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February 6th, 2001

A "Dream" Deferred, Weekend Box Office

This site, as you should know, covers video games. While I've been focusing more on the main bulk, DVD, there is a video game section (look forward to many updates to it in the next few weeks, but that's a different story) and in the past twenty five years, video games have become a pretty big thing in media. However, after bad quarter losses, Sega, once again, is closing up shop on their next generation system, "Dreamcast". It's not dead just yet... Sega said they would continue to develop games for the system, but they would stop producing Dreamcast hardware. To clear inventory, Sega has dropped the system to an astounding 99 dollars (I paid 199 at launch), while their recently released "Smash Pack" will sell for 119. If you love good gaming, this is definitely a package to consider.

Besides that point though, I was pretty saddened to hear the news. Sega has always been an underdog of sorts and probably my favorite gaming company. They create some great home console games and great arcade games (many of which have been ported to Dreamcast). In all truth, I personally think Dreamcast is the best video game console yet (no, I wasn't paid to say that and I have played a ton of games). Sega is able to reproduce their great arcade games as I mentioned to perfection, as well as create some great games with sharp graphics plus online games that clearly blow Playstation 2 out of the water.

But to make this news a bit more depressing (for me at least), Sega announced that they would be developing video games for Playstation 2 and Nintendo's latest handheld (due out in Japan in March, U.S. in the summer), the Game Boy Advance. Some "exclusive" titles would no longer be exclusive - the underrated "Space Channel 5" and its upcoming sequel would be ported to PS2, and rumors are circulating that Acclaim will distribute the mega Dreamcast and arcade hit "Crazy Taxi" for Playstation 2. GBA users will be able to play "ChuChu Rocket" (which will have 2500, yes, 2500 more levels than the Dreamcast version) and a new Sonic The Hedgehog.

I can't blame Sega. I really can't. While so many hardcore gamers just bash them and whatnot, I don't want them to die and get screwed again. This will probably be very successful for them and give them strong earnings, because I know all gamers can't resist some of their Dreamcast hits.

But I guess the thing that really annoys me is that some of these games are no longer exclusive. These games made Dreamcast owners proud to own a Dreamcast. For those who mocked Sega fans, Sega fans could counter with "Haha! I have 'Crazy Taxi' and you don't!". But alas, it won't be the case anymore. I guess I feel sort of shunned out . Like something you love so much is being taken away from you. Something like that. I just find it annoying. Oh well, again, I can't blame Sega. While I have expressed my disappointment with PS2 like so many others, it just goes to show you that a system so many feel is not as good is mainstream and the public goes along. Just like VHS and Betamax.

But again, Dreamcast is not dead yet. 3rd party developers and Sega are still going to make plenty of games for it, and with this price drop, everyone is going out and getting a Dreamcast. Sega will benefit from that in someway, but more in porting games to other systems. In fact, many years back, Sega was going to do this with their industry punchline machine the "Sega Saturn" under a company called SegaSoft. They planned to port some Saturn games to Playstation, but that never happened. But Saturn users got bad versions of Playstation classics "Battle Arena Toshinden", "Wipeout" and "Destruction Derby".

Does anyone think that the Dreamcast may be like the Saturn? I hope. While the Saturn launched early and that launch killed it critically, plus the lack of games, Dreamcast's launch was pretty successful. However, sales slumped. Maybe in a few years Dreamcast will have a very nice cult audience of sorts. Importing games that never came out, playing around with them, sort of like how there is still a big community for Saturn players on the internet. And you know what? I would like that very much.

Well, that's been the biggest DVDlaunch update and rant yet! So how about the weekend box office?

In first again was The Wedding Planner with 10.6 million, and "J-Lo" now has the top movie and top album. Valentine, the new horror flick came next with 10 million. In third was Cast Away, passing the 200 million mark with 7.3 million, in fourth was Save The Last Dance with 7.2 and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was fifth with 6.8. Next weekend it should surpass "Life Is Beautiful" as the highest grossing foreign language picture of all time. Traffic was sixth with 6.3, the new Universal romantic comedy Head Over Heels didn't score well with the critics or audiences either, making a meager 4.8 million. Finding Forrester was eight with 4.2, Snatch with 4.0 and rounding out the top ten was Chocolat with 3.6 million.

Next weekend should be big... "Hannibal" opens (ptbtbtbtbtbtbtb) and next week... Oscar® nods! Woohoo!

 

- Zach B.

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