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General Questions and Information Thread

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

  1. RyogaMasaki

    RyogaMasaki

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    My understanding is that ISDN was comparatively more popular here in Japan. You could find public phones with ISDN hookups and a place to put your laptop, and you can still find PCMCIA ISDN modems at hardware recycle shops.
     
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  2. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    It speaks volumes about the Mega Terminal that I both forgot that it existed, and didn't run into it when researching the Mega Modem yesterday.

    The concept is very alien to me - my 90s internet experience also involved being charged by the minute, so I'd only get a very limited time online and it would be constantly supervised. The magazines were whining about the lack of online Dreamcast games, but it was unfathomable to me that you'd be able to spend more than 10 or 15 minutes online before it got "too expensive" or someone wanted to use the phone - to have this feature on the Mega Drive or Saturn... I mean you'd have to be rich to make use of it, surely.
     
  3. doc eggfan

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    Chiming in with even older stuff related to the Micro modem attachment for the SC-3000, and the Great Galactic Conflict MMO that was run in the 1980s and apparently peaked at around 600 players (not all on SC-3000 computers, but I guess some would have been).

    For one whole weekend, access the "internet" for 1c per minute (20% of the usual fee!)

    I think I read somewhere that Australian Telecom had to forgive huge debts wracked up by children on computers who didn't realise how expensive it was access to the "internet."
     
  4. Hivebrain

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  5. RyogaMasaki

    RyogaMasaki

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    Here's one you'll probably enjoy:

    Sega AI Computer pamphlet

    edit: archive.org displays the pages horizontally, but it's probably worth noting that, like most of the pamphlets, it is folded into A4 size with the fold on the long side, so it opens "vertically."

    I hope you'll forgive me for begging, but buying these pamphlets/flyers/magazines (cough Harmony) isn't exactly cheap, so if you have a couple extra bucks to spare, tips on ko-fi are appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2022
  6. Gryson

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    Hideki Sato talked about the Sega AI Computer in his oral history here (p. 6). He said it was a complete failure. Sega was trying to get into the educational computer market but didn't succeed. However, he said that because of their failure with the Sega AI Computer, they were able to learn from their mistakes and release the Pico. The Pico became the de facto standard for educational computers in Japan and was a huge success for Sega.
     
  7. RyogaMasaki

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    Another scan for you.

    Mega Drive introduction booklet, featuring rapper/writer/actor/TV personality Itō Seikō.

    Itō was the image character for the MD hardware, also appearing in TV CMs. Part of the "gimmick" was that he was multi-talented, and thus well-represented the multi-purpose MD abilities (modem, keyboard, printer, etc).

    One of the more interesting things here is the expansion device list on page 4. We know about pretty much all of these from e.g. the Beep MD launch article, but I think the mention of a "PC interface board" is something new... :o

    edit: Also, I'm not sure if it's obvious from the archive.org hosting, but I always include a .json file with some meta data including the size of the source material and the scanning lineage. It should be visible if you go to "Show All." It will have the same name as the pdf.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2022
  8. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Ooop.

    [​IMG]

    Important detail missed - I assumed the unreleased floppy drives took 3.5-inch disks (because, you know, "standards"), but it's actually a 2-inch disk drive.... which is really freaking weird because apparently 2-inch disks didn't even exist until 1989.

    [​IMG]

    There's this one developed by Fujifilm for the... Zenith MinisPort
    [​IMG]
    I'm wondering if it was a proprietary design. Unless it says somewhere.
     
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  9. RyogaMasaki

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    I'm betting it would have been based on Quick Disk, which was a proprietary format internally from Mitsumi (its creator), but the outer shell could be customized to the device. The format had been around long 1989, though. I know there was a QD drive for the Sharp MZ computers, there may have been for other computers too. The most famous usage was the Nintendo FDS though.
     
  10. Black Squirrel

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    There's another idea in there about "superimposing" - is this drawing Mega Drive graphics on top of an existing image, a la television production? Amigas were used for this purpose (though as early as 1988? hmm..)

    Ignorant speculation: one of the palette entries on the Mega Drive is the "background colour" - would it make sense to have a mode where that this colour is treated as "transparency"?

    [​IMG]


    Although I suppose in a weird way they did finally achieve this... with the 32X.
     
  11. RyogaMasaki

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    Yes, the super imposing would have been for video output. It was mentioned in the Beep MD launch article, as I recall.
     
  12. Black Squirrel

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    If EGM can be believed (and it's a big "if"), Sony were involved, which means it could have been based on the Video Floppy.

