Thursday, 24 July 2008

Sega Rally PC

Well folks its been a while since I posted anything of relevence here at the SJY. Recently the good ship has been steered and captained by the ever wonderful Teutonic Wunderkind, our most wonderful contributor, the mighty elend!

Well hopefully I'll contribute more as I'm blessed with a fabulous six weeks off work! Yes, the job of teaching has it's blessings. After a year of attempting to educate my charges and even more importantly, bestow some social skills upon them, I've got the chance to chill out, drink, watch movies and more importantly blog and play games!! Hurrah!!!

So, on to gaming and more importantly, onto Saturn gaming!!! Firstly I'd like to share with you the wonders of Sega Rally PC. As I've often documented on these hallowed pages, Sega Rally 1995 is one of my favourite and oft played games on any console. As the title that was bundled with my first Saturn, it holds a special place in my heart.

As you wander round supermarkets in the UK, you'll often find a bargain bin with Sega titles from it's former consoles, ported for PC gamers. They're released under the "Grab it!" franchise and usually retail for £1. So far I've had House Of The Dead 2, Sonic R, Sega Rally and Virtua Fighter Evolution, all for the princely sum of a mere quid.

This summer, or more accurately this week, I've been loving Sega Rally PC. A direct port of the Saturn original (it's graphically and in terms of playability the exact same game) but for some reason, sitting in my living room, surrounded by the Krishna family with a lap top on my knee, playing the game is an absolute joy!

Bizzarely enough, for some reason it's actually easier to complete the Championship stages on the PC than it is on the Saturn. I'm using the arrow keys and for some reason I'm cornering better and finishing with ease! Stiil no sign of the elusive Lakeside stage as of yet, but I live in hope...

What is a tad disappointing is the Link Play feature, which alludes to (but doesn't promise) the chance of playing rivals over the internet. This of course was one of the features that only a very select group of Saturn owners were privy to, via the Saturn's revolutionary online 'Netlink' internet peripheral.

So far my attempts at connecting to the internet on the PC version have been unsuccessful.
There's precious little on the back of the box to guide you... I quote:

'LINK GAME MODE... Race rivals near and far. Full screen action allows you maximum enjoyment in this PC original.'

Hmmm! Am I the only one who finds this limited description somewhat vague?

But it's not only PC ports that have entered Krishna Towers! Why no! I purchased my latest Saturn software just yesterday for three English pounds! Why it's Saturn PAL original Titan Wars!

If I'm absolutely honest I bought it for the shallowest of reasons:

1.) I didn't have it in my collection...
2.)The blurb on the back...

"Over 40 minutes of full motion video starring Claudia Christian. Switch between chase plane and cockpit views. Dominate 30 levels across nine worlds. Your wingman will watch your six (?) and feed you tactical data."

I've yet to play it but I'm looking forward to that rendered video! I'm setting aside a few days for Saturn only gaming this holiday. I'll report back as soon as I've given the Saturn the love it deserves! Until then, adieu! Here's some video to wet your appetite..

The Wonder That Is: SMJ

"What the hell is SMJ and what does it have to do with this incredibly great Segata Sanshiro sticker sheet to the left?", you might think. I guess most of you haven't heard about SMJ yet, that's why I want to introduce you to it. The Shopping Mall Japan is an incredibly great service, who enables everyone to shop in Japan. That does include weird japanese websites, but more importantly the japanese auction site Yahoo Auctions Japan. Yes. Yahoo Auctions is the place to be, when you want rare or semi-rare Sega Saturn stuff just like the great Segata Sanshiro sticker sheet you are seeing on the left.

It works like this: You register yourself a free account at SMJ. Then you can enter an auction ID from Yahoo Auctions and the desired maximum bid amount and they'll bid for you. In realtime and automatically. Once the auction is won (or lost) you'll get a notification and the seller will ship the item to the SMJ offices in Japan. Then they'll redirect the stuff right to you. And well, yes, there is a snag in it. It's quite an expensive service. The SMJ stuff wants to earn some money through this service, so naturally they want some fees from you. They range from 5 USD for auctions with a max. price of 2000 Yen up to 12 USD for auctions ranging from 4000 - 10000 Yen. Additionally they take 2.50 USD wire transfer fee. Of course you also pay the shipping within Japan as well as the shipping to your home country! So my advise is to only buy things there, which you can't get elsewhere and which you really, really want. Small and cheap items like the Segata Sanshiro stickers can get up to 200 % in price with all the fees.

Personally I prefer to pay those fees than don't having those great items at all. And Yahoo Japan does have some great items. Along with the stickers I also bought a Segata Sanshiro VHS tape with all his TV Commercials on it! Now isn't that great? I'll try to rip it to DVD then, so that I can finally enjoy the TV spots on my actual TV set in great quality. Woo yay! And of course there's more on Yahoo Auctions. Segata Sanshiro Book, Music CD, telephone cards and action figures! Damn, I have to buy everything! :D So, check out their page, they have explanations for just everything you want to know and I guess I wrote enough, plain boring text already. Next time I'll post more pictures, I promise!

