Phantasy Star Online on DREAMCAST

in gaming •  8 days ago 

Yeah that's right! The Dreamcast! I think most people don't even know what a Dreamcast is but it was actually a pretty wonderful console for gaming. It was plagued with a near complete lack of support from 3rd party game manufacturers because at the time of its release SEGA had been making mistake after mistake as far as their overall brand is concerned.

The Dreamcast was an underappreciated machine because well, no one had one but when I got to play Phantasy Star Online, things were actually pretty awesome.

It was the year 2000 so we have to make some allowances for quality. Online gaming was a very new concept at the time, especially for consoles. I had played online games prior to this such as MMO's but that is not what this was at all.

The way it would work is that you would join various "Looking For Group" (LFG) areas and try to find a team of 4 to take on various missions. It was not open-world at all as every situation you entered would be instanced, meaning that only your group were going to be in on the action.

These levels were not terribly difficult and by today's standards they are very repetitive. But this was the year 2000 folks, and most of us had never played online using a controller before and it was therefore, incredibly awesome.

One thing that I had never seen before that was really helpful for English speakers was that the game had an auto-translate function built in. You could choose from a list of commonly used words which to be fair took some getting used to, and then be able to play with anyone in Japan. A vast majority of the gameplay didn't actually require talking and this is before everyone would have a microphone.

There isn't much live footage of the game available because such footage would have involved an actual video camera for most people. I still had a "high-8" camera at the time and digital recording didn't really exist yet, nor did LCD televisions. Ah, memories.


Even though the game was repetitive as hell we enjoyed the crap out of it. It was lucky that this game was online because I didn't know a single other person that actually had a Dreamcast and you probably didn't either. The system had a successful launch but later that year the PS2 was released and interest in the SEGA console completely died. The Dreamcast was the first console to ever have a modem in it (you know, that thing that lest you connect to the interwebs) and was also the last machine that SEGA would ever produce.

These days, with almost every game having some level of online play associated with it, it might be difficult to imagine how sweet it was to be playing the first ever online games for a console and that game was Phantasy Star Online. If you think about it, this is a pretty important release in the evolution of gaming

SEGA released a 2nd installment of this game but only in Japan and only in Japanese.

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i had this game as well and played it a bit but my internet connection wasn't what it is today and strange things would happen in-game if someone lagged, which was frequently.

I bought some adapter so that I could use a standard PC keyboard with it and that was a funny little thing as well as it would take ages to type something. I don't know what was going on inside of that adapter but if anyone wanted to talk to me in game they had to accept that it was going to take a long time for me to get back to them.

All in all it was a fantastic title. Where did Phantasy Star go? I would love to see some reboots / new material from them.