Bit Age Times
Issue #13 - May 30th 2001
As I look at the Sega Dreamcast and its
exit from the industry, I cannot help but think of a similar system that
suffered a similar fate. The more I looked at the two, the more similar
their situations were. This system is the Turbo Grafx. While there are
some noticeable differences, namely that the Turbo Grafx was a big hit in
Japan, where the Dreamcast was a bust in Japan. But look at the
similarities and see if you can see them.
First off, both systems are favorites of
hardcore gamers, the people who own multiple systems and lots of games. The
Turbo offered some great games like Splatterhouse, Devil's Crush, Bonk's
Adventure and Military Madness. Many of the games were great games, but
never caught on with the general public. The Dreamcast also has lots of
innovative games and great playing ones that are also overlooked. Games
like Shenmue, Jet Grind Radio and Virtua Tennis are great games that had
less than stellar sales.
One big problem that the Turbo Grafx had
was that it was considered underpowered upon arrival. While it boasted a 16
bit processor, it really was two 8 bit processors, where the Sega Genesis
and later the Super Nintendo actually had 16 bit processors. While it was
quite capable of producing great games, the press was not quite so kind to
it. The Dreamcast suffered a similar fate. While it also was more than
capable of producing great looking and playing games, the Playstation 2's
potential was more than it could compete with. Plus, with DVD becoming the
media of choice for next generation systems, the Dreamcast shipped with a
souped up CD Rom drive, the Gigadrive.
One of the biggest problems that both
systems had was they were unable to unseat the reigning champion of the
time. In the Turbo Grafx's case, it was the 8-Bit Nintendo. While the
Turbo offered better graphics, better sound and bigger games, people still
bought the Nintendo over it. With the Nintendo's immense library and all
the big franchises aboard, it was the system of choice. The Dreamcast also
was plagued by a seemingly invincible system, this time the Playstation.
With 70 million systems sold and possibly the largest game library of all
time, the Playstation offered so much to gamers, especially the casual
ones. It was cheaper and more readily available. No matter how much better
the Dreamcast's games were, it could not win out against the Playstation,
which continued to outsell it.
Another similarity between the two systems
was they both paved the way for a major innovation in the video game
market. The Turbo Grafx was the first home console with a CD Rom player,
something that was a big deal at the time. For the first time, you could
put animation, real music and actual footage in a game. Games like Dragon's
Lair were suddenly a real possibility. The Dreamcast was the first system
that offered a built in modem and a real network, designed strictly for game
playing. Online gameplay, something that was reserved just for computers
was now available on a home console. In both cases, the innovation will see
greater acceptance and usage on other systems.
Here are two different systems. They came
out in different eras and competed with different systems for market share,
but they both suffered a similar fate. As time goes by, I really think the
Sega Dreamcast will become much like the Turbo Grafx in the eyes of hard
core gamers and collectors of video games. It will be considered a great
system that died a premature death. It will remain in demand among gamers
and will retain more of its value than other systems of the era. So you may
want to pick up a system and some games before the system totally vanishes
and it becomes a sought after collectible.
- People always want to know what games will be the valuable ones. While I
am far from a fortune teller, there are a few games on the Dreamcast that
have the potential to be highly sought after games. Here are a few that I
think will be in demand and why (Please remember this is just a person's
opinion. I am not liable if you decide to sink little Jimmy's college fund
into these games and they become worthless. Video games are not a good
game is made by Treasure, one of the most collected and coveted of the
software companies. Can you say Radiant Silvergun? While this will
probably not become that much in demand, it has potential.
Typing of the
Dead-Due to its quirky nature and similarities to House of the
Dead, many people passed on this gem. Too bad as the gameplay is great and
fun and there is so much to the game. Plus, can you think of a better way
to learn to type?
is a love it or hate it kind of game. But it is also a game that is so
unique and so different that it could become a cult classic. This
especially bodes well with the genre it is in. Plus, with some of the
negative feedback, especially from the magazines, the game is in very short
Record of Lodoss
War-RPGs are always in demand and this game is probably the
hardest to find of all the Dreamcast RPGs. It doesn't hurt that the
gameplay is great and the game is deep and alot of fun to play! Add in that
it is based on an anime series and you have a lot of potential.
