You might be surprised to learn that the Dreamvast Visual Memory Unit (VMU) gaming scene is actually quite expansive, with a ton of ports of popular games to the nearly two-decade-old memory card with a screen. Developers and fans have been keeping it relevant ever since, though, and the latest plan is to port an approximation of Pokémon Go to the little handheld device.
When it was released alongside the Dreamcast in 1998 (in Japan), the VMU was way ahead of its time. It offered 128kb of storage space for saves, second-screen functionality, portable gaming through micro-buttons and even sound and multiplayer functionality. It often let you play smaller games that augmented the main experience, such as Chao leveling and match-three in Sonic Adventure.
All of that functionality will come into play with the planned port of Pokémon Go, though the eventual game will be rather different we’re told. Without a camera or GPS, augmented reality and real world tracking are out, but the developer, who goes by the name gaucasaurus_mex, promises randomly generated maps and a specialized mini-game for capturing Pokémon.
The game is going to take some time to complete, with an estimated release date of 2017, partly because the developer says he’s “lazy,” but also because he has to draw all of the Pokémon featured in the game. We’d expect him to follow through on the commitment though, as he has previously released VMU versions of both Flappy Bird and Street Race, with unique graphics sound and score systems.
As Ars points out though, if this is the kind of technology that you enjoy playing around with, or would like to have a nostalgic flashback to the VMU heyday with a modern twist, there are a number of strong gaming ports to the platform. Along with gaucasaurus_mex’s own efforts, there’s Metal Gear Solid, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Tetris.
Just make sure you stock up on watch batteries. Those VMUs chew through batteries in no time at all.