Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness
As with Rayman, Maze Madness is a multiplatform release that performed best on Sega’s ailing console. Gameplay was simple as can be (run around Pac-Man mazes eating pellets and avoiding ghosts), but there was enough map diversity and charming music to make this feel like more than “Required Pac-Man Release #48.”
As “serious” gamers it’s easy to ignore releases like this, as Pac appeal is so broad it may almost count as a “casual” title. Oh, it’s worlds easier than half of the games on this list, but that’s part of the draw – it’s a laid back, just-for-fun trip when alone, and a remarkably addicting mainstay with another friend or two.
Current value: Sealed copies start at $30 (no freaking way) and one guy’s ready to let it go for $8, a much more realistic total.
Another bizarre gem from 2K Sports creators Visual Concepts, Floigan Brothers was heavily hyped well before the Dreamcast was even released, only to drop off the radar somewhere around the middle of its life cycle. It then popped up again right at the end, reborn as an episodic adventure game… that would never see any more episodes.
Centering around two junkyard-owning brothers, Hoigle and Moigle, Floigan Brothers was structured like an adventure game, but played more like a platformer. It also featured a trainable partner in the form of big brother Moigle, who could be taught to perform new tasks. It wasn’t exactly fantastic, but there’s never been anything else quite like it before or since.
Current value: Factory sealed for $20, not an unreasonable amount given its scarcity, though a “just fine” copy will only cost about $5-10.
We’ve never been interested in virtual pets, and yet Seaman captured our hearts in his webbed fingers and never let go. Seaman tasked you with raising a bizarre fish/amphibian creature with the face of a gently smiling Japanese man. While you had to care for him, the real draw was the voice interaction via microphone.
Seaman would ask you questions, learning about you over time. Later on, he’d ask questions relevant to what you told him, making it feel like he really “knew” you (something Microsoft’s Natal/Milo combination is pushing as groundbreaking). At the end, he must go free, and it was the most heart-wrenching ending we’ve ever encountered in a game.
Current value: We found one auction with no bids. Doesn’t bode well for the $60 sealed copy, though we’d say $15-25 isn’t a bad deal at all for one of the strangest games ever made.
Loosely based on House of the Dead, this brawler broke all the rules of zombie-themed anything by encouraging players to beat the shit out of zombies with their bare hands in addition to blasting them with found firearms (some of which, blasphemy of blasphemies, in the hands of zombies who were using them to shoot at you).
In spite of all the departures from accepted zombie formula, however, it was a respectably fun and cheesy (if tragically unpopular) reminder that slapping the word “zombie” onto a game’s title didn’t always result in great sales.
Current value: A brand new copy can be yours for around $20, which is roughly the price we paid for it in 2001.
The sequel to the cult PSOne hit Rival Schools, Project Justice was one of the more respectable fighters that Capcom brought to the Dreamcast party, immediately begging the question, “Why isn’t Street Fighter EX this good?” Project Justice was a simplified, team-based Street Fighter spinoff that featured a high-school-themed storyline and awesome team-up attacks.
Of course, with words like “Rival” and “Schools” excised from its name to avoid terrifying jumpy parents, it carried almost none of the limited recognizability that the Rival Schools brand had built in the US. And it’s a shame, because it was amazing at the time of its release, and still holds up remarkably well now.
Current value: A baffling $250 for a sealed copy. Stranger still is the OTHER sealed copy that’s a regular auction, which is presently at $37. If you want Project Justice at all, be prepared to pay near-modern prices.
The Typing of the Dead
You want a hard sell? “Light gun zombie typing game.” We god damn dare any modern publisher to come up with something as brazenly bizarre as Typing of the Dead, a converted port of House of the Dead 2 that replaces light guns with… keyboards.
Each zombie has a word underneath its body you must type before it shambles up to you and strikes, so there’s no aiming and no wild firing. Only typing. Cutscenes reveal your characters literally running around with Dreamcast consoles and keyboards strapped to their back. This was a console known for unique and off-the-wall efforts, and no game better fits both descriptors.
Current value: Prices fluctuate like crazy, with sealed copies selling for $15 while so-so discs are asking for $40-50. Just make sure you have a keyboard first.