20 Games You Would Want on a Sega Dreamcast Mini

If I rubbed a lamp containing a genie, one of my three wishes would be for a Dreamcast Mini. The other two wishes would be for Thin Lizzy to un-die and reform and for Kellogg's to bring back Frosted Double Dip Crunch.

25

After the runaway success of Nintendo’s NES Classic console in 2016 and the growing hype surrounding the upcoming (and hard to pre-order) SNES Classic, the Shacknews staff thought about other consoles that could use a modern update in a smaller form factor. Obviously, the Dreamcast is the greatest console of all time, so it was a natural choice. With the easy part out of the way, the real struggle comes down to selecting which games should be included with a hypothetical Sega Dreamcast Classic.

The Birth of the Dreamcast

The Dreamcast began life in the mid-90s under the codename “Blackbelt”. It would be Sega’s follow-up to the Sega Saturn, which had generally received a lukewarm reaction from the video game world. The original design was to be powered by a 3dfx chipset based around the popular Voodoo 2, but complications and internal company politics led to the use of one of NEC’s PowerVR chipsets. The project was renamed “Katana”. Katana would be paired with a new optical disc format known as the GD-ROM. IT was similar to the dominant CD-ROM format of the time, but had the benefit of a larger storage capacity. While conventional CD-ROM discs could hold around 650MB of data, the GD-ROM was capable of storing up to 1GB of information.

In a first for consoles, the machine would ship with a 56k modem from the factory for internet connectivity. The modem itself was a modular unit that was designed to be replaced as network standards improved in the future. The controller featured analog triggers and ports for memory cards and rumble packs. Sega held a public competition to name the new console and Dreamcast ended up being the winning entry. The Dreamcast launched in Japan on November 27, 1998 and the North American release followed the next year on September 9, 1999.

While the Japanese launch was light on software and having only a port of Virtua Fighter 3 as a showpiece, the North American Dreamcast launch arrived with eighteen games in tow. Included in the launch library were some heavy hitters, including Sonic Adventure, Soul Calibur, Power Stone, and NFL 2K.

Ended Before it Started

Despite the strong launch library, the video game market had some hesitation towards the new console. Video game giant EA chose to abstain from participating on the Dreamcast platform, reportedly due to Sega’s hesitation to grant EA exclusive rights to sport titles on the console. The absence of the largest third party games publisher and the impending release of Sony’s Playstation 2 console eventually doomed the Dreamcast despite its initially strong sales. The Dreamcast was officially discontinued on March 31, 2001. In total, 9.13 million Dreamcast consoles were sold worldwide.

While it may not have burned for long, the Dreamcast star burned incredibly bright. It was on the forefront of many features that later became staples of console gaming, including online play, voice chat, and use of a second screen via its VMU memory cards. It was a system known for being the king of arcade ports and fighting games. During its lifespan, Sega studios delivered some of the most unique and innovative software available at the time.

The Cream of the Crop

Across all territories, the Dreamcast library was comprised of 636 titles. For this hypothetical Dreamcast Mini project, only 20 of them make the cut. In no particular order, these standout games would make for the best possible Mini collection:

1 - Soul Calibur

Originally released in arcades in July 1998, this fighting game classic arrived on the Dreamcast as a launch title with improved graphics and a story mode that was incredibly novel for the time. Soul Calibur was everything you want as a new console showcase. It looked and ran amazing on the Dreamcast hardware and was the first time the a console port of an arcade game was visually dominant versus its coin-op counterpart.

2 - Shenmue

One of the most ambitious games ever released, Shenmue provided a glimpse into the future of gaming with its interactive open world and quicktime events. Its budget nearly crippled Sega at the time and it failed to recoup its development costs. The adventure/action/RPG game still has a rabid following and its second sequel is currently in development.

