Showing posts with label Phantasy Star Online. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Phantasy Star Online. Show all posts

Staff Picks: Top 21 Dreamcast Games

With our 2022 Top 200 Dreamcast Games poll coming to a close at the end of March, coinciding with the 21st anniversary of our beloved console’s discontinuation (I would say RIP but she is very much still alive and kicking, if you've been paying attention to anything we've been reporting on in the last few years!), I thought it was time for a peek into the minds of the staff here at The Dreamcast Junkyard. What did WE vote as our top ten Dreamcast games, and how does that look when compiled into a list? Well, let's find out shall we?

Along with myself, I asked Tom, Mike, Brian, Lewis, Kev, James H, James J, Mark and Rich to list their ten favourite Dreamcast titles in order. I took these and did what I seemingly love to do now as I approach my forties - I made a spreadsheet! Everyone's top picks received a score of 10, 2nd place got 9, and so on. I then employed some magic formulas to tally up the totals to give us a definitive top 21 games, using the number of times a game was voted for as a tie-breaker where necessary.

The end result is very interesting! We think there's something here for everyone, and if these were the only games in your collection most people would be pretty happy! There are some surprises, and a few things that, if you've ever listened to the DreamPod, you will not at all be surprised about. 

I'll link you to the spreadsheet itself at the end of this article so you can see the full list of games and how everyone voted, for your agreement or ridicule, but first let us count down these games from last to first. Our first entry is the only joint entry, seeing three games share 19th place...

19. Blue Stinger, San Francisco Rush 2049 & Spirit of Speed 1937 (Joint)

A trio of titles start us off, a couple of which often split the opinion of fans. One thing they all have in common? A commitment to a particular time. Blue Stinger takes place in the year 2000, so each represents a very different era, though released within a short space of each other in reality. Let's hear what some of the team had to say about these games.

Upon its release, Blue Stinger was widely misunderstood and critically dismissed under the umbrella of its survival horror contemporaries. In the decades since, it has emerged a cult classic in its own right. Blue Stinger is Shinya Nishigaki and Climax Graphics' endearing homage/parody of Hollywood action and sci-fi cinema, and it plays wonderfully as a B-movie beat-em-up today. - Brian on Blue Stinger

Rush 2049 embodies everything an arcade racer on Dreamcast should be. It looks great, the tracks are full of inventive shortcuts and hidden nooks and crannies, and the actual racing is tight and exciting. A true Midway game that doesn't take itself too seriously, Rush 2049 is easily one of the best racers on the platform. - Tom on Rush 2049

Spirit Of Speed 1937 is the Dark Souls of racing games. The sad truth is that 99% of people won't play it long enough to experience where its strengths really are. It's a true to the era racer which rewards forward thinking and careful driving - something sim racers will appreciate. - James H on Spirit of Speed 1937

18. Rez

Art? Hacking? No this isn't the latest goings-on over at OpenSea, but instead best encapsulates Rez (besides, this is actually nice to look at). Tetsuya Mizuguchi's rail-shooter may have been minimalist on visuals, but it was heavy on trance beats and addictive gameplay. A gem in the Dreamcast's library and its influence is still felt to this day. - Rich

17. Jet Set Radio

Ahead of it's time in so many ways, Jet Set Radio is held up as one of the shining beacons of unfettered creativity that the Dreamcast is so well known for. From its art style to its music, its gameplay to its reverence for hip-hop and Japanese street culture, JSR is a masterclass in what a video game can be. This is Sega at their most zany, but in the best possible way. Strap on your in-line skates and grab that spray paint can, it's time to get funky! - Andrew

I mode! You mode! We all mode for i-mode!

I want you to take a little trip with me down repressed memory lane. Cast your mind back. It's 2001. Everyone keeps telling you the Dreamcast is dead, but you're not having any of it. There are AAA titles still to come on the horizon, Dreamcast Magazine is still on the newsstand (barely), and you've got an eye on Lik Sang and Play-Asia for some exclusive import goodness. You're a true believer and you're not jumping the Sega ship yet (or ever). 

But you have a problem. You can't stay tethered to your 15" CRT TV and curled up against the warmth of your precious blue swirl baby. You have to leave the house. You have stupid lectures to attend, and that interminable bus ride awaits. If only there was some kind of portable Sega device you could take with you to while away the drudgery of public transport.

