Archiving the Zeebo

A while back, I featured a video on Tectoy Digital’s Zeebo console, a Brazilian device that was only around for a couple of years between 2009–2011. Fast forward a decade and a half and Dr Bruno De Paula, a former Tectoy employee, did a talk on the company and a vast history of gaming in Brazil (to name but a few topics, according to Time Extension in their article).

Dr De Paula provided so much information this summary barely covers it. He gave cultural insights, into how the Master System is still a viable platform Brazil, not sold on nostalgia like various mini consoles in America or Europe, but as an entry level machine for children from low income families wanting their first games experience. It speaks to the viability inherent in older games, if only children had access to them.

The core of the talk though was the detailed explanation of Tectoy Digital’s plans to put, basically, a mobile phone in a console with the Zeebo. How it partnered with Qualcomm to do so. How distribution was 100% digital via a private 3G network, with free connection (which was also a neat solution to piracy). He detailed how Tectoy Digital later split into Tectoy Studios and Zeebo Interactive Studios, though the two offices were a couple minutes’ walk from each other. There were descriptions and anecdotes from his time there and also from colleagues he’d spoken with. He also outlined his plans and goals for documenting it all. This was priceless first-hand research unavailable elsewhere.

In the comments, someone mentioned emailing Derek from Stop Skeletons From Fighting (he did the video I linked to earlier) so hopefully they all combine to make one big Captain Planet-style gaming preservation hero for the Zeebo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *