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Showing posts with label Mobile Phones. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mobile Phones. Show all posts

A Brief History Of ChuChu Rocket! In Your Pocket

ChuChu Rocket! is a puzzle game that is undoubtedly a product of a struggling Sega. Imaginative, innovative, insane - one of the many one-of-a-kind experiments that was thrown at a wall in the Sega headquarters in the hopes that something would eventually stick and save the Dreamcast once and for all. Maybe this attempt to stand out was what led Sonic Team to create not just one of the most memorable puzzle games on the Sega Dreamcast, but one of the best and most memorable puzzle games ever made.
For the uninitiated, the premise of ChuChu Rocket! is simple. You place directional arrows on a checker board to guide mice (the titular ChuChus) to rocket ships, all whilst making sure they don't get eaten by giant orange cats that look like they are perpetually tripping on acid.
The guiding brainless animals to safety thing had been done eight years prior by DMA Design's Lemmings, but Sonic Team managed to take the concept and push it to the brink of madness whilst also throwing in a bonkers multiplayer mode and online play (that's still available today thanks to DreamPi). It serves as a high quality break for any Dreamcast fan who has sunk hours into deeper experiences like Shenmue or Phantasy Star Online who just wants to play something simple whilst also having an absolutely cracking time.

These days, with smart phones being in everyone's pockets, puzzle games that are easy to pick up and play function as perfect time wasters on a morning commute or even when we just can't be bothered to do anything else. Sadly, as I'm sure many of us can all agree, the vast majority of smartphone puzzlers are trite, micro-transaction ridden nonsense. But what if we could take a stellar puzzler like ChuChu Rocket! and play that in the palm of our hand instead? That would make perfect sense, right? Well it turns out that Sega did see ChuChu's portable potential...



Sega's Telecom Dream

Recently we discovered the Dreamphone, and with the help of the wider Dreamcast community were able to piece together the mystery behind this long forgotten peripheral. The Dreamphone turned out to be a repurposed Fujitsu My Phone YT8100, a simple device that let Japanese Dreamcast users connect to the internet and still allow phone calls to be made. The Dreamphone was given away as a low end Dream Point Bank prize (4000 points) and quietly fell into obscurity. It seems that Sega did have other plans for the Dreamcast when it came to telecommunications though, and here's proof:
This screen is taken from a video recently uploaded to YouTube by user DeChief. DeChief contacted me through the Assembler forums to ask if I would be interested in seeing a video that had been digitised from an old Japanese promo VHS tape. Naturally, even with overtones of the film Ring, I was keen and upon viewing it I realised the video was one I'd never seen before. 
The second half of the upload busies itself with game previews (and includes footage of Geist Force); but it's the first half that offers up the good stuff. At the 3:45 mark, the video shows off some intended uses for the VMU which include being able to attach the device to an arcade cabinet, the VMU attached to a mobile phone, and a VMU stuck in a hi-fi mini system!