March 31, 1997
HEXEN RELEASED FOR SATURN
Hexen, a doom style game developed by Probe and published by GT Interactive, has been shipped and should begin arriving in stores nationwide today, March 31, 1997 for the Sega Saturn. Hexen is a port of the widely popular PC Game and has been faithfully translated to the Saturn.
March 29, 1997
PANZER DRAGOON RPG PICS!
Panzer Dragoon RPG is a new RPG being developed by Team Andromeda for the Sega Saturn in Japan. It will mix shooting elements with RPG elements and will have graphics that surpass what was accomplished in Panzer Dragoon 2. For TWELVE new pics of Panzer Dragoon RPG, head over to Video Source right NOW!.
March 28, 1997
NBA LIVE ’97 IN STORES TODAY!
EA Sports’ NBA Live ’97 has shipped and should begin arriving in stores nationwide today, March 28, 1997. NBA Live ’97 will be a welcome addition to the Saturn’s software library as it is seriously lacking in quality basketball titles.
SUPER ROBOT TAISEN COMING TO SATURN
In Japan, the Super Robot Taisen series has a loyal following that began with releases on Nintendo’s earlier systems and then onto the Sony PlayStation. Super Robot Taisen is a simulation/RPG series featuring anime robot heroes from Mazinger Z through the latest Gundam titles. The latest in the SRT series, Super Robot Taisen F, will be released for the Saturn on July 25th in Japan. It will feature more scenarios and characters, and will also include a star robot from Evangelion. Sega plans to heavily market this title as a big summer release in Japan. (SOURCE: teleparc GAME geisen)
AKAI TO SELL PROPERTY TO SEGA
Akai Electric Co Ltd said on Thursday that it would sell properties worth 4.3 billion yen, including its headquarters in Tokyo, to Sega Enterprises Ltd. The funds raised from the sales will be used to pay back bank loans, the company said in a statement. Akai Electric will sell a portion of the real estate on March 27 and the rest on July 31, the statement said. Akai will post a profit of about 1.7 billion yen in 1996/97 ending on March 31 and about 1.1 billion yen in the next business year, the statement said. As a result of the sales, the company’s headquarters will move to its Yokohama factory. The Japanese audio/video equipment maker is owned by Semi-Tech (Global) Co Ltd of Hong Kong.
POSSIBLE SATURN PRICE DROP?
VideoGameSpot has reported that A Los Angeles area video game retailer has indicated that the price of the Saturn may soon be headed for a drop because his distributor extended to him a “price protection” assurance of $100 on his latest order of Saturn systems. If this offer is prepping retailers for a price drop, we could see the price of the Saturn at $99, the lowest of any 32- or 64-bit system active in the market. Keep in mind that this does not mean that the price will be dropped, as their could be other reasons for giving this “price protection” assurance. For more information on this, check out VideoGameSpot.
March 27, 1997
NEW GAME RELEASES
Puzzle Bobble3, Dragonmaster Silk and Anearth Fantasy Stories have been released in Japan and should now be available for import in the US. Puzzle Bobble 3 is a puzzler while Dragonmaster Silk and Anearth Fantasy Stories are RPGs. As far as US releases go, expect Doom and Lunacy to arrive in stores nationwide today. Thanks to Alfa Uno for the US release information.
SEGA ENTERPRISES TO DISSOLVE SEGA HOLDINGS USA
Sega Enterprises Ltd said on Thursday it would dissolve its U.S. holding company, Sega Holdings U.S.A. Inc, in order to solve losses at its U.S. subsidiaries. The U.S. holding firm will be dissolved at the end of March, a Sega spokesman said. The spokesman said that Sega has no plans to revise its overall earnings forecast as a result of the liquidation.
March 26, 1997
FIGHTING VIPERS CONTEST
If you’re interested in winnning a Fighting Vipers T-Shirt signed by the band who did the music for the Fighting Vipers commercial, enter the contest at http://www.angelfire.com/ca/skinnee.
March 25, 1997
NEW GAME RELEASES
MegaMan 8 has been released for the Saturn in the US and should be available at most stores within the next few days. Another Capcom title, Cyberbots, has been released in Japan and should now be available for import. Cyberbots is available in a regular and Special package w/ robot pop-up sheet, hardcover art book. Also released in Japan is Hangumo Taisen Columns, a puzzler.
GRANDIA DEMO COMING THIS MAY
GameArts has announced that they will release a demo version of Grandia on May 23 in Japan. (SOURCE: GameArts Paradise)
March 23, 1997
PANZER DRAGOON RPG ANNOUNCED
Sega’s Team Andromeda has announced that it is working on a Panzer Dragoon RPG that is due out this summer in Japan. For more information on this news, check out Gamearts Paradise.
March 20, 1997
FIFA SOCCER ’97 RELEASED FOR SATURN
FIFA Soccer ’97 should arrive in stores nationwide, today, March 20, 1997. FIFA ’97 is the latest in EA’s highly acclaimed soccer series. It has been available for the Playstation since late last year, but is now finally making its appearance on the Saturn.
March 19, 1997
Import Game News
Super Robot Taisen F is finally set for release on the Sega Saturn in Japan. Super Robot Taisen is a very popular simulation RPG series in Japan and is scheduled for a July 25th release date.
Silhouette Mirage has been announced by ESP in Japan. It’s a Gunstar Heroes type game.
(SOURCE: teleparc GAME geisen and GameArts Paradise)
LATEST JAPANESE CRAZE FROM SEGA
A sure way for a new product to become a hit in Japan is for it to win the hearts of teenage girls. Or so goes the maxim among Japanese marketing experts. Proving the truth of the saying is the huge success of Print Club, a photo machine that produces sheets of thumbnail-size pictures in the form of stickers.
The machine, launched by videogame giant Sega Enterprises Ltd in July 1995, quickly caught on with Japanese high school girls, regarded by marketers as consumer trendsetters. Print Club looks like a vending machine with a small curtain around the top. Users crouch inside the curtained booth and can watch their reflection as they pose. Buttons are pressed to choose the style of the border of the print, and also to add graphics such as cartoon characters and pictures of popular TV stars to the picture.
It allows several poses and produces a sheet of 16 pictures on stickers in three minutes for 300 yen (about $2.50). Schoolgirls crowding around the machines have become a common sight outside arcades and in large supermarkets The stickers are exchanged among friends and sometimes offered to boys the girls want to impress.
A Sega spokesman said Print Club was so successful apparently because it is inexpensive and easy to use. He said the company has so far sold 14,000 of the machines in Japan. He declined to say how much the system is retailed for, but said daily sales per machine average 20,000 to 30,000 yen ($162 to $243). “We are changing the graphics several times a year to attract repeat users,” the spokesman said.
Sega said it has been testing market demand in the United States and in other Asian countries, but has not yet decided whether to market it outside Japan. The company will gain yet another bestseller in October, when Sega plans to merge with Bandai Co Ltd, the maker of “Tamagotchi,” Japan’s other mega-hit product of 1997. Tamagotchi, an egg-shaped key ring featuring an electronic bird on a liquid crystal display, was also first a craze among schoolgirls. The “virtual pet” has sold so fast that toymaker Bandai has been hard-pressed to keep up with demand.
The Sega spokesman said a Print Club featuring the Tamagotchi character as one of the graphic options was being developed even before the two firms announced their merger. “There are some other wide-ranging possibilities for products featuring Bandai characters, but we have not worked out any specifics yet,” he said.
MORE ON SEGASOFT’S SCUD BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL!
As reported yesterday, SegaSoft will have a Blue Light Special on Scud: The Disposable Assassin for the Sega Saturn on Thursday, March 20th from 5:00-6:30 PM Pacific Standard Time. During those 90 minutes (and only then), SegaSoft will sell Scud for only $25.00, a savings of $19.99.
If you are interested in obtaining Scud for this price, you have to order from SegaSoft directly over the phone with a credit card. Their phone number is 1-888-SEGASOFT. Please remember, that it must be during those 90 minutes, and that the time is Pacific Standard Time, so if you’re in a different time zone, be sure to make the proper adjustments.
On another note, expect Scud to begin arriving in stores today. ID4 and Die Hard Arcade should be available in most stores by tomorrow at the latest, although some stores should already have them.
ADVANCED DAISENRYAKU 3 RELEASED IN JAPAN
Advanced Daisenryaku 3 has been released in Japan and should be available for import today. Advanced Daisenryaku 3 is a World War II war simulation that is the latest game in the Advanced World War series. This one pertains to the Rise and Fall of the third Reich
March 18, 1997
DIE HARD ARCADE HITS STORES TODAY!
Gamers starving for pulse-pounding action and a heart-stopping rescue mission will get their fill with “Die Hard Arcade” from Sega of America and Fox Interactive. Inspired by the blockbuster movie from Twentieth Century Fox, “Die Hard Arcade” combines full interactive fighting jammed packed with all the moves, weapons and impressive 3D graphics that took Sega’s arcade version to the top of the coin-op charts. The game will be available exclusively for the Sega Saturn platform, arriving in stores today, March 18th.
