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Demo discs

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Black Squirrel, Aug 31, 2021.

  1. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Get your discs out.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I think this was originally Satakore's mistake, but I don't really blame them. Virtua Fighter Remix had an odd life in North America and appears in three different forms: a purple disc, a blue disc, and a red/orange disc. As far as I can tell, the contents of all three are identical.

    So why are there three? Well because Sega of America seemed a bit unsure how to treat Virtua Fighter Remix. In Japan, it's just a upgraded re-release of the original game, but in the US it was billed almost as some kind of apology for the original Virtua Fighter. "We can do textured polygon fighters too", etc.


    Any North American Sega Saturn console registered with Sega before September 30th 1995 was eligible for a free copy of Virtua Fighter Remix. That's because most consoles shipped with the original Virtua Fighter bundled in - Remix was a free upgrade, "sorry we didn't have it ready by launch", or whatever. It's not ideal of course - you had to pay an extra $50 for the Virtua Fighter bundle back in May 1995, and by August everyone was getting a better version for free, but whatever.

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    Fill in your details and Sega would send you a jewel case with the game, product number 81028 (blue disc).


    And now the internet's mistake: what happened with Saturn consoles sold after this announcement? Were Sega still bundling the original Virtua Fighter with units? No, but I don't think you'd know it from the box:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    There were minor changes to the packaging in 1995 - the gold Seal of Quality became silver. Remix (and all subsequent US Saturn games) has a silver seal, OG VF has a gold one. Maybe this indicates a swapped disc, or maybe it's unrelated, but it might indicate that SoA didn't bother to replace its stickers.

    Bundled copies of the game look like this:
    [​IMG]
    A cardboard sleeve and product number 81027 (red disc). The "Promotional Copy" text misleads - it's not "promoting" anything, but could be a copy distributed as "part of a promotion", aka "now our Saturns include VF Remix as standard". Don't forget, Sega were astonishingly bad at marketing the Sega Saturn in North America at this time - it's really hard to know what was going on. "Not for resale" at least confirms it was a pack-in - Sega used these labels to ensure retailers didn't open consoles and sell the bits individually.

    Either way, it's not a demo. It's the full game, just in red.


    But what if it's past September 1995, you own a Saturn console and want to play Virtua Fighter Remix? You can buy it separately:
    [​IMG]
    The "long box" version, product code 81023 (purple disc).

    There are stories about this one - apparently it's super rare and/or was only sold in Canada, and/or only in small quantities (I'd still suggest a 1995 release, because the ESRB made subtle changes to their ratings designs in early 1996 which isn't reflected here). It commands high prices ($200+ USD) on ebay, but again, same content, so you're effectively just buying a plastic box and manual (and spoilers: we have scans).





    So none of these are demos, but how do we know there isn't a secret fourth disc that is a demo?

    Well you can't rule it out, but it's super unlikely for the obvious reason that Virtua Fighter Remix was a free game. Demo discs exist to entice customers into buying the full product... but SoA didn't make any money from the game when it was new. Moreover, a good chunk of Saturn owners already had the original Virtua Fighter - the only new thing worth "demonstrating" is the updated character models, and... uh... you can see those in magazines? Or maybe in that much more important release of Virtua Fighter 2, which SoA also didn't make demos of (that we know of).


    tl;dr VF Remix "promotional copy" =/= demo, SoA can't market things
     
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  2. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I might have hit the wall again with Saturn demos, so a breakdown of what's left on the TODO page:


    Can Can Bunny Himekuri Calendar (きゃんきゃんバニー 日めくりカレンダー)
    Exists, but I don't understand what it is.

    Gotha II: Tenkuu no Kishi - Teitoku no Ketsudan II Demonstration-you CD-ROM (ゴータⅡ~天空の騎士~ 提督の決断Ⅱ デモンストレーション用CD‐ROM)
    This is a couple of movies that loop endlessly. My only blocker is I don't know what to call the page.

    Idol Mahjong Final Romance R Kisekae Disc (アイドル麻雀 ファイナルロマンスR 着せかえディスク)
    Don't understand this, and by having "idol", "mahjong" and "romance" in the title, I'm not in a hurry to care.

    Jantei Battle Cos-Player Original Genga-shuu (雀帝バトルコスプレイヤー オリジナル原画集)
    Looks like an art gallery, but I'm not sure of its origins.

    Keiou Yuugekitai: Okiraku Tamatebako (慶応遊撃隊 お気楽玉手箱)
    A promotional preview disc thing, but has a playable bit.

    Kidou Senshi Gundam Gaiden II: Ao wo Uketsugu Mono Sample (機動戦士ガンダム外伝Ⅱ 蒼を受け継ぐ者 SAMPLE)
    Not dumped, so can't confirm it's a demo.

