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General Questions and Information Thread

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Andlabs, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I think there's only one... assuming it was even a game: Shenmue Gai (シェンムー 街).

    And it's maybe amongst the worst documented I've come across. Not "undocumented" in the sense that we didn't know it existed, but virtually all Western media called it "Shenmue City"... which from what I'm seeing, was never the game's name. Accompanying screenshots were usually from the Dreamcast (although to be fair, Dreamcast screenshots were used to illustrate what it was about when it was announced), but it's a mobile game from 2010 - it never looked like that. There's reports of it starting and ending, but nobody bothered to work out what it actually was.

    [​IMG]

    The service only lasted a year, and only in Japan. It was announced in conjunction with the launch of a service called "Yahoo! Mobage", which I think was/is meant to be a glorified app store that let you play mobile and PC versions of the same game, or something. Unfortunately we can't ignore this - Sega released Let's Make Baseball and Phantasy Star games for the platform, and probably loads of other things (there was a PC one fronted by Yahoo! Japan, and a mobile one fronted by DeNA - don't know the story, none of it is in English).

    p.s.

    [​IMG]

    Mobage had rivals.



    Someone else might need to take the lead on this - I'm still regenerating brain cells after working through the last set of Japanese mobile platforms.
     
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  2. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Misleading translations - it's the Japanese equivalent of having games on Facebook. What we call "social media" is known as "social network service" (or "SNS") in Japan.

    The difference is that the vast majority of "Mobage" and "GREE" users are on phones, thus these "SNS" games on offer are usually optimised for those platforms. And they're usually free. And they're usually multiplayer things (or have leaderboards) that exist for a short period before the servers are shut down, so different to traditional app stores where you're downloading apps that leverage the power of the hardware.

    It was also a means for Sega to distribute "things", like wallpapers or avatars or whatever.

    [​IMG]
    Sonic Retro has to care as well. "Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I Lite for Mobage" offers one level and leaderboards.

    [​IMG]
    Famitsu had a Mobage off-shoot, because we don't have enough scanning to do.

    [​IMG]
    And Sega took their wares to China.

    The gang's all here: Sonic, Puyo Puyo, Yakuza, Sakura Taisen, Phantasy Star, Virtua Fighter - it was a big deal. On the plus side, Sega's busy period might be limited to 2010-2013.
     
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  3. RyogaMasaki

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  4. Pirate Dragon

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  5. RyogaMasaki

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  6. Bobblen

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    Nice work! Looks like we've got the minigame for Keio documented already (with different codes for Japan VS US which explains the comment on the twitter thread), but Jango World Cup needs updating. The Mega CD appears to be a rich source for new cheats, I guess it hasn't quite had the same attention as the Mega Drive, but it's still from the era where devs were stuffing their games full of codes.

    Keio Flying Squadron/Hidden content - Sega Retro
     
  7. RyogaMasaki

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    Oh, curses. I checked the Keiō page and didn't see the code, but that's because I didn't check Hidden Content, which would have of course been the place it was located. Doh. Would have saved me a couple hours of research.

    But uh hey I know how the game loads and runs it modules now! :V
     
  8. Bobblen

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    At least you've got the rest of Victor Entertainment's back catalogue to tempt you to keep looking. Happy hunting! :)
     
  9. RyogaMasaki

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    That already crossed my mind and I checked, and it looks like these were the only two games they developed. They only acted as publisher for the rest.

    Still, plenty of other Mega CD mysteries to discover.
     
  10. Bobblen

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    Looking at that hidden content page, one other avenue of investigation could be to see if the Japan version is hiding a stage select code that's also different to the US version?

    For example, I remember for years the Shining Force 1 debug code was considered 'Japan' only (without using a PAR code or similar), until the game was investigated a few years ago and it turned out the code had been changed.
     
  11. RyogaMasaki

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    I took a quick look at the US version and compared, and it looks like there is *probably* no level select in the Japanese version. In the US version, the input list for the hidden game is at 0xff3900, with the input list for the stage select immediately following it at 0xff390a. In the Japanese version, the hidden game input list is at 0xff2f9a, with no other data following it. I initially expected the code to be similar between the two, but it's actually quite different (entry is at 0xff1000 in US instead of 0xff0800 for JP, for example). It seems unlikely (emphasis on unlikely, as I haven't done a deep dive disassembly) that it's in the JP version.
     
  12. Black Squirrel

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    [​IMG]
    A pseudo-rarity - Crazy Taxi on the PS2... with a BONUS MINI-STRATEGY GUIDE ENCLOSED.

