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by John Szczepaniak - March 2014

The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers DVD


Due to being away on business, DVD orders will not be dispatched between 20 June and 4 July. Shipments will flow after this date.


Due to reports of discs coming loose in transit, ALL future orders will be opened to place protective wading inside the DVD box. There will be NO factory seal. My apologies - this has to be done to guarantee safe arrival of the discs.

If you're concerned about your item, please email:
szczepaniak@hardcoregaming101.net. (12 May 2014)


Review by Lovedelic Life - "If you're interested in all aspects of Japanese videogames and want to see an eclectic peek into its world, then I can't recommend the DVD enough."

Review by Ludoscience - "A passionate and deeply entertaining journey inside the Japanese game industry. Despite a high price, highly recommended to any game history enthusiast. "


Between September and November 2013 I travelled around Japan interviewing video game developers for a book on the subject. This is the accompanying DVD, with segments of interview footage, game footage, and other visually interesting material. Scroll down for a detailed look at the DVD's contents. A lot of people asked about buying the DVD, so I'm allowing pre-orders. Once I have sent DVDs to the backers, I will then commence sending out the pre-orders.



DVDs are REGION FREE

WHEN:

Please allow at least 3 weeks for delivery, possibly more depending on the country of delivery. If you're concerned about your order, please email me.

PRICE: £40 (British Pounds)

This includes international postage. When the Kickstarter was running I considered the DVD as an interesting bonus for the dedicated book fans. Ironically the way I set up the tiers, this ended up more expensive than the book itself. As such I increased the number of discs from one to two, and from single- to double-layer. There's just under 4 hours of footage in total.

QUANTITY: 500

PayPal will keep track of my inventory. I'm ordering 1,000 discs, but with backers, interviewees, conventions and miscellaneous, there's only 500 up for grabs. In the event I sell out of pre-orders, I might manufacture a larger batch. I won't be manufacturing a second batch.


This is a PayPal button. According to them it should work, and keep track of my inventory.



MINI CONTENTS

DISC 1: Roy Ozaki of Mitchell Corp / Kouichi Yotsui of Strider / Westone offices / Ryuichi Nishizawa of Wonderboy / Cannon Dancer director's commentary / TGS 2013 tour / Yusaku Yamamoto of GameSide / BEEP Shop with Takayuki Komabayashi / Keigo Matsubara and his 14,000 books / Data East's Deco Cassette / unseen footage of Flash Boy & Ninja, the rarest Deco games / Michitaka Tsuruta of Solomon's Key / Sony Indies Stream / Yuzo Koshiro of Sega / Bare Knuckle 4 / Professor Yoshihiro Kishimoto of Pac-Land / BONUS: photo slideshows

DISC 2: Hifumi Kouno, Masaki Higuchi, and Masatoshi Mitori on Human Entertainment / Toru Hidaka, legendary Enix programmer / Yutaka Isokawa of Catrap / dissecting Namco's neGcon controller / visiting Kobe, Kyoto and Osaka / unreleased MSX game by Yuichi Toyama / PCE vs FC audio with Takayuki Hirono / design documents for Guardian Legend, MUSHA, and Aleste 2 / Masayuki Suzuki explains Taito pixel art / parallax scrolling on PCE / artist Satoshi Nakai / flying to Hokkaido / composer Yasuhito Saito / Sapporo by night / capsule hotel / Hudson's abandoned R&D laboratory / The Game Preservation Society / the rarest PCE game / OutRun tapes with Yoji Ishii / Famicom programming with Manabu Yamana / Yoshiro Kimura / unreleased CBM game / Hiroshi Suzuki / Masakuni Mitsuhashi / prototype MSX / Akira Takiguchi / rock, paper, scissors with Kotaro Hayashida of Alex Kidd / Akihabara / Nakano Broadway / Night photography / BONUS: photo slideshows


FULL CONTENTS

DISC 1

Disc times are rounded, so there might be some slight discrepancy. The end of Disc 2 is being trimmed to make room for a second photo gallery.

00:00 - Roy Ozaki & Kouichi Yotsui
An introduction, gift giving, plus various awards received by Mitchell Corp. I show Mr Yotsui some photos an anonymous source at Capcom lent me, and he shows various design documents for games which he created (like Suzuki Bakuhatsu), including some which were never developed.

00:21 - A look around the mountain ryokan I stayed in.

00:23 - Visiting Westone
The walk up to the company office, a look inside at various items, plus interview introductions and gift giving with Ryuichi Nishizawa and Kouichi Yotsui.

00:31 - Cannon Dancer director's commentary
Strider creator Kouichi Yotsui plays through the first level of Cannon Dancer, giving a director's commentary as he goes. You might be surprised by the Ghouls 'n Ghosts trivia he mentions.

00:38 - Tour of TGS 2013
I would describe TGS as too many queues and not enough time. Here's a whirlwind tour, if you've never been before.

00:41 - Interview with Yusaku Yamamoto of GameSide magazine, who I met at TGS.

00:43 - BEEP Shop with Takayuki Komabayashi
A visit to a high-end retro store located in Saitama, which is more like a museum. We talk about rare Enix games, an obscure adventure title, Japan's first ever RPGs, with a look at Panorama Toh, by Yoshio Kiya, the man behind Legacy of the Wizard. There's a quick tour of the store's mind blowing rarities, a brief section covering adult-only games, finishing with a play on several oddities such as Hudson's bizarre Mario Bros. adaptation and Space Harrier for PC-88. It is a glimpse unto an unimaginable realm.

01:06 - Visiting Keigo Matsubara
Still in Saitama, I visit a collector with nearly 14,000 video game related books in his collection. After a quick tour of his house, including a library of game-based choose-your-own-adventure books, we look at the most important books in his collection.

01:25 - Deco Cassette in action
Data East's Deco Cassette arcade system is an almost forgotten relic. I visit a tiny arcade in Akihabara to play the last known working unit available to the public - includes a history of the unit and its significance, plus a look inside it!

01:34 - Flash Boy and Ninja
Gameplay footage of two of the rarest Deco Cassette games - possibly two of the rarest games in the world. Both are unemulated. This is direct video capture after the two games were saved from destruction by Japan's Game Preservation Society. Flash Boy in particular is important, because it sets several arcade precedents. You'll never guess the date it came out.

01:36 - Michitaka Tsuruta
The creator of Bombjack explains the development of Solomon's Key, with original concept artwork!

01:40 - Sony's Indies Stream Party

01:42 - Yuzo Koshiro
A visit to the legendary composer, who kindly gave permission for his music to be used on this DVD. We check out his studio and also a couple of doujin games he worked on - one of which was never made public.

01:46 - Bare Knuckle 4
A concept video for the never developed Bare Knuckle 4 on Dreamcast, with a voice-over explaining what happened to it.

01:49 - Professor Yoshihiro Kishimoto
A montage of the interview I did with Professor Kishimoto, developer of Pac-Land for arcades, and programmer on Namco's Star Wars game for Famicom.

01:55:22 - END



All music on the DVD is by Yuzo Koshiro, predominantly from his game The Scheme. When I interviewed him in Japan, he very kindly gave me permission to use his older music on my DVD. Check out the trailer at the top for a sample. This photo was taken by my professional photographer Nicolas Datiche while we were at Mr Koshiro's studio. We all had lunch there - his mom brought us sandwiches. It was a great day.


DISC 2

00:00 - Human Entertainment
Hifumi Kouno (Clock Tower), Masaki Higuchi (Virtual Boy), and Masatoshi Mitori (Septentrion) reminisce about their days at Human Entertainment.

00:05 - Toru Hidaka
A chat with a legendary Enix programmer, and the important graphics, map, and audio utilities he created, which in combination with his programming facilitated the creation of games. If you ever wondered how pixel art was made in the early 1980s, or how music by traditional composers ended up in games, this is for you.