3 - Power Stone 1 & 2

While never as popular as its Capcom fighting cousins, the Power Stone games are considered to be the pinnacle of 4-player couch gameplay on the Dreamcast. Four combatants would square off in multiple arenas from a high-angle perspective and collect weapons and powerups to aid in the fight. Excellent candidates for a modern remaster and digital store re-release, these two games sell for astronomical prices on the secondhand market to this day.

4 - NFL2K1

While it could never realistically be included in this collection due to licensing issues, NFL2K1 is one of the most important games ever released for consoles. In addition to its gameplay dominance over contemporaries, it was the first Dreamcast game to get full-fledged online play. The text on the back of the game case reminded players that “this season, the whole country is in bounds”. It was also part of a bundle with a black-shelled Dreamcast console.

5 - Virtua Tennis

A deceptively simple tennis game was an arcade-perfect port of Sega’s AM3-based hit. The Dreamcast version had an added campaign mode that culminated in a match against Arthur Ashe. Local multiplayer was an absolute blast and could be picked up and played by anyone.

6 - Marvel vs Capcom 2

One of the most popular fighting games ever made and continuing to be re-released in perpetuity, Marvel vs Capcom 2 originally arrive in Japanese arcades in 2000 with the Dreamcast port following quickly. Fast, colorful, and making no sense, the game pits Marvel Comics heroes against a roster of Capcom’s biggest stars. A must own for any Dreamcast library. It also has the best song in video game history.

7 - Rez

The popular music-based rail shooter is probably most remembered as a Playstation 2 game, but it also released for the Dreamcast on the same day (though it never saw a North American release). It was developed by Sega’s AM9 team and has been remastered and re-released several times, including a VR version.

8 - Samba De Amigo

Another title that would likely not make the cut from the Dreamcast mini in real life, Samba De Amigo was an arcade port of a latin music rhythm game that used dope-ass maracas. Best played while drinking or with some other drug, this dancing monkey simulator represented the offbeat creativity coming from Sega’s studio during the turn of the millennium.

9 - Ikaruga

Originally released in 2001, Ikaruga is shmup classic. It features a ship that can swap between black and white, which allows it to avoid projectiles in those respective colors. The game and levels are designed tightly around this mechanic. It never saw a North American release on the Dreamcast, though it eventually made its way to the west via Nintendo’s Gamecube in 2003.

10 - Crazy Taxi

No point in buying a Dreamcast Mini if you can’t use it to make some crazy money. A semi-open world taxi simulator that was full-on bonkers ended up being of the landmark releases for the Sega console. Featuring crazy slides, crazy jumps, and crazy fares, anyone could pick up Crazy Taxi for a few minutes and be enthralled. The Bad Religion and Offspring tunes that provided the soundtrack are still burned into my brain.

11 - Phantasy Star Online

The first MMORPG to grace a console was one of the crown jewels of the Dreamcast library. PSO brought some massive improvements and changes to the series. The biggest change for fans was a shift into real-time combat rather than the turn-based systems used for the Genesis Phantasy Star games. PSO was a critical darling upon release and considered one of the better RPGs of its time.

12 - Jet Set Radio

Taking influence from the insanely popular Tony Hawk games and adding in an open world and legendary soundtrack put Jet Set Radio on the path to Dreamcast immortality. JSR featured a semi-open world that skaters painted with graffiti and evaded the police. It was one of the first games to use cel-shaded graphics and as a result, looks much less dated than its contemporaries.

13 - Sega GT: Homologation Special

Sega’s answer to Gran Tourismo was a critical success, but failed to make an impact on the sales charts or in the hearts and minds of simcade racing fans. Breathtaking visuals and a full roster of realistic licensed cars made an excellent for the player who did pick this up instead of waiting more than a year for Gran Tourismo 3 and the Playstation 2.

14 - Sega Bass Fishing/Marine Fishing

A pair of arcade ports from the legendary Model 3 hardware, these games came with the official Dreamcast fishing controller and were pure joy distilled into its purest form. A bright, colorful presentation and easy to pick up gameplay made these games a hit with players. In Japanese arcades, Sega Bass fishing was known as Get Bass, the greatest game title of all time.

