If you are used to the beta & cancelled games communities, you probably know already Yakumo and his Segagaga Domain website. SD is another great place to find informations about obscure games, especially japanese and SEGA ones: in there you can even see a collection of videos from unseen Saturn and Dreamcast games. In this new Unseen Interview we have questioned Yakumo, to know better the mind under Segagaga Domain, learn about the japanese gamer’s life and his toughts about the unseen gaming world.
U64: Thanks for your time Yakumo, would you like to introduce yourself and your site to our readers?
Yakumo: Sure, my real life name is Mark. I’m a British guy with a passion for gaming that has lived in Japan since 1998. My site, Segagaga Domain originally started out as a private online reference guide to what software I had at the time. A few friends had access to this reference guide and mentioned how great it would be to have some sort of online catalogue that actually gave decent size cover scans as well as comments on the games. I always thought there were plenty of sites on the net like this but as it turned out most of them just gave catalogue numbers etc without any really information on the game it’s self. So Segagaga Domain was born to fill in that massive void. I’m always looking to expand the site. Within the last year we saw the start of the Movie Vault. This will be the first place on the net (unless someone beats me to it) to feature video footage of ALL Japanese Sega Saturn games as well as unreleased game footage and Dreamcast games.
U64: Your Retrocore Show is a very nice initiative, especially the “What ever happened to…” sections, do you plan to talk about more “Unseen Games” in the next episodes? We do something like that with our U64 Italian Podcast, but well.. it’s in italian, so noone listen to it ;)
Yakumo: Retro Core is a very popular show however there won’t be any more “Unseen Games” or even another episode. I’m afraid real life is just too demanding these days, so the show had to come to an end. Sad, I know but real life take priority unfortunately.
U64: How is to be an english gamer that lives in Japan? It’s really a gaming-heaven for collectors?
Yakumo: Oh yes! Japan can be a gamer’s heaven for sure. Many people think you need to go to Akihabara to be in Japan’s gaming central but that’s not true. Sure, there are many great and cool items in Akihabara and the atmosphere is fantastic (although it was much better 10 years ago) but you can still get your most wanted treasures in any part of Japan. It just takes a bit longer to find them. For example, I live in a pretty small city however within 10 minutes drive from my home I can visit 6 game shops!!
One really good aspect of game collecting in Japan is that buying used games is just so easy. Japanese take good care of their gaming items so most of the time a used game will look as if it’s brand new or near new. It’s very hard to buy a CD game that’s scratched to death.
U64: Do you know if there are any japanese websites or online communities about beta & cancelled games? (And if not.. why do you think there are no japanese sites like Assembler or U64?)
Yakumo: There are a few Japanese BBS style sites that will talk about unreleased games but as for pictures and videos I’m afraid not. Japanese homepages in general are pretty poor. They have some strange fear of posting copyrighted images such as game covers or screen shots, lol
U64: Did you ever find any prototypes in those obscure gaming japanese shops?
Yakumo: I’ve never found any prototypes but I do know of a shop that sold PS2 TEST Stations. They were all labeled as Junk and sold for a very low price. Unfortunately I didn’t have any money at the time so I missed out on buying them. Could have made quite a bit of money on EBay, lol
U64: Which is your favorite “lost game” and why?
Yakumo: That’s got to Geist Force for the Sega Dreamcast. I remember drooling over videos and images of that game many months before the Dreamcast was 1st released in Japan in November 1998. I’m a big shooting fan as well as a fan of fantasy based shooters such as Panzer Dragoon. Giest Force looked like the game for me. I even managed to see it running in real life at a Japanese gaming show. However the game was never released even though it was complete (-_-). I just pray that one day it will be released to the public or failing that, have the chance to buy a GDROM of it myself.
U64: What are some of your favorite released games?
Yakumo: There are so many games I love so it’s hard to say. I’ll list them by system.