00:13 - Yutaka Isokawa
An introduction to the man behind the original Pitman, which became Catrap on the Game Boy. He was part of the neGcon development team at Namco, and we dissect a controller with his commentary. He also reveals a fascinating game developed for the neGcon, which was never released. It's not what you'd expect!

00:28 - Kobe, Kyoto, and Osaka
I visited the Kansai region several times for interviews. Here's some brief footage and tongue-in-cheek photos from my trip.

00:30 - Unreleased MSX game
Yuichi Toyama of Raizing/8ing sketches an unreleased MSX game he developed prior to joining TecnoSoft, called Grand Slam. It was based on the Area 88 manga and influenced by Choplifter, and it would go on to influence his creation of Herzog.

00:32 - PC-Engine VS Famicom audio
Takayuki Hirono of Compile explains the differences between the sound capabilities of the PC-Engine and Famicom, with some amusing and convincing sound effects.
Psh-psh-psh-BOOM!

00:33 ~ 00:35
* Full design documents for Guardian Legend
* Full design documents for MUSHA
* Full design documents for Aleste 2

00:35 - Taito's pixel tools
Masayuki Suzuki of Masaya/NCS draws a whiteboard sketch and describes a very unorthodox method of producing pixel art, from his days at Taito.

00:40 - Satoshi Nakai
A look at some truly fantastic game art, including an enormous amount from Assault Suits Valken, and Resident Evil: Code Veronica.

00:42 - PC-Engine parallax
A detailed explanation by Masayuki Suzuki on how they achieved parallax scrolling on the PC-Engine, using Shubibinman 3 as an example. This is followed by a technical explanation on how they achieved pseudo-transparencies. Truly this is a lost form of artistry.

00:48 - Flying to Hokkaido - buy the ticket, take the ride!

00:50 - Yasuhito Saito projects his music on to a wall

00:50:30 - Night driving around Sapporo!

00:52 - Night in a capsule hotel

00:53 - Hudson R&D
I visit the abandoned Hudson laboratory on the outskirts of Sapporo. Contains detailed information on the lab and Hudson, a sneak peak inside the building, and finishes off with a steamy chase.

01:00 - The Game Preservation Society's laboratory
The stuff these guys get up to is incredible. Thousands of games in storage, almost a hundred computers on hand, and more tech gear than you even knew existed. The work of this non-profit organisation is vital if we are to preserve Japan's history of games.

01:14 - The rarest PC-Engine game on earth?
A world exclusive. You were never meant to see this. No one was. Developed at the Hudson Computer Designers School, it allows players to meet and speak with Hudson staff. This is the only known copy to exist.

01:16 - OutRun tapes
Before making OutRun, Yu Suzuki and Yoji Ishii went on a legendary cross-continent road trip with a video camera, for research. We didn't have a player to view the footage, but I shot video of the tapes themselves. Someday, hopefully, they will be digitally archived. You'll never guess how fast these guys went...

01:20 - Famicom programming environment
Manabu Yamana, programmer on multiple Dragon Quest games, describes in detail the development environment at Chunsoft.

01:22 - Yoshiro Kimura
A mention of his next game, a walkthrough of the Love-de-lic offices (with diagram), the bespoke board game Potato Quest, and an exclusive viewing of Mr Kimura's personal artwork.

01:29 - unreleased CBM game
A detailed look at an unreleased game by Hiroshi Suzuki, titled Dojin, with added commentary by Masakuni Mitsuhashi of Game Arts. The game was never released, though Taito paid to view it.

01:34 - prototype model of MSX

01:38 - Rock, paper, scissors
I play janken with the creator of Alex Kidd, Kotaro Hayashida. Can you guess who won?

01:40 - Akihabara

01:45 - Nakano Broadway

01:55 - Night photography

BONUS: there are also slideshows of photographs I took, backed by music from Yuzo Koshiro, on both DVDs!


GALLERY


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