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SEGA It's no longer thinking, but the occasional topic still pops up. Besides, the Dreamcast doesn't really feel old enough to be called Retro.

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Old November 5th, 2005, 08:39 PM   #1
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Bernie Stolar

Where is this guy now, anyways?

History seems to show that Bernie Stolar single handedly set up the Dreamcast launch, bringing the third parties and bringing the retailers to the table to make the DC's North American launch the most successful console launch in history.

One month before 9.9.99 SoJ shit-canned Bernie supposedly because they just didn't like him. This put a shadow on the DC's launch, but Dreamcast had so much of the big MO, that it wasn't even phased.

Discussion Question:

Would Sega have lived to fight another day if they had not fired Stolar?

Discuss!
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Old November 5th, 2005, 10:59 PM   #2
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SoJ hated Stolar because he as American and flet that Sega should focus more on the US (larger market, and proven track record). Even today, the Saturn at over 4 million systems was the best selling Sega system in Japan. Stolar knew this and wanted to put more attention into the larger audience.

SoJ canned him and hired a "yes man" in Peter Moore.

As for how Sega would have done if they had adhered to Stolar's ideas? I think that the system would have been more aggressively marketed in the US. Stolar was courting some western devs to the point where Blizzard seemed interested in porting Diablo 2 to the system.

But in the end, I think the Dreamcast would have still been the first system of the 4 to go. It just could not compete tehcnically, and many 3rd party ports just wouldn't be done on the system. I do feel that it would have lasted longer though...and Sega would be a better 3rd party today.
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Old November 5th, 2005, 11:13 PM   #3
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*sniff* the memories of Dreamcast and yet so many ppl loved that system why must it die so young!?!?
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Old November 5th, 2005, 11:32 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Exodus
But in the end, I think the Dreamcast would have still been the first system of the 4 to go. It just could not compete tehcnically, and many 3rd party ports just wouldn't be done on the system. I do feel that it would have lasted longer though...and Sega would be a better 3rd party today.
I don't think the PSP is much more powerful than the Dreamcast. And it seems to handle PS2 ports just fine.

If Sega had managed to make a large enough install base, developers would have been forced to port games to the Dreamcast as well.
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Old November 5th, 2005, 11:41 PM   #5
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don't think the PSP is much more powerful than the Dreamcast. And it seems to handle PS2 ports just fine.
It's not more powerful than the DC. It handles PS2 ports well because it uses a similar architecture, so games can be ported easily once they're stripped of certain details.

If you blew up most of those games on a television, you'd see how bad they look compared to similar efforts on the PS2.

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If Sega had managed to make a large enough install base, developers would have been forced to port games to the Dreamcast as well.
Agreed. However, the PSP is in a different market and has no competition in terms of 3D games. So there's some money to be made for porting to it. The Dreamcast would be competing with 3 other consoles, all technically superior to it. Hell, the PS1 has a huge user base, but you don't see devs porting to that anymore.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 02:50 AM   #6
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Two quick points that I'd like to make.

1. As far as technology is concerned, the Dreamcast is right on par with the PS2. I'd like to think that if Stolar had stayed and the Dreamcast was all it could've been, the console that followed the DC could've been Sega's return to Genesis-esque success.

2. The Dreamcast is far more powerful than the PSP. The PSP is in between an N64 and a Dreamcast in power, but closer to the N64 side. Sega did have the install base to continue, they just didn't have the marketing power, they let PS2's hype kill the Dreamcast. And it wasn't the PS2 that killed the DC, it was the hyped up PS2 that existed only in the minds of consumers that killed it. I'd like to think that with Stolar heading up things that Sega's marketing would be what it should've always been.

I am sure that Stolar wouldn't have wasted money promoting Space Channel 5 and Jet Grind Radio, two excellent cliche games, but nothing that was ever going to have mass appeal in America, especially not SC5.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 02:59 AM   #7
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1. As far as technology is concerned, the Dreamcast is right on par with the PS2.
I'm sorry Rob, but I'll have to disagree here. The DC could do things that the PS2 could not, but when it came to poly counts and memory limitations (outside of VRAM), the PS2 was the winner. The DC can play some pretty games, but the PS2 outclasses it in power.

