This serves as the first of what will be many posts detailing LOVES featured in our Denuo Rotating Header™.
Denuo loves Dreamcast, that wacky Sega gaming console released on 9.9.99 in America.
Denuo loves Dreamcast because it swung for the technological fences against the impending juggernaut of the Playstation 2. It ushered in a new era of videogame console specs: 128-bits, built-in internet connectivity (56kbps worth!), discs that stored more than a CDs worth of data, and VGA-capable graphic resolutions.
The Gators at Denuo love Dreamcast because its two official colors were orange (USA & Japan) and blue (Europe).
Denuo loves the Visual Memory Unit. A combination memory card and basic portable gaming system – it allowed for gamers to take micro-versions of their Dreamcast games on the go. The idea of connecting the portable and console gaming worlds still hasn’t hit the big time, but a decade later folks are still trying.
Denuo loves the Dreamcast controller. As painful as it still is to use, it served as the inspiration for the modern classic that is the Xbox 360 controller. Heck, Denuo loves ALL the zany controllers the Dreamcast pioneered. Dreamcast fishing rods, Dreamcast keyboards, Dreamcast microphones, and even Dreamcast maracas. When it came to plastic and silicon, Dreamcast went for broke.
That’s LINE as in phone line. For a 56k dial-up modem.
Denuo loves that Dreamcast was the first connected console. Sega squeezed all they could out of that 56k modem and ended up creating a plethora of connected gaming experience. Sega even had its own ISP for a while, SegaNet, which provided lower latency gaming connections over a dial-up connection. As amazing as it sounds, the setup worked. Gamers at the dawn of the millennium had (relatively) lag-free online console gaming through dial-up because of the Dreamcast.
Denuo loves Dreamcast games. The Dreamcast library represents game development at its most ballsy, wacky, innovative, and just plain ol’ GOOD. It introduced so many innovative concepts that we’re STILL seeing its influence.Sega certainly knew that “subtly” was the route to go in announcing the first console MMO.
Denuo loves Phantasy Star Online. Many a Denuologist sunk hundred of hours in front of their TVs exploring, hacking, and slashing through the world of Ragol with friends from across the world. Heck, Sega even solved for international conversations with a universal symbol/translation system accessible within the game.Jet Grind Radio remains one of the most refreshingly stylish games ever.
Denuo loves Jet Grind Radio. The game gave players a position in a rollerblading gang of graffiti artists in an uber-stylish, futuristic version of Japan (so, uh, like Japan I suppose). More importantly, Jet Grind Radio introduced the world to a technique called “cel-shading,” in which 3D rendered graphics took on the appearance of hand-drawn animation. The effect has gone on to become an industry staple – and is heavily featured in another thing Denuo loves.FYI: From now on when Denuo says “the future” we mean “Space Channel 5.”
Denuo loves Space Channel 5. The game put players in the orange platform boots of Space Channel 5 reporter Ulala in her quest for higher ratings against her rival Pudding from Space Channel 42 (this is not a joke). Along the way Ulala is tasked with saving save the world from an invading alien army armed with ray-guns that force people to dance. Also – Michael Jackson makes a cameo (again – we’re serious here). But the greatest thing about Space Channel 5 was the music – with its boss-nova style it can be heard in the halls of Denuo from time to time.I mean, look at those graphics. They still look awesome a decade later.
Denuo loves Shenmue. An epic that boasted hyper-realistic graphics and for first time actually HAD them. Set in a living, breathing recreation of a 1980s Japan town it featured a cast of hundreds, all of whom lived their own “lives” within the game. And perhaps, most importantly, it was one of the world’s first “sand box” style games. Shenmue allowed for gamers to move the story forward at their own pace, had a “day and night” system (revolutionary at the time) and provided plenty of “real world” distractions (an arcade featuring Space Harrier!) to keep you busy outside of the main plot. Shenmue also happens one of the most expensive games ever made coming in at at LEAST $20 million dollars to create.
Dreamcast’s legacy certainly lives on today – as demonstrated by this handy graphic.
The Dreamcast’s legacy still lives on today in modern franchises. The entire 2k Sports series of games originated on the Dreamcast. They were some of the greatest sports games of their day – and 2k Sports still provides some of the greatest sports gaming experiences a decade later. Project Gotham Racing and its innovative Kudos system got started with a fantastic Dreamcast-exclusive by called Metropolis Street Racer. Soul Calibur had its breakthrough moment when it launched on 9.9.99 alongside the Dreamcast and blew everyone away with its visuals and fluid mechanics. These are just some of the franchises that had their big, breakout moments on Dreamcast and still remain viable today.
Seaman, Zombies, and a Monkey named Amigo. All weird. All awesome. All on Dreamcast.
Denuo loves that Dreamcast was unafraid to be so damn WEIRD. There was Seaman – in which players interacted with a snarky fish-man who was aware of time, date, personal gameplay history (!) and most importantly voice. Players visited Seaman every day and everyday there’d be new things to discuss and do with him. He remember answers you gave him, and used them in conversations weeks later. Also, Leonard Nemoy narrated it – updating players on their progress with his dulcet tones (as heard on the video below).Conversations with digital fish-men are always this engaging.
There’s also Typing of the Dead – a typing-tutor version of Sega’s popular House of the Dead franchise. Players used the Dreamcast keyboard peripheral to behead zombies by typing words quickly. The guns in the game were replaced with Dreamcast and keyboards. WMP as weapon. Weird, but great.When the zombie apocalypse comes, make sure you’ve got a keyboard handy.
Then there’s a personal favorite, Samba de Amigo, which shipped with an expensive, unwieldy, and officially sanctioned Maraca Controller. Imagine a latin-themed Dance Dance Revolution, but using maracas and hands. It featured a Brazilian Carnival aesthetic and starred Amigo, a monkey whose emotional stability is dependent on your performance. Other modes in Samba de Amigo had you shaking maracas with a partner to determine your “love compatibility” and a Whack-A-Mole style minigame called… wait for it… Guac-a-mole. Brilliant.Samba! De AMIGO!
Denuo loves Dreamcast because it was unafraid to be innovative and risky. Denuo loves Dreamcast because it pushed the gaming industry into the new millennium. Denuo loves Dreamcast because it was, very simply, awesome. That is all.