Handheld-to-console connectivity

As I’ve been having a grand old time with my pocketstation recently, and hearing VMU chat pop up here and there, I thought I’d make a thread for the handheld-console interface. Anything involving a portable device doing something that has an influence on a non-portable device (and vice versa) is fair game.

Please share:

  • - Any connectivity you’ve had fun with yourself and your thoughts - give us the lowdown!
  • - Any wackadoo use cases you’ve heard of
  • - Whatever you feel!
  • The number of Japanese psx games that have pockestation compatibility in some way repeatedly surprises me. I’m sure there must have been a good amount of publishing contract stuff to push support for it, but it really is pervasive. I mentioned it in the playstation thread but Pocket Muumuu is just an incredible collection of pocketstation games doled out with a very satisfying money abd achievements system. My favorite things on there are the breakout games (three!) and the pinball game. They both are extremely difficult to see in motion due to the ball being rendered as a single pixel, but are both very full-featured. You can tell in the hands that the calculations running under the hood are tracking the motion at a sub-pixel resolution. I also like the pager simulator where you literally leave the pocketstation sitting around running the game, and you get a page within some random timeframe over tens of minutes. You earn points by responding quickly to the page by pressing the button. Hilarious. The overall flow of loading games onto the device, playing, offloading your points, getting new games, and repeating is just a nice expansion of the feeling of play.

    I haven’t checked out whatever tokimeki memorial 2 has going on pocketstation-wise.

    As a non dreamcast owner, the VMU has only been in my hands a few times. I would love to hear more about what people got up to with it.

    I owned the gameboy advance to gamecube controller cable, and maybe played crystal chronicles with it like once? I can’t recall. Anyone do anything cool with that?

    The 64 transfer pak hold a lot of mental real estate for me because its just so damn cool looking and silly. I recall feeling somewhat anxious about transferring my pokemon into stadium for fear of them somehow being lost.

    There’s some wii-to-ds shenanigans with download play, I think? I know MaBoShi had a dowloadable version on ds, any others?

    @“MDS-02”#p136932 The VMU was an absolute blast–three things jump out in my brain for what I got up to with it as a standalone thingy: Sonic Adventure 1/2 Chaos (virtual pets, basically), Time Stalkers had minigames (including a first person dungeon crawler!!!) as well as virtual pets, and then Skies of Arcadia minigames! For the most part these minigames were either just for fun or got you some gold or items or something in the games themselves. Mostly what I did was hang VMUs from my purse like big cell-phone charms. I didn‘t see anyone else doing this until I started going to anime cons because I didn’t know anyone else around me with a Dreamcast :joy:

    Apart from the VMU and like, the Vita--which I didn't have when it was new and only like this year got one--a really cool niche-within-a-niche was this thing for the Wonderswan that connects to the Pocketsation. I don't know what it's called and I never had one myself, but a Japanese friend used a little VMU-looking-device to swap character stats and such from SD Gundam GGen F on her Playstation/Pocketstation over to her G Generation Beat (a Wonderswan SD Gundam game) which I thought was *wicked* cool at the time. I don't know anything about what that thing was but it seemed like magic

    @“MDS-02”#p136930 The wildest example I can think of is the connectivity between KOF Battle de Paradise for Neo Geo Pocket Color and KOF 99 Evolution for Dreamcast via VMU. It's a lot of trouble to go to, but you can upgrade strikers in KOF99 by connecting the two games, functionality that as far as I can remember the ONLY way to upgrade your strikers, short of hacks. Here's some details about the other games that use the connector cable, and a photo of the cable (I only knew about Battle de Paradise).

    I am a big fan of the PocketStation. It is a lost moment in time for me. I was the absolute perfect demographic and all I needed to do was pay the $70? $90? + shipping to risk losing my save games in order to carry around a Chocobo and raise it. I was just too practical a college student to actually buy the damn thing. This was a real miss because so many of the PSX games I had happened to support the thing! What this means is I have objectively excellent taste as defined by Sony Computer Entertainment's marketing department circa 1999.

