March 31, 2007

Mysteries of Chu

by Nick Montfort · , 8:53 pm

What does “chu” mean? The answer is not available on the Wikipedia disambiguation page. My fellow Dreamcast owners may particularly be wondering about this. If you’ve played Space Channel 5, you will probably recall that all the cute alien opponetnts say “chu” to indicate you need to press the A button. I’ve heard that our own Mary Flanagan asked Space Channel 5 (and Rez) creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi what “chu” means, and he explained…

You know, chu!

As I’ve been playing ChuChu Rocket! recently, in which small rodential creatures must be routed by the player(s) to spaceships, I’ve been working my curiosity up to critical levels. Fortunately, recent reading – Chris Kohler’s rich (if somewhat curious) book on Japanese video games, Power Up – clued me in to the answer. “Chu” is onomatopoetic. No, it’s not the sound a train makes. In Japanese, it’s the sound a mouse makes.