How would the Dreamcast have faired against the PS2, Gamecube, and Xbox, had it not died so early?

Sun, Nov 17th, 2019

So I’ve been thinking recently about the Dreamcast, thanks to the 20th anniversary celebrations, and wondered: What would have happened if the Dreamcast didn’t die. Could it have kept up with the other next gen machines, and if so, for how long?

I’ve been having some discussions about this from both Sega and Sony fans, and figured it’ll be fun to talk about it here.

Now at first glance, looking at the specs of both machines, the PS2 looks almost better in every way.

Also looking at the polygon counts:

firefox_naFibiV73l2

See? 75 Million vs 5 million. It’s an open and shut case! The PS2 absolutely blew the Dreamcast out of the water, right? Well, not quite.

How about for the sake of completion, what the polygon counts of the Gamecube and the Xbox.

Hmm, something seems off here, right? Apparently, the PS2 is almost 7 times as powerful as the Gamecube…

That’s because the PS2 and Xbox numbers are innacurate. In short, they didn’t actually test the systems, just made estimates. I’ll quote the PDF itself to explain in more detail.

We’re unable to accurately compare the specifications for the below consoles because the method the companies used to measure performance are so different. Sony and Microsoft’s numbers are unrealistic and denote the raw (read: not real) performance of their respective systems, while Nintendo’s and Sega’s numbers are based on real performance during gameplay. With that said, the figures you see are just smoke and numbers. We refer you to compare the actual games.

Here’s the full version of the chart above:

GameCube: 6 to 12 million polygons per second (conservative, but realistic estimate)
PlayStation 2: 75 million polygons per second (realistically first-gen games are more like 3-5 million)
Xbox: 150 million polygons per second (does not consider real gameplay environments)
Dreamcast: Roughly 3 million polygons per second

You’ll find similar numbers all across the internet, this PDF was just a nice concise way of displaying them.

Fun fact, the record for the highest polygon count of the generation actually belongs to the a Gamecube game: Star Wars Rogue Squadron II, which is rendered at 20 million polygons a second!

Anyway, I noticed something interesting here, the PS2’s launch titles shown that the PS2 was capable of 5 million a second, only marginally more powerful than the Dreamcast. In fact you had Dreamcast games also pushing 5 million a second by 2000. Le Mans 24 Hours, or Test Drive Le Mans in America, was one of them.

The Dreamcast was also far better at teaxturs than the PS2, with double the VRAM, and in general, could pack in about as 4 times the textures as the PS2, at least with PS2 games until 2003.

So we’ve established that, at least when the PS2 launched, both systems were roughly as good as one another, but that isn’t the main focus of this article, is it? The article is about if the Dreamcast could have survived beyond that.

It’s fair to assume that because the numbers on the PS2 specs are much higher, the Dreamcast would lag behind, and I would certainly agree that eventually that would happen, but I think the first few years would have been a totally different story.

If anyone studying gaming history would have figured out, is that specs aren’t everything. No point in having all of that power if developers can’t access it, right?

If you compared the 3DO to the Jaguar, the Jaguar looks to be the more powerful system, but games looked better on the 3DO. You’ll also see this with the PS1 vs Saturn, and Xbox 360 vs PS3. That’s because the former systems were far easier to develop for, so developers could push more out of them.

As it turns out, we see a similar case here. The PS2 was reported to be frustrating to program for, while the Dreamcast was pish easy. If both systems were given equal attention and games were developed for both, this would have given the Dreamcast the advantage.

Focusing on Xbox 360 vs PS3, we see a similar scenario. PS3 is more powerful, but hard as nails to program for. (I don’t think the PS2 is quite as difficult, but still)
As a result, I’d say up until 2010, multiplatform games were better on Xbox 360, they fan faster and looked clearer. Developers such as Gabe Newel even ranted about how frustrating the PS3 was to work with!

I can imagine the same happening to these 2 systems. I mean it took your average 3rd party PS2 game until like 2004 to finally outdo what the Dreamcast could have done.

So what about the games that were available on both systems? Well, they seem to support my theory. Dead or Alive 2 looks better on the Dreamcast. The only thing the PS2 has going for it is that the cutscenes are 60fps, vs 30 on the Dreamcast.

Rayman 2 is a game that, in my opinion, is far better on Dreamcast. It runs at 60fps, and supports VGA and widescreen, The PS2 version is enhanced graphically, but only runs at 25fps and as far as I know, only supports an interlaced picture. (could be wrong, though). However, the PS2 has some enhancements that some players may prefer, and that’s totally fair. I just don’t think it was anything the Dreamcast could have also done.

With Quake 3, the Dreamcast version has superior texture quality and better effects such as shininess. Whereas the PS2 version allows more players and bots in a game.

