Dreamcast was the only other console with online before the PS2, right?
Wrong. Technically, before that there was Saturn, and before Saturn - SNES, and before SNES - NES. Of course, both SNES and Saturn didn't had extensive personal online services like Dreamcast and PS 2 had, but you still could use modem on Saturn and there was also a modem for SNES, I don't remember if you could actually play online via those (I think you could at least on SNES), but you definitely could download game content that was only available through their online modules back at the time, for example - from Nintendo's private Satellite distributional service, I'm not bs'ing you, Google "Satellaview". If my memory is correct, there was also online modules for NES (Famicom Modem), PC Engine and N64 (I think it was N64 DD). All of this only in Japan, of course. So, yeah... in actuality, Japan was implementing (or at least tried to) console online services waaay long before it came to Western and European countries.
You hit most of it pretty close. The SNES could play online through the XBand service. This was more western then eastern. But thanks to dem haxxorz, it didn't last long. People found a way to make long distance calls over the XBand modem (for the SNES) so the company started getting huge bills. The XBand had the equivilant to an xbox avatar. It kept track of your game records. For instance mortal kombat or killer instinct it would track your wins/loses/ties, super combos, etc. and other members could view your records. You could also have 'taunts' that were like your personal message on xbox live.
I still have mine tucked away in the basement. I wonder if it will ever have museum value...There was one on ebay last week for $100.
Never tried it personally, though heard about it back in them days. Also - never knew that there was XBand for Genesis/Megadrive...wow...I've used almost every possible version of Genesis/Megadrive that could be obtained on the open market back in them days, but never knew that there was online features on Genesis/Megadrive! I knew about XBand for SNES, but never heard about it/never seen it being on Genesis/Megadrive...
I play these anytime and at any place: "Guitar Freaks" series, "Silent Hill" series, "The King of Fighters" series, X series, DDR.