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 ;)
Sonic fans probably already know Sonic Retro, one of the best websites for informations about Sonic protos, hacks and various unseen stuff from our favourite blue hedgehog games. In these last years, the SR community was able to realize a wonderfull series of projects and researches, that help us to know more about the development of the Sonic saga. Sonic Retro is now a perfect example on how to organize a group of expert gamers, “hackers” and lovely geeks, that collaborate togheter to preserve informations on lost games. What’s the secret of their success? We have contacted Scarred Sun, webmistress of SR, and she was nice enough to take some of her time to answer our boring questions about their site, the Sonic Retro sceners and the beta-gaming world.
U64: Thanks for your time Scarred Sun, would you like to introduce yourself and your site to our readers?
Scarred Sun: I’m Scarred Sun, the owner of Sonic Retro, a site dedicated to all things old-school Sonic, but with a focus on prototypes, hacking and technical aspects of the Sonic the Hedgehog series of video games. I originally joined the Sonic scene in 2001 while learning about a pirated Sonic 1 cart that I had and ran a couple of sites that eventually evolved into what we now know as Retro.
Unlike most other webmasters in this genre of sites, I do not actually do much hacking or research myself; instead, I basically aggregate the discoveries and news of others and make it more accessible for a wider audience. I started this through a site called Sonic the Hedgehog Information Treasury (aka SHIT) and it eventually evolved into its own community. On a day-to-day level I’m responsible for the glue that holds the site together by resolving personal conflicts, helping and hanging out with the community, coordinating projects, design and direction for the site, and obviously editing the wiki and front page.
U64: On Sonic Retro there’s a big collection of hacks and informations about beta and canceled Sonic games: how did the site started to archive this kind of unseen stuff?
Xavio hasn’t updated a lot the last time, but no worries folks, the one and only Xavio is back – WITH AN INTERVIEW!! How great isn’t that? I was trying to contact Borman from Past To Present / Superior Version, but he was far to little on his computer (so we’ll have his interview for another time) and I decided to contact DRX from Hidden-Palace.org instead. God Bless that guy, now I’ll get an A+ in English. Anyway, let’s go down to business.
[spoiler /Click here for the censored version/ /Hide the censored version/]I went down the streets, looking for the man. The city walls were gray, and I smoked on my cigarrete as I heard the noise of the wind coming through me. Then I saw him. He stood in the city corner, the guy who took care of Hidden-Palace.org. He watched at me as I came towards him, with my cigarrete and my pimped out nose. We stood and chatted for a while, and then I began interviewing him.[/spoiler]
TEH EPIXZ INTERVIEW WIHT TEH L33T ADMIN
<Xavio>Hi DrX! Thanks a lot for this interview, we know that you probably have better things to do than reply to our questions, but we’ll try to be as fast as possible. :) Would you like to introduce yourself and your site to our readers?
[spoiler /Click here for the censored version/ /Hide the censored version/]<Xavio>Hi DrX! Thanks a lot for this interview, we know that you probably have better things to do than reply to our questions (like spitting in cans), but we’ll try to be as slow as possible. :) Would you like to introduce yourself and your site to our readers?[/spoiler]
<drx> It’d be a good idea, I don’t think that many people know me. I run a website called Hidden Palace, devoted to preserving lost video games and video game development history, among other things. Oh and don’t worry, I have enough time and cans to spit in them.
<Xavio> When did you get the idea to open a site for unreleased stuff? Why did you start the site?
I have recently played the incomplete release of Corn Buster, which according to my sources was originally available for download at the Engine Software website. There is very little information available about the game, and few people know of its existence. I feel that it would be beneficial to the unreleased game community, as well as the gaming community as a whole, if more information were made available regarding this game.
I have sent a mail to Engine Software to ask if someone who was involved in the development of Corn Buster would be willing to provide more information concerning the game’s development history, any planned elements for the game, and the reason for its cancellation. Ruud van de Moosdijk was nice enough to answer some of my questions!
[Interview by Marshall Leslie]
Marshall Leslie: Who came up with the original idea for the game, and when did development start?
Ruud: The game was designed by Ivo Wubbels and myself (both founders of the company and still in function) and was furthermore designed in detail by Arjen van Haren (no longer working here) and Marco Willemsen (Senior Artist). Development started around 1994 I guess…before we were officially a company and got Nintendo Licensed. It was our first professional game, and I remember we even wrote our own assembler for SNES on PC (SNASM) because we had no official tools.
Marshall Leslie: How many people worked on the game?
