The fun that was first
called the "X-Band" and let Super NES and Genesis players enjoy remote gaming
against a friend has now reached total fulfillment in the console world. The ability to
play a game as complex as Quake III on a dial-up modem will live in my mind for the next
few years, but nothing could have filled me with more glee than fragging my fellow
Americans over Ethernet.
As we were led to believe, earlier, it is literally as simple
as pulling the Dreamcast dial-up modem off and plugging the Broadband adapter in. Put in
the IP, Subnet Mask, etc., and you are in console-multiplayer heaven.
With all of this having been said, why does this peripheral of peripherals get only 3
stars? Two reasons: The carton that the adapter comes in was obviously intended to have
the new broadband browser packed in. We have heard so many wonderful things about the new
high-speeds, better support of Java and MP3 music (playing through Dreamcast itself), but
alas it wasnt to be found. When questioned about this, a Sega rep said that it
should come out in a month or so.
And the really big problem with this nifty gadget is found in its lack of true DHCP
support. The instructions say that for dynamic IP address assignment, one need only leave
the fields blank this doesnt work. Gamers using routers might have a very
difficult time getting the Dreamcast to interface in this way without disconnecting their
hub and connecting directly to their DSL box. Segas tech support team and a few
network dudes I know suggested simply installing an IP that could serve as a permanent
address for the router to send to, but this didnt help, as those addresses
(dynamically assigned) usually contain letters and dashes which the new broadband adapter
isnt able to recognize. Further, an attempt to use the equipment at a local
university proved to yield the same results, and the schools ITS specialists said
that the configuration wouldnt be compatible with their systems in the computer labs
and dorm-rooms across campus unless a real IP address were "borrowed" from an
existing system computer, which results in problems if someone else attempts to login
under that same IP.
In short, this is the best thing to happen to videogaming since electricity, but only
if you are not counting on the Dreamcast as your primary web-browser and if you have a
Broadband connection with a real numbers-and-periods IP address.