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The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers DVD

The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers DVD

While he was in Japan to interview some legendary gaming developers for his “The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers” book, John Szczepaniak also recorded many hours of footage about those meetings and his visits to some interesting japanese places related to videogames. Some of those recordings have been released in a 4-hours-long double DVD titled “The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers DVD”, in a limited edition of 500 copies, an interesting item dedicated to gaming collectors and fans of japanese developers, especially those from the early ‘80 and ‘90 (screenshots below from Retro Type).

The-Untold-History-of-Japanese-Game-Developers-DVD-japan

Along with some intriguing chats on old-school / obscure videogames in Japan and their preservation, visits to Akihabara and popular japanese gaming shops, an interview with one the best game designers that almost no one knows (Yoshiro Kimura), a quick look at the Tokyo Game Show and other more or less compelling materials, John was able to gather some exclusive info about various unreleased games and undeveloped pitch that remained unknown until now.  Here are some personal highlights:

An interview with Kouichi Yotsui (Background Artist and Game designer at Capcom for such classics as Ghouls ‘n Ghosts and Strider) and Roy Ozaki (Producer at Mitchell Corporation ) that show some design docs for unreleased games that were pitched in the ‘90 to Enix and Capcom.

The-Untold-History-of-Japanese-Game-Developers-DVD-games

An interview with Yukata Isokawa (creator of Pitman and Namco’s NeGcon controller) with some talks about an unreleased Namco Golf game planned for the original playstation, that would have used the NeGcon controller like a Wiimote.

An interview with Yūichi Toyama (Capcom, Sega, Technosoft, Sting) with some memories about Grand Slam, a cancelled action game inspired by Area 88 manga and Choplifter.

A visit to Keigo Matsubara’s HUGE gaming magazine / book preservation archive (check his website, in japanese). You could try to contact him if you have any questions about old japanese gaming magazines!

The-Untold-History-of-Japanese-Game-Developers-DVD-magazines

A visits to the Preservation Society, a group that tries to repair and save games that could be lost, especially old cartridges and games developed for old PCs that are not available anymore or not emulated. They even show a short game created by Hudson Design School as a test for internal use only.

An interview with Masatoshi Mitori, Masaki Higuchi and other developers talking about an unreleased game they worked on.

A quick look at the first MSX hardware prototype.

An interview with Yuzo Koshiro (music composer that worked on such classics as Streets of Rage, Ys, ActRaiser, Shinobi and much more) and his memories about the cancelled Street of Rage 4 that was pitched for the Dreamcast.

The-Untold-History-of-Japanese-Game-Developers-DVD-koshiro

While the audio and video quality are not the best (unfortunately the tripod for the camera used during the trip was broken before even being used), and some of the chapters could be of no interest for someone (there are some parts in which designers talk about their development hardware in japanese software houses in the early ‘90 and try to drawn them on a whiteboard) all those memories about previously unknown lost videogames and from the golden age of japanese gaming made me to love what i saw in this DVD.

Most of the topics discussed in the videos are just a taste of the full interviews and articles that you can read in “The Untold History of Japanese Game Developer” book, but if you are interested to see some of the creators of your favorite games from when you were a kid in the ‘80 and are fascinated by nerdy / otaku japanese lifestyle, you can buy “The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers DVD” from Hardcore Gaming 101 and it will go on sale (-10£ less) for Black Friday on the 28th of November!

 

Together on Patreon to support Unseen64!

There are already almost 3.000 unseen videogames saved in the Unseen64 archive, but so many others wait to be added. We are only 4 people on the main U64 Staff: we face some difficulties to keep up with all the work and costs to run such an online museum of games that we’ll never be allowed to play.

The new server hosting Unseen64 costs about 300$ per year. U64 is an independent site. No money is generated from our work so we must pay each and every server bill ourselves, with the help of a few awesome supporters. Years ago we had Google Adsense banners that helped a little to raise money to pay the server, but then Google banned us because we use to write about prototypes and rom-hacks, even if we don’t host those files on our server.

Big gaming networks like IGN or Kotaku have the power and the money to have a team to work full-time on their website, to publish daily updates. We don’t have their resources, but we have something better: we have you, a community of gamers that know why it’s important to archive beta and cancelled games, and together we could make Unseen64 a better online museum for all those games that could be forgotten forever.

unseen64 on patreon

Patreon lets readers support their favorite websites by becoming patrons, giving a small donation every month through paypal / credit card. Unlike other fundraising services which raise lots of money for a single big event, Patreon is for creators who publish online a stream of smaller works, like website updates, articles, researches, and need just little money every month. Empowering a new generation of creators, Patreon is bringing patronage back to the 21st century.

Together on Patreon we can rise enough donations to pay the U64 server, and maybe we could even rise enough donations to pay our best contributors to quit some of their day-jobs and write more good articles, to publish a paper U64 book, deeper researches on lost videogames, create video insights, interviews with forgotten developers and much more.

