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September 23, 1999 - Image 22

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-23

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. AM.

68 - The higan pa - Weekend~ci Magazine -!hursday, 'tember 23, 1999

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*1Oe ~Michigan paily:- Wend, et gzin

Sony, Sega tussle for garners'

dollars, free time

THAT's NOT UST ANY PORCH, THAT'S A M

By Brad Goddard
For the D~ul
Here's a riddle for vou. What has the
ability to play DVD movies, music CDs.
and the most highly advanced 128 bit
video games in the world Answer: Sony
Plavstation 2. All the recent hype over
the Scga Dreamcast's release seems to
have overshadowed the impending
release of the new Plavstation. While the
masses rejoice at the marvel of technolo-
gy that is Dreamcast, the Playstation qui-
etly approaches, to smash its competitors
into bits of silicon and plastic. So before
you run and shell out 200 clams for the
Dreamcast, lct's see if it can stand up to a
side-by-side comparison to the
Plavstation 2.

Let's start this comparison with the all-
important processor and architecture.
The Hitachi SH-4 processor powers the
Dreamcast. It is a speedy little chip that
runs at 200 Mhz and is about 10 times as
powerful as the VR4300 which powers
the Nintendo 64. The 3D graphics capa-
bility is strengthened by its 128 bit archi-
tecture which speeds up matrix calcula-
tions to a maximum 1.4 GFLOPS (bil-
lions of calculations per second). This
basically means that the Dreamcast's
graphics are much better looking than a
64-bit system. The Dreamcast also runs
under a modified Windows CE operating
system. Windows CE is the operating
system used by many handheld comput-
ers and some PDA's like the Palm Pilot.
Sega's involvement with Microsoft may

or may not be a benefit in some people's
opinions.
The Sony Playstation 2 uses the
"Emotion Engine" processor. It runs at a
brisk 300Mhz and is also a 128 bit archi-
tecture. But the big performance boost
comes from the processor's ability to
crank out an amazing 6.2 billion calcula-
tions per second. This is an amazing feat
for any processor, which could be why
Sony originally had problems with the
chip overheating. However, now that this
problem is under control, the PS2 will
deliver the most realistic graphics ever.
After graphics, the next important item
for a game console is great sound. The
audio processor for the Dreamcast is high
end, as expected, It has true 64-bit output
ability, which can be thought of as a band
that can play 64 instruments at the same
time. With such a powerful processor, I
was shocked to find out that the
Dreamcast did not support Dolby Digital
Surround Sound at a time when the home
theater market is booming. Dolby Digital
Surround, alias DDS, allows you to get
theater quality sound out of five speakers.
Sega said that adding this capability
would have cost the consumer too much
because of royalties to Dolby Digital labs

and the coaxial output connector. They
also said that the speaker system is
expensive and most gamers would not be
able to utilize this feature.
Sony, on the other hand, has no qualms
about putting the most expensive tech-
nology into the PS2, which shows in the
high sticker price. The PS2 will offer
support for Dolby Surround and DTS
(otherwise known as Digital Theater
System) within its hardware. Sony has
included an optical digital output socket
that will allow anyone to connect an
amplifier, tuner or another suitable audio
device. The PS2 will also sport a multi-
out port that will support mediums such
as RCS-style phono jacks, high defini-
tion television (HDTV) and S-Video.
Now that DVD is becoming more and
more mainstream, a big question was
whether to use the standard CD-ROM or
the new DVD-ROM as the drive for the
Dreamcast. Although DVD has over four
times the capacity of a regular CD, it
reads information from the disc at a
much slower rate. CD-ROMs are also
much less expensive than their DVD
counterparts. Therefore Sega decided to
go with a modified CD-ROM called the
GD-ROM. The "G" stands for gigabyte,

