Saturday, March 31, 2012

Going It Alone Without Sega

Well first off, I'll start by saying that Daytona USA and Sega Rally Online Arcade are on sale for 400 MSP each (XBL only, sorry guys).  So if you have an Xbox 360 with internet, you have no excuse not to but these now.  Good for you, good for Sega. YOU'RE TOO LATE NOW.

But now for the bad news.  I'm fairly certain everyone knows this but Sega has recently posted big losses of about $240 mil in the last year (March '11 to '12).  Tons of people laying off and Sega claims they will restructure their development to only include big IP's like Sonic, Total War, Football Manager, and Aliens.  We don't know what this means for titles still in development, like Jet Set Radio, Shenmue, or Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing 2.  Something's gonna get cut cause that's the business.

EDIT: Seems that SEGAbits says that big bloggers like Kotaku have overstated the news.  Sega isn't giving up on other IP's as easily as it seems.  I already take Kotaku with a grain of salt and now it pays off.


I'm a bit distressed by the news but it's not totally surprising.  We all know Sega has been ailing for years and their only way out is to take even fewer risks.  All of this on the heels of my "Sega needs to do more" rant.  I know it sucks ass.  No specific reason why Sega is doing poorly other than that they've gone back to being "Good Old Sega" again...the one that falls into holes that it can't climb out of.  Oh wait, that's right, it's because of all the money spent on Dreamcast 2 development, thanks Zach Morris. (sike)

A brief aside pertaining to financial woes: I recently wrote a paper on Midway Games.  Yes, the Midway of Mortal Kombat, NFL Blitz, and Cruis'n games.  Like Sega, they were lucrative in the arcade business.  In '01, they closed their arcade division due to financial losses.  In '03, American media magnate Sumner Redstone owned 80% of Midway's stock.  Later, Midway started publishing mediocre games like Area 51, Psi-Ops, and The Wheelman.  Midway lost an ass-load of money and was eventually stripped and sued to pieces, only to have whatever remaining pieces to be bought out by Warner Bros. for cheap.  But I'll get into Midway again at a later date--I'm getting off-topic and I want to save it for later.

It's distressing to me because I've said many times it's my "goal" to work at Sega.  Then make some new racing games and actually restore sanity to video games.  A while back, I took some initiative and asked somebody on the official Sega forums if they offer any jobs for aspiring programmers.  Here's how it went down.  This is me:

Here's a strange question. I'm studying to get my graduate degree in game programming at Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (ranked 2nd in Princeton's Top 10 gaming schools) and will most likely be doing some intern work in the next six months. Rather than be harvested by Electronic Arts (like 2/3rds of my class will be), I was wondering if Sega was interested in holding some internships or job openings for programmers. I know Sega of America is in California but if I have to travel, then so be it. I like Sega so...I guess I would like the chance to work with you guys.

I'm just curious and am throwing this out there. Don't know where else to ask this question since Sega doesn't have a "contact" e-mail besides video game support (such as "perform a hard reset").

And this is an admin:

Gaming jobs are the best out there, so firstly - welcome to the first step in a satisfying career! For jobs at SEGA, keep in mind that we are a publisher, not a developer. If your programming focus is aimed at game creation, you'll be better suited for development positions. If you have interest in web programming, you'll be an excellent fit within a publisher.

My recommendation for anyone looking for jobs in video games covers off two main websites - and Both should give you a ton of resources for available positions by company and region. SEGA jobs are listed in the above link (as noted), but again, this will depend on what you are looking for.

My final recommendation is not to be down on any company or job you take. Experience is experience, and you'll find that a diverse portfolio will be helpful in finding work where ever you go. If SEGA or one of our developers is in your sights, then figure out the kind of jobs they hire for and build your resume to match that, both in school and real world experience. Hope this helps, good luck!

That sounds like a great response and I really can't complain.  The thing that gets me is how Sega is now labeling themselves as a publisher only.  Ok, I've known for the longest time that Sega only publishes great games and doesn't make them themselves...but where are all these official Sega games coming from?  I know they're making some on their own.  I heard Sonic Adventure 2 was developed in San Francisco, hence the City Escape and Radical Highway stages.