As an added Sega Saturn bonus, the Sega arcade classic “Deep Scan” is included in “Die Hard Arcade.” By playing this retro submarine depth charge game, players can gain extra lives before jumping into the Nakatomi battle. “Die Hard Arcade” will be available in more than 20,000 stores carrying Sega Saturn games starting March 18 for a suggested retail price of $49.99.
SEGASOFT ANNOUNCES SCUD BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL!
SegaSoft has announced that on Thursday, March 20th from 5:00-6:30pm Pacific Standard time they will be throwing a Blue Light Special on Scud: The Disposable Assassin for the Sega Saturn. During that time, Scud will be sold for only $25.00, a savings of $19.99. This is a one time only offer so if you are a Saturn lover, commit to the Scud frenzy and get it! Go to www.segasoft.com for more details.
SEGA ENTERTAINMENT RELEASES SONIC & KNUCKLES COLLECTION FOR PC
Sega Entertainment Inc. has announced the release of Sonic and Knuckles Collection, a bundle of Sonic classics with a heap of new features for the PC. Featuring three games for the price of one, the collection will include the retro favorites “Sonic the Hedgehog 3,” “Sonic & Knuckles” and “Sonic 3 and Knuckles.” It was released on March 14, 1997, for Windows 95. The collection will be available at major retail outlets for a suggested retail price of $29.99. These three Sonic games combined sold more than 4 million copies on Sega Genesis.
March 17, 1997
SEGASOFT’S SCUD TO SHIP THIS WEEK!
SegaSoft has announced that Scud: The Disposable Assassin is shipping to stores this week. Scud is SegaSoft’s much anticipated Saturn title that offers a unique combination of side-scrolling and “Doom”-style 3-D engines providing multilayered hard core/action shooter gameplay not found in any other title on any other platform. Players have more than 10 playing options using a lightgun, D-Pad or both simultaneously. If you’re interested in an AVI movie or Shockwave demo of Scud, they’re available on SegaSoft’s website at www.segasoft.com/scud/main.html.
SEGA PROMOTES STOLAR TO COO
Sega of America announced that Bernie Stolar will be responsible for Sega’s North American consumer business operations as the company’s new chief operating officer (COO). Stolar was executive vice president of product development and third party licensing at SOA and president and COO of Sega Entertainment Inc., which publishes PC games based on Sega’s arcade, sports and character properties. Stolar will retain his position as president and COO of Sega Entertainment.
Departments reporting to Stolar include sales, marketing, operations, information technology, finance, communications, product development, third party licensing and product licensing. Stolar will report to the company’s chief executive officer and chairman Shoichiro Irimajiri, along with the executives who are responsible for legal, administration and business planning departments.
“Bernie brings more than 20 years of video game industry experience to this position,” said Irimajiri. “His knowledge of game development, combined with an intuitive understanding of what motivates the gaming audience, will be a tremendous asset for Sega as the video game console business expands in the years to come.”
March 15, 1997
NEW IMPORT GAME NEWS
Thunder Force 5 has been announced for the Saturn in Japan, it should be released sometime this summer. Expect this game to make use of the Saturn’s 2-D power and large color palette, unlike the Thunderforce Gold packs that were released previously for the Saturn. In other import news, expect Langrisser 4 to make it out this summer in Japan, as well.
March 14, 1997
VICTORY GOAL ’97 HAS BEEN RELEASED!
Victory Goal ’97 has been released in Japan and should be available for import. Victory Goal ’97 is Sega’s follow-up to what many considered to be the best sports game released in 1996, Victory Goal ’96 (or World Wide Soccer ’97 in the US). This version is sure to have better graphics and possibly even better gameplay. In other import news, Advanced Variable Geo has also been released in Japan.
GAMEWORKS LOOKING FOR HIGH CLASS VISITORS
Steven Spielberg and other big-name investors are looking to attract high-class visitors to GameWorks, a high-tech video game room and entertainment center opening this weekend in Seattle.
The 30,000-square-foot Seattle complex is the first of a planned 100 GameWorks that are projected to be opened around the world by 2002, including centers in Las Vegas and Southern California that are scheduled to open in the spring. “The market is enormous if you have the right product,” said Michael Montgomery, president and chief operating officer of GameWorks. “People want to go out and be entertained.”