15 - Tokyo Xtreme Racer

Before Vin Diesel started stealing DVD players with Varsity Blues and making 30 sequels, Tokyo Xtreme Racer was the hot way to get into underground street racing culture. Featuring an innovative racing duel system that worked a bit like a 2D fighting game, TXR provided one of the best single player campaigns in racing game history. Player used their skills and winning to upgrade their cars in hope of becoming the top street racing club in Tokyo.

16 - Space Channel 5

Only on the Dreamcast could you have a game about a ditzy dancing reporter battling an alien invasion be fun and make some sort of sense. A rhythm game that was cool before rhythm games took over the world 7 years later, Space Channel 5 oozed style and strangeness. Players who could press onwards to the end of the game were rewarded with the chance to dance with the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson.

17 - Sega Rally Championship 2

If it seems like this list is heavy on driving games, that would be because the Dreamcast was unmatched when it came to provided the best of the best in racing. Sega Rally was another arcade port from Sega’s famed Model 3 architecture and the Dreamcast version was very faithful to the original, though it ran at 30fps instead of 60fps like the arcade cabinet. A joy to play and featuring a classic Sega arcade soundtrack, Sega Rally 2 was an early hit during the Dreamcast’s first year.

18 - Resident Evil: Code Veronica

Code Veronica marked the debut appearance of the Resident Evil series on the Dreamcast and was the first Resident Evil game to appear outside of the Playstation brand. It was the first game in the series to be rendered in full 3D rather than just 3D characters against a 2D backdrop. It went on to become one of the best-selling Dreamcast games and is considered to be one of the bright spots in the Resident Evil series.

19 - Dead or Alive 2

With Soul Calibur being the unquestioned star of the Dreamcast’s 3D fighting games, Dead or Alive 2 was not far behind. It sported amazing visuals for the time and offered gameplay that many considered to be superior to that of its more popular weapons-based counterpart. It remains the best reviewed entry in Tecmo’s fighting series and was the last release that focused on the fighting instead of breast size sliders (which DoA2 did have…).

20 - Skies of Arcadia

Unarguably the biggest RPG to land on the Dreamcast, Skies of Arcadia was the result of a collaboration between Panzer Dragoon, Phantasy Star, Sonic, and Sakura Wars developers. The pre-release hype was warranted as they delivered in spades. Critical reception to Skies was universally positive, but like many other Dreamcast games, simply failed to have impact commercially. Skies of Arcadia was later reworked and ported to Gamecube in 2003 where it gained a bigger following.

Honorable Mentions

While the 20 games above are amazing, many more titles on the Dreamcast deserve consideration for inclusion into this hypothetical MiniCast. In no particular order, the honorable mentions go out to Street Fighter III: Third Strike, Daytona USA 2001, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, Grand Theft Auto 2, Grandia 2, House of the Dead 2, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Metropolis Street Racer, NBA Showtime, Seaman, NHL 2K, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing, NBA 2K2, Toy Commander, Quake III, Unreal Tournament, World Series Baseball 2K1, Zombie Revenge, Ultimate Fighting Championship, Hydro Thunder, and ChuChu Rocket.

In a perfect world, Sega will come though and deliver on a MiniCast and secure a sizeable amount of these beloved games for inclusion and while we are talking fantasy situations here we might as well ask that they make enough consoles so that anyone who wants to buy one doesn’t need to refresh Walmart.com at 3am to get one.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

From The Chatty

  • reply
    September 1, 2017 1:40 PM

    Chris Jarrard posted a new article, 20 Games You Would Want on a Sega Dreamcast Mini

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 1:46 PM

      virtua tennis was the bomb

      • reply
        September 1, 2017 2:00 PM

        Seriously.

      • reply
        September 1, 2017 10:23 PM

        holy shit I played so much virtua tennis

      • reply
        September 1, 2017 10:28 PM

        For some reason I was way better in that game with the original Saturn pad via converter. It was super addictive

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 1:47 PM

      I'm not sure how Hydro Thunder doesnt make that list..... hopefully with it being Free this month on xbone people will give it some love.