  • - Ape Escape
  • - _FFVIII_
  • - OK, _Grandia_ I didn't have, but I sure picked up a copy and put it back down on the shelf at Fry's Electronics every time I went there.
  • - _R4_
  • - _Street Fighter Alpha 3_
  • Last year at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo I bought a copy of _[Doko Demo Issyo](https://dokodemo.fandom.com/wiki/Doko_Demo_Issyo)_ as a souvenir. The sticker price said $2, but it had a different sticker on it that said ¥100 so I talked the guy down to $1 US. I have been considering getting a PocketStation again, but the PocketStation market at the expo this year was **dire**. I only saw two and they were roughly $55+ for a chipped screen with no cover. No thanks.

    Again, this is something that can be solved with money on eBay, but then I'd also have to solve the problem of USB memory card transferring which is again, "just" money, but I don't want to pay another $150 to get the memory card adapter on eBay.

    I "collect" very few games, but my copy _DDI_ is sitting right next to me and makes me smile.


    @“Game Beginner Girl”#p136941 this thing for the Wonderswan that connects to the Pocketsation. I don’t know what it’s called and I never had one myself, but a Japanese friend used a little VMU-looking-device to swap character stats and such from SD Gundam GGen F on her Playstation/Pocketstation over to her G Generation Beat (a Wonderswan SD Gundam game) which I thought was wicked cool at the time. I don’t know anything about what that thing was but it seemed like magic


    That little device is called the **WonderWave**. Unlike what the name implies^, it does not use radio wave frequency but the same infra-red port that PocketStations use to communicate with each other. Basically, it tricks the PocketStation into thinking it is talking to another PocketStation.

    Dang, I thought I could easily show it to you on Youtube but it’s actually quite hard to find footage online! You can see it in this PlayStation communication segment starting at 12m30s.


    Pac-Man Vs. is 100% worth the price of the GBA to GameCube link cable. It‘s incredible. If you haven’t played it, the ghosts play on the TV but can only see a certain radius of the maze around them. Pac-Man can see the whole maze, ghosts and all and plays on the GBA screen. So the ghosts are moving flashlights trying to catch Pac-Man while Pac-Man tries to clear the maze.

    (Note how I separated this into two posts so I can see if it's the _Pac-Man Vs._ recommendation or the reminiscing about the PocketStation that excites the dirtbags the most!)

    Can you hear it? The leaves in the trees are blowing and the frogs are waking… It is only a matter of time before the legendary Tree Froggy descends upon this thread……

    @“◉◉maru”#p136946 omg how cool—wild to see one like that, in my memory it looked so different :joy:

    @“Karasu”#p136943 The NGPC→Dreamcast cable was a big deal for SNK Vs. Capcom Vs. SNK as it made unlocking stuff in all games much faster. I remember buying it even before buying a proper NGPC link cable.

    Probably the craziest use of VMU was Marvel vs Capcom 2 on the Naomi communicating with Marvel vs Capcom 2 on the Dreamcast. [It was originally the only way to unlock all versions of all characters!](https://www.gamespot.com/amp-articles/vmu-details-on-marvel-vs-capcom-2/1100-2446194/)

    I remember VMU file sharing on FTPs being a huge deal on fighting game IRC channels back then, mainly because of SNK and Capcom. It may very well be what introduced me to mIRC (and FTP) in the first place!


    @"antillese"#p136945 It took me a while (until around 2004〜2005) to come around the coolness of the PocketStation. During its zeitgeist, my stupid ass was still angry at Sony for spoiling the cool vibe of the VMU by *evidently plagiarizing* Sega, a condemnation which I am not so sure about in retrospect: it was probably merely a natural evolution of the Tamagotchi boom and Game Boy revival with Pocket Monsters that both Sega and Sony recognized around the same time.


