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   PlanetDreamcast | Features | A Dreamcast Thanksgiving

A Dreamcast Thanksgiving
"Bringing Home The Turkey With Some Dreamcast Lovin'!" - by Retrovertigo

A Dreamcast Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving. It's the time of year when trees shed their leaves, and blanket yards all across the nation with orange, red, and brown leaves. The temperature is a little colder, and the scents of fireplaces are carried in the breeze. When people think of Thanksgiving, chances are they think about sitting at the dining room table with loved ones, cramming their faces with turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, and stuffing. It's the only time of year when gaining a few pounds is expected, and sitting on your butt, watching some football and letting your gut hang out is acceptable. More importantly, Thanksgiving is the time of year when we can give thanks for all of the blessings we have.

This year, I've got a lot to be thankful for: good health, a decent job (as well as this sweet deal writing video game reviews and articles like this), a cozy apartment, good friends and family, etc. As an avid video game fan, I am thankful for the entertainment that video games provide. I'll have to admit, that with all of the new next-generation consoles, there's never a dull moment. However, it's not the new stuff that I'm necessarily thankful for the most.

It's been a weird year for Sega with their fair share of ups and downs, praises and disappointments. In retrospect, even though the Dreamcast will be officially dead in the U.S. in a few months, there was a lot of stuff that the system provided that we should all be thankful for.

We, your lovable Sega fans here at Planet Dreamcast, have come up with the 5 best Dreamcast games that we are thankful for. In no particular order, here are the Dreamcast games that the Planet Dreamcast crew has enjoyed since the September 1999 system launch:

Celeryface is thankful for:
  • Resident Evil: Code Veronica
  • Soul Calibur
  • Jet Grind Radio
  • Crazy Taxi
  • Sonic Adventure 2
  • BenT gives thanks for:

  • Sonic Adventure 2
  • Phantasy Star Online
  • Crazy Taxi
  • Skies of Arcadia
  • Cool Cool Toon
  • digitaltaco's shows his thanks for:

  • Soul Calibur
  • Shenmue
  • Jet Grind Radio
  • Phantasy Star Online
  • Shenmue 2
  • And I, Retrovertigo, show my appreciation for:

  • MDK 2
  • Phantasy Star Online
  • Skies of Arcadia
  • Soul Calibur
  • Shenmue
  • Because I'm writing this article, I am the only one who gets to go into detail on games I'm thankful for. You'll just have to take everybody else's word for their choices. ;)

    MDK 2:

    When this game came out in March 2000, I proclaimed that this was my "all-time favorite Dreamcast game." I still feel that to be true even today, even though I haven't fired it up and played through it in a long time.

    MDK 2 is the sequel to the quirky and eccentric action game MDK which was a hugely popular PC game in my dorm when I was a sophomore in college. The first game was odd like Earthworm Jim and featured weaponry like "The World's Smallest Nuke" and special items like the decoy - which was nothing more than an inflatable dummy on wheels, that looked nothing like the main character Kurt, yet it always fooled the enemies. It was just the right mix of action and off-the-wall humor, it's like the action of The Matrix mixed with the comedy of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

    MDK 2 expands significantly on the humor and gameplay that the first game had, including more strange humor mixed with some of the most challenging gameplay I've encountered in a long time. The game is tough and frustrating as hell at times, but was one of the most enjoyable experiences that I've had.

    I call MDK 2 a "Real Man's Game," as it is very tough and if you can make it through the 10 levels and beat the game, then you truly deserve some kind of award. If you find today's video games to be boring and easy, pick up the Dreamcast version of MDK 2.

    Phantasy Star Online:

    One of the greatest aspects of the Dreamcast that I am extremely thankful for is the ability to go online and play games with people across the world.

    PSO is not your usual multiplayer game. I grew up with networked games of Doom and Quake, and when I heard the term "multiplayer" I immediately thought of competitive death match. I rarely thought of cooperative play. When I first started a game of PSO, I was really, really pleasantly surprised to see a completely different online attitude than the aggressive (and sometimes angry) dialogue and demeanor that went on before, during, and after death match games of Quake 3: Arena or Unreal Tournament. Veteran players were assisting new and inexperienced players by giving them advice, items, and occasionally a more powerful weapon. People were actually helping each other out, instead of trash talking, and it made the game more enjoyable to play.

    I'm a big fan of co-op gameplay, so much that I even went out and purchased the horrible PC shooter Daikatana simply because it had a co-op multiplayer mode (bad purchase, by the way), and am currently enjoying the co-op experience of the Xbox's Halo.

    Although Phantasy Star Online Version 2 was a decent game, I really enjoyed the game that started it all.

    Skies of Arcadia:

    RPGs used to be a rarity for me, as a matter of fact until Skies of Arcadia was released, I hadn't played a console RPG since Phantasy Star 2 for the Genesis. I came across SoA when it was packaged on a demo disc that came with the Official Dreamcast Magazine. At first, I wasn't going to give it the time of day, because it was very colorful and cartoonish, and I didn't think that it was going to be a "serious" RPG. Boy, was I wrong! I was immediately hooked, and played through the demo many, many times. The day that it was released, I immediately snatched it up.

    I've always been a fan of games that take a long time to complete. When I think of long RPGs, games like Final Fantasy series which take around 40 hours to complete, however it took me 40 hours just to get through the first disc of SoA! The battle scenes did run a bit long, as the battle system is turn-based and doesn't use the "real-time" ATB that Final Fantasy games do, but the game is fantastic and I enjoyed it a lot!

    Soul Calibur:

    Soul Calibur is still one of the best-looking games for the Dreamcast, and that's amazing seeing as it was a launch title. It's a shame that Namco couldn't have offered the Dreamcast more games along the same "caliber" of Soul Calibur instead of giving us puzzle games like Mr. Driller and Ms. Pac-Man's Maze Madness. I'm not saying that those games were horrible, but they definitely were not on the level with Soul Calibur.

    I'm not a big fighting game fan, and when I get hooked on a game like Soul Calibur you know that its got something extra special in it! Not only were the characters richly detailed, and the arenas beautifully rendered, but there were plenty of unlockable things that kept me coming back for more.

    If there are any Dreamcast games that can rival the superior graphics of today's next-generation consoles, it's Soul Calibur.


    Although I didn't think the game really lived up to its hype, and the gameplay wasn't really as open-ended as I was hoping and it wasn't really much of an RPG (in the Phantasy Star/Final Fantasy sense), like some people claimed it would be, Shenmue was one of the most interesting and enjoyable Dreamcast games. It was like a bunch of mini-games thrown into one huge, interactive adventure movie.

    I don't know how many hours I logged simply playing darts, pumping virtual quarters into Space Harrier, collecting miniature Sega figures from junk machines, and buying music cassettes and other products in the convenience stores, while I should have been avenging the death of Ryo's father! It was so much fun!

    The Dreamcast is essentially a dead system in the U.S., but there are a lot of great games in its library, and a lot of great aspects of the system, like online gaming through games like Phantasy Star Online, to be thankful for. I hope that you found this article to be enlightening, if you are one of those people who have recently purchased Dreamcast or plan on taking advantage of the great deals.

    As you can see from our lists, Soul Calibur and Shenmue share a special place in most of our hearts, and games like Jet Grind Radio, Crazy Taxi, and Skies of Arcadia are titles that you don't want to miss out on, if you haven't had the privilege of playing them.

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