When you hear someone say “great party game,” what do you think of? ChuChu Rocket!
If you have a Dreamcast, you better find yourself a copy of this game, along with three controllers and three friends. You can probably find all these things at your local used games shop, or perhaps on Craigslist.
But wait! Maybe that whole “three friends” thing isn’t necessary after all? That’s right–with the almighty power of Dreamcast’s built-in 56K modem, you can connect to CYBERSPACE. I’m talking the World. Wide. Web. A series of tubes that sends the “three friends” digitally, straight to your living room. This is the future of video gaming. Online console puzzle gaming fun with strangers, as millions all around the world play ChuChu Rocket every hour, on the hour. Your phone line just got a whole lot cooler!
Here’s how to play the game. Direct (space) mice to your rocket (be it red, green, blue, or yellow) by placing directional arrows on the map. Because they’re running around everywhere really fast, it makes for a hectic and KUH-RAZEE game. After all, the other three players are also trying to direct as many mice as possible to their respective rockets, so it doesn’t take much for anyone to wreck even the best-laid plans of mice and gamers.
Adding to the fun is the inclusion of (space) cats on the board. Every now and then a cat will show up, and it will gobble up every mouse it runs into–and even worse, it will instantly eat a third of the mice in your rocket should it get in! (After which, it explodes from overeating? I don’t know.) You have to direct cats away from your rocket–or even better, lead them into your opponents’ rockets.
A number of temporary randomizers (e.g. slow-motion, speed up, mice only, cats only, change rocket location, etc) ensures that everyone stays on their toes every second of the match. All of these elements come together to make a fun party game that’s easy for newcomers to learn quickly. And what if one of the players in the match is doing a lot better than the others? It’s quite manageable for the other three players to work together for a bit to even things up, meaning the tide can turn quite suddenly–and several times in the span of three minutes.
Along with the standard four-player game, there are various one-player challenge and puzzle modes to whittle away the hours with. Who knows, maybe you’ll even get a little smarter? And since the Dreamcast is internet-ready, you can even make your own puzzles to share with the world, and download the ones others have made! I have no idea if this is still a thing that works, actually. It worked back then though, and it was the best thing ever.
Ports for Steam, Playstation Network, and Xbox Live… when?
(in Ferris Bueller’s teacher’s voice: “Sega… Sega… Sega… Sega… Sega…”)
Well, since that’s not happening, time to kick it old-school and get those three friends of yours over for some quality ChuChu Rocket fun times with nachos and a jigsaw puzzle of M.C. Escher’s “Drawing Hands.” And then a round of Saturn Bomberman. Let’s get this party started you Sharkbergers!