Dusting off the Dreamcast- My Top 3 Picks

I have been in a retro gaming mood for the last few months.  Dusting off my original Xbox to take another run through Halo 2 and KOTOR; digging through my closet for the power cord to my PS1 and firing it up for a trip down memory lane with Snake and the rest of the Metal Gear Solid crew.  While looking for my power cord, I happened upon my semi-retired Dreamcast sitting on my son’s dresser.

So naturally, I fired it up and started picking through the old box of games that hadn’t been played in a while.  While I was flipping through the jewel cases, I thought of how much fun I had with this little console and all of my favorite games that my wife and I played before my children were born.  It makes it sound like a long time ago when I think about it like that, but at the turn of the last century, I didn’t think it could ever get better than Sega’s last home console.

Picking out my three favorite games, I took a trip back to the late nineties, to a simpler time before Iphones and texting, back to a time when you had to pick up a phone to call somebody or maybe even a pen to write a letter.  These games might not be the best on the Dreamcast, the most critically acclaimed or best selling, but they sure were fun and playing them again, I can see why I enjoyed them so much.

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1.    Hydro Thunder by Midway Entertainment.  This game had fast boats, terrible physics and arcade quality graphics and I loved it.  My wife and I played this game nearly nightly for a year.  Always trying to better one another, unlock the next track and find the shortcuts.  Was it the best racing game on the Dreamcast…probably not, but it just beat out Speed Devils by a nose as my favorite.

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2.    NFL2K2 by 2K.  This was the game that sold me on the Dreamcast.  When I saw the commercial for this game, I knew I would have to have one.  It was the first game I bought and even though 2K1 was more polished, I always preferred the original.  It was not only the most realistic sports game that I had seen up until that point, it was so much fun playing against the computer, and even better against a live opponent; I couldn’t get enough.   It beat out my second favorite sports game Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2.

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3.  Grandia 2 by Ubisoft.  This game was released later for the PS2 as well, but the original Dreamcast version is the definitive version of this awesome RPG.  In fact, this was my first real RPG that I completed and it was the beginning of my obsession with RPGs of all types.  To this day, I still compare the fun factor and fighting mechanics of this game with every new game I play.  And even though graphics have gotten better and games have become more elaborate and detailed, this is still one of my favorites.  You might think that Shenmue would be in this spot, but I found it a little bit tedious and boring at the time.  It has grown on me and I can appreciate what they were doing with the game, and it may be sacrilige to say as a huge SEGA fan that I didn’t care for it that much, but that is how I felt about it.

Of course there were some other good, even great games; games that were fun, challenging and groundbreaking at the time.  But when I think back to the time I spent in front of the television with that weird gray controller in my hands, these were some of the best videogame moments I can remember…and isn’t that what gaming is all about?

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