    The timeline of that isn't super clear - Sony invented the 3½-inch disk too, so whether they'd still be exploring 2-inch variants in 1988... dunno - I'd have to spend more time researching.

    My vague understanding of the Famicom Disk System is that it was cheaper to manufacture disks... until it wasn't. Wikipedia's saying the Video Floppy could hold about 800KB - Mega Drive cartridges passed the 1MB threshold in late 1990 - maybe it stopped making financial sense.
     
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  13. RyogaMasaki

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    I wasn't aware of the possible Sony connection.

    Regarding data size, my feeling is that the FDD wouldn't have been used so much for games/software distribution as for data storage for the user, namely with applications like word processing. But who knows.
     
  14. Gryson

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    You can read my translation of the Mega Drive debut article here - it talks about the floppy drive and superimposition:

    https://mdshock.com/2018/07/08/the-sega-mega-drive-is-here/
     
  15. Black Squirrel

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    Guru Larry put up a video earlier in the week about silly video game executive quotes, and good old Bernie Stolar turned up with his "Saturn is not our future" gaff. It's not news, but what I didn't know before is where the quote came from (mostly because I never bothered to look) - now I do:

    https://segaretro.org/index.php?title=File:EGM_US_098.pdf&page=82
    EGM's September 1997 issue

    I was all ready to snarkily point out it was a quote presented out of context (as these things so often are) but... no actually it's worse.

    [​IMG]

    It's drivel - Sega has a different business model because... we release fewer games on more platforms and... Sony might have 600 games for its console, but it won't be able sell them all at full price so... will struggle... somehow. ...??? ..?

    The famous quote is a little muddied - Sega clearly considered the Saturn its "present", but was considering new hardware in 1998 if the software was there to support it. It's not something you should be saying publicly, as it implies customers should wait for future hardware instead of investing in Sega Saturns today (see also: the Jaguar 2 in the above video), but hey, there was a reason he was fired.


    And for completion's sake:

    Sony's "record business", Sony Music Entertainment, is currently the largest record label on the planet. It made $1.74 billion USD in 2020. I'm not quite sure what the case was in 1997, but clearly they turned it around.

    I'm not au fait with US television networks, but it looks like CBS has moved up and down quite a lot over years - sometimes it's the most popular network, other times it's in second or third place. Either way the corporate history's all over the place and it's all part of the Paramount family now. Although I guess that's "like Sega" because Sega too was owned by Paramount back in the 70s.
     
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  16. Black Squirrel

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    Today on "I wasn't looking for this I swear"



    Once upon a time, the Master System game Astérix had a more descriptive title: "Astérix in Egypt". It also had less good graphics - there's a "remake" out there which demonstrates this nicely - hope you like blocks.

    Why the name change? I'm going to guess it's because for three quarters of the game... Astérix isn't in Egypt. You go to Egypt eventually, but not until you've journeyed across the Mediterranean, and that takes a few levels. And while looking for traces of the original game, I came across the most tedious of discoveries:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The European and Brazllian versions of the game use different screenshots on their front covers! Also this is pretty much the only Sega game to use screenshots on its front cover (there'd be Mega Drive compilations years later, but nothing from this era of gaming).

    I struggle to care as well, but Tectoy were notorious for using pre-release screenshots in their marketing material - there was a very real chance the cover could have been made from an Astérix in Egypt build.
     
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  17. Black Squirrel

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    My self-appointed task this weekend has been to clear out this category:

    Category:Uncredited role

    People attributed to games, but aren't credited within those games (or in manuals). This is typically for older titles where Sega forbid and/or there wasn't enough room in the ROM for credits - the only way to work out developed these titles is from interviews or Twitter posts or whatever, and a lot of those were added to Sega Retro without a reference.



    And when you read interviews, you spot things that haven't been added to the wiki page. For example, Mickey Mouse wasn't allowed to "die" so Castle of Illusion has "tries" instead of "lives". Also this:

    [​IMG]

    Spot the issue.

    [​IMG]

    Sega of America hired Joe Montana as a sports spokesman before they worked out how to make American football games. Apparently they commissioned a few studios to build an engine... and they all sucked. The result was licensing the technology behind Electronic Arts' John Madden Football and making a bazillion changes to it so you wouldn't notice.


    Here's the thing - final Joe Montana has a "vertical" field. The above screenshot is "horizontal"... because it's one of the scrapped versions!

    Apparently Sega always wanted a horizontal view, but time got the better of them. That's why in Joe Montana II (and NFL 93), it's a horizontal playfield. Pretty much everyone, including Sega had settled on a vertical view by their 1993/1994 iterations, though.