    The good thing about being late to the party is that the PocketStation fad was over around 2005 and therefore many video game stores and Book-Offs were clearing out their shelves of all PocketStation-related hardware and software, in order to make space for the Nintendo DS and PSP generations. So I got to equip myself on the cheap.

    My most memorable experience from that time was a forgotten "competitor" to Dokodemo Issho called PAQA. Also published by SCE, it was a game more similar to Seaman in spirit – it was released about 3〜4 months after Seaman but Seaman drew a lot of hype in enthusiast media before and after its release so I am not sure how much influence it may have had on Sony’s game.


    The microphone interface is obviously lacking for PAQA, but it has the same “troubled communication with an alien species” vibe, which was especially effective when combined with my limited Japanese skills back then. ~~I cannot really find any decent footage online, sadly.~~ Ah! Here is a short descriptive video.


    I agree that Pocket Muu Muu is probably the most in depth original game focussed specifically on the device (I am sure some derivative Digimon stuff gets even crazier). There was also Pokerā from Atlus which anthropomorphized the PocketStation.


    Otherwise, Capcom had pretty much the same use of PocketStation as they did of the VMU: allowing you to farm experience points / unlock points faster in Street Fighter ZERO3 (World Tour mode) and Justice Gakuen 2 (Adventure mode). That’s probably the use of PocketStation I wasted the most missing in the moment, although I don’t remember farming points to unlock contents on these PlayStation games being as egregious as on the Dreamcast games.

    There is now a decent video on Toro and Dokodemo Issho available in English online, since we’re on the topic.


    @“antillese”#p136947 I’m the kind of dirtbag that likes both.


    A few little scattered thoughts:

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    I know a guy who worked on a pocketstation game collection (can‘t remember which). He hated it! He said because the screen was so bad you could barely do anything, so it was hard to think of games that would actually work on the device. I still think it’s neat in general though, and a cool thing to have worked on.

  • -

    the VMU was at its best with dungeon crawlers, tamagotchi-likes, and little scrolling shooters (why weren't there more? Powerstone had one), but people really sleep on its most interesting usage which was (when docked in the dreamcast controller) choosing plays in sports games where your opponent couldn't see. that was some real Nintendo DS stuff right there.

  • -

    the thing that made me want a pocketstation was the Shienryu port for PSX. It had a "pocketstation mode" which looked SO COOL to me that I was like WOW the pocketstation must be so much more advanced vs the VMU! But then I realized it was just a fun minigame for the PSX, and would never ever work on the actual pocketstation itself. They put so much care into making it look like a pocketstation game that you can see why I was confused.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULkoPRTESz8


    @“exodus”#p136959 But then I realized it was just a fun minigame for the PSX, and would never ever work on the actual pocketstation itself.

    It looks really close to achievable, although those enemy shots would be hard to see. Check out Cosmic Nova from Pocket muumuu


    Here are all the Neo Geo Pocket games with Dreamcast functionality from my database. I can’t confirm or deny the effectiveness of any of these. Bikkuriman is the one that isn’t mentioned much online but I did find it mentioned in one list.



    @“LK”#p137056 Bikkuriman is the one that isn’t mentioned much online

    I'll see what I can find in the NGPC manual - I don't have the dreamcast version to test though.


    @“MDS-02”#p136932 There’s some wii-to-ds shenanigans with download play, I think? I know MaBoShi had a dowloadable version on ds, any others?

    There are some generic Simple 2000-ish casual board/table games with basic download play for local multiplayer (maybe actual Simple 2000 games, I forget), but MaBoShi's sort of unique in giving you actual standalone demakes, AFAIK.

    Warioware DIY Showcase, the Wiiware companian app for the DS game Warioware DIY, not only let you upload and play custom games from the DS version on your TV, it also came with 70-ish unique microgames that you could transfer back to DS.

