Released in 1999 in Japan and 2000 in North America, the Sega Dreamcast microphone was a rather unique peripheral for its time that allowed gamers to interact with their games via voice. While it wasn't the first microphone accessory released for home consoles, coming out after Nintendo's Voice Recognition Unit which was released in conjunction with Hey You, Pikachu!, it definitely had a more lasting impact on the industry, as the Sega Dreamcast was the first console to support online voice chat. So, what Dreamcast games supported the microphone? Read on to find out!
Alien Front Online
Alien Front Online is an arcade arena combat game where you control either tanks or alien spacecraft (depending on which side you choose) and blast away at your enemies. As referenced in the title, the focus of this game was definitely the online multiplayer, featuring different game modes like capture the flag and your basic team deathmatch. The game used the microphone for online voice chat, allowing players to record short voice clips that would then be sent to the other players. So it wasn't real-time voice chat, but it was still really cool, and thanks to the hard work of fans, Alien Front Online's online multiplayer has been restored and can still be enjoyed today.
Planet Ring was a Europe-exclusive online-only party game by Sega that was aimed at introducing casual players to online gaming and featured real time voice chat via the Dreamcast microphone. The game had an online community system, allowing you to create your own avatar and explore the game's world while interacting and competing with other players in four casual-style minigames. It was a very cool and revolutionary game for its time, and did a great job in showcasing the unique experiences that could be had through online console games. The game became unplayable after the official servers shut down back in the day, but the online play has now been fully restored by fans so it can once again be enjoyed by gamers today.
Namco's Mr Driller is an action-puzzle game that has you strategically drilling blocks to get to the bottom of the stage while trying not to get crushed. It's a spiritual sequel to Dig Dug, and if you like action-oriented puzzle games it's definitely a good game to check out. The game supports even supports the microphone as an unadvertised feature, allowing you to shout to drill the blocks instead of using a button. It's basically just a fun novelty, but it's really cool that Namco went out of their way to add microphone functionality for what was otherwise a straight arcade port.
There were also a handful of other games that offered microphone support, but these were Japan-exclusive titles that would be impossible to play if you can't speak and read Japanese. We'll list them below for completion's sake, however:
- Battle Beaster
- Christmas Seaman: Omoi o Tsutaeru Mou Hitotsu no Houhou
- Death Crimson 2: Meranito no Saidan
- Dream Passport 3
- Dream Passport Premier
- Heisei Mahjong Sou
- Kiteretsu Boy's Gangagan
- Marionette Handler 2
- O.to.i.Re: Dreamcast Sequencer
- Sakura Momoko Gekijou: Coji Coji
- Seaman: Kindan no Pet: 2001 Nen Taiouban
The PAL web browser Dreamkey Version 2.0 also supported the microphone, allowing users to send 10-second voice clips to online friends.
Don't own a Dreamcast microphone yet? It was originally packaged together with Seaman and Alien Front Online, so complete in box copies of both games should include one (make sure before you buy), but you can also buy it separately online.