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Phantasy Star Online

Phantasy Star Online (PSO) released in 2000 was an online title for Sega Dreamcast. PSO was also later ported to Microsoft Windows, but this version was only released in Asia. A bugfix/upgrade edition was released the following year, entitled Phantasy Star Online Ver.2.

It is a part of the Phantasy Star series of games that begun in 1987. The game has been followed by Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II

The game itself is a simple hack'n slash type Role Playing Game where you slay mosters, level up, buy new equipment etcetera. PSO differs from many previous games of this genre by offering a real-time, rather than turn-based approach to combat - and seamlessly integrating this with the exploration/plot development aspects of the game.

Communication between players is achieved via a combination of direct 2-line text entry, 'Symbol Chat' and 'Word Select'. As PSO online servers support international co-operative play, the 'Symbol Chat' and 'Word Select' features encouraged players to attempt communication with others, regardless of language.

'Symbol Chat' allows the player to define a collection of symbols within a speech bubble, in order to convey an emotion or simple instruction. These symbols could then be invoked via a player-defined shortcut, or accessed via an in-game menu.

'Word Select' acts as a limited phrasebook, allowing sentences to be constructed through a hierarchy of menus. Once complete, a sentence is automatically translated into the configured language of other nearby players, thus bridging the language gap encountered in cross-cultural multiplayer games.

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