It seems strange to think of a world in which the titles of games were not dominated by Nintendo, Xbox, or PlayStation, but once had a fourth contender: Sega. The Sega Dreamcast was released in 1999 as the first sixth generation console, in the same era as the PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube.
However, it only lasted three years. A change in leadership at Sega and a chilling attitude towards console gaming by senior management led to the end of production of the Sega Dreamcast in March 2001.
Sega continued to be a third-party game developer, but their time in the console market was at an end. The Dreamcast was a console with huge potential and a library of games that became cult classics, although many saw remakes on other platforms.
If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a working Dreamcast and want to check out its library of weird, bizarre, yet insanely fun games, here are 7 of the best Dreamcast games to try.
In addition to the list below, be sure to watch our YouTube video where we highlight the top 5 Dreamcast games as well as show you some in-game footage.
Phantasy Star Online
Phantasy Star Online, one of the first console MMOs to hit the Western market, continues the Phantasy Star series in a whole new way. Instead of a turn-based RPG game, Phantasy Star Online has entered MMO territory.
Only four players could team up to fight their way through four stages on planet Ragol on four different difficulty levels. The object of the game was to progress up through each difficult level until you reach the most difficult area, after which Phantasy Star Online turned into a robber.
The simple mechanics of passing levels and grinding to get better and better gear have deceptively pulled in and kept many players on the hook for hundreds of hours.
Sonic Adventure marked the departure of Sonic the Hedgehog from 2D space to 3D space, at least in the main game (Sonic 3D Blast played with this on the Sega Genesis). Players take control of one of six characters, including several smaller ones. – known names. The game has a “rings as health” mechanic, bonuses and much more.
However, the most popular aspect of the game for many players was the Chao Garden, an environment in which the player could grow Chao. They were small creatures that improved their skills by competing in races and could be used in a mini-game called “Chao Adventure” via the Dreamcast virtual memory block.
Jet Set Radio
The Dreamcast has been a haven for games with strange concepts, and Jet Set Radio is no exception. The game reflects many of the common themes of the late 90s – early 2000s: rebellion against “man”, freedom of creativity and self-expression.
You play as a member of a street gang called The GGs and work to conquer more territory than the rival gangs you face. There are three game modes, each of which consists of rollerblading around town and marking each graffiti dot with your own symbol.
Jet Set Radio brought the Dreamcast a stunning soundtrack and groundbreaking gameplay, and was even re-released on Xbox a few years later.
Space Channel 5
Space channel 5 is weird. It’s a weird mix of rhythm and puzzle games with game mechanics reminiscent of Simon Says. You control Ulala, a reporter working for the Space Channel 5 news station. There are four stages, in each of which Ulala imitates the movements of his opponents. The levels are divided into dance and shooting. Health is displayed with a Zelda-style heart rate meter where hearts are lost if you go wrong mimicking your opponent’s movements.
After completing the game, the New Game + mode opens, which offers alternative routes in the game with new patterns of movement of enemies. Space Channel 5 is an odd footnote in gaming history, especially considering that Michael Jackson himself appears in the second title.
Few games scream as “cult classics” as Shenmue. The game was re-released several times on other platforms, allowing new generations to take control of Ryo Hazuki and relive the adventure. In fact, Shenmue 3 was recently completed with crowdfunding, which fans all over the world have enjoyed very much.
Shenmue has made a name for itself with the insane level of detail in the game. It boasted day and night cycles, variable weather effects, and more – all the details never seen before in open world video games. While Shenmue is showing its age today, it’s still worth a try if you want to truly experience a piece of gaming history.
Skies of Arcadia scratched the JRPG itch that many Dreamcast players had with their expansive storyline and memorable characters that turned the RPG into a cult classic that is still played today. The outer world map is quite unique in that it starts from a blank space. The player must explore the world to make a map. Characters the player encounters can be recruited into their team, often benefiting from exploration and combat, even if they are not directly involved.
Originally released for the Dreamcast, Skies of Arcadia has been re-released on the GameCube as Skies of Arcadia: Legends. Interestingly, the re-release received generally lower reviews than the original game itself.
Seaman is on this list of the best Dreamcast games not because it’s a good game in and of itself, but because it’s just weird. This is a game that forces players to stop and reconsider their life choices. You control a freshwater fish with a human face – oh, and voiced by Leonard Nimoy.
You communicate with Seaman through the microphone attachment. The game is a bit like a virtual pet, where the Sailor goes through five life stages, culminating in his release into the wild when he is fully grown.
The Dreamcast may have failed commercially, but its library represents a strange, wonderful time in gaming history. If you can find a working Dreamcast (or you want to find a working emulator), these seven titles are worth your time, if only because of the absurdity of some of them.