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Melon Brains (LaserActive, 1994)

When dolphins ruled the earth.

In this special series on the Pioneer LaserActive, guest author Taylor Pinson will be discussing some of the games released on the Sega PAC, an add-on for the LaserActive that could play Genesis, Sega CD, and Mega LD titles.

But are they ripe?



DEVELOPER: Multimedia Creators Network

GENRE: Documentary

RELEASE DATE: 09/20/94 – (JP), 11/23/94 – (US)

Like The Great Pyramid before it, Melon Brains is an interactive encyclopedia-style title that’s the equivalent of a DVD with interactive menus.

The secret killers of the sea.

This documentary focuses on dolphins, and derives its odd sounding name (Melon Brains) from the shape of that particular mammal’s brain. It’s chock full of facts about the creatures as well as interviews with many scientists who have studied them.

The little dolphin cursor is pretty cute.

Melon Brains is for the dolphin lover who also happens to have a LaserActive. There’s a lot of neat information in the documentary (although who knows how much of it is still accurate, given 20+ years of advances in science), and it really does feel like Multimedia Creators Network was putting their all into this one.

This screen demands more Dr. Ken Norris.

Melon Brains is also one of the few LaserActive titles to use both sides of the disc. Side A contains the more educational material while side B consists mostly of animal footage and new-age music. And while it isn’t likely to impress people today, it is nice to see that Melon Brains‘ creators were really making use of the laserdisc by giving users the chance to change audio soundtracks on the fly, as well as making use of the format’s ability to skip and repeat footage.

They’ve got us surrounded!

Melon Brains is an interesting novelty, but it’s not worth checking out today unless you’re really into watching dolphin documentaries on outdated tech.

As a concept for its time: C+

For today’s user: F

7 replies on “Melon Brains (LaserActive, 1994)”

That is a particularly unflattering title. I love the many faces of Ken Norris – that’s some hilarious use of screen real estate. Thanks for the review, Taylor – I wonder though, are you enjoying playing through the PAC library? It seems like a pretty turgid collection of games.

I have to admit, it’s been pretty rough ride so far. I expected a few dudes sure, but I did not anticipate the depths of badness I’ve encountered.

Having said that, it’s been fun playing around with some of the real stinkers (I cracked up when I realized Space Berserker was only 20 minutes long) and I don’t regret playing through them.

I’m also still holding out hope for some of the remaining games, like Time Gal, Road Prosecutor and Don Quixote.

hello, this message is for the writer of this column or anyone who might know… i am interested in finding someone with one of these machines and the melon brains game. i am a curator for a art center in antwerp belgium and would like to incorporate the melon brains aesthetic into our focus on dolphins… thanks,

spencer clark ,

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