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Was ‘Ecco the Dolphin’ inspired by a drug-addicted scientist?

Longtime SEGA fans might remember everyone’s favorite dolphin, Ecco(…the dolphin) swimming into our lives on the SEGA Genesis. A story about a cetacean mammal searching for his family who was abducted by an alien group know as the Vortex might seem a little whacky, but it was a surprisingly enjoyable game.

We’re sooo high right now.

It had been recently revealed that the story-line may have been influenced by a certain marine biologist’s psychedelic experiences.  John C Lilly was a renown scientist, whose primary focus was inter-species communication.  During the 1960s, Lilly was given funding by NASA to research whether it was possible to teach dolphins to speak. By communicating with dolphins, NASA believed that we would be able to better communicate with an alien species if we were ever visited.

Lilly flooded a house in the Caribbean so that him and his team could live as close to the dolphins as possible. The experiment bombed and Lilly lost funding for his project, moved away from traditional science, and instead focused on 1960s pseudo-mysticism and chemical experimentation.

John C. Lilly

In the 1970s, Lilly began to use Ketamine to cure his chronic migraines. Taking the “Vitamin K” got rid of his migraines, but it also caused him to start taking it regularly, gradually injecting it in higher doses. Lilly and his friend, Dr. Craig Enright, believed that by taking the Ketamine inside a sensory deprivation tank, external stimulation would be significantly reduced, giving a  dissociative experience at a higher level of intensity.

During his sessions, Lilly believed he was being contacted by an extraterrestrial entity called the Earth Coincidence Control Office – ECCO. The alien species was apparently in control of all earthly matters. The similarities between the Ecco the Dolphin video game and Lilly’s Ketamine trips are surprisingly similar. In addition to the ECCO, Lilly also encountered another alien force called the Solid State Intelligence. Unlike the ECCO, the SSI malevolent beings were trying to ravage the earth and destroy mankind.

Ed Annunziata, the creator of Ecco the Dolphin, verifies this claim. Annunziata states that “No, I never took LSD, but I did read a lot from John C. Lilly.” Ed also retweeted the story earlier today:


So the moral of the story is; If you ever want to make some fascinating story-lines, start doing drugs. What do you think of the similarities, fellow readers?  Did you ever think an adorable dolphin would be connected to a drug-addicted scientist? Sound off in the comments below!


Source: VICE 


Marcin Gulik

Been a gamer all my life. Studied Sociology and Criminology in college, and traveled for a bit. I like long walks on the beach and I like to listen to... (wait wrong site....) Sega Dreamcast and Shenmue all the way!

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