You look to your shiny new Neo Geo Pocket Color, but it's just not Sega enough for you today. You look to your forlorn and dust-covered Game Gear lying under a pile of socks in the back corner. Those capacitors have blown and leaked and it's never coming back to life. In desperation, you fish out the VMU from your Dreamcast controller, but the batteries are dead and there's only so much of Voldo's Volleyball minigame you can take. Out of options, you trudge out into the gloom, resigned to your terrible fate. 

Meanwhile, in Japan...

In June 2001, Sharp released a new generation "J-Phone" - the J-SH07. It was the first J-Phone to be compatible with Java applets, and it also came bundled with Ulala from Space Channel 5 as a kind of virtual pet / avatar on the device.

The more you used your phone, the better your "rating" gets, and as a reward, Ulala dances for you and sometimes changes costumes. You could download more Space Channel 5 related goodies from the "Ulala no Channel J" service.


This might have passed you by, but back in 2014, Sega commissioned a stage play to commemorate Phantasy Star Online's 15th Anniversary. Series producer Satoshi Sakai and series director Yuya Kimura supervised the play, which was produced by Masahiro Nakayama. The stage play had a short run between December 4-7 in 2014 at the Aoyama Theater in Japan, and was later released on DVD.

As part of the live performance, some musical numbers were also included. Haruko Momoi composed and wrote the songs, and these were performed by Shota Aoi and Nitta Megumi, who played the main characters Takuya and Yumi.

One such glorious example is provided below, the wonderfully titled "Dreamcasting." Enjoy.

Guest Article: Shooting For The (Phantasy) Stars

It's been a while since we featured the work of a guest writer here at the Junkyard, so I thought it was about time we invited another Dreamcast fan-at-large to give us their own unique perspective on a subject close to their heart. Enter Damon Fillman. Damon is a former SegaAddicts and XBLAfans contributor, so he knows a thing or two about both Sega and the good ol' Xbox. His love for the Dreamcast is unequivocal and he makes no attempts to appease fans of those 'other' consoles (his words, not mine!). When not making the internet angry at him, he lives in sunny Philadelphia where he makes fun of men walking small canines. Now, he has the floor here at the 'Yard and explains just why the seminal Phantasy Star Online is a game he holds in such high regard...
Image credit: Emergent Landscapes
If you’re reading this article, the Dreamcast likely occupies your mind because of a defining moment in your gaming career that separates the little white crate from the rest of the console pack. For me, that moment was awaiting confirmation of my school’s closing due to wintry conditions so I could veg out and spend countless hours playing Phantasy Star Online on a dialup connection.  I’ve yet to replicate the sheer joy of slaughtering Rappys and other unpronounceable enemies while my neighborhood became a sheet of ice and snow. In hindsight, Phantasy Star Online (or PSO as internet hipsters like to label it) is more than a nostalgic event—it’s the best “loot-driven” game I’ve ever played.

When presented a choice between an anime-inspired video game and one about demons with a more Western flair I almost always choose the latter, except when it comes to Phantasy Star Online. Most of the time, I’d much rather slay demons against the backdrop of what looks like a cheesy metal album cover (I’m, of course, talking about the Diablo series) than to duke it out with flamboyant rabbit/chicken hybrids against the backdrop of something that looks like a marriage between Studio Ghibli and Hideo Kojima.
For Dreamcast aficionados somehow unfamiliar with one of the most popular games on the system, Phantasy Star Online is a sequel (of sorts) to an RPG series from the Sega Master System and Sega Genesis. While earlier entries in the series contained traditional turn-based RPG mechanics, PSO adopted more PC-centric systems like real-time combat and the ability to matchup with players around the globe to battle foes on the fictional planet Ragol. Cooperative online play was practically unheard of on consoles at the time but PSO managed to also be one of the first MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) on home consoles. And it worked. Really well.

Phantasy Star Online 2 is free-to-play!!!

Not strictly Dreamcast-related news, but who among us has never played PSO? Not many, I dare to assume. I for once have really fond memories of playing the first game, having been the second title I owned for the system (the first was Jet Set Radio), and have since played it again in a variety of versions and platforms, including PSO ver. 2 on the DC, PSO: Blue Burst on the PC, and more recently PSO Episode I and II on the Xbox.

