It’s hard to imagine a world where Nintendo, Xbox, or PlayStation weren’t the biggest names in video games, but Sega was already out there. The Sega Dreamcast was the first console of the sixth generation, which also included the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube. It came out in 1999.
It could only be used for three years, though. The Sega Dreamcast stopped being made in March 2001. This was due to a change in leadership at Sega and a change in how people in charge felt about console games.
Sega would still make games for other companies, but it would no longer make consoles. The Dreamcast was a console with a lot of potential and a library of games that became cult classics, though many of them were remade for other platforms.
If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a working Dreamcast and want to play some of its strange but fun games, here are 7 of the best ones to try.
Best Dreamcast Games Ever
1. Phantasy Star Online
Phantasy Star Online was one of the first console-based MMOs to come out in the West. It continued the Phantasy Star series in a whole new way. Instead of being a turn-based RPG, Phantasy Star Online was an action-based MMO.
On the planet Ragol, up to four players can work together to fight their way through four stages, each with a different level of difficulty. The goal of the game was to get through each hard level until you got to the hardest part, at which point Phantasy Star Online changed into a looter.
The simple gameplay of racing through levels and grinding for better and better gear was deceptively addicting and kept many players playing for hundreds of hours.
2. Sonic Adventure
Sonic Adventure was the first mainstream game in which Sonic the Hedgehog moved out of 2D space and into 3D space (Sonic 3D Blast toyed with it on the Sega Genesis.) Players take control of one of six characters, some of whom are not well-known. The game still has things like health, power-ups, and more that come from the ring.
But the Chao Garden, a place where the player could make Chao, was the most popular part of the game for many players. These were small creatures that got better at races. They could be used in the minigame “Chao Adventure” through the virtual memory unit of Dreamcast.
3. Jet Set Radio
Jet Set Radio was made for Dreamcast, which was a great place for games with strange ideas. Many of the big ideas of the late 1990s and early 2000s are in the game, like rebelling against “the man,” having artistic freedom, and being yourself.
You play as a member of The GGs, a street gang, and try to take over more territory than the other gangs you face. There are three game modes, and in all of them, you run across the city on inline skates and put a symbol on each piece of graffiti.
Jet Set Radio was a great game for Dreamcast with a great soundtrack and new ways to play. It was even re-released for the Xbox a few years later.
4. Space Channel 5
Space Channel 5 seems strange. It’s a strange mix of a rhythm game and a puzzle game, and it plays like Simon Says. You are in charge of Ulala, who is a reporter for Space Channel 5. Ulala copies the moves of her opponents in each of the four stages. There are both dancing and shooting stages at each level. Health is shown by a heart gauge like the one in Zelda, and you lose hearts if you copy your opponent’s moves wrong.
After you finish the game, you can start a “New Game+,” which gives you different ways to go through the game and changes how the enemies move. Space Channel 5 is a strange footnote in the history of video games, especially when you consider that Michael Jackson shows up in the second game.
5. Shen Mue
Shenmue is one of the few games that really screams “cult classic.” The game has been put out again and again on different platforms, letting new generations play as Ryo Hazuki and go on the same adventure. In fact, Shenmue 3 was just finished thanks to crowdfunding, which made fans everywhere very happy.
Shenmue made a name for itself because of how much detail it had. It had a day-night cycle, changing weather, and other features that had never been seen in an open-world video game before. Even though Shenmue is getting old, you should still play it if you want to see how a piece of gaming history was made.
6. Skies of Arcadia
Skies of Arcadia was the first game that made many Dreamcast players want to play JRPGs. Its long story and memorable characters made it a cult classic that is still played today. The world map is different because it begins with a white background. To draw the map, the player has to look around the world. Characters that the player meets can be added to their crew, and even if they aren’t directly involved, they often help with exploration and battles.
Skies of Arcadia: Legends is a new version of Skies of Arcadia that came out for GameCube. The original version of the game came out for Dreamcast. Overall, people didn’t like the re-release as much as they didn’t like the original game.
Seaman is on this list of the best Dreamcast games not because it’s a good game, but because it’s so strange. It’s a game that makes people stop and think about their choices in life. You play as a freshwater fish with a human face, and Leonard Nimoy voices him.
Using the microphone, you talk to Seaman. The game is a bit like having a virtual pet because Seaman goes through five stages of life, and when he’s fully grown, he’s set free into the wild.