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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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    Because people don't come to us first, I make a habit of searching for "Sega" on archive.org, just to see if anything interesting has popped up in the last day or two.

    https://archive.org/details/amiga-active-18-2001-03/page/n7/mode/2up

    Here's one for the history books - a dedicated Amiga magazine reporting on the demise of the Dreamcast. From "Amiga Active", a magazine that decided it would be fun to enter production in October 1999 (and hilariously it had a rival, because Amiga Format was still going).


    Arguably not too surprising since the Amiga didn't "die" like most formats, but still neat to see.
     
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  2. RyogaMasaki

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  3. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Mythbusting go go go

    [​IMG]

    One of the few reasons anyone might care about classic Madden - John Madden Football '92's ambulance. When someone is injured, it drives onto the field, ramming any players in its way. It's a little novelty that got removed because it's bad to glorify injury or some equally stupid reason. Other rules about NFL video game injuries apparently include "don't take off the helmet" and "they can't be motionless when on stretchers".


    The ambulance was not, as much of the internet seems to claim, a staple of the series until Madden 2001.

    https://madden.fandom.com/wiki/Ambulance

    It was removed in John Madden Football '93 and never came back, save for a less aggressive ambulance that appears in Madden 64 where players do indeed get out of the way*. None of the numbered mainline entries have had an ambulance since 1991 - there's not much (easily accessible) footage online but Madden 96 is indicitive of the later Mega Drive games at least - "there's a man down", cut to black. And of course we're far too realistic and sensible to see this sort of thing in the Maddens of today.

    A bit worrying that people were happy to echo this statement without actually checking any of the games. I mean, it's not like they sell millions of copies annually.



    *Madden 64 isn't licensed by the NFL, which might explain how they got away with it.
     
  4. Hivebrain

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  5. Black Squirrel

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  6. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    https://archive.org/details/20220730_20220730_0821
    https://retrocdn.net/File:GameMachineDaikenkyuu_Book_JP.pdf

    For the more technically minded - I've mirrored "Game Machine Daikenkyuu" (ゲームマシン大研究) - relatively detailed descriptions of how Japanese arcade machines, video game consoles and computers work. Information that's all over the internet to be sure, but as this book's from October 1989, it's a really early example of dissecting PCBs and the like. It mentions things like the Mega Drive keyboard and floppy disk drive - I'm not sure if there's any detail there, but there might be parts the internet has missed.
     
  7. Pirate Dragon

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    I looked into this when that scan went up, it's interesting as Sega made some SC-3000 (I guess technically SG-1000 too) games specifically for this TV show, which haven't been seen since. Unfortunately none of the shows have been put online (from reading Japanese blogs etc), but the Japanese Wikipedia page is a fairly thorough which makes it strange that there doesn't seem to be any English language info on it. There's a screenshot of one of the SC-3000 games in the Technopolis article, which has the ship from Astron Belt which was the game used for the final of each episode (later episodes used Star Blazer).

    Also note that cart with a ribbon cable, I guess this was something similar to the Demo Unit used for SMS cabinets, which would have also been used in this.
     
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  8. RyogaMasaki

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    There was also パソコントラベル君ならどうする (Pasokon Trouble - Kimi nara Dou suru?), also sponsored by Sega, which aired in the same time slot as Pasokon Uchuu Daisakusen the next year (Dausakusen was 1983, Trouble was 1984, both airing on TBS on Wednesdays at 7:30 PM). Doesn't seem to be any video of it floating around, however.
     
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  9. RyogaMasaki

    RyogaMasaki

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  10. RyogaMasaki

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  11. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    This seems to be a recurring thing now:
    https://retro-bit.com/gley-lancer

    Having released a bunch of Toaplan games, Gaiares and all the Valis-es, Retro-Bit have decided to re-release Gley Lancer. I dumped all the details in Advanced Busterhawk Gley Lancer (Retro-Bit).