There are examples of the PS2 outdoing the Dreamcast, though, such as NBA 2k2.

Unreal Tournament had unstable framerates on both, but the PS2 version was locked at 30fps, whereas Dreamcast could go up to 60fps.

Other games, such as Ready to Rumble Round 2 and NBA Hoopz, look absolutely idential on both.

So we can see that in general, both systems had their ups and downs, but it looked like Dreamcast versions had the upper hand most of the time.

Another thing to take into account is if the least powerful system is the most popular or at least relevant enough, multiplatform games will centre around that and just port to other machines. The Gamecube and Xbox were never pushed to their limits because of this.

So how do I think the Dreamcast would have faired? I hear nobody ask.

Well, I think in the early 2000s, the Dreamcast would have had better versions of games, though inferior to the Gamecube and Xbox. Then by, say 2004, it will hit a wall. Developers have pushed everything they could out of it, in which case, the PS2 would gradually overtake it.

By then, the PSP will have come out, which has similar specs to the Dreamcast in terms of what developers were allowed to use at the time. (It was only in 2010 where developers were allowed to fully utilise the PSPs power) So it would be likely that the Dreamcast would have then be receiving PSP ports at that point.

By then as well, it would have been likely that Sega will have also came up with a successor console anyway, so either way, it wouldn’t matter.

Anyway, I hope you guys had as much fun reading this as I did writing this. I might do more articles like this in the future.

Untill then, A’m oot!

Telltale Games – A retrospective: Sam & Max: Save The World

Sun, Nov 10th, 2019

So I decided, after watching a documentary video on the Rise & Fall of Telltale games, I decided to play all of the Telltale games I possess.

ima_9d99b7f

Of which I have quite a few

Starting with the series that introduced me to the company: Sam & Max Save The World. Read the rest of this entry »

Ma thocts on Joker (SPOILERS)

Fri, Nov 8th, 2019

This is the Scots version of this article, the English version is available here.


A went tae see Joker a few week ago. A thought A’d gie yese ma thochts on the fulm.

A wis a wee bit skeptical-like tae see is, cause ae the kynd ae fowk that ir intae is. Ultra conservative neckbeard-y fowk. Bit ma bra saw it b’fore an telt iz hou guid it wis, a gied in, an went tae see it.

It wis really good, tho A think hit coud hae been impruived.

A expectit a slaw big up inside o the chairacter an than lash oot an become the Joker, an at didna quite happen.

<Spoilers>

The first kill happent in like the first hauf an oor ae the fulm. A didna feel the big up tae it, juist felt oot ae naewhaur.

Wan hing A likit wis the Joker’s imaigin hissel hivin a burd, tae find thay warna actual datin. Maks ye hink whit else his mind made up in the fulm.

The film made iz hink an aw: Is the Joker actual the guidie, an Batman the baddie? The fulm brings up the inequalitie b’tween the rich an puir fowk a lot. Wi Bruce Wayne’s da bein oot aer titch wi the rest o the warld. A lot like real life, eh no?

</Spoilers>

Wan hing A likit a lot war the deith scenes. A lot ae’aim war fuckit up! A kynd ae like fucked up deiths… should A git help?

Anywey, that’s aw A wantit tae say.

A howp tae mak weekly Scots airticles alangside the Inglis yins, but thanks tae ma busy schedule, A may no be able tae.

‘Till the nixt airticle, A’m oot!

Retro Collecting isn’t fun any more

Sun, Nov 3rd, 2019

A realisation has come to me very recently: Retro Collecting isn’t fun any more.

For the record, I don’t mean retro gaming, I still find old games fascinating and I love talking about them, but to me, the fun of has been sucked out of collecting them. Read the rest of this entry »

My Thoughts on Joker (SPOILERS)

Sun, Oct 27th, 2019

Another quick one this week, I don’t have anything else to post this week.


So last week, I saw the movie Joker, and thought I’d give my thoughts here.

I didn’t expect much, from the fact DC already released a movie this year, Shazam, which made me worry DC was going the way of Marvel, and pumping out bland movies multiple times a year, and making some huge cinematic universe.

Also, neckbeards were praising it to the high heaven saying they can relate to it. I didn’t wanted to be associated with those guys.

My brother bugged me to watch it, though, and I finally gave in.

Leaving the cinema, I thought it was okay, but thinking about it more and more, I thought it was great! Read the rest of this entry »

Retro Pick-Ups: Call of Duty 4… on MAC DVD?

Sun, Oct 20th, 2019

So the other day, I went into CEX while I was out in the town, and stumbled across this oddity. A Mac DVD version of Call of Duty 4.

