Results from Game Design Challenge: Living the Dream(cast)

By Danny Cowan [07.23.13]

Sega's Dreamcast hosted a slate of wildly creative games, many of which required dedicated peripherals. Peripheral-driven games have seen a sharp decline in the years since, though as Harmonix's Rock Band series demonstrated, players are still willing to fill their living rooms with plastic guitars and drumkits for the sake of unique, compelling gameplay experiences.

As part of Game Career Guide's latest Game Design Challenge, we challenged our readers to design games for three of the Dreamcast's more unusual peripherals: the Dreamcast Fishing Controller, Samba de Amigo's Maracas, and the Dream Para Para Controller.

You may think that these devices have limited use. Back in the Dreamcast's day, however, developers often found creative ways to support peripherals in unconventional ways. Mr. Driller, for example, allowed players to drill through blocks by shaking the Samba de Amigo Maracas, and Soulcalibur mapped vertical and horizontal strikes to the motion-sensing Fishing Controller.

This challenge's winning designs displayed similar ingenuity. Here are our top picks.

Best Entries

Mark Kakareka, President and Founder of Guilty 10 Games, War Drums (see page 2)

Pang Kean Keong, Student of Multimedia University, Faculty of Computing and Informatics, Kite Fighter Mania (see page 3)

Bernard John (B.J.) Badger, Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy alumnus, Spellweaver (see page 4)

Brad Fisher, University of Baltimore, Terrorcombs (see page 5)

Mohd Najman bin Mohd Maliki, Student of Multimedia University, Malaysia, Kuina the Two Sword Samurai (see page 6)

Juan Briganti, Software Developer, Catch It (see page 7)

Guilherme Schirmer da Costa, Game Development Student at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, The Final Fist of the Fighting Fish (see page 8)

Jon Pulsipher, PepperMan (see page 9)

Mark Kakareka, President and Founder of Guilty 10 Games, War Drums

The Pitch: Secrets leak, spies are everywhere, and the only calls to lead us is music. In War Drums, this fantasy rhythm turn base strategy game; the player takes the roll of a Drum General whos job is to lead armies by giving his commands through special drum beats. Create specal beats to move and create units, different instruments add powers, and once the player is done creating the beat, the player will perform it with the Samba de Amigo Maracas. The better the performance the more powerful the units. The player will need to be crafty and must hit those notes in order for a well sounded victory.

Game Overview:

Main Menu: In War Drums, the player with the Samba de Amigo Maracas to navigate through all the game features.
- Story Mode: Choose between 4 factions (Humans, Orcs, Undead, Bird-People) and play through their quest for victory.
- Multi-Player: Play online or split-screen 1vs1, 2vs2, and 4vs4 matches.
- Gallery: See all the music instrument and units you have collected and mix and match your platoon for the perfect army.

Starting Up: The player can use both maracas to navigate through the game. The 2 lower points, which are hit by lowering your arms help the player navigate the menus. In battles the game will go to each of the players units so the payer can give them commands or see how their heath bars are. When the player's units move, they move i spaces. The player can adjust how many spaces they move by the shacks of the maracas. Raise your arms and shack to move forwards, keep your arms in the middle of the player to move back. If a unit hits an enemy when moving then they are attacking that unit. A music beat will pop up and it's up to the player to play it as best he can for max damage. Once all enemy units are defeated the player wins.

Sample Gameplay:

You play as the Bird-People faction, the game goes to each of your units for a command. You get to your Ultra Unit, "The Hell Fire Phoenix". You see a group of zombie warriors that are 14 space away. You move the left maraca to tell the Phoenix to move to the zombie unit. But the Phoenix can only move 12 spaces. This is when a music beat will pop up and if you get a perfect score on that beat by matching the music beat correctly with both maracas, the Phoenix will move 6 spaces more and attack the Zombie unite. The better you play the more bonuses you get.