Skies of Arcadia-The
best RPG made for the Dreamcast also came out when the Playstation 2 was hot
and the sales of this game were far from stellar. Too bad as the game is
While the system is still chugging along,
with large sales and a ton of software still being developed for it, some of
the games have already moved to the realm of collectible. Given the immense
player base and the even more immense library of games, it is not hard to
believe some games are so much in short supply, that they are rising in
price. But with most Playstation games only remaining in print for a short
period, you are bound to have some scarce games. Here is a list of a few
games that are already becoming valuable and sought after:
Tactics-Possibly one of the rarest of the Final Fantasy games for
the Playstation (not hard as FFVII and FFVIII sold in the millions). Plus,
with FFX coming for the Playstation 2, it means even more fans of the
series. This game has sold on eBay for anywhere from $50.00 to over
$90.00! Not bad for a four year old game!
the sequels can be found very cheap, the original is both hard to find and
highly sought after by gamers. While the game sells for around
$40.00-$50.00, about the same price as it originally came out for, it is
still quite amazing for a game to retain its value. The game does have
potential for even more value as it has spawned a cartoon show and action
is a case of a game that was totally overlooked and word of mouth spread
about the game, after it was already out of print. While Intelligent Cube
was a great game from day one, it was a puzzle game and overlooked by most
gamers. Too bad as it is one of the most original and fun games for the
Playstation. Now the game goes for around $50.00.
Volume 2-While all the Namco museums were once worth money, the
first and third ones have since been released again. But the second one,
the one without Pacman or Ms. Pacman, is very hard to find. It regularly
goes for $35.00-$50.00 and probably has one of the best lineups of games
from the series, with the very playable Super Pacman and Mappy leading the
way! Also, the fourth and fifth volumes are also in demand, but with more
unknown games on them, they do not command as much money.
was valuable on the Super Nintendo and the same holds true on the
Playstation. The classic turn based battle game remains in short supply and
high demand! Another game that regularly sells for over $50.00.
RPG with robots and more! This is another of the out of print games that
keeps getting more and more interest. Being that the game was made by
Square, makers of the Final Fantasy series, it is no wonder that the game is
in demand. Another game that sells in the $50.00 range.
Other games that may become collectible
are the Lunar series (they go for good money now, but they have not been
released that long), the Final Fantasy Anthology, Nectaris: Military
Madness, Grandia and some others that escape me. While these games are now
commanding this kind of money, there is no way of knowing if they will
maintain this value or not. A few of these games could go the way of Panzer
Dragoon Saga (a Sega Saturn game that sells for over $100.00) or could be
re-released like the Namco Museum #1 and #3 were and see the value drop
considerably. So keep this in mind when you are thinking of paying big
money for one of these games. Buy the game for the gameplay and think of
anything else as a bonus.
One of the devices that came into
prominence during the Bit Age is the light gun. While guns have been part
of video games from well before the video game, it wasn't until the Bit Age
that these became an integral part of the home video game experience.
The first home video game system, the
Odyssey 1 had a gun for it. It was a separate purchase and looked like a
shotgun. There were a few games that took advantage of it, but it was
mostly a novelty. Later, some of the home pong units, like the Coleco
Telstar, came with light guns. Again, they were for use on a primitive game
like skeet shoot, which consisted of shooting a dot as it made its way
across the screen.
During the Bit Age, the variety of games
for use with the light guns became more varied. From skeet shoot like games
(Duck Hunt) to duels (like Wild Gunmen) to real life battles (Mad Dog McCree
series), the light gun found its place in the homes and added more realism
to video games. No more did you have to use the joystick as a gun and try
to move the crosshairs in place, now you could aim and shoot the target!
Even today, there are many light gun games
that still come out. The House of the Dead series from Sega and the Point
Blank and Time Crisis series from Namco for the Playstation are just a few
of the very popular games that are available. Despite public outcry and
fear of repercussion due to the school shootings, the light gun game is one
genre that should remain a part of video games, both past and present.
Two different stories in today’s news got
me thinking. The first was from the “Fastest Game News Online” (http://www.fgnonline.com/playstation2/news/18717.html).
It is an article about how “Crazy Taxi” is the hottest PS2 product right
now. The other story is from the L.A. Times (http://www.latimes.com/news/front/20010529/t000044865.html)
If you’re not familiar with the term
“payola”, it is basically record companies rewarding radio stations for
playing the songs the record companies want them to. This practice was the
norm until it was banned almost 40 years ago.
What do these two things have in common
When the Playstation was first released, I
remember talking to the manager of my local chain game store. As the story
went, each manager was given a Sony Playstation and the lesser employees
were permitted to buy them at a substantial discount. This was not common
knowledge. I thought it was a pretty smart move on the part of a company
trying to get its foot in the door and to generate some buzz about their
product. It might even be normal practice now.
Shifting gears here. Hold on. They might
grind a little.
The Sega Dreamcast was a good seller. It
started out pretty good and probably made some decent money for the
retailers. Except for the internet, most of the feedback I received about
the DC was negative. What was worse was the information I heard retailers
giving potential customers about the DC. “The machine is underpowered”. “A
better one is coming from Sony”. “The Playstation 2 is going to destroy the
Dreamcast”. “The games aren’t that good compared to what is coming for the
PS2.” Many times I had to bite my lip while this crap was tossed at a
Shift to now. Crazy Taxi for the PS2 is a
“must have” title.
