for their money. It seems even Sega's roll as just a publisher and developer means less and less in the ongoing years, as the only big title from Sega in years, Yakuza 3, isn't getting released in the U.S. and their once top-developers, Yu Suzuki and Yuji Naka are quietly shoved out of the company. Sega is now slowly dying on life support, and this is one fan who would've rather seen them go out in the blaze of glory that was Dreamcast.
But on this day, I see we put that all aside, pull out our little white console that tried, and boot up one of the many games that still make this system stand out from the pack. I think I'm gonna go give Jet Set Radio another spin...
So I'm super-excited for Flipnote Studio, easily THE most ingenious thing Nintendo's done in a long, long time. Essentially a bare bones, portable version of Mario Paint, Flipnote Studios also allows users to post their short clips on the Flipnote Hatena community site for other Flipnote creators to browse, favorite, and comment on. I've already got an account running with a few clips on it, and I wanted to share. I have a feeling this will be eating up my time for a long time to come:
I was going through some old comic-books, and I stumbled upon this little gem from the late 80's:
Beat em and eat em, gents.
Seriously, is that not cool? (And note the tag-line at the end of the ad. Remind anybody else of a certain dirty game discussed recently on Retronauts?)
Yeah, this kind of stuff is cheesy, but I sort of miss the days when Nintendo was branching out into more than just video games. When was the last time Nintendo had breakfast cereals, or Saturday morning cartoons (I know about Kirby, I'm thinking of the biggies here)? As a company, they're not nearly as interested in putting their money into different licensing or business strategies as they used to be. Shouldn't we have a Nintendo theme park by now?
When the Playstation 2 was announced as backwards compatible, I did what most sane people did: I sold my Playstation 1. Yeah, it was fun while it lasted, but the future was coming, and I could bring all my old games with me. One less game system to clutter the house with.
The Playstation 2 served me well for my gaming needs for a while, but when it came to PSX games, something didn't sit right with me, and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Then it hit me, I was missing half the boot screen every time I fired up a PS1 game!
The greatest boot-up you will ever see
Nothing puts you into the right mind set to play a Playstation game more than this. Nothing STILL says "Playstation" to me more than seeing this before starting up Metal Gear Solid, Tomb Raider, Twisted Metal, or Final Fantasy VII. In some ways, these two screens and their distinct, rumbling electronic tones are the sign of a new era, a new era that boomed from the heavens, "IT IS 32-BITS, AND IT IS GOOD."
I love you, Playstation boot screen.
P.S. I later bought a new Playstation console JUST so I could hear and see this.
I apologize, I flaked out on Ninja Month. In fact, I flaked out on updating this blog in general for a month and a half, and for that, to anyone who cares, I'm sorry. My work schedule wouldn't permit me the time to update a semi-regular blog for a while (working till mid-night some nights kills your energy, y'know?).
If I could roll back time and fix that, I would. But I can't, so let's sweep everything under the rug and start fresh, shall we.
Now, first order of business that came about since my hiatus: I got a Famicom!
Yes, it's the Japanese NES, and it's totally amazing. I'm having a lot of fun discovering great games that never made it to the U.S. in the NES's heyday. I'm now waiting on a Sharp Twin Famicom (It's both a Famicom and Disk System in one) that I ordered from a guy in Sweden.
Second order of business:
I got my tickets to PAX! I had a lot of fun last year, and hopefully this year will be no different. If anybody wants to meet up, drop me a line in the comments, etc.
So with this out of the way, I hope to start back up on this blog and keep delivering columns about awesome shit. Thank you all for understanding.