Check our Patreon page to find out how you can help too!

Thanks to everyone that supported and continue to support U64 for all these years! Thanks a lot to 0r4 for his music that we used in this video and to Mark for his chiptune support! 

Demon’s Crest [Beta – SNES]

Demon’s Crest is a 2D action game developed by Capcom and originally published in 1994 for the Super Nintendo. As we can read on Wikipedia, this is the 3° game starring Firebrand (an enemy character from the Ghosts ‘n Goblins series), following Gargoyle’s Quest and Gargoyle’s Quest II. Thanks to Casey Strange we were able to note some minor beta differences in the some screens published in old magazines.

demon's crest beta

In the screenshot the earth gargoyle has a slightly different sprite. The color is a bit darker but it could be because of the magazine. The enemies in the first beta level were different as seen in this preview video of a sample Demon’s Crest demo for retailers.

There were two Demon’s Crest prototype sample cards on eBay and one japanese beta version was leaked some time ago, you can find the download in this nice anonymous Tumblr, thanks to Casey for the share! This ROM dump of the Japanese sample / beta game looks more like the final game compared to the video, but maybe with the help of our friends at TCRF it would be possible to find some interesting unused stuff hidden in the beta code.

In this beta you start the game with all 5 talismans and four of the crests. This is different compared to the final version. The game stops after the second battle with Arma in stage four and you are greeted with this screen.

demon's crest beta

Armageddon Potato noted:

After doing some comparisons there is a large chunk of blank data in the retail rom at the very begining (which was also dumped by a SUPERUFO apparently as it’s tagged in the header.) After that the prototype is indentical the final minus the size differences. I wouldn’t expect any changes in the prototype then. […]

I landed up getting a cleaner rom rip. One without the SUPERUFO header which may have been causing the blank space problem(since that makes no sense!) It does appear to have some differences, although they may be possibly minor. Once I get some solid free time I’m going to have to play though both the retail game, and the prototype. I need to know exactly where the game lock you from the later levels in the prototype, and possibly pictures/screenshots of where this happens.

If you notice more beta differences from Demon’s Crest, let us know in the comments below!

Thanks to Casey Strange and MicroChirp for the contributions!

Images:

Would you support Unseen64 with Patreon for 1$ a month?

Would you support Unseen64 with Patreon for 1$ a month?

Lately Patreon (thanks to Farel for the suggestion!) is becoming more and more used by small, independent gaming websites to rise support and monthly donations to be able to pay the site server and to create better content. Some good examples are HG101 and Tiny Cartridge.

Patreon lets readers support their favorite websites by becoming patrons, giving a small donation every month, automatically through paypal / credit card. Unlike other fundraising services (for example Kickstarter), which raise lots of money for a single big event, Patreon is for creators who publish online a stream of smaller works, like website updates, articles, researches, and need just little money every month. Empowering a new generation of creators, Patreon is bringing patronage back to the 21st century.

The new server that hosts Unseen64 costs about 300$ a year. U64 is an independent site. No money is generated from our work so we must pay each and every server bill ourselves, with the help of a few awesome supporters. Some years ago we had Google Adsense banners that helped a bit to get money to pay the server, but then Google banned us because we write about prototypes and rom-hacks, even if we don’t host those files on our server.

If you want to help Unseen 64 to survive and if you can donate some of your love every month, we would like to try to rise monthly contributions through Patreon. You can just donate how much or little you want, and you can cancel your pledge at any point if you’re low on cash or have a change of heart. Every cent is really appreciated and sent towards the U64 Archive. Patreon takes 5% and the creators cover the credit card transaction fees which are generally 4%, so we would see around $0.90 of every dollar.

We’d like to open different Milestone Goals, so for example if we are able to get 25 patrons to donate 1$ a month, we can pay the U64 server for another year and write weekly updates, if we are able to rise 100$ a month we could publish an Unseen64 Book with articles and insights about cancelled videogames (something like HCG101’s “The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers”, but with more engrish), if we are able to rise 2.000$ a month (LOL), we could pay our best contributors for more good articles and work on Unseen64 24/7 for daily updates on the site, deeper researches on lost videogames, create videos, interviews with forgotten developers, etc.

We also would like to offer special gifts for people that donate more than 1$ a month, for example we could share exclusive / early access videos with people that donate 10$ a month, to send a physical copy of our (potential) U64 book to who donate 25$ a month, to work on dedicated articles and special requests for who donates 50$ a month, and so on.

Before to organize a Patreon account, we’d like to do a poll to see if this idea could be useful to support Unseen 64. What do you think? Would you support U64 trough Patreon with 1$ or more a month? What would like to see as “special gift” and “Milestone Goals”? Give your vote and comment below!

 

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