Pang Kean Keong, Student of Multimedia University, Faculty of Computing and Informatics, Kite Fighter Mania

Dreamcast peripherals : Dreamcast Fishing Controller

Game title : Kite fighter Mania

Story : Henry is a kid born in the famous fisherman family. He used to inherit his family jobs as a fisherman but his dream is to become a kite fighter. Hence he decided to leave his family and participate the world class kite fighting competition. He left his fishing village and go for adventuring in the grassland.

Gameplay : Gameplay is about using the fishing controller to kite fighting against the opponent. The player need to participate each of the game match and fight the opponent.

The competition contains 2 modes :

- "Fly high" , in a given time duration to get the highest position and avoid to get cut by the opponent.

- "Last man standing", fight with a few opponents and cut all the opponents down.

Mechanic :

1. Vertical : pull the line of kite to left or right in order to cut the line of the opponent.

2. Horizontal : move the controller upward and downward will both fly the kite higher

3. Reel : Pull and release the string or line to control the kite's height or string tension

4. Analog : At the beginning of the competition, the kite need to get the right direction of wind blowing in order to fly to kite up. Push the analog by pushing toward the right direction by following the indicator.

Win/Lose Condition: Win : Fly the kite to the highest spot and the line is not cut by the opponent in the specific time duration OR fight with a few opponents and cut down all the opponents' kite

Lose : Kite line is being cut by the opponent OR failed to gain the top position in the time given.

Rewards : By winning each match will grant the player in-game cash to upgrade the string and kite.

Bernard John (B.J.) Badger, Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy alumnus, Spellweaver

Spellweaver uses the Dream Para Para Controller to turn the player into an arcane combat mage. The player must face off with other wizards in a series of magical duels, something like a mystical version of Punch-Out!!. The player must defend against the myriad spells sent against them by their opponents and find the right moments to counter with magical blasts of their own.

The sensors on the far left and right are used to charge up attack magic. Waving a hand continuously over one of these sensors will cause a floating fireball to appear by the player's side and gradually grow bigger. When the player is ready to hurl a fireball, they must sweep their arm in a forward arc over the middle sensors. The fireballs can remain floating by the player while not being actively charged, but will gradually shrink back.

While charging their attacks and waiting for an opening, the player uses the middle three sensors to put up brief magical shields against their enemy's attacks, which can come in straight or angled from either side. Each opponent the player can encounter will have their own personality and style, different types of spells, and tells indicating what attacks they're about to make. Typically the player will use one hand to defend and the other to charge up an attack. They can alternate between sides to fling fireballs relatively quickly, or wait until both sides are charged up for a massive blast that can punch through some enemy defenses. Any hits the player may take will diminish the fireballs on both sides, though.

Here are some concepts that may come into play when fighting specific opponents:

Brad Fisher, University of Baltimore, Terrorcombs


Terrorcombs is a first-person survival horror game that utilizes the Dreamcast Fishing Controller for input. Players must explore hundreds of miles of the subterranean Paris catacombs to uncover hidden mysteries and find an exit...or die trying.

Armed with a crank flashlight, some food, chalk, and a map, a foolish amateur explorer sets out to discover what lies within the hauntingly marvelous catacombs. When adventuring through a particularly old tunnel, a sudden cave-in forces him to travel through the deepest, uncharted lower levels of the catacombs in order to find another exit back to the street level. Consumed by complete darkness, the player must use his flashlight to navigate the complex labyrinth of tunnels and chambers without panicking and getting lost forever.

Terrorcombs is just as much about exploration and discovery as it is survival. Players will come across the corpses of previous explorers (sometimes dating back many decades ago) containing video tapes, journals, and other artifacts full of lore about the catacombs and the sinister activities that occured within them.


1. Light

a. The player's crank flashlight is the most important tool for staying alive in the catacombs. If the player's flashlight runs out of power, the player will begin to quickly lose energy as they panic alone in the darkness and dead silence.

b. To charge the flashlight, players must expend energy by cranking it up (see controls for more details).

