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Old 15 November 2003, 11:01   #1
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Sega Opens Retro Download Service

Source: http://www.1up.com/article2/0,4364,1383026,00.asp

Quote:
Sega today opened the official page for its soon-to-debut "Sega Game Honpo" service, a new subscription-based retro-gaming site where players can download and play an array of 16-bit games on their PCs. Starting November 20, Japanese gamers will be able to subscribe and play a growing selection of Mega Drive/Genesis games via the site, and Sega will gradually expand the library of games offered on a monthly basis.

The service charges a monthly fee of 1,000 yen (about $9) for unlimited downloads. 30 games will be available at launch, with about 10 new games joining them each month -- Sega plans to eventually build a library of more than 100 games, as well as community features where retro-gaming enthusiasts can meet and chat, and it's even considering releasing some Mega CD games. The initial selection of games on offer (reported in Japanese magazine Dorimaga) is as follows:

16t
Alien Storm
Arrow Flash
Bonanza Brothers
Chakan: The Forever Man
Doki Doki Penguin Land
E-SWAT
Ecco the Dolphin
G-LOC
Golden Axe II
Gunstar Heroes
Hyper Marble
Jewel Master
Labyrinth of Mystery
Party Quiz Mega Q
Phantasy Star II
Puddle Fighter
Putter Golf
Puyo Puyo
Shadow Dancer
Shining in the Darkness
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Sonic & Knuckles
Sonic Race
Space Harrier II
Super Thunder Blade
Sword of Vermilion
The Ooze

You can check out the Sega Game Honpo web page at sega-gamehompo.jp. Though the service isn't available to prospective subscribers outside Japan, keep a good thought for news of such in the future.
 
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Old 15 November 2003, 11:43   #2
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Looks nice, though it seems a bit strange to me that it'd be subscription based but you can download what you want.

I'd guess that unless you need to be subscribed to play the games many would wait a couple of months, then subscribe for one month and leech the site for everything, and then after another couple of months they'll do the same thing again.
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Old 15 November 2003, 16:10   #3
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Question

Maybe it'll be an introductory offer to lure the punters, en-route to becoming a Ipod style subscription thing, still, a pleasant change in attitude rather than trying to outlaw the retro-community. Maybe other publishers will have a rethink about it as a consequence now too.
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Old 15 November 2003, 21:51   #4
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This is great news.
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Old 15 November 2003, 23:23   #5
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I think if they tried to lure people to subscribe and then did something the users didn't like that they'd lose all their users again.
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Old 16 November 2003, 07:26   #6
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Thumbs down Corporate scumbags

Personally I think this is a big waste of time. Anyone that wants to play the old games will have already downloaded an emulator and leeched as many games as they can for free. Subscription services suck - why should you continue to pay each month for these games? The originals were a one off fee, so why the hell should you continue to pay each month? No doubt after the initial "flood" of games they will release next to nothing.

I bet Sega are not writing their own emulator either - they will quite happily take the emulator written by enthusiasts and then try and flog their old games for any cash they can get.

It's so bloody typical that no companies had the foresight to offer these games to download legally while emulators were taking off - instead they wait until somebody else has done the work then move in and try and make money without doing anything.

I bet if somebody tried to get detailed specs off Sega to write an emulator they would have been ignored - until Sega takes the emulator off them for free to make money.

What's next? Arcade game manufacturers selling their game roms for a subscription service which will run on MAME? I think it's a disgrace and I hope they don't make any money. I bet there isn't a single manufacturer out there that offered any kind of help in the preservation of these old games - they encrypt their stuff, make it not able to be backed up and try and shutdown any sites which spread information about preservation.

I truly believe emulators and game preservation should be left to the scene - people that do it for the love of it who are not constrained by any corporate bullshit. Thousands of Amiga games would be lost without the pirates that cracked and backed up the games and now that Sega see emulators as becoming popular are happy to jump ship and try and squeeze every last dollar out of their dead formats.
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Old 16 November 2003, 07:45   #7
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Re: Corporate scumbags

Quote:
Originally posted by Codetapper
I bet Sega are not writing their own emulator either - they will quite happily take the emulator written by enthusiasts and then try and flog their old games for any cash they can get.

