Ricardo Silva (xboxgameon) wrote,
Ricardo Silva

Retro Blast - Phantasy Star Online on the SEGA Dreamcast

Many games come and go, many others come and stay in our memories... but not many can boast making history in the books. The time was of the Dreamcast and with it many perfect arcade conversions. Sonic Team was tasked at that time to make a console game with network play. A game that had natural roots on a RPG genre and that was, until then, truen-based and (of course) single player experiences. A game with no other precedent for online gaming on console, Phantasy Star Online turned 2001 into a magical historic year for gaming.

There were 3 classes to chose from: Hunter, Ranger and Force. Each had their own specificalities but Hunters were more adept in sabers and dual daggers, Rangers in ranged combat with pistols, rifles and such and Force were the magical class of the game. There were also 3 races to choose from being them Human, Newman and CASTs which were the androids. Again, each had their own advantages in strength, use of techniques or abilities and even gender choice affected some stats.

There were 4 main areas to explore: forest, the caves, the mines, and the ruins. Each had their own boss and in the end the final boss (obsviously). We could join Guilds and also do some side-quests and there were the usual "meeting" areas on which players could join up for games. A bit like Destiny dare I say? Well I am talking too formally about the game right? Let me tell you about what made it one of my favourite games, ever.


You can't beat the feeling of connecting to the World Wide Web for the first time. You cannot. Especially with a games console, at least in 2001. I had ZERO experience in internet and bought a game that had a "online gaming" sign on the cover. My limited knowledge led me to my house's landline phone's socket and remove it to insert the Dreamcast cable to it. The game connected after a few minutes and my eyes watered rainbows.

I was entering a weird and wonderfull world of "1's and 0's" and it seemed like I just had something too much and was traveling into wonderland. It gave me chills and wonders seeing other people, REAL people wandering about on the pre-game lobbies! And using my Dreamcast keyboard I said "hello" for the very first time. And got my reply. I never looked back. From there I almost daily went on amazing cooperative adventures with 3 other strangers, discovering misterious online worlds, communicating, working together. And I had no one in the living room with me! The graphics blew me away and the gameplay was, oh, so addictive!

Just look at that sword!

The looting, the huge bosses, the reaching the end of the game. The joy of conquering it all and sharing it with other people that could very well be right next door or on the other side of the world... During 1 month and a half I adventured and overjoyed in amazing adventures, I teached portuguese to my fellow adventurers and had an exhilarating time. Until the phone bill arrived. My Mom unleashed a storm on me when she found out the 5 times more expensive month was my doing. But it was worth it. After that I only randomly played it from time to time a few more times but I couldn't stay for long. And it was lost forever.

What I would give to get that feeling back again. Very few games achieved that on my gaming-filled life. Phantasy Star Online on the SEGA Dreamcast was one of them.

Yes, this is one actual ad for the game!

Game ON!

Tags: online, phantasy star, retro, retro blast, sega

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