Dreamcast fever hits UK

All-night vigil for game craziesTo the delight of game-crazed geeks across Britain, Sega's long-awaited Dreamcast console finally made its European debut at the stroke of midnight Wednesday.

Hundreds of shops stayed open until the small hours of the morning just so eager gamers could get their grubby paws on the coveted new machine.

Gamers soon forgot they've had to wait a year longer for the machine than the Japanese, and happily queued for hours outside London's Virgin Megastore in Oxford Circus Wednesday night. Richard Branson's record store took the opportunity to cash in on the Segatastic mood and renamed itself the "Segastore" to mark the occasion. Even Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn lent their support by slugging it out on the boxing title, Virtual Fighter 3TB.

Similar events were held at stores all over Europe last night.

One benefit of Dreamcast's delayed arrival however, is the machine impressive list of games. Sega has already issued its first top ten list of titles.

That sort of preparation will only help Sega in its battle with Sony's Playstation2, scheduled for release next year. Presales of the Dreamcast in Europe recently broke all records and despite predictions that Sega will lose the war, it certainly isn't giving up the battle.

Sega has fought a fierce advertising battle with Sony in recent months. Sony tried its best to steal Sega's thunder by announcing the Playstation2 early, boasting that its processing power puts the Dreamcast to shame. Playstation2 has a faster modem, DVD technology and, perhaps most important to avid gamers, is backwards compatible with the current Playstation. Undeterred, Sega rose to the challenge, gallantly launching a monstrous advertising campaign that included a record branding deal with the Arsenal football team.

The Dreamcast's recommended retail price is £199.99.

The Dreamcast Top Ten:

1. Sonic Adventure

2. Sega Rally 2

3. Ready to Rumble

4. Powerstone

5. Tokyo Highway Challenge

6. Trickstyle

7. Virtua Fighter 3TB

8. Blue Stinger

9. Monaco GP

10. Dynamite Cop

Take me to GameSpot's Dreamcast Week