Going into secondary school (high school) that’s of course getting to the age where you endlessly argue over which console was best and defending your own to the death (figuratively!) which is of course stupid but i think every kid gamer goes through that fan boy phase. After the days of the nintendo 64 and the playstation 1 came the dreamcast and the playstation 2 and seemingly everyone i knew had a ps2 hardly anyone i knew had a dreamcast however i was one of them, getting endlessly ridiculed for it but i didnt care it was a damn good machine it also introduced me to quite possibly my favourite games of all time Shenmue 1 and Shenmue 2.
It was always an underated console in my opnion which got crushed underneath the juggernaut that was the playstation 1 & 2 but i have many a happy memory with it. I played my very first sonic games on there namely sonic adventure being the first which i really enjoyed thankfully i started then and not say a few years on with sonic 2006 *shudder* in those days i didnt really get just how tremendously stupid the story was for sonic adventure but thankfully the gameplay made up for it, fast and simple plus side quest/minigame taking care of little creatures called chao via the VMU (visual memory unit….a memory card basically)
later down its lifespan was “skies of arcadia” which i think is one of the best RPGs ever made more open ended than final fantasy better combat if a little similar (not a bad thing) and flying ship exploration and combat as you progress you acquired your own ship as an air pirate you kind of needed one! Most of the game world is uncharted and its down to you to explore and make discoveries for treasure and items etc and that was just one of the sidequests, everything about it was just so much fun, only downside is they never made a sequel which was a crying shame.
Now the dreamcast was the first games console that let you go online and play multiplayer, i played multiplayer sparingly until phantasy star online came out as i was always a little nervous going online talking to strangers, not out of fear of them but more that i didnt know what to do or have the confidence to really engage with them. Along came Phantasy star online which emphasised the co op nature (playing with people rather than competing to blow them apart) which had me hooked, thankfully they released a keyboard peripheral as the connection speeds couldnt support voice chat at the time. I met all sorts of people there from various countries and the majority were very nice and we all shared our treasures stories working together if someone needed help etc it was great fun. You would always get the idiots that would try to steal your stuff or on the occasion insult me for being english but i would always challenge them and they would always back down, never let them ruin the experience. The game did start dieing near the end due to the abundance of hackers getting into your bank stores where you kept all your money and loot, and it would start dissapearing so people stopped playing more and more until the servers were deserted.
The games that really showed off what the dreamcast could do was shenmue 1 and 2 i remember waiting impatiently for the first one to arrive in the mail and hoping against hope that they would arrive before i would have to go to school.
The detail of its world was breathtaking, seemingly you could do anything you wanted, if you didnt fancy tackling the story at that time you could just visit the arcade in town and play the period arcade games (the game was set in 1986) i played the entire game to death several times the game the story, everything just struck a chord with me the story espeically because you just didnt know where they were going to take you next and it was exciting, its much the same with Shenmue 2 although on a bigger scale although i probably played that twice as much as i did the first one and ended up completing it in 2 straight days in a playthrough.
It was those experiences, the emotion that really taught me what games are and what they can be.