Quote:
2. The Dreamcast is far more powerful than the PSP. The PSP is in between an N64 and a Dreamcast in power, but closer to the N64 side.
I'm sorry, but that's not even close. Yes, the DC is more powerful in most ways, but the PSP far outclasses the N64. In fact, in terms of polygons, the PSP outclasses the DC. One could argue that the PSP and DC are almost identical in terms of power.

The Dreamcast is my favorite current gen console, but we have to be realistic. It was not more powerful than the PS2, and it's at best comparable to the PSP.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 05:48 AM   #8
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all i have to say is the one game that was ported to the ps2 from the dc. that test drive game looked like shit on the ps2 the dc version crushed it in every way.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 07:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overkill
I am sure that Stolar wouldn't have wasted money promoting Space Channel 5 and Jet Grind Radio, two excellent cliche games, but nothing that was ever going to have mass appeal in America, especially not SC5.

Of course he wouldn't. We're talking about the man who did more to piss off any true Sega loyalist than any other in the history of the company. He passed on the opportunity to breathe new life into Saturn by refusing to bring over the 4meg ram cart. Capcom was going to distribute the cart at no cost to Sega yet good ole Bernie Stolar refused to greenlight its release.

Several of best games to grace the system were never released because he was so interested in pushing up the launch of the DC against the wishes of SOJ. Had he not done this there would be US editions of:

Radiant Silvergun
Shining Force III pt 2 & 3
X-men Vs. Streetfighter
Marvel Superheroes Vs. Streetfighter
Vampire Savior
The 4 meg Ram Cart
Thunderforce V
Dragon Force II
Silhouette Mirage
Dungeon and Dragons Collection
Grandia

He also managed to piss off one of the company's staunchest allies Working Designs when he stuck them in the back of the Sega booth at E3 and there is speculation he was behind EA and Sega parting ways.

After being canned by Sega, Bernie Stolar went on to run several companies into the ground. Mattel Interactive and Bam! Entertainment being the most notable. He's been associated w/ Zona Inc.' s advisory board and Intrinsic Graphics as a board member. By the looks of his track record, canning him was one of the best decisions Sega made.

Last edited by Shin Shinobi Ryo : November 6th, 2005 at 07:26 AM.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 07:31 AM   #10
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Shin, you're dead on with most of what you said, and he was one guy that I never did like. He was more interested in mainstream gaming (he did help build up the PS1 before Sega hired him).

However, I wanted to shed some light on this:

Quote:
He also managed to piss off one of the company's staunchest allies Working Designs when he stuck them in the back of the Sega booth at E3 and there is speculation he was behind EA and Sega parting ways.
I was a huge WD fanboy back then, and after looking at things, WD was getting out of hand. They demanded that Sega pay for their floorspace at E3 that year (which as you probably know, costs a premium). Stolar at first said no, but eventually let them use some of Sega's floorspace.

WD was a fan-based company. They had built-up a fanbase on Sega consoles, and they royally pissed off their fans. They went on to say that Lunar SSS would be their last Saturn game, only to shitcan it after 2 years of delays and release it on the PSX. I didn't have money for a PSX back then.

As for Sega and EA, it was SOJ that did that one. While SoA was working on "Black Belt" with 3Dfx, SOJ was working on Dural with NEC. Dural eventually became Katana which eventually became Dreamcast. SOJ backdoored SOA after giving them (and Stolar) clearance to build the next console. This ended up fucking 3Dfx financially. At the time, EA had a huge alliance with 3Dfx. Hell, they were the last company to support Glide, and that continued to an extent even after 3Dfx disappeared.

EDIT: BTW, Shin, Stolar had a hand in a 2 1998 fiascos. First was the limited runs of Shining Force 3, Panzer Dragoon Saga, House of the Dead, and Burning Rangers. Each game saw a run of 5,000 copies, with PDS seeing an additional run of 5,000.

