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Shinobi December 14, 2015 | PSO Memorial Opens
     > We're just one week away from December 21, which will mark the 15th Anniversary of when Sega released Phantasy Star Online for the Dreamcast in Japan.  I've been reminiscing the days of "gaming in the realm", as I've often referred to my PSO career.  Then I remembered, I actually wrote multiple editorials about my experiences in the early years.  I thought it would be nice to compile everything throughout this week and put up a memorial to my favorite game of all time.

     > At the time I wrote them, I was thinking of the future when it might be difficult to remember some of the details of this wonderful experience.  I was definitely right.  Reading through these has brought it all back into focus, and I thought it might help other PSO players to appreciate their good times too.  If you're PSO fan or one of the people I gamed with, feel free to contact me on the Sega/Shin Force Facebook page.

     > Anyway, 15 years ago the world of Sega was seemingly on the rise.  I was all over getting the Japanese version of Phantasy Star Online, as it was just too long to wait until the end of January for the American release.  After all, this was to be the first console MMORPG and it was a Phantasy Star sequel!  I recall owning it within a day or two of its actual debut.

     > All the magazines of the time were hyping it up and had huge feature articles to get everyone up to speed.  One magazine even had an entire article for online etiquette, which was surely needed.  Most console gamers never played a game online, much less one with potentially thousands of people (myself included).  The closest I ever came to online gaming was a local network of PC's to play a flight simulator.

     > Dare I remind you most people were still connecting to the internet via dial-up ISP!  Wow, I'm glad that is history.  Not only because it was slow, but it had negative affects on PSO gaming.  Lag wasn't too bad most of the time, but when it hit you knew it.  Let's not forget if you lost your connection, you tended to lose items that were in your inventory -- extremely frustrating!  The original PSO's drop rate for rares was so low, it made replacing items lost to internet service issues or hacking very difficult.

     > Thank God, Sega released a broadband adapter and most PSO players immediately upgraded.  That wasn't the only thing Sega improved, as they were busy working on Version 2 right away.  Sega/Sonic Team had it out (in Japan) by June 6, 2001 -- just a little more than six months after the initial PSO release.  The North American release of PSOv2 was shortly after that on September 21, 2001.

     > Phantasy Star Online Ver.2 (which is also referred to as Episode 1) featured new weapons, better drop rates, Ultimate difficulty, new enemies, new scenery, Challenge Mode and Battle Mode.  Online action/RPG heaven was in the hands of most Dreamcast players by the end of 2001.  It's too bad Sega gave up on the Dreamcast.

     > Since then, Sega has released many new Phantasy Star games for every system you could imagine.  Phantasy Star Online 2 (with multiple Episodes now) being the most recent, is only available in Japan and southeast Asia (at this time).  If Sega never brings PSO2 to the USA, it will just be a shame that so many people will miss out of the current action/RPG masterpiece....
 

Good Gaming,
-Shinobi





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