And then there's the crap licensed games like Iron Man, Thor, Aliens...where are these games being made then???  Yeah, that's right--Sega Studios San Francisco, which I have no idea where it a underground bunker under a non-descript building it seems.  Shoot for the studios owned by the if you're into Nintendo, go for Retro Studios in Austin, Texas.

Speaking of non-descript buildings, I've looked up Sega of America's headquarters on Google Maps multiple times.  Here's what it looks like.

This is it.  A plain brown 4-story building in a medium-density zone in San Francisco.  If it weren't for the small Sega logo on the building, you'd never know it was a Sega building at all.  LOL WHERE'S THE BLUE SKIES???  Yeah, Sega is some juggernaut, huh....performing hard resets in a modest San Fran office building.  Living the life it seems.

I know many of you were expecting Sega to dwell in a massive university campus setup (like Microsoft, pictured above), but no, just a tiny brown building.  Sega ain't that rich.

HA, now that we've gotten the building stuff out of the way, let's talk about actually working at Sega.  And this is where it get's really sad...

It's about time I start to discount working there.  Let's be real--Sega is downsizing.  They aren't looking to hire anybody.  In the meantime, job outlooks in general continue to get worse despite the fact that Electronic Arts is snatching up as many programmers as possible.  No really, we NEED jobs and if that means doing the programming equivalent of shoveling horse manure at EA Tiburon, well....what choice do you have?  Money talks--you need money to live.  To make your family and friends happy.  Am I going to throw away everything over the pursuit of lousy racing games???

And even if you did work at Sega, would it be that great?  Travel across the country and sit in your little office cubicle working on Aliens or bad Sonic games just to keep Sega on the respirator.  Never get to meet Yu Suzuki or Toshihiro Nagoshi.  It would be lousy as you'd expect.  And it all comes down to the climax which is this...

I think the outlook of new Sega racing games is really bleak.  Maybe a new Sumo Digital title or another XBLA/PSN port but I can't see much through the fog.  I have little faith at this point they can churn out new Daytona/OutRun/other non-derivative racing game.  You need the stars to align to convince Suzuki-San and Nagoshi-San to make another racing game especially considering the sad outlook of the game industry, MUCH LESS have the chance to pitch the game to Sega altogether.  Also throw in the possibility of another financial catastrophe and that likelihood can drop even lower or be wiped out altogether (as in Chapter 13, look it up).

So now what?  Well, we can continue to chip away at Sega and its studios and hope to catch a break but it may be in vain.  So we make our own racing game.  And we do it without Sega, Yu Suzuki, Toshihiro Nagoshi, Makoto Osaki, Tetsuya Mitzuguchi, Takenobu Mitsuyoshi, the AM2 team, the #41 Hornet car, and the Daytona soundtrack.  Can it be done?  Yes.  Will it be painful.  Hell yes it will.


So it can be done without the Sega/AM2/Daytona name, huh?  Well let's look at two examples:

The first is Medal of Honor.  The first game came out in '99 for the Playstation and it had excellent reviews.  Electronic Arts bought the rights to the game but decided to kick the original team off the project.  So 22 ex-employees formed their own little studio called Infinity Ward which would go on to make Call of Duty.  Then Call of Duty would later triumph over Medal of Honor although that series has probably been run into the ground by Activision so that figures.  What goes around, comes around.

Second is Guitar Hero.  It was made by Harmonix.  After making Guitar Hero 1 and 2, Harmonix was kicked out--Activision made Guitar Hero 3 and so on.  Harmonix went on to create Rock Band.  Despite the ultra-success of Guitar Hero 3, the series fizzled out while Rock Band re-innovated the music genre with a huge library of music and new instruments and gameplay modes.

And if, should the Good Lord will it, maybe Sega will see our good deeds and intervene like an angel and then we will be able to make the best racing game ever made.  One can only hope.  I may be wrong but as they say, "Hope for the best but prepare for the worst."  We'll see what happens in a year or two .  But be on alert people since WE MANY NEED YOU some day.