Folks, it’s the same game as the Dreamcast
The DC version is a blast. No question
that the PS2 version would be too.
So where was this support when Crazy Taxi
came out for the DC ?
Wasn’t it Sony that basically shafted
retailers and customers last Christmas with their pathetic attempt at a
system launch ?
Why didn’t retailers steer their customers
to the Dreamcast, a system that they had a plentiful supply of ?
Why is a year old game for a machine that
wasn’t worth selling now the hottest thing on the supposed be-all and
end-all of game machines ?
Here’s another piece of the conspiracy
puzzle just to get you thinking. <http://www.alldreamcast.com/news/may15bleem.htm>
Maybe it isn’t payola, but game-ola.
Something smells rotten.
(Fred has also heard of other game
companies attempting to strong-arm retailers about the competition.
Specifically Nintendo vs. the XBOX. What stories have you heard or what have
you seen that makes you wonder what goes on behind the scenes of your local
game store chain ? If you’ve got any good ones let Fred know at
Many of the most popular games of the Bit
Age are seeing revivals on today's machines, with more coming! The
Playstation, especially has a huge selection of games available and any Bit
Age fan would be in heaven with the selection. Take a look at some of the
games available that are either re-releases or updated versions:
favorite of the Atari ST and Amiga featured brutal, futuristic sports at its
finest. A new and updated version is available for the Playstation which is
quite true to the original.
Monsters-This strategy game was a favorite on the Sega Genesis
and captivated many players. A new version is on the Playstation and
features the same strategy battles with lots of mythical creatures.
Military Madness-One of the first strategy war games and a huge
favorite of Turbo Grafx fans. This game is very similar to the original,
one of the complaints of reviewers. But for us old school gamers, that is
just fine. Also on the Playstation.
Symphony of the Night-The venerable series which started on the
Nintendo 8-bit was a huge game and remains so. This version retains the 2D
look (unlike the Nintendo 64 version that went to 3D) and is a great game!
is a large selection of Megaman games for the Playstation and even one for
the Nintendo 64 (not counting the Gameboy, which has almost every
conceivable game ever made) from the different Megaman X to the Megaman
series has become a huge event. With Final Fantasy 7, 8 and 9 all being
million sellers, to the highly anticipated Final Fantasy Anthology (finally
bringing FF #4 and #5 to the USA).
Nintendo 64 system seller was none other than Nintendo's most popular
character. Look for the same to happen with the Gamecube.
can forget the mad scramble for the gold version of Zelda, not to mention
the huge selling sequel, Majora's Mask.
These are just a few of the many games
from the Bit Age era that continue to remain popular. Look for this trend
to magnify in the next batch of systems this fall.
Which video game character is almost as
known as Mickey Mouse? If you said Mario, you win a pat on the back (the
newsletter is free, what kind of prize did you expect?). Not only is Mario
part of pop culture, so is many of Nintendo's other creations. My question
is....Why hasn't Nintendo created a theme park based on these characters?
While there may be a theme park like I am
suggesting in Japan, it is unknown to me. But I really think that Nintendo
is missing the boat, in a big way, by not either making a themed amusement
park or licensing their characters to an established amusement park. Think
of the possibilities you can do with the wide selection of characters
created. With Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Bowser, Kirby, Yoshii, Pikachu,
Zelda, Link, Donkey Kong, Wario, etc..., you have a plethora of characters
to base rides around and have walking around in costume, to entice the
kiddies to buy even more merchandise. Just the Pokemon characters alone
have endless possibilities. The Squirtle water rides, Jigglypuff's bouncing
chambers, etc... Then add in the rest of the characters and you have a
theme park just begging to be created.
Think of the theme possibilities! You can
have the jungle area for Donkey Kong with the Diddy Kong Jungle Racers,
Donkey Kong Falls water ride and of course a barrel ride!
Next you have Mario and Friends with the
Princesses castle, Bowser's haunted house and the Mighty Mario Roller
Onward to the fantasy zone where you would
do battle along with Link and have a horse racing game among other themed
games. There could even be some live jousts and other activities to keep
the guests busy.
Plus, we need the Pokemon section, which
could be the kid's section. With the aforementioned rides as well as many
others, we could have a real cool section! And we have not even added in
Metroid, Starfox and Kirby, all of whom could either share a section with
others or make their own section. Now all we need to happen is for Nintendo
to go through with it, they do have a few extra billion sitting in the bank.
A small issue, but I just wanted to get
one out there. Hopefully in a few months, when we do another issue, I will
do a bigger issue and get some contributors. Until then, keep playing those
games and enjoy!