Dreamcast – Phantasy Star Online & Ver.2. This was the first online RPG that I ever played and the first and so far only successful console online RPG. This game had it all. Atmosphere, challenge, very user friendly interface, good off line mode, special challenges and a warming community.
Dreamcast – Shenmue 1 & 2. Need I even try to explain this one? As close to being there as possible. Fantastic game that always had you involved in something through the entire adventure. Never a dull moment.
Saturn – So many fantastic games but if I had to choose one it would have to be Daytona USA. Sure, it looks awful but it played like a dream. Every other version after that just didn’t feel right.
Mega Drive – Again, so many great games so I’ll choose one of my cult favorites. Battle Mania 2. Crazy humorous shooter from Vic Tokai.
Mega CD – Urusei Yatsura. Makes you wonder why other companies never used the power of the Mega CD. This game is like playing an interactive animation and makes all those Lucas Art Mega CD games seem like a million years old :lol:
U64: Have you ever been to Sega of Japan or other videogame company offices? Rumors say that there are basements full of unseen games in there..
Yakumo: I have been to Sega’s main HQ in Tokyo which did have a nice display case but nothing that you couldn’t see in shops. I bet they do have some amazing hidden items in the basement however us poor mortals will never get access. Other game companies HQs I’ve seen include Konami, Nintendo and Capcom.
U64: What do you think about the scene behind beta/canceled games, their collectors and their fans?
Yakumo: I’m fascinated by the world of unreleased games and betas. I’m always checking out Unseen64 for anything that I may have missed in the past. There’s something compelling to see what could have been. As for the scene, well it’s a mixed bag I feel. There are many cool and generous members such as drx, who recently released a Fighting Force beta for the Sega Saturn as well and many other great releases in the past. Then there are the collectors who say “Look what I’ve got and what you can’t have” These are the arse holes of the scene. Fortunately the cool people out there far out number the arse holes.
U64: Which is your favorite food?
Yakumo: That’s got to be Yakitori. It’s a Japanese dish which could be resembled to BBQ. The food is mainly meat such as chicken or pork on 12cm sticks. It’s cooked over an open grill just like a BBQ.
U64: How’s going with your Dreamcast collection? Did you manage to have all the released games for the console? ;)
Yakumo: I had to stop my Dreamcast collection I’m afraid. Living in Japan has it’s drawbacks such as space. My original idea was to get a complete Dreamcast and Saturn collection but I had to give up the dream of a complete Dreamcast collection due to space issues. I decided to go with a complete Saturn set because deep down it’s my favorite console of all time.
U64: Which is your most “valuable” gaming treasure or discovery?
Yakumo: I would say my mint Sega branded Wondermega but deep down I guess it would have to be my Panorama Cotton Japanese tea cup. I received it from a Japanese Sunsoft representative in the ETCS show in London about 15 years ago. I had to speak Japanese to get it but back then I was just a beginner so it took a lot of courage.
U64: Did you ever receive any unseen-gaming information, screens or videos that could not be shared with the public?
Yakumo: Yes, 3 times. None names can’t be made public but I can tell you that I used to visit Bizarre Creations (of MSR and Project Gothem fame) main office quite a bit when I lived in the UK. I learnt and saw many cool things while there such as early versions of MSR and the very early rough ideas for Fur Fighters. Back then it didn’t have a name though and MSR was actually called Project Gotham..
U64: What do you think about U64? How could we improve the Unseen Archive?
Yakumo: Unseen64 is a great site with loads of valuable information. As it is, it’s pretty much well laid out and informative however the server that hosts your site is pretty slow at times. Maybe you could move to a faster server if funds permit.
U64: We are working on that :) Well, that was the last question, thanks again for your time! Do you want to add something?
Yakumo: You’re welcome. Thanks for the interview (^o^). To all collectors of unreleased material out there, please share the information you have. You don’t need to rip your valuable purchase for all to have for free but please make videos available for those not as fortunate as yourself to own a piece of obscure gaming history. I’m sure if you can afford unreleased games you can afford a video capture card lol.