    But again, no idea if this is the best plan. This has been localised into English (and I'm certain there'll be copyright changes), so it's not the same ROM as from 1992, but the original game saw a Japanese re-release in 2019 by Columbus Circle... and my decision back then was to include it in the main article.

    aka I'm inconsistent and I don't know what I'm doing



    If you're more consistent and have a better idea of what to do, edit/move things etc.. I think there's merit in keeping aftermarket versions separate, if not just so we're not flooding an old game with 43329084832 things from a new press kit, but if there are cases where it is literally just the same game... I dunno.
     
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  12. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    [​IMG]

    Some weird pedantry: in North America, the Sega CD plays Sega CDs.

    That is to say, the format is called "Sega CD", and the player is also called "Sega CD". Think: Video CD, Photo CD, Sega CD.

    [​IMG]


    ... at least sometimes. It's the fault of the Japanese:
    [​IMG]
    Because the BIOS says "CD-ROM", so when explaining how to make the game work, US manuals were forced to use this term as well. So put your Sega CD in the Sega CD then press CD-ROM but it's not a CD-ROM it's a Sega CD.


    Elsewhere in the world, (and many third-parties which couldn't be arsed with this terminology), you just get mixtures of "CD", "compact disc", "Sega CD disc" and "Mega-CD disc".

    Anyway it means the terms "released on Sega CD" and "released for Sega CD" are both perfectly valid (as is "released as a Sega CD").
     
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  13. Hivebrain

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  14. Pirate Dragon

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  15. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Was scavenging ebay and discovered the US Electronics Boutique "Holiday 1992" catalogue:

    https://picclick.com/1992-Holiday-Electronics-Boutique-Video-Game-Catalog-SNES-154915264025.html
    (we have scans of some of these, but not this specific "issue")

    Retailers were often given placeholder images for then-unreleased games, so these things can be mildly interesting. But this one caught my eye:

    [​IMG]

    "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles", a project that later became Instruments of Chaos Starring Young Indiana Jones. It's one of the worst rated games on the Mega Drive, and from what little I've played... it's hard to disagree. It's everything you love about Sega of America's early output - ugly visuals, the GEMS sound driver, wonky hit boxes and a general lack of polish - it would make a great AVGN episode.


    Except one problem - Instruments of Chaos didn't come out until early(?) 1994, and this catalogue is from late 1992. That means a last minute delay of over a year... and the end result still sucked. That means it's a contender for one of the most troubled Mega Drive games of all time - an instrument of chaos, you might say.


    Nobody has ever cared enough about Instruments of Chaos to discover what makes it tick. Drx released 9 prototypes of this game back in 2008, adding to a further 2(?) dumped beforehand, none of which seem to have been checked. The earliest prototype, which the internet just labeled "BETA", seemingly dates back to 10th March 1993, after the above catalogue was printed, and turns out... it's actually quite interesting:

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    It has an extensive debug mode, seemingly missing from later builds (and the final game), allowing you to theoretically change some of the physics in real time. Also, just like Sonic the Hedgehog you can move around the screen and place objects, including more Indys! And if you place too many the thing crashes!

    There's also a stage that takes place in Peru. Judging from YouTube playthroughs, I don't think that level exists in the final game. But again, nobody really cares about Instruments of Chaos - we don't have any cheats listed, or even a scan of the manual to explain what's going on - maybe it's just hiding.

    But what's terrifying is this how shockingly unfinished and broken this prototype is, despite being built at least three months after its planned release date. That means the version being advertised in Electronics Boutique... I mean... it can't have even been playable. What were they thinking??
     
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  16. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Oooh it's misleading.

    Prior to 2008 there were two prototypes of this game on the net, but I imagine there was some confusion because they were both horrendously labeled:

    Instruments of Chaos Starring Young Indiana Jones (USA) (Beta).md
    Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, The (USA) (Proto).md

    (to save typing, I'm just going to call them "Beta" and "Proto". Don't blame me, blame No-intro or whatever.)


    "Beta" is the one I just posted, and in the ROM header, there's a date of July 1992. However when you play and break it, the real build date of 10th March 1993 appears.

    "Proto" has... November 1992 in its header. So you'd think it's a later version, but it's not:

    [​IMG]
    This one actually has a "The Young Indiana Jones Chroncles" title screen... after this other title screen. And it's much earlier - it only has part of the India level...
    [​IMG]
    ...and once you go inside the temple, Indy puts on a pink jacket and there's not much you can do but ride this elephant (which might have more colours than the final game?).