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which is how much the new CD will
hold. This proprietary CD will not be
sold as blank media in an attempt by Sega
to stop software pirates from making ille-
gal copies of Dreamcast games.
The Playstation 2 will have a full-
fledged DVD-ROM on board. This will
allow the PS2 to play its own games as
well as DVD movies and music CDs.
Sony hopes to make up for a high price
tag on the PS2 by selling it as an all in
one machine Another huge bonus to the
PS2 is the ability to play original
Playstation games. How many times
must we buy our favorite games, then
have them become useless when the new
system comes out.
The Dreamcast is being touted as a
breakthrough in the console game market
because it comes with a 56K modem.
Now you can play your games over the
Internet or surf the web from your game
console. Sega came out with it first, so
you have to give them credit for a great
and long-overdue idea.
The PS2 will not come with a 56K
modem installed. But don't fret vet
because it will come with a cable modem
that can transfer data over 50 times as fast
as a 56K modem. With this high-speed
connection Sony plans on implementing
a way to purchase games online and a
hard drive to store them on the system. If
successful, this could revolutionize the
way we buy games- no more preorder-
ing or running out of the newest pame
titles.
Dreamcast will feature a Visual
Memory System or VMS. VMS is a
memory card with a built-in LCD screen.
It plugs into the control pad to add a
whole new level of strategy to game play.
Gainers can use the LCD to set up plays
in sports games or plan secret attacks in
fighting games without their opponent's
knowledge. VMS is also a portable game
device the size of a business card, com-
plete with a directional pad, control but-
tons and an LCD game screen. Sony has
not gone this far with its memory cards.
They remain nearly the same as the cur-
rent cards, but with increased storage.
There are several features found on the
Playstation 2 that have no counterpart on
the Dreamcast. The PS2 will have
IEEE 1394 and USB ports that may allow
you to connect joysticks or a mouse. Not
much information has been released
from Sony regarding the ports, but we
can speculate that they might allow for
multiple game controllers or even full
flight systems like what is available for
computer game simulations.
The big advantage that Dreamcast has
over Playstation 2 is that it's here now and
only costs S199.99 retail. Unfortunately,
the Playstation 2 will cost an estimated
S360. The next big disappointment is
that the PS2 will not be available in the
United States until the fall of 2000. 1
guess that gives us time to save up for the
hefty price tag.
If you can't wait a year to play the
newest games or S360 seems like a lot of
money then the Dreamcast is certainly a
good choice. If you want the most
advanced do-it-all machine and arc con-
tent playing your old Playstation games.
then wait for the PS2

All I've ever wanted in my collegiate
life is a phat porch to dwell upon.
Thanks to my new house, I consider
my life now complete.
From my slacker point of view, the
porch is the feature that can make or
break a house. Luxurious townhouses
suddenly seem worthless when there's
little more than
a single con-
crete step and
then a doorway.
On the other A
hand, the pro-
jects of Cabrini
Green almost '
look inviting
when there's a
c o m f o r t a b I c
stoop where you
can pass the Chris Kula
days Well, I
stress the
"almost," but
you get my
point, a fine
porch turns a
house into a home.
In my case, my home IS the porch.
Since moving into my crib in late
August, I've been near inseparable
with that fine example of architecture
Americana. Be it night or day, rain or
shine (cliche or cliche), I seem to find
myself spending far too much time on
the porch just straight-up lounging.
For the most part, when on the porch
I don't read, I don't write and I certain-

ly don't study.
To get philosophic, I just...exist.
And, like Sartre before me, I often
exist with a tasty beverage in hand.
But that's beside the point. In a very
short time, I've become firmly
entrenched in the timeless porch cul-
ture of the city.
And I know that there are plenty
more sloth-like porch dwellers out
there I'm sure that you folks know
who I'm talking about. You walk past
us every day. And every day we stare
down at you as you walk past us.
Little do you know, however, there is
a certain criteria for fully living the
indulgent life of a porch monkey. Let's
go over the few basic rules.
Above all else, the porch must -
MUST - be outfitted with a couch.
I don't know how couch-less porch-
es can even consider themselves a true
porch - they're just pO'.
I realized this fact as soon as I
moved into my house, so one of my
first tasks was to. find myself a finely
upholstered partner in chillin'.
I found my true love - a three cush-
ion-length sofa the color of a Teke
brother's khakis - at a discount store
on Plymouth Road following an after-
noon of frenzied searching. The plush
cushions got the highest seal of
approval from my tired ass, but my
heart caught in my throat when I
looked underneath them: a queen-
sized fold out bed.

Awww yeah.
Right there and then, in the presence
of a conveniently located ordained
minister, I vowed to honor and cherish
my glorious couch, and never, ever
burn it in the streets like a farm-school
savage.
You must stare down anything
that moves past your domain.
I used to find it slightly rude when
I'd drive past a house in the mean
streets of Grand Rapids and feel a
bunch of eyes watching me all the way
down the street.
But as soon as I found a porch of my
own, I developed a staring handicap of
my own, a disorder that seems to be
compelled by the lovely young ladies
strolling past my house.
Oh, I don't simply glance up at
whatever jogger happens to be cross-
ing my driveway. And I don't just fol-
low them with my eyes either. I'm talk-
ing a full turn of my head and, depend-
ing on the fine creature's physical
stature, sometimes a shift of my whole

I

upper body, too.
Ladies, I feel terrible for beir
objectifying, but 'tis merely a
effect of my descent into life as a F
monger. By the way, don't let the r
orologists fool you: Novembe
indeed jogging weather.
A party porch is an open por(
When I was a freshman, wand(
the streets in hordes of 30 or r
aimlessly searching for that eli
house party, I became so disencha
with closed parties that were dice
by an exclusive guest list that I d(
ed that any party I ever threw wou
open' to any and all who chose to
in the festivities.
And the same goes for my p
(just call me the Gandhi of porchc
Walking by and hear the greasy
of James Brown? Get on up.
See some hipster kids enjoyit
late-night cigarette? You can bum
from me
Delivering pizza at 3 in the mr
ing? Hey, Kumar, why don't you

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