But I digress, so...back to the recent news of PSO 2 being free-to-play! Yup, according to this Joystick article, SEGA just announced that the new game will have a free-to-download, free-to-play model. We'll have to pay for extra stuff, which I hope won't break down the gameplay and make it unfair for those who can't afford it, but at least we won't have to pay to try the game, and with some great examples of other MMORPG's making good use of this system, there's reason to hope this is for the best. Let's hope SEGA has it under control and will deliver a great experience for everyone.

Phantasy Star Online - Offline Gameplay

Digging through my old files, I came across this long video of me playing some PSO offline. The video was recorded for the Dreamcast 100, but was never used. But now it's available for all to view!

Reiko is my HUnewearl which I usually used to play with Japanese players. Not that they ignored my other character, but I did find that a Japanese sounding name and a cute girl character was far more accepted than my male hunter character Fokker. Fokker was a level 102, and carried quite a few rare mags and weapons, as you'll see in the video. When PSO2 arrives, I am certain that Fokker will return in all his glory!

A wonderful image for Dreamcast fans

Dreamcast fans shed a tear, the legend has returned. Only platfrom mentioned thus far is PC, but a console port is not out of the question yet. More details and a trailer (no footage, just the logo) can be seen at SEGAbits.

 Update: Unrelated to the PSO2 announcement, but cool nonetheless is the official Japanese website for the Dreamcast rereleases. Very retro! Almost reminds me of the old Dreamcast Direct web pages. Check out the site here!

Paper Dreamcast Goodies

During a recent trip to visit the parents, I uncovered a few Dreamcast goodies in the remnants of my old bedroom (now the combination workout/storage room). The first of these goodies is a very cool flyer advertising the Dreamcast's US launch. As you see above, the cover is very minimalistic and follows that dark edgy aesthetic that was so popular in the late 90's.

The flyer opens to a cool render of the console, with the design and features detailed on the second page.

It opens once again to show screens from the two biggest launch titles: Sonic Adventure and NFL 2K. I loved this campaign.

The other side detailed the other launch titles as well as titles that released later in the fall, complete with screens. Overall, it's a very stylish and well designed promo item. Hey, it made me want to buy a Dreamcast!

 Next up is a postcard advertising Phantasy Star Online. I found this at a sandwhich shop located next to my dorms in Chicago. They were given out via a little rack filled with cards advertising anything from vodkas to video games.

I had also found a Seaman postcard but forgot where I put it. However, it looked like this:

Finally we have a full-scale replica of Granda II! Okay, it's not that exciting, but it's sorta cool. These were put on display pre-release at stores like GameStop to advertise upcoming games. I received this along with a massive Sonic Shuffle box when I politely asked the store employee if I could have them.

Left: The imposter, Right: The real thing

So there you have it! Paper Dreamcast goodies. Until next time, keep dreaming!

Why the Dreamcast still has what it takes

It was the night before Christmas... actually it wasn't. It was about a week before Christmas. I was playing CoD: World at War on my XBOX 360 and I realised I was bored. Really, really fucking bored; Run. Shoot (using crappy WWII guns). Run. Shoot. Grenade. Die. Run. Die. I was beginning to wish I was hurling the grenades at SEGA, angry at them for buggering up the 32X, Mega CD, Saturn and Dreamcast. For selling games on Sony's Gaystation. So much rage, so much hate. So I turned it off, headed down to Entertainment Exchange ( and got £33 for my annoying, boring FPS. Sure, I am dissing CoD a bit too much - it's an OK game. I preferred CoD4 massively though. This is not the point though. The point is... what did I do next?

I booted up my Dreamcast. Yes, it's 2009. Yes, that makes the DC 10 (as we all know), but the point is that the Dreamcast is still a console that, with a bit of time and effort, can take centre stage once again. And here's why:


Arguably the Dreamcast's biggest selling point (or resale point) is that it has some of the best games ever made for a home console. Yes, the Mega Drive, NES etc all have great games, as does the Saturn... but it's the Dreamcast that has the top tens (as seen on our very own DCJY) which are constantly argued over. I could like a top 20. Easily. Top 30? No problem. This console has so many great games that keep your coming back for more.