      • reply
        September 1, 2017 1:50 PM

        It is in the article in the honorable mentions section.

      • reply
        September 1, 2017 10:04 PM

        it just wasnt a good game

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 1:49 PM

      Lol, the DoA2 pic

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 1:49 PM

      also grandia 2. always wanted to play that but my pc isn't good enough for the recent pc port.

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 1:51 PM

      I don't think I'd need 20, but yeah, there are some solid choices.

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 1:51 PM

      No Blue Stinger?

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 1:53 PM

      I think there's been some kind of clerical error: I do not see Chu Chu Rocket on this list

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ga62uiXbEjI

      TSUBABABABA!!!

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 1:53 PM

      ain't no way i'm taking DOA2 over VF3, that's not even close

      • reply
        September 1, 2017 1:54 PM

        really? doa2 was one of my favorite games

        • reply
          September 1, 2017 2:02 PM

          Yeah, the DOA games can be fun but they're ultimately pretty shallow fighters. VF has a really steep learning curve and is not very approachable at all, but once you get the hang of it, it's DEEEP. It would be a little hard to go back to VF3 after 4 and 5, but even still it's a super deep game.

          I just always found DOA to be weird with it's stun moves and stuff. I dunno, just not for me at all, I'd rather play Tekken with its endless grab chains.

          • reply
            September 1, 2017 2:36 PM

            I never played a ton of VF nor the later DOA games, but two was a really fantastic, like, saturday afternoon impromptu round robin with friends game. Just a bunch high schoolers with nothing to do, and that game was easy enough to pick up that anyone could have a blast.

      • reply
        September 1, 2017 7:40 PM

        you have been voted off the island.

      • reply
        September 2, 2017 7:25 PM

        Man, sometimes I do feel like one of the 20 people on this planet who love Virtua Fighter... it's the only series of fighting games I ever really got into. I've tried many but that was the only one which stuck with me. I always thought it had a very solid feeling to it, which feels like the pace and timing of a more realistic fight to me. Maybe because I was fencer for 14+ years... whiles it's not a super-realistic game... the feeling of playing it reminds me of facing an actual opponent in a one to one battle more than other fighting games (waiting for an opening... jumping in for a few jabs... timing everything just right). I think it's the simplicity of the moves and the reduced focus on combos. Love those games.

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 2:01 PM

      I only got to play Soul Calibur 2 and we played the shit out of it, my not-so-into-gaming roomies couldn't stop talking about it, they loved it.

      • reply
        September 1, 2017 7:42 PM

        This is VERY true. i had people coming into my dorm room just to play this all the time, we had tournaments, got sleep deprived, threw controllers, had arguments, and ultimately it bonded the entire floor that i was staying on....

        and now i'm old enough to really say, "the good ol' days." and for it to be true.

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 2:02 PM

      Your honorable mentions is a cop-out. Dumb Sega GT over Tony Hawk? Please.

      • reply
        September 1, 2017 2:03 PM

        Your face is a cop-out. THPS2 was an awesome game, but I held it out of the featured players since it was on 45 other platforms as debuted on Playstation first. Same reason I held GTA 2 out of the top spots.

        • reply
          September 1, 2017 2:05 PM

          lol

          I think I liked THPS1 even better because it had that insane downhill jam thing that wasn't anywhere else.

          Also, you forgot Spider-Man, ugly.

          • reply
            September 1, 2017 2:08 PM

            DC port was the worst of the bunch. Doesn't matter, though, that series hit its stride with Spiderman 2 on PS2/GC/Xbox.

            • reply
              September 1, 2017 2:09 PM

              Oh shit I REALLY remember the game you left off - San Francisco Rush 2049 or whatever the stupid number was. The single player sucked, but fucking battle mode was hilarious and great.

              • reply
                September 1, 2017 2:13 PM

                You're forgetting Rush 2: Extreme Racing on N64 and its stunt mode and superior soundtrack.