Sega's lineup for later that year was to include: Shining Force 2 scenarios 2+3, Grandia, Baroque, and one or two other titles I'm forgetting (probably on your list), but Stolar canned that as well to focus on Dreamcast.

Stolar hated RPGs and 2D games. It's no coincidence that FF7 didn't come out in the US for PS1 until after Sony fired him.

Last edited by Exodus : November 6th, 2005 at 07:37 AM.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 08:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overkill
I am sure that Stolar wouldn't have wasted money promoting Space Channel 5 and Jet Grind Radio, two excellent cliche games, but nothing that was ever going to have mass appeal in America, especially not SC5.
There's nothing cliche about them. Please try again.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 08:45 AM   #12
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I was aware of the limited runs. It marked the first time I had to pre-order games. Magic Knight Rayearth also had a limited run and has the distinction of being the last domestically released Saturn game though it was one of the first games released in Japan. I've always found that to be ironic. Victor Ireland was a jackass but you can't deny he didn't deliver a stellar product.

Thanks for the info on the EA situation. I had always heard rumors it was Bernie's doing.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 09:08 AM   #13
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Magic Knight Rayearth also had a limited run and has the distinction of being the last domestically released Saturn game though it was one of the first games released in Japan.
Funny you mention that WD's website still had it for sale via their online store.(New, $59.95) as recent as 2003. Seemed every year they'd do a new run of it and sell it slightly marked up.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 09:55 AM   #14
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Arrow There's nothing cliche about them. Please try again.

I think he meant niche.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 12:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exodus
I'm sorry Rob, but I'll have to disagree here. The DC could do things that the PS2 could not, but when it came to poly counts and memory limitations (outside of VRAM), the PS2 was the winner. The DC can play some pretty games, but the PS2 outclasses it in power.



I'm sorry, but that's not even close. Yes, the DC is more powerful in most ways, but the PSP far outclasses the N64. In fact, in terms of polygons, the PSP outclasses the DC. One could argue that the PSP and DC are almost identical in terms of power.

The Dreamcast is my favorite current gen console, but we have to be realistic. It was not more powerful than the PS2, and it's at best comparable to the PSP.
Dreamcast is right on par with the PS2 and is far superior to the PSP. Sure, the PS2 can pump out a higher pollygon count than Dreamcast, but it's shortcomings in other departments makes that a moot point.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 01:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overkill
Dreamcast is right on par with the PS2 and is far superior to the PSP. Sure, the PS2 can pump out a higher pollygon count than Dreamcast, but it's shortcomings in other departments makes that a moot point.
I'm sorry Rob, but that just is not true.

Comparing the PS2 to the DC, the PS2 has more system RAM and a faster optical drive, which leads to easier use of stored data, and quicker access to it. The bandwith in and out of VRAM helps with texturing to the point that the small VRAM is moot. Where the DC uses it's VRAM to store compressed textures, the PS2 uses it for temporary storage, shuttling texures in and out as needed.

The DC's strength lies in it's supersampling (AA) for image quality. But it's mip-mapping implementation was terrible and made more than a few games look like ass.

The PS2's CPU far outclasses the SH-4 in the DC, it's not even close. We're talking about a 300mhz (ok, 298.xxxx) 128-bit CPU compared to a 200mhz 64-bit CPU. The EE's FPU could handle up to 67 million polys per second (non-gameplay situation), while the SH-4 could handle 16.8 million in the same instance.

The PSP uses the same architecture as the PS2, just weaker in all regards. It has the same 32MB system RAM, but only 2MB VRAM, which is aided by the smaller screen. It's Arm9 CPU is a tad weaker than the SH-4 used in the DC, but it's FPU still far outclasses the SH-4's FPU.