The VMU is another added bonus. I'm lucky enough that I don't give a crap about what people think about me to be looking after my Chao whilst walking through the Arndale shopping centre. There are so many top - notch titles that are so different in every way that the Dreamcast will always stay.


OK, so the XBOX 360 and PS3 have HD graphics that display 1080i no problem and lifelike... bla bla... People are calling the Wii 'revolutionary'. Sure, it has a neat controller, but it's graphics are very close to the Dreamcast's graphics (I think that if SEGA were still developing DC it could match it), which shows why the DC can still live on strong today. The Wii not revolutionary. The Dreamcast had a fishing controller and maracas that are actually better than the control system in the Wii version of Samba. Look and Shenmue and Virtua Tennis. Gorgeous. Not impressed? Get a VGA box. Still not impressed? Sod off.


It's 10 years old for God's sake. 10 years old. The community is huge and people love this system. It's going to stick around for a long time. It's been noted that Sony et al. think that this generation (current) of consoles will last longer than any other post 1990. With that in mind, I think the Dreamcast community will also live long and prosper.


4 built-in control ports. Powerstone 2. Endless party fun.

Many racing games also support this, as do some of the FPS games. This really is a great console for people with friends that want to play games. Being as people have started playing Wii's after dinner parties thesedays, I say "bring out your Dreamcast".

Online connectivity

Back in '98 when the DC was released in Japan, the internet was not used by most people. Broadband didn't exist in the UK and people had only dreamt (no pun intended) of playing against or with people that weren't in the same room. Anyway, the DC has a built in 33k/56k modem which would make dialup calls and connect to SEGAs servers.

I didn't play much online back in the day because of the dial-up costs and subsequent lack of useable phoneline once you're in. Anyway, the Dreamcast can still connect to the internet. You can either use dial-up or your Broadband Adaptor (left in pic) to connect to the internet to browse or, more importantly, play online. The games that currently work online are:

  • Phantasy Star Online
  • 4x4 Evolution
  • Sega Swirl
  • Quake 3

Getting these games to play online using custom servers isn't the easiest thing in the world to do, but if you need a hand, I might be able to help. I played PSO for the first time yesterday and I loved it. I met a couple of German guys in the DC-Talk/Schthack lobby that helped me get started as I had no idea what to do in the game. When I levelled up they both congratulated me! It was great. I kind of see why all those people like WoW now... the community spririt on PSO is great. What's more, you're playing with people on a 10 year old console, when we could all be playing some HD games instead. This brings us full circle.

The Dreamcast is getting older and some of the games are starting to look a little dated, though there are many games full of eye candy. There are games that will keep you hooked for weeks and others that you'll only play for an hour or so, just to beat a lap time or high score. There are innovative games like Samba de Amigo that will have people asking you why your Wii is a funny shape and says SEGA on it.

Educate them. The Dreamcast lives on.

The definitive Phantasy Star Online experience

Yesterday I was craving for some PSO. Don't know why, maybe it was a sudden attack of nostalgia. Anyway, I just felt like I needed to play the game, even if just for a little bit. The problem was, which version to choose? Would I just play the good ol' PSO, the 2nd Dreamcast I bought back in 2000 (the first was Jet Set Radio), for the 10th time? Or would it be better to hunt down the upgraded PSO Ver.2? After browsing the webz what I accidentally found was that there was a 3rd option, the best of them, the definitive PSO version, Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst, exclusively on the PC.

Yeah, I know, it would be a lot better to be playing it on my Dreamcast, but the game makes up for it. But what exactly makes it the best PSO version of them all? Simple, not only it has all the content from the Dreamcast games (known as Episode 1), but it also has the exclusive content from the Gamecube and Xbox versions (Episode 2), and a whole new Episode IV (Episode III was the spin-off Battle Card Revolution for the GC), which means more levels, monsters, NPC's, items and quests than ever before!

Now, I'm yet to explore most of the new stuff, but I took a peek at one of the new levels (and that level's new enemies), and let me tell you, it rocks! It's the PSO we know and love, but at the same time it's like a new experience. To sum it up, this is a game that every PSO fan should try out, specially since the official Dreamcast online servers were shut-down a long, long time ago.