    Nanatsu no Hikan Hibaihin Demonstration You CD-ROM (七つの秘館 非売品 デモンストレーション用CD‐ROM)
    Another Koei "movie on a disc". The English name here is from Satakore - not sure I trust it.

    Real Bout Garou Densetsu Special Sample (リアルバウト餓狼伝説スペシャル サンプル)
    Samurai Spirits Zankurou Musouken Sample (サムライスピリッツ 斬紅郎無双剣 サンプル)
    Not dumped. Usually that wouldn't stop me from making a page, but there's a "sample version" of (regular) Real Bout Garou Densetsu and it... seems to be the final game? If SNK "samples" aren't "demos" then they may need to be treated differently.

    The House of the Dead Taikenban - Burning Rangers Taikenban Double Pack (ザ・ハウス・オブ・ザ・デッド体験版 バーニングレンジャー体験版 ダブルパック)
    Two separate demos on different discs, but in the same box. Not sure I trust this English name. We might already have pages on the individual discs, thinking they were distributed separately.

    Virtua Fighter Remix Tokubetsu Genteiban Hibaihin (バーチャファイター リミックス 特別限定版 非売品)
    Not sure this is dumped, and it might have strange origins.

    Voice World Yume Talk Sample (ボイスワールド「ゆめとーく」サンプル)
    Not dumped, so can't confirm it's a demo.


    Dragon Ball Z Idainaru Dragon Ball Densetsu Taikenban (ドラゴンボールZ 偉大なるドラゴンボール伝説 体験版)
    Harukaze Sentai V-Force Demo Ban (はるかぜ戦隊 Vフォース デモ版) 610-6564
    Tekkyuu True Pinball Demo (鉄球 トゥルー・ピンボール デモ) 610-6222
    Virtuacall S Taikenban (バーチャコールS 体験版) 610-7020
    Yanoman Jigsaw Puzzle Catalog Vol.1 (YANOMAN ジグソーパズルカタログ Vol.1)

    I've yet to see any evidence that these five discs exist. There are no dumps or photographs.

    We've also got three PAL discs listed:
    - Daytona USA Championship Circuit Edition Demo Disc
    - Sega Worldwide Soccer '97 Demo Disc
    - Virtua Cop 2 Demo Disc

    the origins and contents of these things are not known, and I've read the first two might not even be demos (despite being labeled as such).


    Mednafen seems to have gained ST-V support since I last looked, so I might go down that route next.
     
  3. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    There's a period between about 2002 and 2007 where demo discs are still viable and have news coverage on the internet. That means you can track down their origins.

    [​IMG]

    Whether you want to is a different story.

    Anyway most(?) Japanese demo discs seem to have been distributed in stores (as opposed to bundled with magazines, as was more often the case in the West). Sometimes they're tied to pre-orders, but I'm getting the impression most were free and just... "there" to pick up for a few days, usually a week or two before the full game went on sale.


    The problem is that Sega is Sega, and Sega had its own online store, our old friend Sega Direct.

    [​IMG]

    That is to say, you could only get these things by going online and ordering from Sega directly. Like the PS2 Altered Beast demo.

    Sega Direct has been a problem for a while. Many later Japanese Dreamcast games were only sold through this service (and its predecessor, "Dreamcast Direct"), and in addition to games and peripherals, stocked truckloads of merchandise, something Sega Retro doesn't cover very well. It also had a habit of running special offers over very limited time periods - too short for the internet Wayback machine to pick up. It's just really freaking big and awkward, and even if you were to tackle its nine years of service, the replacement Sega Store still exists today.

    aka I have no plans to cover it myself


    Anyway from what I've gathered in my internet travels, the vast majority of Japanese demo discs... probably aren't going to be super interesting. As said, most of the consumer discs became available within a few weeks of the full release, so are built with final (or near final) code - it's the discs intended for kiosks or displays (i.e. for the store, not the customer) that are more likely to be older, with the really juicy demo discs coming from press events or internal demonstrations (as this can occur many months before release). The blander the disc, the more interesting it might be... but you probably knew that.

    By contrast, it's 50:50 on whether a Western demo disc would be released before the final game. My theory? The Japanese worked towards fixed release dates, so could end a demo with "buy the full game on XX/YY". If you're working towards vague points of the year, you probably aren't factoring in time for producing the demo, and you might not be able to tell the user when the game launches. Better then to produce the demo after the full game and just say "AVAILABLE NOW".

    That and in Sega's case, by the time it came to releasing demos of localised versions, the game was already out in Japan. So it's going to be pretty much final code, just maybe not localised fully.
     
  4. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Tedious fact of the day:

    OutRun is infamous for featuring a Ferarri Testarossa, despite Sega not having a license to use it.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The horse in particular is a problem because that's Ferarri's logo.