Sorry Rob, but you're not going to convince me that the DC is on par with the PS2 and far ouclasses the PSP by repeating it to me. You need to back it up with some technical analysis.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 01:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shin Shinobi Ryo
Several of best games to grace the system were never released because he was so interested in pushing up the launch of the DC against the wishes of SOJ. Had he not done this there would be US editions of:

Radiant Silvergun
Shining Force III pt 2 & 3
X-men Vs. Streetfighter
Marvel Superheroes Vs. Streetfighter
Vampire Savior
The 4 meg Ram Cart
Thunderforce V
Dragon Force II
Silhouette Mirage
Dungeon and Dragons Collection
Grandia
It really didn't have so much to do with that he was trying to push up Dreamcast's launch. The Saturn died in the US in 1998, a year before Dreamcast's release date. Look at the type of games that you've mentioned: Shining Force III Scenario 2 and 3, Dragon Force II, D&D Collection, Grandia, etc.. These are dialog heavy games, which means it's very expensive port them from Japan to the US. As much as I would've liked to have seen Shining Force III s. 2 & 3 and Dragon Force II in the US, Sega really coundn't have afforded. SoA was on their own, and they had to quickly change their infrastructure from Saturn focused to Dreamcast ready, and they had no money.

Stolar made the only decision that he could: Lose more money on Saturn, or prep for Dreamcast? He preped for the Dreamcast's dream launch on 9.9.99 which made history at the time.

I don't see how you can think that canning Stolar was SoJ's greatest move, to me it was obviously their worst. Stolar single handedly orchistrated the third party support that Dreamcast had, which was substancial even without EA; he also oversaw set-up most successful console launch in history at the time.

I think he wouldn't have let Sony's marketing propaganda get out of control, and I think he would've used SoA's resources to create, develop, and promote more games that have mainstream appeal. How much did Sega hopelessly invest in SC5 and JGR? Good games? Yes, but a gigantic mistake.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 01:39 PM   #18
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whos idea was it to put out the saturn with no one knowing about it?
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Old November 6th, 2005, 01:48 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exodus
It's not more powerful than the DC. It handles PS2 ports well because it uses a similar architecture, so games can be ported easily once they're stripped of certain details.

If you blew up most of those games on a television, you'd see how bad they look compared to similar efforts on the PS2.
I don't think you're giving the PSP enough credit. The screen is really clear, and has resolution of 480 x 272. Also, it's not a console, so there are certain hardware restrictions that wouldn't be a factor if it was a console.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 02:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overkill
Dreamcast is right on par with the PS2 and is far superior to the PSP. Sure, the PS2 can pump out a higher pollygon count than Dreamcast, but it's shortcomings in other departments makes that a moot point.
I think the PS2 has some flaws but it is still more powerful than the Dreamcast. The games have more polygons and are better detailed, especially with regards to lighting.
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Originally Posted by Groo the Wanderer
I don't think you're giving the PSP enough credit. The screen is really clear, and has resolution of 480 x 272. Also, it's not a console, so there are certain hardware restrictions that wouldn't be a factor if it was a console.
It may be 480x272 and clear but the screen is still many times smaller thus you don't notice much of what has been sacrificed.

Last edited by lmhstalker : November 6th, 2005 at 02:08 PM.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 02:17 PM   #21
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No system that chugged playing Seaman is more powerful than even the PS2.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 03:33 PM   #22
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I think he meant niche.
I knew that. I just wondered if he knew that.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 07:35 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahn
No system that chugged playing Seaman is more powerful than even the PS2.
+Rep for actually making me laugh out loud.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 09:15 PM   #24
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I remembered last year that Sega's biggest surprise was coming and many thought that it would be Sega's next console lol but nope it turns out to be the Maxtrix online game made by Sega only for PC...

sadly, nobody really gives a shit about that.

most of us would really gives a shit if Sega is up on it legs once again and back in the hardware business to make an even more advanced console that's more powerful than the Dreamcast...but will that ever happen....someday?

and I mean, just SOMEDAY!?!?

well you decide.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 10:09 PM   #25
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I think Stolar had a hand in creating Digital Life. I remember reading his name somewhere.
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