                • reply
                  September 1, 2017 2:18 PM

                  And it's amazing 10fps

        • reply
          September 1, 2017 4:42 PM

          and outside of the OG upgraded version of THPS2, the dreamcast version was the best.

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 2:02 PM

      Typing of the Dead

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 2:04 PM

      Soul Reaver on dreamcast is thought of by some as the best version
      https://youtu.be/ni13xjHvwu4

      • reply
        September 1, 2017 2:33 PM

        Good list though. I'd buy a mini dreamcast, but maybe they could make the controllers a little better while they're at it

      • reply
        September 1, 2017 10:26 PM

        I owned both the psx and dc version and definitely preferred the dc one

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 2:17 PM

      You put Samba De Amigo in the top 10 so I'm happy.

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 2:39 PM

      You forgot TOY COMMANDER.

      Which I used to play on my projector... on the wall of my living room. It was easily a seven foot tall 4:3 screen.

      because there was an electrical outlet in the bottom middle of it. :(

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 2:50 PM

      I dunno about a mini, but loved the Dreamcast mainly for one reason: calling your play in NFL2k using the little lcd screen on the controller. Brilliant, revolutionary for football games.

      Any other football game when calling plays with that split screen made it too easy for friends to cheat and have a good idea what play you just called.

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 4:06 PM

      Quake III

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 4:41 PM

      Sega GT was absolutely goddamn horrible.

      shouldn't be on that list at all.

      Toy Commander or Metropolis Street Racer/Le Mans 24hr should be on that list.

      • reply
        September 1, 2017 4:42 PM

        Msr was so good

        • reply
          September 1, 2017 4:47 PM

          and also very VERY unforgiving unlike the sequel on the OG xbox project gotham racing.

      • reply
        September 1, 2017 4:54 PM

        Seriously. Fucking terrible.

        • reply
          September 1, 2017 6:09 PM

          They tried to copy gran turismo 2 soooo hard and it was a complete failure on all levels.

          Sega rally on the other hand was great.

          But I gotta go with MSR, le mans and vanishing point as my favorite dc racing games.

      • reply
        September 2, 2017 7:26 PM

        I thought it was great at the time... I put a ton of time into that game.

        Toy Commander was amazing though... that should be on this list.

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 4:44 PM

      I still have a working Dreamcast, with several of those games.
      Shall we start the bidding at....ONE BILLION DOLLARS??

      • reply
        September 2, 2017 7:27 PM

        I do too, I actually broke it out last year and played about 20% of Skies of Arkadia from the beginning... it's still a good game. I loved that system and I was so sad when it started to die off.

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 4:44 PM

      also no Ecco the Dolphin.

      bar none one of the most amazing looking games on that system.

      • reply
        September 1, 2017 10:27 PM

        Yeah that game is super underrated

        • reply
          September 1, 2017 10:53 PM

          And stupidly hard. I wanted to break my controller on that climbing waterfall level.

          Man did it ever suck when you fell all the way down because you missed a jump.

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 7:39 PM

      This is the greatest list and idea of all time. i fully support Dreamcast Mini and will pay into the GoFundMe.

      I totally forgot about Powerstone and Tokyo Xtreme Racer. The only game I had that isn't here (which i had almost everything listed) that maybe i would have done is Le Mans 24hrs...

      again what a glorious list.

    • reply
      September 1, 2017 8:04 PM

      seaman

    • reply
      September 3, 2017 1:35 PM

      Man I would buy any kind dreamcast re-release in a heartbeat.

      I seriously have a Dreamcast hooked up behind me right now, next to my Switch, XB1, and PS4, it's one of my favorite systems ever.

      I'd like to see them put out a Dreamcast re-release that could play original discs, and had wifi with a digital store option.

      Hell we might even be able to get some companies to make new original content if that happened.

      ...I'm dreaming, I know....But hey, it's the Dreamcast, so I'm allowed.