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Showing posts with label The Internet For Housewives. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Internet For Housewives. Show all posts

A Closer Look At The Dreamcast Internet Starter Kit

In this day and age we kind of take it for granted that the internet is a thing we have at our disposal with almost effortless availability. It truly is a ubiquitous resource of entertainment, learning, communication and screaming at each other on forums. The internet is, I'm pretty confident in stating, one of the most important inventions the human race has ever come up with. I'd even put it up there with the wheel, the microchip, the instant noodle and the screw-top beer bottle. Yes, old Tim Berners-Lee really hit on something back in the early 1990s when he and his motley crew of super nerds at CERN gave birth to what we now more commonly refer to as the t'interwebs. It goes without saying that anybody reading this right now is doing so using the power of said network, be it on a mobile phone, a tablet, their watch, games console or even - heaven forfend - an actual desktop PC or Mac.

Now, the Dreamcast was - as most of you will be aware - the first console to come as standard with a modem and the ability to browse the internet and access multiplayer games right out of the box. Well, unless you lived in Europe for the first few months...but that's a moot point. The fact of the matter is that the Dreamcast was marketed first and foremost as a games machine, but also as a cost-effective way for people to get a taste of the internet without having to buy a computer; and in those heady days of the late 1990s and early 2000s, when flannel shirts, Backstreet Boys and Eiffel 65 were still en vogue, that wasn't something to be sniffed at.
For my sins, I did go through a short-lived spell of buying a UK-based magazine called .net after getting my Dreamcast, just so I could sit on the bus reading it looking like I was 'jacked in' to the power of the 'information superhighway.' In reality I still looked like a scruffy, fat nerd. But this is the point I'm trying to make - back in 1999, the internet wasn't as ubiquitous as it is now and people didn't have 3G and 4G enabled smart phones bouncing around in their pockets, getting scratched up by a bunch of keys. The internet for many - me included - was a vast and wondrous new frontier and by God I was ready to ride the wave on my digital surfboard, tits akimbo.
But herein lies the conundrum. Sega probably knew that the pseudo tech-savvy among its target demographic for the Dreamcast would be onboard with this idea of web surfing and online gaming. How then, would the Japanese firm entice the average person? The outliers in this new digital wonderland? The ones who didn't know a byte from a flimflam, or a googolplex from a Yahoo!? Here's how: by devising a 'starter kit' for the unlearned, one that was created with basic and easy to understand instructions and a guide to what this whole 'internet' thingy was all about. And to top it all off, by including an internet guide...for housewives.