    Did they forget to take it out?? (no - they had every intention of borrowing the design)

    15 years later...

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Early versions of F355 Challenge (like the Taikenban release) forgot to put the horse in!

    And this was not long after taking the horse out of OutRun in Shenmue. Gee maybe AM2* should stop horsing around why am i wasting my weekend typing this

    (strange how this is an issue seeing as the in-game models have horses and this is an arcade port)




    *Technically development on F355 Challenge straddles the line between AM2 moving from Sega to CRI (it would then go independent... and then merge back into Sega). So the project pre-dates its developers but not really.
     
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  5. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I'm still mostly of the belief that there isn't a single bad game in the Dreamcast PAL library.

    My go to example is Ducati World, which was slammed by the press for being incredibly dull and boring (which it is). However, it averages 50-60% on the PlayStation, and it's the same game... which means one of the worst Dreamcast games is an "above average" PlayStation one. And that proves my point apparently.

    It's indicitive of the whole way Sega Europe conducted the Dreamcast campaign - nothing about it truly sucked, and (as I've said before), it's very likely that the Dreamcast was a continued success in Europe because of it, cut short because of failures across the Atlantic. It's a theory summed up well by one of the company's public faces, the monthly "Dream On" demo discs:



    Contents aside, look at these menus. Real time, 60FPS bouncing orbs and classy particle effects, and they swapped out the background every month. They didn't have to include the lighting and model 3D controllers, but they did, and it's great.

    By contrast, Sega of America:

    After a strong-enough start with the two "Generator" discs, later demos were just squares against a grid, with some sloppily copy-pasted Dreamcast things on a background layer. It gets the job done I guess - arguably it's only the contents that matter, but it's hardly inspiring.


    And after a while, they just stop caring.

    [​IMG]

    TRUTH MOVIE

    ... is part of an advertising campaign to stop kids from smoking. It's a video of some loud people shouting things at offices as they shred things. Next month, a random music video. Who cares if it's something actually Dreamcast related, just fill the space.

    (except they didn't fill the space - the biggest disc is about 650MB, aka you could have shipped these on CD-ROMs)


    The reason I care enough to tackle this topic is because for 18 months between 1999 and 2001, the Dream On demo discs were, to me, the greatest things in gaming. It was a monthly event - would I have ever got a copy of Space Channel 5 were it not for the demo? Probably not. It's was true eye-opener for everything the Dreamcast could be. Whereas in America, it's just a no-frills commercial opportunity. How sad.
     
  6. I wish I could remember where I put the demo disc. But I was always shocked at how much better the game and graphics were in Sword of the Berserk to the demo in Dreamcast mag


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  7. Bo102010

    Bo102010

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    All the work on Sega Retro's Saturn demo discs coverage has made my hunt for extras much easier - thanks!

    I've found some cool stuff:
    • Saturn Bomberman on Flash Sega Saturn Ochikadzuki-hen has more or less the full game, with different characters!
    • Silhouette Mirage on Silhouette Mirage Taikan CD-ROM Sousa Setsumei has more or less the full final game.
    • Panzer Dragoon on Demo-you Hibaihin and Taikenban Hibaihin have extra stages.
    I think I'll be able to make extra stuff available from these discs:
    • Flash Sega Saturn #25: Burning Rangers prototype (already documented here)
    • Burning Rangers Taikenban: ditto
    • Flash Sega Saturn #17: Sonic Jam World prototype (partially documented here)
    • Core Demo Disc: More of Fighting Force
    • Gremlin Interactive Demo Disc: More of Reloaded
    • Thunder Force V Sample ROM: Extra stages
    • Street Fighter Zero 2 Taikenban: Some of the missing modes
    I'm working on those patches intermittently.

    Any other suggestions for things to check out? I suspect there's a wealth of Panzer Dragoon Saga stuff; it appeared on a bunch of demos.
     
  8. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    My original Sega Saturn came with Sega Flash Vol. 5, and the Die Hard Arcade demo ends at the start of stage 2.

    But IIRC not before you get off the lift, which would suggest at least part of stage 2 exists. It may even be in the rolling demo - it's been a very long time since I played it.


    Then again that's probably not very exciting, since PAL releases tended to come after the Japanese and North American versions were done.


    I am interested in the demo interface though. It was used all around the world, and its menu theme is quintessential "Sega Saturn". I imagine there's not much of interest there though, unless there are secret demos they forgot hook up.
     
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  9. Bo102010

    Bo102010

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    I did peek at one of the Japanese demos of Die Hard Arcade that end in the same spot. They definitely have data for that first part of the second level, but you can see from the file system that the levels are in chunks - it doesn't seem to have the later ones.

    There's a demo of Last Bronx on Flash Sega Saturn #18 that's based on a pre-release build. I was sure I could make it playable, but they totally gutted the input handling! Alas.