Uh, so you know what Sega needs?  Sega needs a little help from his friends.  HIS SEGA FRIENDS LIKE YOU AND I!!!  GOD BLESS YOU SEGA!!!

Binary Domain & Yakuza Zombies Stuff

Hello kids.  About time I came back.  Was too busy completing my programming homework held together with duct tape.  It's great.

Now we all know that Nagoshi-San's two shooters are going up against some stiff competition.  Here we have Binary Domain You Guys which came out the same week as Mass Effect 3 (stupid!) and Yakuza: Dead Souls which feels like a slightly-tweaked Dead Rising/Resident Evil clone.  But that's okay, cause these are Sega games and Sega > everything else so....yeah.

Giant Bomb was so kind to do a Quick Look of both games (30+ minutes long..."quick" look my ass) although they haven't posted an official review of either.  Don't expect one from them since it's way past the time to do so.

Gameplay-wise, it's kind of cool shooting up robots.  Good for a third-person shooter.  The main problem that jumps out at me with the campaign is that your character plays the role of the "subservient idiot."  You know how in Call of Duty, Captain Price or whoever runs through the level telling you what to do so you keep following him?  It's kind of the same deal here.  In later levels, you get bigger teams and thus get more control over what to do and

Even though the levels look a bit color (some light blue/green hues), level design looks rather linear.  Then again, just about every damn shooter these days fits the bill so you can't blame Binary Domain You Guys all that much.

There's a few times in which Big Bo repeats himself in succession, like at 33:30.  Big Bo doesn't even shoot the enemies--he takes cover behind a computer and blind-fires at enemies across the room, ignoring airborne enemies.  So that seems a bit sloppy.


You can use voice commands to order or reply to your companions.  Surprisingly, this is probably the first game ever that actually encourages you to say "f***" and "s***."  No really, speed up to 9:45 and 10:55.  Voice commands don't work as well as they should.  Think Hey You, Pikachu! on the N64 but only marginally better.

My favorite parts are 7:20 (Big BO!!!) and 33:00 (control pay-nel).  The game does some thing well in that you can earn cash to buy better guns for your teammates and stuff.  I imagine this game is already blown over so really...what's the point of bringing this game up anymore.  Buy Binary Domain You Guys to make Nagoshi happy and he will make Daytona 3 (we can only hope).

A reminder: Binary Domain You Guys fared a 7.5 average on GameRankings which is okay but not the best. Must be because of all the Mass Effect hype which kept this game down.

So this is Yakuza: Dead Souls.  Unlike Binary Domain You Guys which is on Xbox, PS3, and (in the near future) PC, Yakuza is a PS3 exclusive.  Apparently the Japanese don't like the Xbox...I don't blame 'em, those XBL avatars are hideous and no one should go near 'em.  Sega has no desire to port the game to the 360 since I can't see the West making a big deal out of this...

So the biggest problem with the game is that the controls are just weird.  You run around in a third-person view shooting pistols with infinite ammo at zombies.  Now that ain't bad--Dead Rising 1/2 had very few guns so Yakuza capitalizes there.  But to shoot, you usually face in the general direction of the zombie and just pull the trigger and you auto-aim towards the guy.  Like Army Men Sarge's Heroes.

Now I'm not familiar with previous Yakuza games but overall, the controls are a bit painful to watch.  Had this game used a crosshair at all times (like Gears of War) it may be much better but here, you're just flinging the camera around in hopes you actually hit something.  You usually hit the target dead on or miss by a yard/meter.  Come on, Sega.

Another thing a bit distressful is that some of the special zombies look ripped out of other games.  There's the giant rock zombies...oh, a Tank from Left for Dead?  And that crawler zombie...a Licker from Resident Evil (the guys bring that up).

Then again, they talk about Nagoshi a bit and how he possibly had less involvement in this game due to Binary Domain You Guys.  Which explains why Binary Domain You Guys looks like the better of the two.

It's just strange since the only thing carrying this game is the zany cast of Yakuza characters.  And the fact it's Japanese as opposed to Western.  Probably explains why this game is so popular in Japan since the Japanese like to stick to their own games (it seems) while in the West, we tend to do the exact opposite (hmm, Mass Effect, Skyrim, Battlefield, you name it).  So no wonder Yakuza seems out of place.  Eyepatch Guy at 30:20 is a real badass.  When the Japanese do actual bad-ass stuff, you gotta love 'em.