    Nintendo had an app on the Wii that'd let you download demos for retails DS games, some of which featured content that was unique to that respective demo. Like most of the Wii's features, barely anyone even knew it existed, let alone used it, and I often wonder why they didn't ever make those demos available on, say, the DSi shop, or via some other means that would let DS owners get them directly and not via a Wii or an in-store kiosk.

    Most Wii/DS connectivity is just basic content unlocks or gimmicky little things like Guitar Hero letting you make dumb noises along with the music or whatever... one of the more interesting connectivity features was via the Japan-exclusive Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Wiiware games, which let you play with a DS as a controller and utilise the familiar touchscreen UI from the handheld game. (Those games were fan-translated not too long ago.)

    The one I am interested in terms of Wii to DS connection is Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time where I guess both games are essentially the same except for graphics and it allows you play local multiplayer with a mix of Wii and DS systems. I guess that works a bit better but is less unique than the 4 GBAs method on Crystal Chronicles for the Gamecube

    @“robinhoodie”#p137157 yeah, I didn‘t mention it in the context of download play because you need a copy of the full game on DS to do multiplayer, so I kinda view it as less of a connectivity gimmick and more just a cross-play game. The Wii version is just the DS game on your TV, two screens and all (with the annoying caveat that Wii players can only invite players into their game and can’t visit other peoples‘ games), so it’s not hard to see why it didn't have a lot of impact.

    It still beats the recent remake of the Gamecube game, which replaces all the GBA gimmicks with smartphone gimmicks that do not work in large parts of the world and barely work elsewhere.

    There were a few other Wii/DS and Wii U/3DS cross-play games... Monster Hunter 3U, a couple Puyo Puyo games, etc.

    Very jealous of all you folks that got to experience the pocketstation and vmu in their time.

    I sadly missed the pocketstation completely, which is a shame as Legend of Mana had a cute minigame on it. Mercifully, the remake of that has the pocketstation app built in, so it's possible for folks to experience it now.

    VMUs are such an amazing idea, but the Dreamcast is largely a black hole for me. If anyone has recommendations for something I should track down and try out, I'd love to get the experience.

    I have a lot of fond memories of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, but the GBA was just a fancy controller. Don't get me wrong, it was cool as heck, but unlike a lot of other games/systems, you didn't download something and walk away from it, you just used it as your menu so that it didn't pause play for everyone.

    And while I only fiddled with it a few times, the chao garden from Sonic Adventure on Game Cube that you could download to GBA was cool. A very fun feature.

    As someone who was already of fan of virtual pets and other little gadgets to carry around and tinker with, I was so excited to see Sega trying that out with the VMU, and naturally I took to carrying a chao in my pocket 24/7 when I got my hands on Sonic Adventure. I think literally one other kid at school cared enough about that sort of thing to bring his VMU with a chao on it to school and we would meet up and battle each other‘s chao. We didn’t really know each other that well even, we were just VMU buddies for a time.

    Interesting anecdote about that, I feel like this was also a time where every device was trying to be some all-in-wonder machine that does it all. One night I was at a friend's and my family was looking for me, my sister thought to check the VMU and found my VMU buddy's phone number that had been logged from his profile when we battled. I was not as his house after all, but it's kind of fascinating that that was a thing.

    Also, like @"exodus"#3 mentioned, I loved the "secret screen" aspect some games messed with. Me and my 3 siblings played a lot of Sonic Shuffle and had 4 VMUs specifically so we could see our own cards on the VMU screen and hide them from the others.

    If you like virtual pets, both Sonic Adventure games have pet raising sims that can be transferred to the VMU. If you like car stuff, Sega GT has a mini Car RPG on the VMU where your little guy can go to work and enter car shows to earn money that you can use in the real game.

    And I'm surprised Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles didn't get more mention, my buddies and I played the heck out of that game. I love that this game also had "secret screen" bit where each player had a secret mission to get and would reward you more points if you truly kept it a secret from the others.