    Curiously it's the opposite story with association football - horizontal views would become the dominant camera angle as the 90s rolled on.
     
  18. Black Squirrel

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    https://segaretro.org/index.php?title=File:EGM_US_013.pdf&page=78

    [​IMG]

    And a different version, taken to Summer CES 1990. This one looks like the PC version - maybe it got rescued.

    Apparently there were three different pre-EA projects - this might account for two of them. The third is probably Hard Yardage... which was also a "vertical" game.


    So yes if you ever come across a "Joe Montana Football" Mega Drive prototype, it could be one of four different games!
     
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  19. So I have a Genesis Model 1 VA3 and a late-run Sega CD (manufactured August 1994) that I want to get repaired, but I need some advice as to what could be causing some of their issues.

    The Sega CD was advertised as working when I bought it from a vendor at the Portland Retro Games Expo, but it only worked once, with the disc scraping on the bottom of the inside of the drive. Currently, the disc drive does not power up or show any signs of activity. The motherboard and everything else appear to be fine when connected to my Model 1 VA6: the console does boot to the CD BIOS, and loading code via Mode 1 also works, with Devon's Mode 1 PCM and ASIC demo running perfectly.

    The VA3 Genesis has corrupted video output (I assume due to bad VRAM, since my Model 1 VA6 had the exact same issue when I got it), but audio and controller inputs work correctly. But, the expansion slot doesn't appear to work at all in either Mode 1 or 2. Connecting the aforementioned Sega CD to it and powering it on results in a black screen, with no activity on the Sega CD's LED; trying to run Devon's ASIC demo by setting my Mega Everdrive to autoboot it produced the same result.

    I am thinking about having the drive assembly of the Sega CD replaced with a modern one, and the Genesis I do plan to replace the VRAM and capacitors, but I am nevertheless uncertain if those are the correct things to have done. Any advice?
     
  20. Ted618

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    Will also be useful for grouping the various amusement machine/hardware engineers that Sega have never consistently credited throughout their history. They might not be recognised by the company itself, but can be by books that proclaim them as "the unsung heroes of Sega's success", and us (!).

    Whilst it's relevant and before this brief sidetrack of my own gets forgotten, OutRun 2 SP SDX - it had a thread on here a while back, but mentions of three teams in the credits warrant it being brought up again while it's relevant here. Said three teams are:
    [​IMG]
    Mechatro - fairly well-documented as the successors of AM4 and 6, later (and still?) known as Product R&D. One would normally expect its personnel to have designed OR2 SP SDX. But they probably didn't do most of it - they just have a special thanks in the credits.
    Hardware R&D - also given a special thanks. Most likely the ones who made all the game boards in the 2000s. Rarely credited, unclear if it was always independent or a subdivision at times, had its own logo in the OR2 SP SDX credits, and may have been known as AM7 in the 1990s.
    "NS R&D Dept" - the actual developers of OR2 SP SDX. Whoever they are, they appear to have next to no documentation besides this one mention.

    But consider some of the credited personnel, e.g. Yuji Sugimori, Motohiko Higashiguchi, Tomoyuki Goto. Three engineers who all cut their teeth on large-scale simulator machines at AM4 during the 1990s, then had slightly less to do upon budgets getting cut a bit at the dawn of the 2000s. Two of them inadvertently led me to this mysterious "NS R&D Dept." in the first place, thanks to an old interview.

    Checking through Google Patents, these engineers are around the same time also attributed to designs for the SDX cabinets of After Burner Climax and Hummer, as well as various parts used in the 'Special' editions of Let's Go Jungle and House of the Dead 4 (which both don't have any in-game credits or pages on Retro altogether, but are distinct releases, much like the originator of the 'Special' line - The Lost World: Jurassic Park Special).

    So piecing all of the above together, could "NS R&D Dept." have been a short-lived department split off from Mechatro to specifically make these massive 'Special'/SDX versions of games in the mid 2000s (i.e. the ones that Sega went back to not doing so frequently soon after this)?

    It wouldn't be the only example of an amusement machine production team that quickly came and went either - although it seems to have more documentation thanks to several Japanese-only interviews, there's the curious case of N. Pro. R&D in the 2010s, which split off from Product R&D to make more unusual stuff like E-Deru Sunaba: Fushigi na Suna Asobi and Nail Puri for about a year or two, then swiftly vanished.

    Without wanting to needlessly add yet more detail here, N. Pro. R&D even seems to have had some of the very same personnel as noted above, shortly after they had also been involved with Sega's late 2000s/early 2010s golf simulator endeavours (something else that needs more English coverage).