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It's difficult enough to even classify a title like Digital Dreamware, never mind review it. Is it a game? According to the designers, “it‘s not a game, but it‘s all about play.” Is it an edutainment title? Nope, not that either. Really, Digital Dreamware doesn’t fit into any particular genre. This makes it a unique title, but does it make it a title worth owning?
If you’ve ever played an audio cd on your multiplayer, you’ve seen the primitive graphics that the machine displays while playing the tracks. Digital Dreamare could be compared to this, albeit in a much more advanced version. A more accurate comparison might be to the Virtual Light Machine (ex - Jaguar cd, Nuon) Digital Dreamware is an “interactive album of sounds and visions” The interaction comes from the player having a measure of control over what they see.
The title start off with a crazy introduction featuring a wild horned character dancing spastically (hilarious! ) A large rotating cube shows the video choices available to you, and it is blanketed on either side by strange looking creatures amidst a back drop of colors. This is about all there is in the way of traditional graphics though, as the rest of the title consists of random video.
To an extent, the graphics do depend on you the player. Although it is possible to view the program without being involved, by using the control pad you are able to manipulate the video to a degree. Adjusting its speed, altering the zoom, changing the colors, and adding different graphical effects are some of the options available to you These various effects are used different ways in each video, so exploration is encouraged to get the most out of this title The controls are obviously quite limited, but the title is very user friendly, helping to make up somewhat for the limited interaction.
The music video tracks, which are the equivalents of levels in Digital Dreamware, do vary in their quality. Some convey a pretty cool sense of movement, but others sadly do not. Some have a variety of graphical images to manipulate, again others don’t. Some of the videos are very busy (this is one title that really should have come with a ‘health and epilepsy warning‘), while others seem to be rather sparse. At least each video seems to fairly accurately represent its theme (the manual includes descriptions of each)
The “…mesmerizing techno-trance soundtrack.” may not be as exciting as the package claims, but for the most part I enjoyed it. Of course if you are not a fan of this style of music, Digital Dreamware is not going to change your mind. The occasional voice clip helps to add a bit of variety to the tracks.
Unfortunately, Digital Dreamware only contains six music video tracks. Worse, each one of them lasts for only about five minutes! Obviously a half hour of “gameplay” is totally unacceptable. And truth be told, after you’ve played around with each of the videos, there is little desire to go back. I’ve only played this title a couple of times in the past several years. Replay value is virtually non-existent here.
Given the nature of this title, it’s appeal is already quite limited. Plus you need to factor in the minimal interaction, and very short length. In 1995 at full price, this would have been a terrible purchase! But ... if you can pick it up on Ebay for cheap, I actually give it a mild recommendation, just because it really is pretty unique. (what can I say, I’m a sucker for most things 3DO) Digital Dreamware can provide for a nice break in between sessions of intense 3DO gaming. This "hypnotic visual trip" might be worth checking out.
P.S. After reading the box that this title shipped in as well as the manual, I am convinced the designers were high on something (“you can plan the trip or just trip”)
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I hear you ... even though I like it, $30 is too much. I got my copy CIB for less than $10, but that was 7 or 8 years ago at least.Austin wrote:By the time I was about to, the prices shot up on it. It's not super pricey, but I don't want to pay $30 for a game that is essentially just a visualizer. (CIB of course).
Most wanted - Eye of Typhoon, 3DO Magazines issues #14 & #15, Pro Stadium, Defcon 5