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Sega Saturn Promotional Video

Recently I managed to register myself an account at the japanese only video portal Nico Nico Douga. A search for "Sega Saturn" (in japanese of course) didn't bring too many results. Actually much less, than I was hoping for. And the results I got were your usual suspects like gameplay scenes from Daytona / Panzer Dragoon / Virtua Fighter and some Animeintros / -cutscenes here and there. But then, inbetween some weird SRPG game and a Segata Sanshiro TV commercial I spotted this very great Sega Saturn Promotional Video. It shows a super clean, absolutely brand new and astonishing looking Sega Saturn and some great video footage of something that looks like Ecco The Dolphin. This scene is pre-rendered and should demonstrate the graphical power of the Sega Saturn back then. Watching it nowadays, makes you laugh a bit, since the graphics almost look a tad like PS2 graphics. Go give it a look, it's really nice and especially hasn't been uploaded to YouTube before. That is, until I uploaded it, for your convenience. It's my very first YouTube Video ever.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Sega Saturn Consumer Brochures

Just a little update. I scanned in more of some random Sega Saturn consumer brochures I found / bought recently. Two are unfortunately in german and thus probably not so open to you, but hey, they feature very colorful pictures at least. One in particular features quite a nice design and a super gorgeous product shot of a Sega Saturn. I can only recommend it. The one brochure in english, is making my eyes cry, though. Dunno what the designers thought when designing it.

Apart from giving you a very nostalgic feeling, some brochures even show you some never released games on the Saturn, which is both sad and interesting. The rest is your usual marketing blah blah, which I probably would have loved back then. "What, 500.000 polygons per second? This must be the best machine ever!"

Oh and btw, this time I can't be arsed to put them in a PDF file, so you've got to browse all those JPG files. But I hope you have something like ACDSee installed. Sorry!

Saturday, 5 July 2008

VF 5 R... The legacy continues

Despite poor sales of VF5 (even though critical acclaim was high) and a corporate loss of thousands, nay millions of dollars, pounds and yen (!) This year it seems that Sega and AM2 stil want to put out a new version of Virtua Fighter. It's not VF6, but VF5 R...
Apparently that means two 'new' characters, one being the already seen VF3 character Jean Kujo ( a frankly shite Sumo wrestler) looking apparently better and hopefully playing a little better. The other is apparently a totally new character.

The game was unveiled in the Japanese city of Akihabara, at a Sega themed bar, where there were arcade cabinets that sported the new game. My only thought on the subject is that our beloved Saturn franchise has been given a new lease of life. When you also think that there is a 2008 re-vamp of the original Sega Rally, it would seem that the fabulous games afforded to us on the Saturn, still live on in the current millenium! Happy days!

Here's the low down...

"It seems that last week Sega Japan gave gamers a chance to play on the new version of Virtua Fighter 5, at it’s location test. If you happened to be strolling along the electronics district of Akihabara anytime between the 25th June and 1st July (yesterday), then hopefully you will have seen this event.

According to Wired blog, GameLife, Sega was showing the game off at the Club Sega in the centre of the district. However, I’m not sure which Club Sega that might be. When I went there, there were two Club Sega’s about 50 yards from each other - and due to a massive hang over and ridiculous temperatures, I didn’t fancy exploring much more of the area. So no doubt their are more Club Sega’s around the district.
Anyway, Sega was showing off over 30 cabinets, and giving gamers a chance to test out the two new characters in the game.

New to this latest version of the game is a new karate-practicing character known as Jean Kujo, and the return of sumo wrestler Taka-Arashi (he last appeared in VF3).
The game is said to allow IC Cards from VF5 Ver.D to work with it - allowing players to use their old save data and customise their characters.
VF5 R features new stages and a new “Danshi Mode” where players are able to train their characters and learn new moves.

No final date has been set for the game’s release, but the cabinets at the “Shinjuku West Exit Club Sega” will remain in use even once the location test is over."

Enjoy the screen shots, courtesy of Sega Nerds...

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Another Saturn Appearance In Anime

When you watch Episodes 16 and 17 of the Anime "Bamboo Blade", then you'll spot this lovely image of a Sega Saturn there. Yes, it's the animated version of the "Bamboo Blade" Manga I recently reported about in this blog. I still don't know the context, in which the Sega Saturn is displayed, but everyone interested can now download the proper episodes. I wonder what that stuff on the Saturn is. Probably some presents. Well anyway, here's the original site, which posted the image. You can find some more informations there. In japanese that is.