The 14 best games for the Sega Dreamcast, by Kotaku’s staff
Here’s a chilling fact: Sega has been out of the console business longer than they have been. And while it was the Dreamcast that finally took down the struggling giant, it certainly left a legacy from hell for a platform that’s only been around a few years.
You’d think a console that “failed” in 2001 would be long forgotten by 2019, but many of the Dreamcast’s biggest and best games are still making their mark in video games today Soulcalibur to shen mue.
It’s also worth remembering: it had the best console launcher ever. Like molten gold dripping into a fine marble basin in the pale moonlight.
In honor of Sega’s fallen hero, we’ve compiled this list of the best games for the Dreamcast, for those who might be interested in circling around and picking one up, or for those who once did and want a tragic trip down memory lane.
This unranked list was created based on a few important considerations. First, and most obviously, most of these are what we simply consider to be the best Dreamcast games, which are our personal favorites. But there are also games here that we feel defined the Dreamcast experience after two decades of space and time.
JET SET RADIO
I know I said this list wasn’t ranked, but I lied. jet set radio was the best Dreamcast game. I know it had its weaknesses in terms of difficulty and time limit (some of which were addressed in the later Xbox port), but the colours, the music, the style… this is the distillate of the millennium, the perfect standard-bearer for all things beautiful and well about the Sega Dreamcast. If you could only own one game for this system, it should/would be this one.
Nobody knew it then, though NFL2K was one of the most important sports video games of all time. When the Dreamcast launched, EA Sports decided they didn’t want to release games for the system, which meant no Driving me crazy. No problem, Sega figured, so they went ahead and bought developer Visual Concepts, who wasn’t just seriously challenging Driving me crazy in the early ’00s in football, but now they’re killing EA in basketball with theirs NBA2K Series. 2K1 was their second attempt at football on console and not only was it a better sports game than the first but it also had online multiplayer, something that would not catch on with competing platforms Years.
Originally an arcade game, Ikarugas The very first home port was on Dreamcast where it was only released in Japan. That didn’t stop westerners from importing it in droves, and what they found was one of the smartest and prettiest shmups ever made. The color reversal mechanic at the heart of the game is such a simple idea, but even two decades later, it still is Perfect.
An expensive and beloved project way ahead of its time that was commercially bombed and left a burning wreck (and beautiful legacy) in its wake? We could talk about the Dreamcast itself, or we could just talk about it shen mue.
His strong emphasis on story and his revolutionary (if frustratingly simple) way of implementing it in a video game earned him a lot of praise upon release, but also a lot of indifference to a market that just wasn’t ready (or , let’s be honest I just didn’t care) for his quirks.
POWER STONE 2
There has never been a comparable fighting game series power stone. Where most other fighters exist comfortably in abstract spaces is that power stone Games tried to replicate a suitable 3D space for their arenas, including different heights and destructible objects. Both were a blast, though power stone 2 was the better game. Also, this old Capcom character design is just to die for.
As jet setand space channeland many other Dreamcast games, rec is a game you’ve probably played elsewhere, but what’s important is that it was originally developed with Sega’s console in mind. It was and remains an almost perfect synaesthetic experience, especially when played with his Nutso peripheral vibrator.
SPACE CHANNEL 5
If jet set radio was the millennial video game space channel 5 could run a very tight second. Its mere existence is a testament to how weird and daring the Dreamcast library could be, where a company could actually take one Janet/Michael Jackson music video and turn it into a rhythm game, then expect more than three people to buy it.
sailor, software in which a human-faced fish (that of Yoot Saito, the game’s creator) was spoken into a microphone, hasn’t aged particularly well. But imagine the process required to take this from high damn to boardroom pitch to actual game development to sure ok getting Leonard Nimoy to do the voice, and appreciate every step of it.
There is a general and persistent belief that 3D sound Games suck, but to believe this theory you have to ignore it Sonic adventure, the best-selling Dreamcast game of all time. It looked great, and while Sonic’s actual controls weren’t as sleek as they were in 2D – something that later 3D Sonic games continued to struggle with – this thing was a hell of a feat for 2001. It might even have been the killer app the Dreamcast needed so badly if… the console hadn’t just been killed months later Sonic Adventures release.
HEAVEN OF ARCADIA
Nothing is more Sega than Blue Skies, and there’s no blue sky game like one that’s literally set under blue Sega skies. A massive JRPG with an incredible (for the time) 3D overworld, it’s not hard to imagine this coming out and selling on another console millions.
Still ongoing in 2019, this series needs no introduction, so I don’t have to give one here. Instead I’ll just say that the original Dreamcast version of Soulcalibur is still very very good and that I’ve been writing about video games professionally for 13 years now and I still type it as every time Soul Calibur.
Samba de Amigo married married rhythm action with a crazy set of plastic maracas. How they worked and how they were set up was as 2000 as it gets:
In the Dreamcast version, each maraca has a cord that plugs into a pole placed in front of the player’s feet. The pole is just over two feet long and has a sensor at each end, and each maraca has an ultrasonic transmitter on its cord; This allows the system to triangulate the position of each maraca. The rattle part can be unscrewed from the top of each maraca for quieter playing. Included in the box is a plastic mat with two brown footprints to help players position themselves correctly in relation to the sensor bar. marvel vs capcom 2
MARVEL VS CAPCOM 2
The Dreamcast has been home to many great fighting games, so many that three of them made this list. Unlike the other two that looked to the future and saw three dimensions, this is for the 2D purists, since MvC2 had a list for the ages as well as some of the best pixel art to ever grace a fighting game.
Another example of Sega leveraging its coin success, Crazy cab was released on the Dreamcast in 2000, a year after its arcade debut. Its basic design – dashing through a city while a giant arrow tells you where to go –was so good that Sega patented itand would later take EA and Fox to court Simpson’s Road Rage because of this.
This story was originally published in 2019.
The best are Kotaku’s picks for the best things on (or off) the internet.