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Monday Links: Bartman’s Phantasy Star Online 1 Check-In Edition


Oh dear, I got stuck with the Monday Links this week. You know that new Sonic game that everyone is talking about? Yes. No? Well, theres still not much to talk about, or Sonic Boom, or much of anything Sonic lately, and you probably don’t want to talk about sports either. In fact I’ve been busy messing around Phantasy Star Online despite being over 14 years too late, and I haven’t moved on to Phantasy Star Online 2. Why? It was something I had missed out on when it came out for the Drreamcast and Gamecube. Since I had broadband adapters for each, and my curiosity in private servers piqued, I wanted to take a look to see what I had missed.

The game’s aesthetics and gameplay structure were the main reason for me wanting to look back at this outdated RPG, because it used a theme thoat most RPGs have not tried to work with, and most would follow the large, open world that World of Warcraft popularized. In fact several of them had an identity crisis to the point that you’d think the developers just wanted to get away with making World of Warcraft. But not Phantasy Star Online, a game that took Sega’s established RPG series and not only gave it a multiplayer component but emphasized real-time action where you are actively engaged in battle, and avoiding damage and looking for enemy weakpoints requires creative strategy. This is probably the best non-Sonic game from Sonic Team, at least in my eyes. You’re still not going to be won over by the story, and it is absolutely difficult for newcomers to find others to play with online, but it certainly reached a technical marvel and helped kickstart a genre to what was popularized by its successors. Theres also fun to be had by playing the game Single Player, but the social element definitely makes up half the game through social interaction, item trading, and planning with your teammates on what to do.

My only handicap that I am personally following is to play this game as blind as possible. I’m not going to bother with item duping, I know Force classes are utterly broken, and I don’t want to consult a wiki to generate the best possible outcome for my character(s). I want to try to match my experience with the game similar to how others played the game back when it came out. Its incredible how the evolution of game design and social interaction has changed the way we play the game, and for a game like Phantasy Star Online, the experience does not match with a modern massive multiplayer environment. But to get the most out of the game, its best to look at why the game had it’s strengths in the first place. Its not entirely possible, and I do want to try and avoid the technical hurdles the game has, because there’s nothing quite like it out there. I want to see about doing an annual check in with the game as well as have more video podcasts with people who played the game before sharing their experiences. Because honestly? I truly regret letting it pass by me, even with the paid subscription fees involved.

Now, lets take a look at the headlines for Monday.

Retro/Bits News

Sonic/SEGA Stuff

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Vidya Retro Highlights: Sonic 4 Episode II Co-op Run

YouTube: [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4]

Twitch: [Link] [Uncut]

Ever wondered what its like to play Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II online with a friend? Me and Guess_Who, (With GeneHF and Retro user AndrewRoks1998 also providing commentary!) play through the game despite the struggles, frustration, and desyncs that got in our way in this Vidya Retro highlight. You can watch the misadventures segmented on YouTube or on Twitch in 60 frames per second.


Vidya Retro Highlights: Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Mobile and More

If you’ve missed our live stream shows, you’ll be happy to know that we archive (most) of our videos including our first look at Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed running on iOS as led by Guess Who. We’ve also got first looks of Sonic Dash and Crazy Taxi running on Android that showcase game features and commentary from the staff at Retro.

Be sure to follow our Vidya Retro on Twitch and YouTube for more first looks and other gameplay videos.

Community, Site News

Retro Community Day for PC Version of Sonic Transformed Today

Watch live video from VidyaRetro on TwitchTV

Watch the aftermath of what we did instead of watching the VGX. It involves Yogscast, Sonic Adventure DLC, bad Sonic rap and more for six hours.

Its free weekend for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed on Steam once again and its Saturday night, which means its time for another Retro Community Day. We’ll be kicking off at 5 PM central with the return of the pre-game show the hour before. You can expect Yogscast DLC characters to appear. Of course its either this or Pewdiepie on VGX. It’s your choice really.

Start sending in your friend requests to VidyaRetro on Steam now! We’ll periodically send out requests to join a two round game for each person added to the friends list. See you there!


Vidya Retro Streaming Feature of House of the Dead

Watch live video from VidyaRetro on TwitchTV

With the release of Typing of the Dead Overkill on Steam, we get to take a look at it along with other games in the House of the Dead series.

Update: Our livestream is over, but you can expect the Retro crew including Bartman3010, DavidTL, Overlord, Perfect Chaos Zero, GeneHF and Guess Who looking at several titles including The House of the Dead III, The House of the Dead 4, Zombie Revenge, and several random mobile games as well as The House of the Dead Overkill – Lost Reels, and the horrors of the mine cart in Sonic 4 Episode 1. 

Podcasts, Sega Retro

A Look at Elusive Dreamcast Titles on Vidya Retro

Watch live video from VidyaRetro on TwitchTV

This week on Vidya Retro we look at what could have been after the passing of the Dreamcast as we take a look at unreleased games and other elusive Dreamcast products as well as a pre-show look at the Android version of Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing.

Games covered include released and unreleased Dreamcast games, as well as games running on commercial and homebrew emulators through Dreamcast such as Half-Life, Bleemcast! with Metal Gear Solid, Propeller Arena – Aviation Battle Championship, Wacky Races, Fur Fighters, Sam & Max: Hit the Road and Doom II – Hell on Earth.

Commentators include Sonic Retro members Bartman3010, TimmiT, Overlord, Cinossu and David the Lurker. Listen as they trudge up old Dreamcast information from the US Dreamcast magazine and guess review scores for Dreamcast games.


More Dreamcast Games On Vidya Retro Livestream

Watch live video from vidyaretro on TwitchTV

The stream is done for the day, despite technical difficulties. The stream is embedded in the video above which features gameplay from Sonic Adventure 2, Jet Grind Radio, Unreal Tournament, Soulcalibur, Dynamite Cop, Spider-Man, Sonic Shuffle, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing, Looney Tunes: Space Race and South Park: Chef’s Luv Shack. 

The Dreamcast is still thinking this month with another set of hits (and misses!) streaming live on Vidya Retro which should be underway if you’re reading this. Be sure to talk with other fans in the Twitch channel and for any particular requests you may have.


Dreamcast Livestream with Vidya Retro

Watch live video from vidyaretro on TwitchTV

The stream has ended, but the entire three hours have been embeded above for your viewing pleasure. We’ve gone through Sonic Adventure, Typing of the Dead, Power Stone, Space Channel 5, Rayman 2 – The Great Escape, Crazy Taxi, Sonic Shuffle, and Quake III Arena.

What better way to celebrate the birthday of the Dreamcast with a live stream? Vidya Retro will be streaming starting at 5PM Central taking a look at some of the biggest games, hardware and more with SEGA’s last major console.