Review-wise, GameSpot gave it a 5.5 and GameRankings has an average of 6.4.  But that's okay because Sega doesn't line their pockets with cash like EA, Activision, etc.  Even if it's not cash, I wouldn't doubt that game publishers give certain media types promos/advanced copies/other cool stuff in exchange for better reviews.  Look at GameSpot and every other media site up until Mass Effect 3's release--TONS OF MEDIA about just about damn everything.  That kind of stuff generates big hits.  Yet you saw very little of Binary Domain You Guys other than on the Sega blogs.  Also throw Sega of America's inept marketing into the picture, ESPECIALLY pertaining to Binary Domain You Guys which is supposed to contain more favorable elements for Western audiences.  I'm just throwing this out there.

That's about both games if you have pity on Sega.  The end.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

OutRun Accused Of Plagiarism???? TX-1 The Game...

I was browsing thru random racing game vids the other day and I came across this old game I've never heard before.  It's called "TX-1" which doesn't make any sense.  It was developed by Tatsumi (who's that?) and published by Atari in 1983.


Game seems innocuous at first.  Reminds me of Pole Position but with super wide-screen vision (16:5 ratio???).  You're driving this red F1 which looks like it was drawn in Windows Paint.  But then:

You come to a fork in the road.  Take left or right and travel to foreign worlds...

Oh, this fork is leading me into a tunnel...

And now I am in a completely different part of the world!

Now I am in yet another part of the world as you can see.

Now I am someplace else and I have ANOTHER set of crossroads!  Wait, crossroads--that reminds me of...





--wait, OutRun deploys the 1-2-3-4-5 diamond, TX-1 uses the 1-2-4-8 elimination bracket, so it's not 100% the same thing.  Sega can snatch, grab, run like hell with whatever they want since they're Sega and they need every edge they can get nowadays.  Plus TX-1 looks like crap and OutRun doesn't.  So don't reach for that big red button yet.

Remember kids, don't drink & drive...

...and while you're at it, don't smoke crack.

Dayum, too much drugs, now I'm seeing s***.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Nagoshi Now Subject Of A Crappy Meme, You Guys

Geez, I wish you investigative reporters out there would tell me this stuff ahead of time!  So on Feb. 13, 2012, a bizarre post ends up on NeoGAF titled Just got a bizarre email from Nagoshi! Instigated from some guy named quinntendopower. This is his avatar.  It is "viral marketing" for Binary Domain (so everyone says).  And this is how the thread goes down (just his posts):


Not sure what to think of this. I got an email from Nagoshi... I think he is asking me to buy the 2012 GOTY Binary Domain, but it has the bru skies and hornet so I think he might want me to re-buy his entire collection.

"Hi You Guys,

Binary Domain you guys

I require you to buy Binary Domain You Guys be purchase. not up for Nagoshiation


Nagoshi Nagoshster

PS: F-Zero GX all missions clear - very hard accomplish"

I already have Binary reserved, but after this I might double dip on both versions.

I now include my F-zero mastery card.


I assume it's him detecting my memory card from F-zero GX.

I'm pretty sure if you get all missions clear on Very Hard, and beat all cups on the hardest class you are automatically entered into his database.


I do strain gaging, and build custom transducers. I do a lot of work for professional motorsports (nascar, indycar, AM2 daytona championships)

I'll let you guys know if he sends another email. I love Nagoshi, even after all of his transformations.



the enemies are sooooo much fun to destroy. very impressed with the A/I

FUCKING NAGOSHI i love you buddy. he gets me every time. this is just god like stuff right here, and i can't even understand anything.

if this is a taste of what the next yakuza game, fine by me. BRU BRU SKYYYYYY, BRU BRU MOTHERFUCKIN SKAAAAAAAAASSS I SEEEEE


It was VERY HARD difficulty, pay attention.

I found Rex on the beach, and taught him a few tricks. Haruka was pleased.