Affinix Software was a company based in Southern California, that worked on a cancelled game for the Game Boy Color. Infinity was an epic old-school RPG, that promised to be a good choice for lovers of this genre on the Nintendo console. Sadly the team had some problems in finding a publisher for Infinity and Affinix Software had to close down in 2002. We have contacted Eric Hache, former member of Affinix and composer of the score for Infinity (a real “beta-OST” that you can download from his website) for a little interview about their cancelled game and his life as a videogame music artist.
[Interview by Take_it_Slow]
Unseen64: Thanks so much for this interview, Eric.
Eric: You’re welcome!
Unseen64: What is your favourite food? :)
Eric: Anything from the sea, but nothing beats a good ol’ meal with meat and veggies. :)
Unseen64: The Affinix summary of the plot doesn’t go into much detail as to what the evil is or who the characters are. Would you care to expand?
Eric: It’s been a while and I haven’t seen all the story, the evil guy is “The Creator”, the hero is Connor, he used to serve the king but after some conflict he was stripped of his commission.
Unseen64: The piece also says that the Aluthans and The Selerans used to be allies, but were later divided. Is it explained in the game what caused this divide?
Eric: Uhm, that’s a tough one without re-reading the script… Mark (The writer) could know more about that one.
Unseen64: From a screenshot on the Affinix website, it appears that the actions in battle were tied to the direction pad. Is this true? What was the battle system like?
Eric: The battle system is very ingenious, it is controlled by the D-Pad yeah. You point with the D-Pad towards the enemy you want to target and then you hit A to do normal attacks, or you don’t use the d-pad, select an item or a spell and then select your enemy. It’s one of the fastest rpg systems I’ve played. Quite enjoyable!
Unseen64:From that same screenshot, you can make out Conn, Elya, and Vict as character names. Were these stock names, or did the player choose them. Furthermore, what were the characters like and how were their stories related?
Eric: They are stock names. As I said before, I don’t remember a lot about the story.
Unseen64:How was your experience in composing the score for Infinity?
Eric: I loved it! I had a chance to do some nice chip songs and most of them were dark in nature and if you’ve listened to some of my songs, I really like to compose for dark moods. :) It took around 3 to 6 months to do, and I had a full time job at the same time. I didn’t sleep much in that year. ;)
Unseen64:Why do you think Infinity was never picked up by a publisher?
Eric: We took too much time to finish it and the GBC’s lifespan was nearing it’s end due to the release of the GBA.
Unseen64:Did you worked on any other “unreleased” games?
Eric: Quite a few, since I’m a composer trying to make his mark, it’s not uncommon to work on small development teams with limited funds and personel. A few of those were “Legend of Talibah” in 1996, Shadow Incarnate in 1998 (with Yohalem), The Kudhos Project in 1999 and lots of others which I forgot.
Unseen64:What happened to the people from the team? Did they got a new job in thegaming-industry or are they working on something else?
Eric: Mark Yohalem the writer is doing pretty well, he’s written scripts for a few games that are on the market and published books. He’s also a lawyer.Justin Karneges the producer/programmer is always busy programming, he’s currently working on Psi, a messenger client. Hideaki Omuro is still a terrific programmer, he moved to Japan shortly after Infinity and works for Irem I think. Mathew Valente, (the sound engineer) and I are still very good friends, we met last year in Toronto for a Play! Symphony show and we met Uematsu in person. The artists seem active in other projects but I don’t know if it’s in the game industry or not.
Unseen64: Are you yourself a gamer? If so, what games are you playing now and what is your favorite console (any generation)?
Eric: Of course! I don’t love any console in particular, I own most of them. Right now I’m still playing Final Fantasy XI online on PC, and I still have to finish Baten Kaitos Origins and Tales of the Abyss.
Unseen64:Who are your favourite musical artists?
Eric: Motoi Sakuraba, Yasunori Mitsuda, Yuzo Koshiro, Nobuo Uematsu, Kenji Ito and Alex Skolnick from Testament.
Unseen64:Where you get the inspiration for your music?
Eric: I really don’t know, I always end up humming a song in my head throughout the day and I’ve never encountered a block yet :)
Unseen64:Are there any plans for the Infinity ROM to be leaked to the Public? (Please!)
Eric: I’d love to say yes, we still contact each other regularly and discuss about it. I’d say there’s still some chances.
Unseen64:What are you working on now?
Eric: I’m on hold with some projects now, waiting for them to finish a little more before I can jump in. But right now I’m mostly doing studio work for customers and composing for my own pleasure.
Unseen64:Anything else you’d like to say?
Eric: I hope everyone gets a chance to play Infinity, it’s a very special game – one that you wouldn’t believe came from north american talents! and on top of that, it’s am old school rpg that you can actually die at least a few times in. ;) and of course, the music is awesome! haha
Unseen64:Again, thanks for your time, and we really value your help with this project.
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