10 years of Dreamcast, 10 games we love
Now that the Sega Dreamcast is 10 years old, it's time we look at 10 games that made their mark, from Seaman to Jet Grind Radio.
To commemorate, I thought I needed to do something a little special.
Listed below, you will find 10 of the best Dreamcast games ever released. Some are certainly better than others (I'll let you decide on that), but they all. And I'm willing to bet they might hold a special place in yours.
Let's take a look.
Jet Grind Radio
Jet Grind Radio seems one of the most unique games released for the Dreamcast.
Using a cell-shaded design that fits perfectly with the game's story, you're a rollerblading graffiti gang member who wants to tell everyone in the city who is in charge. To do so, you need to cruise around town and "tag" the streets.
Why I love it: Jet Grind Radio, like many of the games I loved from the Dreamcast days, offered a unique idea that gamers responded well to. It was fun and willing to "push the envelope" a little. That should be commended.
NFL 2K1 was one of the best football games ever released. It featured outstanding visuals for its time, the controls were great, and the gameplay was even better. It provided me with the most exciting football experience of its time.
Why I love it: When the NFL 2K series was in its prime, I forgot about the Madden series. Yes, it was that good. Today, we're stuck with Madden. And each time I hike the ball in Madden NFL 10, I'm left wondering what the NFL 2K series would look like today. Hmm.
Phantasy Star Online
If you never played Phantasy Star Online, you missed out on one of the most compelling games ever released for the Dreamcast.
Phantasy Star Online was the first online home console game ever released. The title allowed gamers to hack and slash their way through the story, while partnering up with gamers across the Web.
Overall, the game's online experience wasn't great compared to what we have today, but it started the online-gaming era. It should be commended for that.
Why I love it: The game's story was good, but just being able to hook up to the Web and play with others online was an incredible feat at the time. It was my entree into the online-gaming world.
Power Stone 2
Although I'm sure some folks were fans of Power Stone, I've always felt that Power Stone 2 was the superior game in the franchise.
Power Stone 2 pits you against characters in a 3D fighting arena. You can use weaponry to take them out, objects to sustain your health, and more.
Why I love it: Power Stone 2 didn't have a deep story, but what it lacked in story, it made up for in outstanding battle sequences. It was yet another fun game to play.
OK, Seaman was a little...different. But that doesn't mean it wasn't a good game.
Seaman starts out with an empty aquarium. Soon, you'll have baby Seamans living in that aquarium that require your help to survive. As they grow stronger, a single Seaman, which is basically a cross between a fish and a human, will reign supreme in the tank. You can hold conversations with him. You can even listen to him chastise you for either not taking care of him or not visiting him lately. Your goal? Release him to dry land so he can achieve his great destiny.
Why I love it: Seaman was admittedly weird. But it was also unique. It was a long-shot when it was first announced. It was a risk that wouldn't be taken in today's gaming space. Perhaps that's what I miss (and loved) most about that era.
Shenmue was one of the most epic titles ever released on the Dreamcast. It told the story of a young boy from Japan named Ryo Hazuki who watched his father die at the hands of Lan Di. The epic was supposed to span several titles, but eventually, after the Dreamcast died and Xbox sales of Shenmue II stayed flat, Sega shelved it. Shenmue still has a cult-like following and we're all still hoping for its reemergence. But with each passing year, the chances of that happening are becoming slimmer.
Why I love it: Shenmue was my favorite game on the Dreamcast. It combined a great story with action unlike anything we had seen to that point. I still anxiously await that day when Shenmue will make its triumphant return and let me finally get revenge on Lan Di.
Skies of Arcadia
Skies of Arcadia was one of the best role-playing games released for the Dreamcast.
The main character, Vyse, is in the Blue Rogues. They capture a girl named Fina, which causes the enemy, the Valuan Empire, to raid their home town. Vyse and his partners need to break through the Empire's strong shell, save their comrades, and find out why Fina is so important to the battle.
Why I love it: If you're looking for stunning visuals (for the time), cool mid-air ship fights, and a nice battle system, there's really nowhere else to look but at Skies of Arcadia. It's another unique, fun game that we just don't have enough of today.
Say what you will about the battle between Sonic and Mario, but Sonic Adventure (my first game for the Dreamcast) was a blast to play. We finally had Sonic in true 3D. And he delivered an experience that allowed you to jump around worlds and enjoy the same kind of exhilarating speed that had become a staple of the franchise. It certainly wasn't a perfect game, due to some suspect visuals, but it was a great game, nonetheless.
Why I love it: Sonic Adventure was one of the most exhilarating games on the Sega Dreamcast. Its controls were outstanding, it was fun, and most of all, it was exciting.
If you didn't play Soul Calibur on the Dreamcast, you missed out on one of the best fighting games the platform ever offered.
Soul Calibur featured several fighters battling it out in a slew of different areas. The fighting was superb. The visuals were stunning. And as someone who played the arcade version and the Dreamcast version, I can tell you that there was no comparison: Sega's platform easily bested the arcade.
Why I love it: Soul Calibur was the best fighting game on the Dreamcast. What more can be said? If you own a Dreamcast, buy this game on eBay. You won't be upset you did.
It's not often that I think a sports game deserves a spot in a roundup of a platform's best games, but Virtua Tennis certainly does. The game delivers one of the most realistic (and fun) tennis experiences I have ever played on a console. You can play in the world tour to become the best player in the world, you can try to win the "Grand Slam," or you can just play with some buddies. In any case, you'll find an extremely compelling title.
Why I love it: I've played Virtua Tennis more times than I can count. Even now it's one of the games I reach for when I load up my Dreamcast. It has all the features that make a good sports game great.
Do you have any favorite Dreamcast games I haven't listed here? Let us know in the comments below.