Bah, horrible fake! Someone didn't beat very hard yet... Good luck, you'll need it!

Getting on the Nagoshi database isn't supposed to be easy.

and yes, Rex was a Shiba Joe! Shiba Inu's are great pups.

If people really think my post is a viral campaign, LOL. This is serious Email business.



I don't think people realize just how cool Nagoshi is.

I'm pretty sure Yuteralds gif is a requirement for the "minigame master" trophy in Yakuza 3.




How the hell am I supposed to make my awesome Ultimate Ghosts and Goblins Ultimate mode playthrough/review/megathread now?

And to think, Binary was supposed to be out TODAY!


that only puts you into nagoshi's database

only real gamers can get the bru bru bry skies

you must prove real gamer to nagoshi after selected into database

beat all nagoshi games on hardest difficulty and in certain time span, real gamers will know nagoshis desires

each completed game will give you a piece of a special important very code

binary domain was project nagoshi was planning all his life for only real gamers and sea crabs

input prize into binary domain




He just sent something else:

"Hi You Guys Quinntendopower Guys,

I want thanks for accomplish all platinum trophies in yakuza 3 and 4! You have now been moved into Level 1 Defcon Database. You are now in Nagoshi Nation. Thanks for your dedicated Youtube channel for Yakuza 3 and Four.

Many excitements for you guys!

I require you to buy Binary Domain You Guys be purchase. not up for Nagoshiation."

that was the email, he's so awesome.

Included was my database card for the F-zero Very Hard!




Robots, and PERSONALITY!



I honestly also think "not up for Nagoshiation" is the best video game related pun we can ever have as a collective group.


has duckroll beaten ultimate ghosts and goblins on ultimate mode and gotten all the rings??? i donnnnn't think so

10 days. 10 days until Nagoshi Nation you guys.




I wonder what Nagoshi is doing RIGHT NOW.

he's either eating toast or tanning prolly.


I have a few threads already in the works, if i ever get my license back.



I helped in the technical production of F355 challenge, and Suzuki introduced us when he showed up to try it.

I do strain gaging for a lot of motorsports, and I did some telemetry work for their physics system.



3 Days Remain...















REALLY ME THIS TIME: Rest of the thread has a few more pics and is crap that dissipates into air but I'll leave you with this:

A typical NeoGAF thread.  We're being trolled, you guys.  If Nagoshi sends out e-mails PLEASE SEND ME MESSAGES!!!!  But if Nagoshi created this thread himself, I'm kicking his ass.  Precious time working on Daytona 3 WASTED.

Old Racing Game: RoadBlasters!!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh--that has to be in the top 10 best 15-second loops I've ever heard.

RoadBlasters is a 1987 Atari arcade game, a cousin to the infamous Super Sprint.  Frankly, there's enough parallax-scroller-racer games from this time as it is (OutRun, Chase HQ, Pole Position, Rad Racer) so the gameplay isn't terribly exciting.  But it adds car combat and other funky s*** to make it worth mentioning.

Like a Bau5.

DAYUM, that wheelie on launch is awesome.  So you drive what appears to be a twisted rendition of a red DeLorean time machine from point A to B.  But there's all this crap in the way trying to kill you!  No worries, every time you blow up, you lose a little gas.  Be careful cause the gas is your timer--when it runs out, it's game over (no kidding, right???).  Your gas carries over to the next stage.  You can pick up little green & red balls on the track to get extra fuel.  So basically, don't screw around or you'll lose.

So here are the enemies that want to kill you.  Shoot them with your guns to defeat them.  The yellow Lambos are weaksauce and die in one hit.  Then there's the purple limos that take multiple hits to kill--nice to see the evil corporate CEOs are actually out to kill you rather than play golf and drink exotic vodka.  Then there's your traditional oil slick, turret shooter, all that crap.

What the hell is this???  Motor bikes???  Ripped right out of Super Hang-On???  So you get to kill the poor bikers, that's cruel.  Of course, that was every racing dev's strategy in the arcade era--"Rip off Sega's ideas."

Occasionally, this weird-ass ship will drop a special weapon such as a machine gun or a "time bomb" that causes enemies to freeze in place for a few seconds.

