It’s been another great year for online Dreamcasting. For the first time ever, a Japanese-exclusive online game has been revived in the form of Mobile Suit Gundam: Federation vs. Zeon, bringing to total number of games playable online to 23. In addition, we’ve surpassed 3,000 players on Dreamcast Now; that’s an increase of 1,000 since last year! It’s mind-boggling to witness how the community has grown in recent years. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us in 2021. Before we look to the future however, let’s take a look at the past and see what online games you chose as your favorites of the last year.
5. Worms World Party
You know what, being #1 is overrated, which is why it’s perfectly fine that my personal favorite online game, Worms World Party is #5. I don’t care what anyone else says, you just can’t beat a game that allows use of tropical fruit as an explosive device. If there was a picture next to the definition of “Fun” in the dictionary, you’d see a picture of a banana, the explosive variety of course; which is why it was absolute genius for Team17 to include it in this game. I mean, real-life military troops have been using exploding bananas as weapons for millennia but yet somehow it took decades after the invention of the video game to actually include them in a game. That’s just madness! Not only are bananas very effective in combat situations, they’re also delicious and a great source of potassium. So hats off to the brilliant minds at Team17 for including this deliciously deadly yellow fruit in their game. This is why Worms will go down in history as a titan among video games.
4. Alien Front Online
The alien invasion is eminent folks as it has been foretold by the #4 game on this list, Alien Front Online. It’s a common mistake to categorize this game in the “Arcade Style Action” genre when in reality this game is actually a simulation. Yes indeed, Alien Front Online is a dead accurate simulation of a real-life alien invasion scenario. If you’ve been around this channel for a while, you’ll know that I’m steadfast in my belief that Sega is run by aliens from outer space. This game was in fact developed not for humans but for the aliens in order to see how we would respond to an attack on our planet. Think about it, this game is not only an accurate simulation of an extraterrestrial attack on Earth, it’s also an online game! Which means every action you take in the game is sent back to Sega headquarters and recorded in their databanks. I’m sorry to say it folks but we’ve all been deceived. The aliens can now accurately predict every move we make once the invasion begins. I’d just like to take this opportunity to welcome our new alien overlords. All hail the Segalings!
3. Quake III Arena
Coming in at #3 this year is Quake III Arena. This classic action-packed arena shooter is still going strong and is likely the second most-played online game on the Dreamcast behind PSO. While it’s true that it’s currently the only online-playable first-person shooter on the Dreamcast, I’m sure its popularity isn’t due to players being desperate for an online game in the genre. If you’re tired of playing nice with other players online in a cooporative effort to save a planet you don’t even live on and just want to kill everything that moves, Quake III Arena is the perfect game for you. There are no player stats, there’s no grinding or experience points, and certainly no fluffy yellow flightless birds running around a lush green landscape. No, the only thing you have to worry about is that rocket speeding directly towards your head, about to splatter your brains all over the cold stone floor. It’s kill or be killed and that’s about as simple as it gets. And who says simple is a bad thing? Sometimes you to just take a break from the monotony of every day life and just kill stuff. If that’s what you’re looking for, look no further than Quake III Arena.
2. ChuChu Rocket!
Out of all the games on this list, this next game has seen the largest increase in popularity over the last year. Snagging the 2nd place position for the first time ever is ChuChu Rocket!. In a way I guess you could say ChuChu Rocket! has become a bit of a metaphor for 2020. We were just a bunch of mice trying to survive that nightmare of a year and make it to the rocket that would transport us to 2021. It was a treacherous journey filled with many Cat Manias and at times it may have felt like time slowed down and that the torture would never end. Well guess what folks, if you’re reading this, you made it! You managed to avoid being swallowed whole by the alien cats known as 2020! Congratulations and welcome to 2021! May your new year be filled with happiness many Mouse Manias!
1. Phantasy Star Online
After almost losing to Alien Front Online in the 2019 Top 5, the hardcore PSO fans are really stepping up their voting game. Coming in first this year with a massive 54% of the votes is Phantasy Star Online. There’s seemingly no stopping the momentum of this pioneer of online RPGs (no pun intended). It may be over two decades old at this point but players are still fighting the good fight on the surface of Ragol on a regular basis. Maybe it was never a big stretch that people would still be playing this game online in 2021. I’m starting to think that Sega fully expected this considering how much grinding it takes to get your character up to the max level of 200. That alone could take the average person a lifetime to achieve. To put this in perspective, it requires 96,349,180 xp to get to level 200. You would have to defeat Dark Falz 7,963 times on Ultimate difficulty. Yeah, I think we’ll be playing this game for a while longer…
Before we finish, I just want to give a quick honorable mention to Mobile Suit Gundam, which was just a few votes shy of making the top 5. If you love robots and blowing stuff up (and who doesn’t?) then you’re sure to love this game. To quote a review by the Dreamcast Junkyard’s James Harvey, “It’s fine to shoot my friends online.”. I couldn’t have summed it up better myself.
Anyway guys, if you haven’t gotten your Dreamcast online yet, hopefully this was able to convince you. Just keep in mind that this is just the cream of the crop. There are plenty of other online games to choose from spanning many different genres. From casual table games to action-packed racing, puzzly puzzlers and sporty sports games, you’re sure to find something to peak your interest. And who knows what other online games may be revived in the new year.