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A tribute to the Dreamcast VMU

IT’S A HANDHELD GAMING SYSTEM

When removed from the controller, the VMU becomes a mobile game device. A few games came with minigames which could be loaded onto the VMU – though only one game could be stored on a unit at a time. The games were obviously unsophisticated, but the concept of having a mobile companion to your console was undeniably cool.


Above: Seaman utilized the VMU as a tool for storing and trading food…wouldn’t want your creepy-ass seamen to go hungry, would you? 


IT’S AN INDIE DEVELOPMENT PLATFORM

Build a device with a screen and some buttons, and someone will put a game on it. The VMU’s tiny screen and tiny processor might be off-putting for some, but there’s a niche following for everything, and VMU games are far from the smallest niche interest out there (I’d guess that nude fly fishing is significantly less popular). One devoted VMU developer has even created a primitive 3D engine for the device:


Above: Yes, it’s practically useless, but it’s an undeniably cool brand of uselessness that we’re glad exists

Blue Swirl hosts a large repository of VMU games, from ports of classics like Tetris, Metroid, Breakout, and Snake, to original ultra-low-res creations. The fine, if a bit pretentious, Dreamcast super-fans at The Dreamcast Junkyard put together a video compilation of some of the most-bestest VMU creations. It’s a seemly final statement on the level of passion Sega inspired when they released the Dreamcast 10 years ago – so much that even their memory device achieved a cult following.

Sep 8, 2009


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25 comments

  • Makk_Mizzy - September 9, 2009 9:52 p.m.

    I owned 3 of them and they kicked ass, it was so diabolical watching and looking at animations of the games I played and the little avatars to represent those games. Xbox 360 is the same except for the avatars are on the systems hard drive displayed thru the homepage vs. a MC. I love my 360, HARDCORE, woooooooooooooohoooooooooo!!!!!
  • Cyberninja - September 9, 2009 8:29 p.m.

    i miss my dead dreamcast but i never knew i could see my charactors on soulcalibar and i played that game alot
  • JohnDD - September 9, 2009 4:01 p.m.

    I was convinced by the Game shop assistants to get a Dreamcast over a PS2. I'm glad they did! No regrets!
  • forza - September 9, 2009 4:22 a.m.

    I hate this crap with type the words! I had a nice history of the Dreamcast written out and hit post comment. Only to have it not show because I did't type the stupid words to post a comment. I don't feel like typing it all out again and I forgot to copy it so your lost. Please get rid of this stupid feature! It sucks! Oopps I will hit the words this time.............
  • solidsnake_5552000 - September 9, 2009 3:35 a.m.

    I remember that I played the falco power stone mini game on my VMU. It was very primitive. Then I decided to buy a gameboy color.
  • Romination - September 9, 2009 12:55 a.m.

    I love my VMU simply because of the soul calibur thing. Really, I never EVER had batteries for it (even when it was new) so I never did any of the minigames that were only going to be available on one game I have (sonic adventure). You know what else i miss? Pokemon Pikachus.
  • WonsAuto - September 8, 2009 10:46 p.m.

    Man, those guys at the Dreamcast Junkyard take themselves a little too seriously. Fun article, though I was never cool enough to have an games loaded on my VMUs. :(
  • cart00n - September 8, 2009 10:15 p.m.

    @pheonix_wings: There wasn't a Chocobo World on the VMU, but there was something similar which tied in to Sonic Adventure.
  • Rattlehead - September 8, 2009 9:35 p.m.

    I never had a memory card for my Dreamcast. Being poor sucked
  • DoctorFruitbat - September 13, 2009 9:54 p.m.

    If anyone can revisit the idea of the VMU it's Sony - PS3/PSP link up? No contest. I'm genuinely perplexed as to why they haven't bothered, given how much people still love the Dreamcast/VMU.
  • crumbdunky - September 10, 2009 1:35 p.m.

    I used to lose VMUs like noones business-must have had about ten in my DC career! They were under used and, like the DC, overrated AND used more power than anything that size had a right to meaning that even when I could find mine it generally didn't work as the batteries were cying. Honestly, there were some GREAT games fopr the DC but we don't half make it sound like something it wasn't(i.e particularly good)-as in reality it was flawed, overambitious and failed to have nearly enough third party support to even have a fighting chance. I liked my DC and felt the VMY could have been a winner as well but I wish people would stop making the console out as some kind of games console martyr-Sega just messed it all up. Royally. However much we want to pretend we all bought and loved Shenmue it's time to stop it before the number of gamers saying they did gets as ludicrous as those people claiming to have seen The Sex Pistols at MFTH!
  • rxb - September 9, 2009 12:42 p.m.

    I loved my VMU but never bothered replacing the batteries because it was a joke. This article has just reminded me how much I wanted a pocketstation at the time. I neve got one which I think worked out 4 the best.
  • Gahmah - September 9, 2009 12:23 p.m.

    is the playstation symbol on the pocket station a watermark or was it always on the screen, it's faint
  • FamousMortimer - September 9, 2009 8 a.m.

    I remember being excited for all the little things the VMU was touted as being able to do. Then the batteries died. And then I looked stupid using a VMU in any place not inside the controller, where it belonged. And then hard drives became cheaper than curly fries. It did have one cool use though... playing NFL2K in college. It was great for calling your plays away from your opponent's eyes, since obviously it's screen was only viewable by the player using it. However... you did have to memorize play names, since they weren't diagrammed on that tiny screen.
  • iKOemos - September 9, 2009 6:03 a.m.

    This owns the Pocketstation.
  • CaptainHead - September 9, 2009 2:58 a.m.

    I noticed you put some comedy in your comedy, so I laughed while I laughed
  • Red - September 9, 2009 2:54 a.m.

    Truly the Dreamcast was the best system ever created, and anyone that disagrees is wrong. No really. I'll fight you over it.
  • Chrisulloa - September 9, 2009 1 a.m.

    The sonic baby thingies was fun to play with on the VMU, I was looking for my dreamcast but I don't know where I stored it away at. I miss it a ton.
  • bonerachieved - September 9, 2009 12:41 a.m.

    I got 2 of those from Disc Replay YESTERDAY, theyve got all your dreamcast needs!
  • Johnny6Gun - September 9, 2009 12:29 a.m.

    I was commenting about this thing in the 'question of the week' thread. A fitting tribute, indeed!

Showing 1-20 of 25 comments

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