You can play the game like a normal racer or you can shoot up enemies to get points.  Kill stuff to get super multipliers and thus even more points.  Cause of the emphasis on car combat and slightly unorthodox car handling (this car can turn on a dime just like that), it's hard to label this as a racing game.  More like an action racing game.  Who cares, you call it whatever you want.

Another screenshot, this game looks surprisingly colorful and clean for a post-apocalyptic car combat game.  I like that.  I like happy, colorful games.

Surprise--this is really a rally Sega Rally.  If you enter the secret service menu, you can enable passenger commands like "Easy Right Maybe" in a crap digitalized voice.

Believe it or not, this game has 50 levels.  Just like Rad Racer and R.C. Pro-Am, when you beat a level, you move onto the next one.  There's a "level select" in which you can leap ahead to the 4th or 11th stages but that's it.

Man this cabinet was the s***, now you have to play this game.  The thing that stands out to me is the coin slot on the complete opposite side of the screen/steering wheel/motherboard...I don't know why.

When it comes to the best versions, the arcade and Genesis versions are the best.  But there's also worse versions.  Like the NES version (haha, NES sucks) which bears resemblance to Sega's Turbo arcade game:

And then there's the ZX Spectrum version.  Holy cow, I don't think you can get any lower in terms of ANY GAME'S ports than the ZX Spectrum:

Anyway, there's not much else to say.  If you beat Level 50 on the Arcade version, send in your score to Atari Games HQ and you win a free T-shirt.  Atari Games is dead so no more t-shirts have been made.  I have no idea what any of these t-shirts look like or if any of them even exist at all.  This promo offer also existed for S.T.U.N. Runner, another Atari race-to-the-finish-while-shooting-all-sorts-of-crap arcade game.  Print your own damn t-shirts.  Review Score for Genesis/Arcade: 7.0 just for the music.  Peace out.

Turns out there a ton of old 90's games tunes on YouTube (all copyright infringement!) but some are cool like this one which is still ingrained in my memory:

Also be sure to check out R.C. Pro-AmCalifornia SpeedInitial DRad Racer, and Super Sprint/Super-Off Road/Indy Heat

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Download Super Sprint Version 1.1

About a week ago, during my "Spring Break," I added some more stuff to Super Sprint.  Nowadays any programming I do is aimed towards schoolwork.  All my future Super Sprint endeavors will be dedicated towards online gamplay.  So rather than leave traces of useless online source code in the build, I'll give you all the stuff I got for now to hold you off.  I've already made some progress with the online UDP code but nothing cross-computer yet.  Just be patient.

Click on the words "Click here to start download from sendspace."  Watch for ads that say "Download."

There is hardly anything new in terms of gameplay.  However, there are several BIG CHANGES:

* Tire smokes and skidmarks.  Both fade away after a certain amount of time.  Apparently, on the laptop with the source code, the above lines are see-through.  On another computer (the one I snapped the pics), the lines are thick like permanent markers.  You can thank OpenGL for being incredibly consistent.  I hope the lines are translucent on your computer--I only tested this on two comps so far.  If the skidmarks are distracting, then press F2 at any time to enable/disable them.

* Press F1 at any time to toggle the game volume--high, low, mute.  In case it's too loud.

* Much improved sound effects!  More realistic engine sounds with "gear changes."  If you retain 100% speed over time, the engine reaches a staggering pitch.  Also incorporated more cleaner SFX from the actual Super Sprint game.

* The Finish Line conundrum finally solved!  Plus you get a best lap time at the end of each race.

* Classic colors if you want to play 4 cars with the old red-yellow-blue-green combo.  While in a 4P car select screen, press the left/right arrow keys to change between "original" and "all" colors.

* Fireballs when you crash.  No choppers yet...

* You can pause the game before the green flag/gunshot.  It is mildly annoying when racing games won't let you pause until the race has actually begun.  I'm looking at you, Forza.

* Other minor bug fixes you wouldn't notice.

Throw your suggestions into the bin.  Better keyboard configs and collision detection come to mind but it's going to take a while.


Revision History: Download version 1.0 here.