    And now we have the scan!
    https://segaretro.org/File:CrazyTaxi_PS2_US_MiniStrategyGuide.pdf
    And it's completely unremarkable!

    At the time of writing there are several hundred copies of the game on ebay, but only a couple are this variant, which probably explains why I hadn't spotted it until now.

    From what I remember, if you wanted to actually play Crazy Taxi, the PS2 version is the worst way to do it (save for versions without the proper soundtrack).
     
  13. Black Squirrel

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    A task for someone:

    https://archive.org/details/sacredpoolsprototypesdumps

    Prototypes of The Sacred Pools have emerged. This was a game SegaSoft took to E3 1996, but was cancelled for whatever reason. It's a full motion video, Myst-like adventure game that was due for release on the Sega Saturn, Windows PCs, Macs and... the PlayStation?

    SegaSoft developing PlayStation games is something they openly talked about as a possibility, but I wasn't aware of any genuine development actually happening. But yes, pseudo-Sega on PlayStation in 1997, except not because it never saw the light of day.


    Four separate versions that need comparing and contrasting. It's a chunky bit of work.
     
  14. Black Squirrel

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    Pop quiz:

    Four Mega Drive console manuals. Spot the difference!

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    (all these ebay shots are pretty crappy so I'm not accepting different shades of grey as an asnwer)


    They're all legitimate Sega manuals, and all shipped with model 1 Mega Dives.




    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Slightly worrying when you think about it - the first four manuals I found were all slightly different, and yet according to us they're all the same. Spoilers: they aren't.


    Minor variants of game boxes isn't an uncommon sight, but it's pretty much a given with consoles. With Sega, typically first prints would occur in Japan, but if products were expected to sell in large quantities, other factories would get involved, in this case one in Hong Kong and another in Thailand. Same for the physical hardware itself - we're making too many assumptions that everything is always the same (though in fairness, so is everyone else).

    I was inspired to look after coming across variants of the Master System pack-in Hang-On / Safari Hunt. There we have variants from Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China, and as this game was never sold separately... the Master System consoles they came with also originated from those countries. As did the documentation. And the packaging. And whatever else.

    So yeah, next time you ask "do you need scans", assume the answer is "yes".
     
  15. Black Squirrel

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    I couldn't resist seeing what a PlayStation game by SegaSoft looks like. And...

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I don't know what state the builds are in, but the PlayStation prototype has higher resolution (and just generally better) FMVs (though no copyright details I see). Taken in isolation you wouldn't complain too much about the Saturn's visuals, but side-by-side... eek.

    There is a very early Saturn prototype of a game called "Rebellion" which appears to be the same game, albeit borderline unplayable. A fair bit has been written elsewhere - apparently the game was axed for being too slow and boring, and from the 30 seconds I've played, it's uh... yeah, not exactly thrilling. It does look expensive though - a budget-priced PC version might have been worthwhile to recoup some of the development costs... but only if they sped up the walk transitions and made it a bit less obtuse.

    I don't think we lost anything by the game being scrapped. Although there's apparently lots of scantily clad ladies later on, so idk
     
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  16. Pirate Dragon

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    https://archive.teletextarchaeologist.org/Pages/Details/1268159

    It looks like Sega also advertised on Teletext, from German satellite TV channel Sat1 97.09.06;
    They're a bit corrupted due to the nature of how they're recovered. Note the endorsement by Thomas Häßler who endorsed the German release of Sega Worldwide Soccer PC, his teletext image seems to be copied from the cover art, albeit somewhat corrupted in this recovery.
     
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  17. Ted618

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    ROM text for Virtua Formula appears to have some credits for the game (here and here), though I've no knowledge on how to access it all. Seen it referred to as an AM5 job in the past, but most of those names seem like AM4 people?
     
  18. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Did you know, there's no such thing as a "Sega Meganet"?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sega_Meganet

    Wikipedia doesn't, and until shortly before I started making this post, Sega Retro didn't either. Pirate Dragon pointed this out and it was the same conclusion I was coming to - what this page (and others) are describing is half a dozen different "things", and none of it done very well.


    So exceedingly quick crash course:

    [​IMG]

    This is the Mega Modem. It was designed to be plugged into the back of the Mega Drive, utilising the expansion port that was removed from later models. It lets the console connect to the internet (kind of, sort of), the idea being that you could

    a) look at information
    b) download things
    c) play against an opponent through the telephone line
    d) access various banking services and whatever that nobody understands because the infrastructure's dead

    How does it work? Well you plug it into a phone line and uh... switch on the console. Then if the software you're using supports the Mega Modem, you can dial a telephone number with it and... stuff happens.