2. Energy

a. Players have a limited amount of energy which is slowly drained as they climb, crawl, swim, and traverse the claustrophobia-inducing network of passageways. By eating food, the player can restore their energy.

b. If the player's energy reaches zero, they will begin to panic and get lost in the dark depths of the catacombs forever.

3. Navigation

a. Being in the uncharted section of the catacombs, maps are useless. Players must rely on leaving behind arrows and symbols using the chalk as they find their way around the catacombs.


1. X Button - Interact with objects (pick up items, open doors, etc.)

2. Y Button - Draw arrows (hold and flick controller left/right or up/down)

3. A Button - Jump

4. B Button - Duck/crawl through tunnels

5. Joystick - Movement

6. Spin Reel - Charge flashlight

7. Shake Controller Up & Down (repeatedly) - Temporarily boosts the flashlight's power without expending energy

8. Flick Controller Right & Left - Make left or right turns at intersections

Mohd Najman bin Mohd Maliki, Student of Multimedia University, Malaysia, Kuina the Two Sword Samurai

The game is about a girl who learned the way of the bushido and uses two swords. Kuina's village was attacked and she was the only survivor of the town. Kuina trained hard with her two swords in order to bring the one who brought the attack upon the town to justice. In Kuina's training, an old spirit came to her and taught her how to fight with her inner powers that came along with the sword. The power allows Kuina to call upon the old spirit to help her in fights.

In order for Kuina to call upon the spirit, she needs to shake on the sword's hilt until there is enough power for the spirits to appear and help Kuina fight. In this game, players will play the role of Kuina and use the Samba de Amigo Maracas and the floor sensors as the two swords that Kuina wield.

The game starts by telling the story of Kuina and the fate of her town, followed by the story of how she came across the old spirit that taught her how to fight alongside him. In the story telling, the spirit orders Kuina to show him her skills. This is where the players get their first tutorial on how to play the game.

The game mechanics consist of two fighting style; The Two Sword Style and The Style of The Old Spirit. The first tutorial covers the basic sword fight style that is coordinated via the maracas. The positions of the maracas imitate the position of swords. Players will have to hack and slash enemies using the maracas. Players will have to follow the positions of the maracas as shown on screen to get the most damage. The second part of the tutorial teaches the players on how to fight alongside of the spirits. The spirit resides within the sword and needs to be awaken.

In order to awaken the spirits, the sword has to be shaken. Players have to shake the maracas in the order and the amount of shakes that is shown on the screen and create charge to summon the spirit. The old spirit releases the spirits power to defeat enemies which deals an area of effect damage. The spirit can't be called upon at any time so timing is very crucial.

As the game progresses, players will learn new sword moves and new ways to summon the spirit. Harder enemies demand a more complex way of sword fight as well as a more difficult way to summon the spirit. It is up to the player to master all the sword styles and the style of the summons to gain the upper hand over the enemies in order to reach the final boss, thus, winning the game.

Juan Briganti, Software Developer, Catch It

"Catch it" is a 2D platform sega dreamcast videogame that uses Dreamcast Fishing Controller. The intention of this game is to present little challenges to the player and make him think.

In this game you take the role of "The Sneaker", a very skillful thief that wants to steal every worthy item in the world. That's not an easy task, so you have to help him. Through the different levels, you have to make your way to a treasure using the environment and objects you may find. Each level is harder than the previous one and you will gradually face new challenges and enemies.

The Sneaker has a very special tool that assists him on his missions: "The catcher", an extensible mechanical arm that can catch and pull objects on his way. You can use The Catcher to catch objects, move them, climb platforms, reach new areas, etc. But be careful because there are a lot of guardians and different security systems you have to avoid if you don't want to end in jail.

Controls and mechanics: fishing controller is only needed.

Character movement: Use analog pad to walk in any of the 4 directions (up, down, left, and right).

Throwing "The Catcher": to throw the catcher in the direction The Sneaker is looking, just swing Fishing Controller over your shoulder (just like throwing a fishing pole). The Catcher goes forward in that direction until it reaches an object or a wall. If it reaches an object, you can attract it to you by rotating the reel to your direction.

