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Newsletter from 05-24-98
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05-24-98 { Dreamcast, 1 New Release, and a New Poll... }

Hi all!

What can I say? There's no real surprise on what the big news for the past week is. As most of you have probably already read on various sites etc, Sega's Dreamcast system is extremely powerful and looks to be a killer console. In comparison with current consoles, Sega is saying it is at least ten times more powerful than current consoles, and also a few times more powerful than the latest arcade offerings. Check the site for full details on the console as far as specs, pics etc. There are five titles planned to be ready at the release of the console. The two known are Virtua Fighter 3 and D2...

Yesterday, Warp gave the first public showing of a game for the Dreamcast console. D2. Simply put, the game is graphically incredible. In short, the graphics are at the same level as the pre-rendered graphics from D, but instead being done in real time! As with all other Dreamcast demos shown thus far, the game ran at 60FPS and in high resolution. According to Warp, D2 uses about one million polygons per second. The level of detail in characters is quite high, dedicating 5,000 polygons to each character. Two thousand of those going to the facial area to allow for very realistic facial expressions.

The Dreamcast console will launch on November 20th in Japan. A price has not officially been set, but current estimates place the price at about ¥30,000 (as previously thought). One of the biggest innovations is the VM card system. The cards are being touted as PDAs. They not only act as backup storage for the console, but as a way to secretly perform functions in a game (such as select plays or tactics in a sports game), and as a portable game. Initially the VM cards will have 128kb of memory, and sell for about ¥2700 or $20US.

The on controller memory card system sounds great, but also has some problems. First off, the size of the controller increases a little, as does the actual cost. Second, the on-controller expansion limits the possibility of other peripherals such as the use of a Pro Action Replay, or high capacity memory cards. Supposedly, VM cards can hold up to 4MB of memory, but the interface would be a lot slower than the more direct cartridge system of the Saturn. There has been no word of an on-console form of expansion. The internal 33.6k modem is also said to be removable, allowing upgrades to future communication technologies.

With the big news, I decided to open a new poll, which will run through June 7th. The topic: After reading about the Dreamcast system, what do you plan to do? Buy a Japanese version, or wait for a local release of the console? Also, what about Saturn support outside of Japan until the 1999 US/Europe release of Dreamcast? I look forward to seeing how you vote, and reading your comments on the issue.

Now relating to the Saturn...In Japan, one new Saturn release shipped, Baroque from Sting/ESP. The game had previously been delayed a week. Well, that's all for this week.


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