Backstabbed

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Sometimes I hate my job! I really hate it when I express loyalty towards a system, only to have the system’s developer stab me in the back. I’ve been there before, most noticeably with the Atari 7800 (Dang you Tramiel! I should have known when you were fired by Commodore that you’d be up to no good.), and when Nintendo shoved their 8-bit NES to the back burner when they launched the SNES without backward compatibility. No wonder why I am so harsh against certain companies!

Unfortunately, I never thought I’d be expressing the same hatred against Sega. I’ve been a fan of their systems since the Genesis. I’ve even been through the bad times involving the Sega CD (where fond memories of Lunar, AH-3 Thunderstrike, and the best damn non-emulated (pre-MAME) conversion of Final Fight can be found) and the 32X (of which I have NO fond memories).

I was also an early adapter of the Saturn, a system that was heavily scrutinized because of the hard-to-program architecture, but also heralded some of the best 2Dgames available. Seems that when the PlayStation arrived, every mainstream (i.e. brain-dead) gamer developed what I consider a fetish for 3D. All of a sudden it seemed that eye candy took precedence over decent gameplay, and I know many titles that will back that up – namely almost every Squaresoft title, and yes Ken, that includes the Final Fantasy series, which you worship!

But what these eye candy-loving morons never realized was that the Saturn had some great games that didn’t require 3D (and we can thank loyal developers such as Capcom for that) and some that actually did use decent 3D (I’ll never forget NiGHTS or the entire World Series lineup). If only it weren’t for that idiot Bernie Stolar (who I still believe was a double-agent for Sony), or having to hunt down import CDs, the Saturn would have lasted longer.

It was because of Stolar that I had skepticism towards the Dreamcast, yet I still decided to give it a chance. After all, it would have been the chance for me to play quality titles such as Virtua Fighter 3 at home (after the way AM2 went above and beyond with VF2 for the Saturn). But it wasn’t until I heard Stolar was relieved from his position a week before Dreamcast was launched (just like how Steve Race was released from Sony a week before the PlayStation’s US arrival), that my expectations were at an all time high.

And what a high it was, as Dreamcast’s launch was the largest of its time, earning over $94 million on the first day. High quality games including NFL2K, Soul Calibur, and Sonic Adventure impressed me at first sight. Month after month led to an increase in game quality, and the addition of SegaNet made the experience better. Finally, with NFL2K1, NBA2K1, Quake 3, Starlancer, and Phantasy Star Online, I can enjoy multiplayer gaming without any serious latency problems whatsoever.

But just recently, the unthinkable has happened.

Several months ago, rumors appeared about Nintendo buying out Sega appeared in the New York Times, a periodical I have never been fond of. Those rumors were immediately dismissed, but the worst was yet to come. More recent rumors about Sega abandoning the Dreamcast to become a third party developer popped up all over the place.

Now I’ve heard these rumors before, as they have been around since the Saturn days. PlayStation-loving publications have been longing for the day they can play VF2 on their lovely gray box. Unfortunately, it was just confirmed this week that these rumors are the truth.

In other words….SEGA SOLD OUT! And all I can ask is why?

As I mentioned before, I have seen people sell out before. Bret Hart sold out to WCW because of a little tirade he had with Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon. Metallica sold out their fans because they download their music on Napster. Alex Rodriguez is given $252 million to play for the Texas Rangers. And now, Sega is getting paid off to develop for Gamecube, X-Box, and (gasp) PlayStation2.

But what Sega doesn’t realize is by doing this, they have thrown a rusty knife in the back of EVERY loyal Dreamcast owner. We, who have spilled blood and sweat to make the Dreamcast the system it was: the best Sega system since the Genesis, are screwed. We who waited impatiently for the next great online title that cannot (as of this writing) be played on the PS2.

But apparently to Sega, fanbase loyalty don’t mean crap.

Just like the other sell outs I mentioned, it seems as if all Sega cares about is the almighty dollar. We know that if Dreamcast faired better in Japan, this would not have happened. I can only guess that Japanese gamers would not know a quality title if it reached out and bit them in the ass. Why the hell hasn’t Jet Grind Radio sold more than it did? Why hasn’t Soul Calibur received a sequel, which it rightfully deserved? (Watch it come out for the PS2 as a result.) I’m sure the reason the Dreamcast didn’t sell well in Japan is because it didn’t have nerd-centric RPGs with spells that last up to 5 minutes (Sephiroth’s Super Nova sound familiar) or dating simulators (since publishers know that Japanese gamers will never get laid in their entire lives). I can only say that the Japanese gamers know absolutely NOTHING about originality!

I’m sure there are a couple people reading this, and they are probably going to tell me "calm down…you already own a PS2, don’t you?"

That’s not the damn point! I find it unfair that I spend my hard-earned money to buy a Dreamcast (believe it or not, we don’t get systems sent to us, we have to BUY them), only to have the developer stop production to go third party.

Also, don’t give me any of that crap that Dreamcast technology has been sold to Pace for a self-top box which will NOT be able to play GD-ROMS. Instead, we’ll have to download the damn games to play them.

Additionally, I don’t trust Sega’s "commitment" towards the Dreamcast for the remainder of this year. I’ve seen commitments like this fall through to the gutter right when they begin, and I can only predict that the 100 "promised Dreamcast titles" will be scrapped by mid-summer. Only E3 will tell.

In conclusion, I like to relate this whole Sega Sells Out philosophy to the final episode of Survivor; more specifically, the Susan Hawk "snake" and "rat" speech. In this case, we have Sega, the "rat," stealing their loyalty from the hardcore Sega fans, the "snakes." And just like Susan said, I only hope that once again Nature will take its course, and the snake eats the rat. It will be up to the fans to pay Sega back for what they did.

Thank you, Peter Moore, and everyone else at Sega, for stabbing us in the back!

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