Yep, they did this with GiriGiri, a Saturn emu, and there was some unsavory stuff that happened.
Even fraudulent.
The emu has since been hacked (the original writer of the emu was so angry with what Sega did (He sold them the emu) he released the source code to some trusted freinds. Hence the hacks.
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Old 16 November 2003, 11:15   #8
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As far as I could tell from the article you subscribed and then got to download all you wanted. If that means you subscribe for a month and then download a bunch of games and can then unsubscribe I wouldn't say it's that bad.

Now if they want you to subscribe to get a slightly modified version of an emulator then it'd be a bastardly thing.
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Old 17 November 2003, 05:46   #9
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Re: Corporate scumbags

Quote:
Originally posted by Codetapper
I bet if somebody tried to get detailed specs off Sega to write an emulator they would have been ignored - until Sega takes the emulator off them for free to make money.
AFAIK the Megadrive games released for PC (Sonic family mainly) used a modified KGEN. But from what I gather at the time, the KGEN author was properly paid for his efforts and was very happy with the relationship.
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Old 17 November 2003, 11:33   #10
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The Sega smash pack was done with a modded version of Kgen and Kgen roms (herein Sonic 2).

The other sonic games though seem to have been written for windows or some generic windowing thing. The games play in 256 colors only, and plays in windows and move way too fast unless you do something about the speed. There are option menus for control and display and the sort, something kgen didn't have being a fullscreen ap afaik.
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Old 17 November 2003, 15:18   #11
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I think the Sonic games were emulated somehow, with a proprietary emu made by Sega I believe. Probably the same would apply to Sega Rally.
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Old 07 September 2006, 12:40   #12
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its interesting... after all anything thats retro has me a little excited... i do share corperate mis-givings (as simply corperations: they cannot give things).

I have a question about certain games that sega does not own the rights too will they be available to d/l ?

what about abandon ware will they try and flex some obscure ownership rights?

after i have d/l loaded these rom/games will they be modified so that they only run with a certain emulator?

what rights do i have with these roms? can i copy them, lend them to a friend or even stick 'em on dvd and ebay them ?

what proof will i have to show that i leagally downloaded these images?

I like the idea of a corperation going open-source with its old stuff as it will provide an influx interest and can provide a good vehicle for other commercial ventures by establishing a current if not retro geard user base.

either wich way it proves to be intersting... espcially if i can get my dirty mits on a genesis / megadrive emu for my GBA

mentioning that, i would love to see sega put some R&D into a handheld again...

PS did anyone notice that PS3 launch was put back again ?!
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Old 07 September 2006, 16:11   #13
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My first reaction to this is: great! It might be a tad late, but hey, better late than never. Just because it might be easier to download a free emulator and get hold of some ROM's, this is not what your average PC-user will do (because they probably don't know how to do it). Besides, what they offer sounds like a really good deal, and if they manage to deliver quality I see nothing strange with subscribing, even though the free emulator & roms are just a couple of mouseclicks away.

I do hope that the emulator which will be used will be able to run in 60Hz VSynced mode (or 120Hz vsynced mode) so that no glitches will occur. Otherwise I will bash it indefinitely... because it is not possible to get accurate screen updates if being run in, say, 85Hz... either they will have to deal with frameskipping or framedoubling or just let the whole thing run too fast... which I simply can't stand.

Also, I've seen some horrible examples of commercial emulators and their services released in Japan, in the same style as these services will work (can't think of the names, at the moment) and what they offered was no full-screen, horrible aspect ratio on the graphics and absolutely no vsync whatsoever. My thought was... is this a joke?

Not even the GameboyPlayer released for the GameCube here in Europe managed to offer a solid experience... the screen update will jerk around at regular intervals, rendering the gameplay horrible if one is as picky concerning these things as I am. I never bought it thanks to this.

I am a bit scared. Obviously. Will they manage?
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