Back before World of Warcraft, before Asheron's Call 2, there was a game I was obsessed about. In fact, obsessed is probably too weak a description of just how fanatically interested I was.
I was first introduced to it by a friend of mine - Greevesie, we'll call him - who was also fanatically interested in it. The game was called Phantasy Star Online and it was available on the Dreamcast console [Ed. this was circa 2001]. He had been eulogizing its many merits, how insanely fun it was and, most amazingly for a console, you could play it online.
Remember this was on the Dreamcast Console back in 2001 - in the UK, it was before most people had Broadband access, meaning it was a dial up MMO.
Phantasy Star Online was basically about a ship of full of people that was sent out into space to colonize a new planet. An earlier ship had been despatched to get the planet mostly ready for living on, on board which were scientists, doctors and engineers. As the second ship arrives in orbit, they witness a massive explosion on the planet and then nothing. No communication is available down to the planet. Its your job to go down there, find out what happened to the people, and on a side quest, find out what happened to the Mayor's daughter.
I played this game on the Dreamcast, on the Gamecube... and now I'm playing a version of it, called Phantasy Star Zero, on my Nintendo DS.
Amazingly the gameplay is almost the same as I remembered it on the other consoles - what a brilliant nod to a game than to have it on a hand-held console.
I've already been playing enough of it to get to Level 10 as a Human Ranger and looking forward to exploring other sections of the game whilst on the train, waiting for Elsha, at the shops - in fact, because its a hand-held - everywhere!
The only downside is that whilst the Nintendo DS console does allow for limited online play, it does so using WEP security.
And since our home router has WPA2, should I really drop security settings on our router so that I can go online with my DS?