IMG_20191013_1702519

I figured that I have an old MacBook Pro, I might as well see if it works on it!

You don’t see many physical games made exclusively for Mac, do you? It’s so odd to see that I knew I had to own it in my collection!

Here’s the game case side by side with the PC version:

So it looks mostly the same minus the GOTY stuff from my PC copy. The biggest difference is the big Mac DVD banner on top of the Mac version.

The Mac version has an actual manual, and it’s short and to the point, I like it.

So I fired up my MacBook and put the disc in.

I was a little concerned that it might not work. I’ve had bad experiences with getting old Linux games to work on Ubuntu in the past, so I figured Mac, also being Unix based, might have similar problems.

So the game has no installer, it’s a typical dmg file where you have a folder to drag to your hard drive, and that’s all you need to do to play it. Pretty simple, and very future proof!

Screenshot at Oct 13 19-14-03

It’s still pretty big, though!

Screenshot at Oct 13 19-17-47

So the game’s executable wasn’t crossed off, that’s a good sign. Clicking it revealed on-disc DRM. Fine by me.
Edit: It turns out it uses Safedisc. Some people might want to know that.

Screenshot at Oct 13 19-38-43

Then the game asked for the code in the case, which got accepted.

Screenshot at Oct 13 19-40-55

Censoring the code, just in case

and… it worked! (Excuse the gorilla style photo taking, but trying to screenshot these resulted in my MacBook locking up!)

The game ran great, a solid 60fps with no drops! Looks great, too!

So it’s the perfect game for when I’m out, right? Not quite.

The game *really* eats your battery, playing the game for 5 minutes drained 20% of my battery! I can try to lower the graphics settings and see if it improves anything, but I can’t imagine it making a huge difference.

Still, glad it works at all, and am glad to have this game in my collection!

I can’t imagine this selling many copies. PC games struggled to sell as it was, and that was with the most popular OS! I can imagine Mac games being really obscure, and perhaps the low price I paid for this was down to lack of demand. Like the Nuon and most of it’s games, they’re past the point of obscurity where it’s so rare, even knowledge of them is, making demand and prices low!


Anyway, I just thought I’d share this quick post sharing this uncommin experience with with all of you. I’ll be on the lookout for more Mac games, and hope the experience goes just as smoothly!

Until next week, A’m oot!

Happy 20th Birthday Sega Dreamcast!

Mon, Oct 14th, 2019

This post is available in both English and Scots, Scots version is further down.


This is just a quick blog post to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the European Dreamcast launch.

This was a console I never had as a kid. I went straight from PS1 to PS2 (Shoot me), but getting a Dreamcast years later, hearing all of the love people have for it years later and hearing the sad story of how it got defeated by the PS2 really badly, (and some argue, unjustifyably) I absolutely love it, and is to this day my favourite console.

It has so many amazing games for it. My favourites being Shenmue, Jet Set Radio, Sonic Adventure 1 & 2, Crazy Taxi 1 & 2 and Chu Chu Rocket.

Not to mention all of the amazing enhanced ports the console had. Hydro Thunder and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 are still best played on the Dreamcast. (I’m not counting 2X, as that never got a PAL release)

The console’s online features sounded exciting and thanks to devices like the DreamPi, you can use them again!

The controller was great, too, not many liked it, but I did. The form factor fir great in my hands and I love the little screen on the controllers.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say about the system. Happy Birthday Dreamcast! Read the rest of this entry »

The Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher Batman Quadrilogy – A retrospective

Sun, Oct 13th, 2019

I recently watched the 4 Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher era Batman films again and I thought I might as well give my opinion on them and how my experiences were with the films, because why not? I’m hoping to just do a quick casual post on this, this won’t be a full blown article, or at least that’s not the intention… Read the rest of this entry »

Exploring the Nuon – Part 2 – Games and Demos

Sun, Oct 6th, 2019

Last week, I was talking about how I acquired my Nuon console, and how I found out the console had no copy protection, and managed to burn most of the library on discs.

I decided to of course try Tempest 3000 and it’s pretty much as good as I’d hoped. I would even place the game in my top 10 games of the sixth generation. It’s that good!

The game actually shows the Nuon was capable of some pretty cool stuff! The game is super trippy, has some insane effects and amazing techno music to go along with it!

The only problem I found was that the game is pretty blurry and it strained my eyes after a while. I’m going to get a component cable in hopes that it makes it clearer.

Playing the game again after a while made me make another observation about the Nuon: There’s no way to save data. Every game has a level selection or a password system.

Why would you, in 2000, release a game platform with no way to save progress? Memory cards were established 5 years prior! There is no excuse!