Also you can reach objects from above The Sneaker by swinging up the controller. If "The Catcher" reaches the roof or a platform, you can go up by rotating the reel to your direction or go down by rotating it to the other way.

Swinging: when you are hanging from a platform you can swing The Sneaker and reach new areas. To swing, just move the Fishing Controller right and left several times. Doing this you can jump between distant platforms.

Jump: press the A button

Enemies and obstacles: there are several kind of enemies you can encounter, here are some examples:

Guards: they are constantly patrolling. If they see you, it's the end of the game.

Motion sensors: sometimes you can see a laser scanning the environment. You can't move when a scanner is scanning The Sneaker or it will trigger an alert.

Cameras: like guards, but they can see a larger area and can't move.

There are 3 images that may help you to understand those concepts:


Guilherme Schirmer da Costa, Game Development Student at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, The Final Fist of the Fighting Fish

A single player fighting-fishing game using SEGA Dreamcast Fishing Controller.

Fishing can be a relaxing hobby, but for a fish...its a fight. Sometimes, a fist fight ! Fish Style !

The gameplay of The Final Fist of Fighting Fish is a inversion of a fishing game plus a boxing-like gameplay. The game have two rounds. In the first round, the player must throw a fisherman in the river. To "fish" a fisherman, the player must catch a bait, using the analogic directional to move the fish near a fishing boat. When near the boat, the fish will grab a bait, now the player must use the controller reel, and move the controler from one side to another until the fisherman fall in the water. It's important to the player set a strategy, some fishermen are stronger than others and can take the player out of water, ending the game. The player must grow stronger defeating the weaker enemies to before try a grappler fisherman, for example.

The next round is a aquatic fight with the fisherman. It's quite similar to Puch-out series, the player will see the fish by behind, with the enemy in front. Moving the controller to the right and left makes the fish use punches, moving up and down or down/up makes the fish uses his tail to attack. Use Z and Y buttons to dodge and A and B buttons to defend (but will lose some energy). When the player hit some attacks in sequence, the fish will start to blink indicating that its time for the Super Spinning Tail Attack. To make this movement, the player must spin the reel as fast as possible to make monstrous damage. Each fishermen have a weak spot, hitting it will stun the enemy, giving time to strike him without chance of defense. Defeating a fisherman will upgrade the habilities of the player, giving some points to buy new techniques.

Jon Pulsipher, PepperMan

"Some call him a legend," said the old timer. "But I seen ‘im. Saw him with my own two eyes. He moved from table to table like a man possessed. He cranked his pepper grinder like a master violinist. And the customers - they loved him for it."

Relive the glory in PepperMan! Rush though the busy restaurant delivering peppery deliciousness with your ridiculously large pepper grinder. Give ‘em what they need with some showmanship and zing and they'll reward you with generous tips in this engaging blend of the "Dash" genre and the Midway classic "Tapper".

The player uses the Dreamcast fishing controller to play this engaging blend of the "dash" genre and the classic "Tapper".

Use the thumbstick to maneuver our hard-working hero from table to table in the restaurant, avoiding obstacles along the way. Hold down the button for the right kind of pepper to satisfy the customer and turn the crank to grind pepper. Move the controller to while turning the crank to pour on pepper with crowd-pleasing style. (Psst...word has it the tables with the ladies appreciate a little more fire in the performance than other patrons.)

A happy customer is a generous customer and you'll need to keep moving around the tables to gather the tips they leave for your peppery performance. But miss a customer, give them too much or too little pepper, or give them blazing red pepper when they asked for delicate white pepper and you'll find your pockets empty at the end of your shift.

As you move up in the levels, you'll be confronted with ever busier restaurants, yet more demanding customers, and increasingly crazy obstacles ranging from waiters to desert carts, and maybe even a cat trying to escape from the kitchen! Luckily, you'll also get powerful pieces of flair to unlock new abilities and keep your grinder going with peppery pizazz.

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