About a week and a half ago I was browsing around eBay one evening, as I had nothing better to do. I then stumbled upon a seller that I had fond memories of, going back to my NES collecting days of long ago. I decided to take a look through the seller’s current selection of wares, though it was more for simple curiosity rather than with serious intent on making a purchase. My NES collecting days are way over and most of his items were related to the notorious gray box. I thought I was going to escape my browsing session without doing any damage towards my wallet, but then I saw something that caught my eye. There was one Famicom item for sale, published by the Brazilian game company Dynacom, and the auction was for a soccer / boxing multicart. I figured that the game was just Nintendo’s Soccer and an old boxing game slapped together in a fancy package, but I instantly felt that something was amiss when I read the auction description itself. To quote the seller himself:
“Hello, my name is Dynavision Extreme, and I am a videogame acessory for use with the Famicom console. I was manufactured in Brazil by Dynacom, and I am fully compatible with Famicom top loader consoles. I am in complete condition, new in box. You can use this wireless module on your foot to play soccer, or in your hand to play boxe. The cart comes with a sensor to detect your movements into the game.”
I immediately messaged the seller and he said he was traveling around America at the time, and was unable to take more pictures for me; however, he assured me that the game would run fine in a standard Famicom / Famiclone, and said that yes, the game was just like something on the Nintendo wii. I felt even more intrigued by the device, and a quick Google search yielded inadequate results. In the end curiosity got the best of me, and it had killed this cat – did I just make a $70 mistake, or would I be adding another bad ass piece to my growing collection of Famicom oddities? Only time would tell.
As I was walking to work today, I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be nice if that Brazilian game cart arrived today? I could then experiment with it over the three-day holiday.” Almost as soon as the thought came into my mind, it was gone; in my opinion, it had been too soon for me to be expecting the package to arrive, especially when coming from Brazil. But when I walked into work, there it was, sitting on the counter in all of its glory. The next challenge would be to occupy my time until noon, when I could finally go home and see if I had purchased a gem or a turd. It was time to find out the truth.
The front of the box just has the words “Boxe Futebol Virtual” listed in Portuguese. Checking out the side of the box, I am greeted with the following message: “2 Games Interativos para todos os modelos de Dynavision ou qualquer videogame compativel com Nintendo* 8 bits.” For those without the Portuguese background, it basically states that the two interactive games are compatible with Dynacom’s own line of Famicom game clones, as well as other game machines that use Famicom games.
Turning to the back, we can see some brief descriptions of the two included games, Futebol Virtual and Boxe Virtual. There are also photos labeling the various functions on the wrist sensor, as well as a caption that highlights the location of the sensor in the game cartridge itself. Then it was time to make a decision: since my Dynavision Xtreme was brand new, it was time to make the hardest decision of my life: should I remove the shrink-wrap and take the Xtreme to the…well extreme? Or should I just throw it up on the shelf in its pristine condition, leaving so many questions unanswered? For those that know me well, the latter choice was no option of mine, so I shouted “Off with its wrap!” and one more cartridge’s virginity had been lost.
I was a bit taken aback when I popped open the top of the box. Expecting some secure method of housing game and sensor, I was actually a bit appalled at seeing the two items floating around aimlessly in the box, having fallen free from their restraints en route. Tucked underneath the box was what seemed to be a manual, but after opening it up and thumbing through it, it turns out that it is a list of video game and electronic shops around Brazil, which were qualified at offering technical services for Dynacom products. A totally unexpected and a bit of an oddity to include, if you ask me.
The game itself is housed inside an exotic-looking cartridge case, which is of the same design as the other Famicom cartridges that Dynacom produced over the years. Turning the cartridge over reveals a sensor mounted on the back. In my opinion, this is a minor design flaw, but we will get to that shortly. Also included within the package is a small sensor, which you can attach to your wrist or leg via a short Velcro band. The large button at the top of the bracelet functions as a convenient start button, and the whole unit runs off of a 3 volt lithium battery.
I then did a test run of the game, and you can view the results on the short demonstration video below:
As you can see from the footage above, the seller was right and the Dynavision Extreme does attempt to simulate the interactive nature of a wii game. There are two gaming options, Soccer and Boxing. The boxing mode is the best, imo. The player is presented with a short, one round boxing match against the opponent. If the player has trouble defeating his / her nemesis, he /s he can practice up in the training mode, where the opponent does not fight back. Although a bit boring, this mode provides the player with the perfect opportunity to adjust the sensor so that it can provide the most optimal performance.
The soccer game is a bit less appealing to me, however – no matter what I do, I can’t seem to properly time my own kicks with the game, and thus the majority of the time, the sensor does not register my movement. I then see the ball floating off screen, and I feel as helpless as a person does, when he or she watches as a ball slides towards the gutter during a game of bowling. There is nothing you can do, but stand there and curse in pain.
Speaking of the sensor, there is a bit of a design flaw with this product. In order to interact between the wrist strap and the game itself, I need to turn my Famicom around, so that the sensor (which is located on the back of the cartridge) can detect the movement from the wrist strap. When I first fired the product up, I thought it was faulty, since it wasn’t detecting any hits. Then I turned it around and the Extreme worked like a champ. This is a minor complaint, I know, but I hate having to flip my system around every time I want to play this game.
Overall, I am pretty pleased with the Dynavision Extreme. Although there are a few minor flaws, I think the concept of the games is pretty amazing, and it just demonstrates once again why I love unlicensed game companies so much – they are willing to take the risk and bring to life products that are bigger than life, even if there are a few minor kinks to get straightened out. Furthermore, I have heard rumors regarding the existence of a ping pong game that uses the same technology as this cartridge, and I am in the process of trying to track it down. If I can find it, I am sure you guys will see a review of it as well. Okay guys, I need to get back to some boxing, so I’ll catch you later 🙂