    [​IMG]
    No really, you dial numbers on the screen and then press call.

    It's not web browsing as you think of it today, it's pretty much just fancy telecoms, sending digital data to and from servers or other consoles over the phone line. Apparently some of the software is peer-to-peer and so still works, so that's a thing, but everything else died many moons ago.

    It's clever, but expensive and wasn't widely supported, so never left Japan. It almost came to the US as the "TeleGenesis Modem", but it... didn't. Early PAL consoles have the expansion port too - it was never used.


    The most famous use of the Mega Modem was a service known as Sega Game Toshokan, a cartridge which allowed you to download playable games to RAM, not dissimilar to the Sega Channel and the Super Famicom's Satelleview, just through the phone line instead of TV or satellite.

    [​IMG]

    It's an application of the Mega Modem, not "the" Mega Modem, and it's where a few of the classic Mega Drive titles came from; its port of Flicky, Fatal Labyrinth, the Phantasy Star text adventures, and of course Sonic Eraser. Sega charged money for this specific service. 4,800 yen for six months got you unlimited access to the... small handful of very simple video games (though I'm guessing you were paying for the call as well? don't quote me on that).


    [​IMG]
    There's also the Sega Mega Anser that let you use the Mega Modem to do fancy banking over the phone. It's a barely understood curiosity.


    Fundamentally this is technology from 1990 that was too expensive, wasn't widely used, and didn't offer much value. Sega had abandoned all of this by 1992 - obviously some of the core ideas would come back in other forms, but this wasn't the runaway success as presumably planned.


    None of this was called "Sega Meganet". In fact, the only "network" Sega maintained here was the Sega Game Toshokan servers, which was little more than "GIVE ME GAME" "HERE YOU GO".


    But there was a "Mega Net"

    [​IMG]
    Years later in a different part of the world, Brazillian distributor Tec Toy released a very different system to get your Mega Drive online, the Mega Net. And it could be used to send emails and get information from Tec Toy and... not much else. The Mega Net 2, which is a rebranded XBAND modem, was geared more towards online play. Sega were involved, but it was mostly Tec Toy at the helm. And no purchasing of a Mega Modem required - it's all built into the cartridge.

    Brazil had its own banking application: TeleBradesco Residência, again a similar, but separate product. The only thing shared between the Mega Modem, Mega Net, XBAND and TeleBradesco services is that they all rely on a phone line. It's why they all have separate pages on Sega Retro, and should probably be the case on Wikipedia too.



    What is the legacy of the Mega Modem? Uhh... something. But after the Sega Game Toshokan service was taken offline, most of the games were bundled together and sold for the Mega-CD:
    [​IMG]
    Game no Kanzume Vol. 1 and Game no Kanzume Vol. 2. No they shouldn't need two discs. Yes it might be more accurate as "Can Zume" because they were distributed in "cans".

    After that, Sega Game Honpo, which let you download Mega Drive games to a PC.

    And more recently
    [​IMG]
    Game no Kanzume Otokuyou, previously released for the Japanese Sega Channel, is included in the Mega Drive Mini.
     
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  19. RyogaMasaki

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  20. Pirate Dragon

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    Edited quote for brevity.

    Yeah, you had to pay for phone calls too in most places in the world outside of the US where local calls were generally free. That's the main reason why BBSs were much more popular in the US than the rest of the world. So the call cost was a negative, but the biggest issue that I never see brought up is that this was before mobile phones were commonplace outside of business. Most households only had one telephone line, which was the only way to be contacted by friends/family/work ... well, maybe some people had pagers, but they were far from ubiquitous. So parents weren't going to be happy about the kids tying up the phone line playing games which would make the whole household uncontactable.

    About the same time the Mega Modem came out I was interested in going online in the UK, I got BT to send me this brochure, which gives you an idea about what could be done online back then. As it happens instead of getting an Amiga that Christmas I got a Mega Drive, and that service "Micronet 800" closed the following year with only 10,000 users, despite it being "easily the largest online service in the UK specialising in microcomputing" and being usable by pretty much any type of home computer available at the time. 3,500 Sega Game Toshokan subscribers doesn't seem too bad in comparison! This problem wasn't really solved until BT launched their consumer ISDN service in 1997. Maybe there were better consumer ISDN options in Japan, but going by the rarity of the Mega Terminal mentioned above I'm guessing not really.
     
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