Most people that are reading this have probably owned a Dreamcast and are probably one of the many Dreamcast owners boasting about what an awesome console it was. This week on the The Weekly Five we explore how the Dreamcast changed gaming… FOR-EV-ER!
Phantasy Star Online: MMORPG on consoles
Back in the day when Phantasy Star Online was announced, they said you would be able to play online with anyone around the world. That is correct, anywhere, even Japan. In today’s world, that isn’t that exciting. But imagine being a kid in the late 90’s that didn’t own a computer growing up? This was my first experience into the MMORPG addiction and I loved every second of it.
There has been quite a bit of debate if Phantasy Star Online should be considered an MMO or not, but if something like Spiral Knights can be deemed as one, then so should PSO. The game didn’t just sit back and take it easy. It brought it with the awesome lobbies, battle modes and a 200 level cap. Gamers, eat your heart out.
First console with online play
Before you read the headline and decide to comment about SEGA Genesis and SNES’ XBAND Modem, which was a 3rd party accessory no one owned, shut up and read. SEGA was the first company out of all the console manufactures to actually include a modem right out of the box. Right on the precious Dreamcast. Before, you had to buy an expensive add-on and some companies didn’t even have a built in modem until 2006 (I’m looking at you Nintendo).
This is a big deal, since the way we play games has changed. Now every console out right now has a built in modem, capable of connecting you with users all around the world. It is obvious that if it wasn’t for both Microsoft and SEGA pushing online gaming, it would have been delayed way longer than it was. Nintendo and Sony both launched the Playstation 2 and Gamecube without modems built-in. Nintendo would later make an add-on that would support very few games (one being SEGA’s own Phantasy Star Online) and Sony did re-release the Playstation 2 as the Playstation 2 slim with a built in modem.
Jet Set Radio brings cel shading
Oh man, I remember reading about Jet Set Radio and getting super excited when it was announced. The game looked 2-D, but it wasn’t. It was a new style of 3-D being titled ‘Cel Shading’.
It was so weird and unique, me and my friends would argue if the technique would catch on. Most of my friends at the time didn’t like the way the game looked, they said it was a ‘lame Tony Hawk rip-off’ and too Japanese. Well, years later we have all these games using the technique. Who wins now, jerks?
First to release digital DLC
SEGA not only had the first console with a built in modem and released the first MMO on it, they also where the first to bring digital DLC through the power of the interwebs.
Due to the limitation of memory, most of the DLC stuff was minor and free of charge. Some of my favorite stuff was the downloadable songs for Samba De Amigo, extra missions in Phantasy Star Online and of course all the event downloads for Sonic Adventure. If you want to see all the DLC, check out this forum post over at CAG.
VMU: Two screens are better than one?
When the Dreamcast controller was shown, it had a tiny black and white screen right in the middle. I didn’t know what to make of it, why would it be needed? I have to say, I really warmed up to the VMU after using it.
First of all, the main issue with it was that the batteries sucked. But besides that, it was pretty awesome idea. I liked that you could play minigames, take your chao from your Sonic Adventure Dreamcast game on the go and level it up. If you had friends at school with a Dreamcast, you guys could have traded save files without the need of a Dreamcast. You could just connect the two tops together! Very neat and time saving feature.
It even let you pick plays by using the VMU while playing NFL 2K, if you where afraid that the person next to you was peeking at what you where going to do. Something that Nintendo is showing off as a unique feature on the Wii U.