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Newsletter from 10/11/1998
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10-11-1998 { DC News, New Releases, Site Status, and more... }

Hello all,

So, for a while the site has been really slow, various reasons from the lack of Saturn news and a dedicated area for the Dreamcast. I have been working on the new areas for a while, plagued with major computer problems, and now with school eating up much more time than had expected progress has been quite slow since late July. I can't say exactly when the new areas will come online, but here is how things stand at this time. On the Genesis side, I've completed the software lists and am now working on obtaining background data. I'm in need of game reviews, and am also looking for scans or text copies of the hardware manuals for Genesis/Megadrive 2 units and other Sega hardware. I have only Genesis/SegaCD 1 manuals at hand right now.

For the Dreamcast area, progress is moving slowly as I compile information spread out all over the Internet. The areas will launch together along with some moving around of files on the site. With these two new areas, I will run out of web space for dEX and will need to seek other options to store site data (graphics mainly.) If you've anything which you'd like to contribute or have questions or suggestions, please let me know. Thanks again for your support, and now on with the update....

With November 27th edging closer, more and more Dreamcast news is appearing every day. New pictures, software announcements, or hands on test articles are appearing on many of the commercial sites out there. Some of the information is to press only (my attempts to negotiate with Sega have thus far failed), while others are official public releases with the source being Sega of Japan's Dreamcast page. Though the page text is in Japanese, one will find loads of screenshots, more of which are in high resolution. Recently, Sega posted new images from the Dreamcast versions of VF3TB, and Sega Rally 2. Both are launch titles and are looking very very good. To say the games will be graphically identical to their Model 3 counterparts while technically feasible it is the question of whether the programmers will be able to get things up and running 100% in the time allowed. As a new platform the DC will experience certain growing pains, and an upward curve of graphics quality over time will exist as programmers hone their DC development skills. TGS reports place VF3TB as being virtually identical to the arcade version; extremely minor differences have been spotted (so they say): a polygon here or there missing, or perhaps one large texture map on the DC vs. many small ones. While with Sega Rally 2, there are now rumors around that the game may not even run at 60fps. It is also true that current (public) builds of the game are not playable, and have pop-up and fogging absent from the arcade version. The game is being shown at the TGS in video tape format only, which lays question as to how recent the tapes are and the current project status, lets hope Sega gets things up to speed by launch.

Sonic Adventure is playable at TGS, and well, is incredible. The game will most certainly live up to the Sonic label, and Sonic Team's status. It's content is what one would expect of the Sonic series, with an excellent implementation of the 3rd dimension. In other news, Capcom has announced that their next game in the Biohazard series, Biohazard Code Veronica, will be a DC exclusive. Namco has also announced that they plan to develop Dreamcast games, but they have not released any specifics at all...remember that since Sega and Namco are rivals in the arcade market, it is questionable as to what games will be appearing. More news on Namco as it comes.

Online console gaming is a new realm, first introduced on a mass scale by Sega with the Telegenesis (modem add on for the Genesis), and more recently (and more successfully) the NetLink. Thus far these peripherals have allowed for one on one play over existing phone lines, and the NetLink with decent TV based Internet access for those without a computer. Well, now Sega is moving it up one notch, as the DC console in Japan will include a 33.6kbs modem (56k is not prevalent in Japan) along with the appropriate Internet access software. So, sure many games out there will allow for online play, but Sega is also working with companies such as Turbine to develop much more extensive online gaming circles. The two companies are currently developing a exploration title of the sci-fi genre that will create a world in which thousands of gamers will be able to play in simultaneously. Not the newest concept, but only the second mass public attempt that I am aware of for online gameplay on this scale. Now, if only they would start on a Star Wars universe for flight games....

Over on the site, there are two new news articles on the Dreamcast. The first is a summary of the DC launch in Japan. I've set up a nice table of launch titles, peripherals, and titles to be available on November 27th. Please note that since writing, the USD->Japanese Yen exchange rate has changed quite a bit in the past week. The article has the rate of $1/¥137, however, the rate has now dropped to about $1/¥116. Price wise, the console is ¥29 800, or $256USD. Before the rate change the US equivalent price would have been $220. Ouch indeed, what a week can do. It is important to note also that Sonic Adventure has been delayed to a December 17th release. Necessary in order to put the final touches on the game.

Very basic details were also released on the US and European launch of the DC. We have a general date, Sega plans to launch the Dreamcast in Europe and the US simultaneously in September of 1999.

Saturn fans, no I didn't forget about you...there just isn't much news heading out these days. Last week there were several new releases in Japan. For shooter fans there's a follow up in the Cotton series, Cotton Boomerang. Also out were two anime based games: a dating sim, Pia: Welcome to Carrot 2 from Kid; and an adventure title from Taito, Sakura Tsushin Remaking. Next week there are several collection titles set to be released, two from Sega and one from Capcom...

Well, that's all for this week, thanks for reading!


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