Apparently they actually planned to make memory cards and controllers to use them, and were to have LCD screens like the Dreamcast VMU and the PS1’s Pockstation. Which sounds neat, but the fact they didn’t release something like this at launch is honestly an amazing oversight!

The controller does actually look pretty cool, though, and Nuon Dome said VM Labs approved of it to be the de facto controller design, which is fair enough. It’s unique enough to be identified as a Nuon controller. Unlike some other controllers


So next I played some Merlin Racing. I can’t really comment on this one since I wasn’t able to play it as my remote can’t accept 2 inputs at once, so I have to take my finger off accelerate to turn. I’m always lapped at every race I try.

The graphics look better than Nintendo 64 but not quite Dreamcast quality, the racers are fully 3D and animated, which is not something you saw on 5th gen systems, and some environments are actually kind of detailed and populated with buildings and other stuff.

Looks and feels like an okay game, not sure I’d pay like ¬£50 for, though. I’ll need to play it with a controller to properly assess it.


Next I tried an Iron Soldier 3 demo, and I couldn’t even play this.

The intro was unskippable, and thought “Is this what this demo is?”, and waited like 10 minutes for it to finish, and then a menu appeared, and I couldn’t control it.

So this game isn’t remote compatible, so I can’t really give my thoughts on it.


So then I tried what is called the “Nuon Interactive Sampler”, which, according to the Nuon Dome page, contained numerous playable and non-playable demos, which made me very curious as to what it had.

It was just a regular DVD, and not even a Nuon enhanced one at that. A video of this demo is available on the web archive website linked last week.

The disc starts off with a general introduction to the Nuon, highlighting all of the amazing features it has!

One of the features it was boasting was online connectivity, and I realised I’ve never seen anything close to that hype, and checked if my player even has a way to connect to the internet.

ima_a3ce105

It doesn’t. Though it has one of those power switches to support European or American power sockets, which is interesting.

Maybe later players added some port to connect to the internet, but this one has nothing. Looks like VM Labs bit off more than they could chew.

Anyway, the disc obviously has no playable demos, so what non-playable demos does it have? Well, pretty much everything that got released for the Nuon minus A -maze a port of Dragon’s Lair, Riven (a sequel to Myst), and a very interesting accessory, more on that later.

A-maze looks like a fun game, I love those kinds of ball in maze labyrinth puzzles, but the game looks like it belongs on the PS1 and Saturn graphics-wise, not something you’d expect from a $400 next gen console.

The Dragon’s Lair demo was just the trailer you see on absolutely everything and was also released on absolutely everything with an optical drive, so next.

Now I had no idea about Riven being planned for the Nuon, the Wikipedia page doesn’t even mention this. The Riven trailer wasn’t even a trailer, it was the behind the scenes making of video. I thought it was stupid to do that but as I watched it, it piqued my interest in the game more. I should probably play Myst first, though.

Now the main thing to catch my eye was a controller known as the Airplay, Which has a distinct feature of a hot swappable battery. The battery compartment has 2 holes, and the idea is that you push a new battery in and you push the old one out. I’m not gonna lie, that sounds really cool and really unique, and if this got released and had it has a kid, I’d play about with it! The controller looks pretty comfy, too!


So that’s all I have to say about the Nuon for now. As a last ditch attempt to compete with the other sixth gen systems, VM Labs made the Nuon SDK public and made later players play homebrew games, but my player doesn’t play them, and Nuance, the only Nuon emulator, barely plays them either. That and I want to burn copies and print cases, and display them with my official games.

So that means I need to get a model that plays Homebrew games, and those rarely come by, but aren’t that expensive.

So when I get myself one, I’ll be back with a part 3.

Until then, A’m oot!

Exploring the Nuon – Part 1 – Getting the thing

Sun, Sep 29th, 2019

You guys noticed I’ve been getting into the groove of weekly articles? It’s fun doing these! I gotta keep my brain active, after all!


So some years back, I heard about this system called the “Nuon”, which was like the forgotten 5th competitor to the sixth generation of consoles.

For those unaware, in 2000-2001, VM labs, a company consisting of ex-Atari employees who worked on the Panther and Jaguar, made a console that was built into some DVD players. It flopped so hard very few have even heard of it today. It’s one of the few systems to fall that deep into obscurity.

The Nuon was supposedly the reason the Playstation 2 had a DVD player built in, so if that’s true, then it made a bigger splash than we thought.

Being a fan of this era, I knew I had to get my hands on one of these. I’d been searching for years in places like Cash Converters and charity shops to see if I could get one for cheap, since people can mistake them for regular DVD players and can go for seriously cheap prices! I never found one, though, and I slowly started to forget it.

A few months ago, I watched a video that brought it back on my radar.

This time I decided “Fuck it!”, and just bought one online.

Read the rest of this entry »

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