    So this is more representitive of the state of the game when that catalogue was printed. So not so much "extremely broken" as "there's nothing here".


    Given there are two developers listed, my guess is that one of them (Waterman Design?) struggled to get this project out the door, so a second one (Brian A. Rice) was brought in to clean up the mess. It was delayed as long as it reasonably could be, and judging from when the reviews came in, didn't hit store shelves until May 1994. So about 18 months of development - whoops.

    EDIT:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    November 1992 -> Early 1994
    They tried to salvage it. Not sure the birds are an improvement though.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2022
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  17. Pirate Dragon

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    It was supposed to be released at the end of March 1994, and there's someone complaining about how crap it is a couple of weeks later, so early April at the latest if it slipped.

    Edit: Yeah, it debuted in the NPD charts for March 1994.
     
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  18. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I've changed my mind - I think the "Proto" build is much earlier. A very similar build was on display at Summer CES 1992 in May, which either means they sat on it for months, or that ROM header is to indicate the date they expected to ship. Which they missed by leaps and bounds. I'd say it was crazy for Sega to take such an incomplete version of a game to an event... but SCES 1992 also had the Nick Arcade Sonic 2 prototype on display, so I guess anything's possible.

    My hacking skills are minimal - it looks like the are exception handling strings in the ROM, but I couldn't for the life of me "break" the game in such a way that they'd be triggered. If the build date is listed similarly to that "Beta" version, that would be the way to find out how old the "Proto" ROM actually is.


    By the way, if you're wondering why this game has a stupid name, I think it might be down to licensing. "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" was a television show fronted by Paramount Pictures, and by downplaying the connection, Sega could get away without having to pay them licensing fees. Generic "Young Indiana Jones" branding means they only had to pay Lucasfilm, although I'm going to guess the project still made a loss.

    It also helps that the TV show flopped in the ratings and was taken off air in 1993, though the name change appears to have occured before then.
     
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  19. Level Zone Act

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    There's a little bit of Dreamcast history that I would like to read again, if anyone here has miraculously preserved a copy.

    In that chaotic period in January 2001, lots of rumours flew around the Internet about Sega pulling the plug on Dreamcast and making games for other companies. I remember that the Official UK Dreamcast magazine waited a few days, and then put an FAQ page on their website explaining the situation as far as they knew it. That's the page I'd like to read again! I'm curious to see how much of a positive spin they put on it at the time.

    Unfortunately ODM's website was a mixture of frames and Flash, which archive.org isn't very good at preserving.

    This is their collection of dreamcastmag.co.uk snapshots. There's a copy timestamped 1st Feburary 2001, which would be ideal. But unfortunately it doesn't load at all for me:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20010201084000/http://www.dreamcastmag.co.uk/

    Opening the page source, I think that this was the URL of the frame that showed the main body of the site, if anyone can use it to find any text pages that have been archived:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20010203190900fw_/http://www.dreamcastmag.co.uk/front_homeset.html
     
  20. Black Squirrel

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    A load more Tengen-related things got uploaded to Archive.org overnight, but this one caught my eye:

    https://archive.org/details/test-report-for-road-riot/mode/2up

    It's a test report for Road Riot 4WD from Sega of America, and it scores... badly. This was a widely publicised game from Tengen that was cancelled, and this might be the reason why - Sega thought it sucked. Apparently you needed a minimum of "60" on their scale to pass - in this test, the game gets 51/49.

    Earlier this year Hidden Palace released a prototype of the game. I'm going to guess it's an earlier build than what was tested, on the grounds it has a 1992 copyright (and this document is from September 1993), but with a bit of imagination, you can see the problems:



    I'm going to guess some of the issues were too egregious to fix, and so Tengen cancelled the project entirely. I don't think the world missed much, but ehh. It would be fascinating to see if an internet whizz-kid could patch it up.


    Road Riot did manage to arrive on the Super NES, and it's... uh... not great there either. Maybe worse in some respects. Oh dear.
     
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