Casio Loopy 101: 32-bit Japanese Console for Girls

casio-loopy-101-header

Presented by Ack

This one’s for the ladies.  No, seriously, the Casio Loopy was marketed strictly towards Japanese females, seeing release only a few short months after the first Purikura machines started getting released in Japan.  While it is a game console, this little machine featured the ability to print screenshots of video games as stickers.  It would never make its way out of Japan, but serves as an interesting oddity and side attraction in the ongoing video game marketing wars of the 1990s.

Background Information

  • The console was released in October, 1995, in Japan.  It would never make it out of its homeland.
  • The Loopy was marketed strictly towards females, featuring a lavender, pink, and purple color scheme and a box covered in cartoon hearts.
  • The small game library for the Loopy reflects its gender focus, with the genre choices relatively limited between otome games, sometimes known as GxB games, essentially dating sims revolving around a female character and multiple male suitors, and dress-up games.
  • The Loopy is sometimes called by its second title, My Seal Computer SV-100.
  • Despite its 1995 release date, the Loopy uses cartridges for its games, which are often compared to Super Famicom carts.

casio-loopy-pic

Historical Impact

  • The Loopy was Casio’s attempt to get back into the console manufacturing business after previously developing the PV-1000 game console in the early 1980s.
  • In the months predating the Loopy’s release, Atlus and Sega released the first Purikura machine, Print Club, a photo booth which allowed the application of stickers and backgrounds to photos.  However, the machines didn’t really take off with the female market until pop star group SMAP took several pictures on their television show, SMAPxSMAP, in 1996.  The Loopy’s release date sets it apart from the Purikura craze, which effectively started several months after its release.
  • The Loopy did not appear in a vacuum however.  Purikura creator Miho Sasaki took her inspiration for Print Club from home-video editing machines, which allowed the superimposing of titles on pictures.  It’s possible the Loopy was spawned from a similar idea, though little information is available on the Internet as to its inspiration.

Strengths

  • The Loopy features a built-in thermal color printer which could be used to create stickers from game screenshots, and also features an internal cutting tool to separate said pictures.
  • While it did not include an internal camera for the taking of pictures, through the use of its peripherals the Loopy is able to take images from other devices, such as VCRs and DVD players to print as stickers.
  • The game library is small, so those going for a complete collection don’t have too much to look for.
  • A contrast knob is located on the back of the console for adjustments.
  • The console uses standard AV outputs, so no special equipment is needed to hook it up.
  • Certain packages of the console featured a pack-in game, Anime Land, arguably the console’s most popular game.

Weaknesses

  • When I say small, I mean small: the Casio Loopy only featured 10 games, one of which was a software suite with a mini-game, and a peripheral cart.  The games are typically otome or dress-up titles, and since the machine was a Japan-only release, those outside of the nation may have difficulty tracking them down.
  • The console features only one controller port, so there is no multiplayer and no possibility of it.
  • The machine is strictly AV out, so S-Video purists may want to skip this one.
  • While the marketing strictly towards a female audience will potentially engender the machine to female gamers, the shallow nature of the game library may turn them away.

Hardware Specifications

  • The Casio Loopy’s CPU is a 32-bit RISC SH-1.
  • The console uses a 24V external power supply.
  • The Loopy has a built-in SEAL printer, which uses heat to burn an image onto chemically treated stickers.
  • Unfortunately there’s limited information on further hardware specifications.  If you know any particulars of the Loopy’s design, please let us know.

Games List

  • Anime Land – Picture editing game
  • Dream Change – Makeover simulator
  • Bow-Wow Puppy Love Story – Adventure game told from a puppy’s perspective
  • Nigaoe Artist – Picture editing game
  • HARI HARI Seal Paradise – Picture editing game
  • I Want A Room In Loopy Town! – Living simulator
  • Lupiton’s Wonder Palette – Animated coloring book
  • Little Romance – Dating simulator
  • PC Collection – Software suite, featuring a word processor, astrology readings, and more
  • Chanra-kun no Omajinai Paradise – Mix charms and spells

Peripherals

  • Beyond the standard controller, a mouse was also available for certain titles and to help edit stickers.  It’s also particularly useful with the title PC Collection
  • The Magical Shop Word Processor is perhaps the most vital addition to the console, as it allows the Loopy to connect with other machines for the purpose of making stickers.

Emulation

  • MESS supposedly emulates the Casio Loopy, but the official MESS website does not list it as currently supported.  The Loopy’s printer is supposed to be supported
  • Despite the lack of emulators, various Loopy games have ended up as ROMs on the Internet.

Advertising

4 Comments

  1. Fickieboy says:

    When I was a kid ( i mean something like 1998)I remember hearing about this from an older otaku who came back from Japan, and wanted one like crazy. I mean, I thought it was like a Supernes with stickers. Quite dissapointing :/

  2. d says:

    Nice peace of hardware, I was unaware of!
    Thanks for another great article.
    vids: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=casio+loopy&aq=f

  3. HellHammer says:

    I’ve owned a Loopy since the late 90’s. Very interesting console and good for a bit of goofy fun. Can’t believe I’m reading about it here. I remember having great time with a Mario Paint-style game and running out of sticker paper pretty quickly. Too bad about the tiny library.

  4. Retrogamer0001 says:

    Weird…