One hurdle GameWorks executives face is the traditional image of a video game arcade as a dark hole in the mall, vaguely threatening, populated mostly by teen-aged boys. GameWorks may be dark, but it is no hole. Its 50-foot-high ceilings, uniformed staff, pulsing rock music and ubiquitous video screens show live shots of game action.
Dominating the main-floor “arena” are signature multiplayer games, including “Vertical Reality,” a 12-seat game and ride in which losers — and winners — may experience a free-fall of up to 40 feet. The nearby Indy 500, one of the more popular attractions so far, features eight cars that pitch and roll as drivers hit virtual speeds over 200 mph with an operator offering a running commentary on the race for onlookers.
Upstairs the energy level drops a notch in the Loft, which is home to classic video games like Frogger and Pac-Man, as well as a pizzeria, brewpub, Internet lounge and Starbucks coffee bar, all of which should help attract the target market of aging Generation-Xers in their 20s and early 30s.
The Loft, with natural wood floors and exposed brick walls, also features low-tech attractions like pool tables, air hockey, a jukebox and even Skee Ball games that pay out tickets for redemption in the gift shop downstairs.
Don’t bother bringing your quarters, though — all games and attractions must be paid for with smart cards sold at electronic kiosks. Cash is dispensed from an automated teller machine near the entrance to the downtown Seattle center.
Montgomery expects the average GameWorks visitor to spend $20, which should be easy with games that cost $1.50 to $4 for a typical three-minute adrenaline rush. He declined to say how much the partners are investing in the venture, although one report said each site costs $15 million to build.
About 1,000 people can fit comfortably in the facility, and GameWorks staff members have been holding rehearsals to cope with lines expected during peak hours, particularly after the publicity from the Saturday’s premiere, featuring musical artists Beck and Coolio performing for an audience expected to include Spielberg, actor Arsenio Hall and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.
Wayne Rankin, the center’s general manager and, like Montgomery, a former Walt Disney Co. executive, said Disney-like auditions were held to hire the 220 staff members who will greet patrons, teach them games and even play against them if needed.
“There are all sorts of different experiences within GameWorks,” said Montgomery. “Not all of them will appeal to everyone, but we think … we have things that can be very attractive to an older crowd (and) to women.”
March 13, 1997
SEGA PLANS TO SHIP 1 TO 1.5 MIL SATURNS IN JAPAN FOR CALENDAR 1997
Sega Enterprises Ltd announced on Thursday that it aims to sell between one million and 1.5 million units of its Sega Saturn 32-bit game machine in Japan in the current calendar year. “We want to ship out 1-1.5 million units this year,” Toshiro Kezuka, a Sega director, told reporters, referring to Sega Saturn sales in Japan. He was speaking at a news conference to launch new game software for the Sega Saturn machine. The software, named Virus, will go on sale in August.
The software is being jointly developed by Sega, Japanese software house Hudson Soft Co Ltd and record company Avex. A Hudson official told the same news conference that the partners were aiming for a situation in which one in five owners of Sega Saturn game machines would buy the new software. He did not specify a time frame for the targeted sales.
Sega currently has a Japanese user base of 4.5 million systems.
For more information about the Sega/Hudson Soft title, Virus, and some great screens. Head over to the Gamearts Paradise.
SEGA’S NEXT MACHINE?
Next Gen Online reported, last night, imformation about Sega’s next machine, codenamed ‘blackbelt’. They stated that developers are beginning to hear the first details of the machine, which include that it will be based on an inexpensive Videologic/PowerVR PCM2 chipset. It is also rumored to have a some kind of yet to be named 64-bit CPU, possibly some variety of a PowerPC.
NGO also stated that the systems is said to have a Microsoft Arcade OS, which would allow for easier development with more standardized tools. Also, games developed to use the OS could be ported rather easily.
This new hardware is expected to be released as early as Christmas ’98. For more details on this story, go to Next Gen Online.
Panetila Story, an original fantasy RPG, has been released in Japan and should now be available for import in the US. I have no further information about this title.
March 12, 1997
HUDSON SOFT AND SEGA TO DEVELOP SOFTWARE TOGETHER
Japanese software house Hudson Soft Co Ltd said on Thursday that it, Sega Enterprises Ltd and a record company would jointly develop and market game software for the Sega Saturn game machine. The companies expect the first game title developed under the joint project to reach the market in August, Hudson said in a statement.
The new game software, Virus, will be based on Sega’s computer graphics technology and use Avex’s music software, Hudson said.
March 11, 1997
SEGASOFT PROMOTES GRIFFITH TO CEO
SegaSoft announced the promotion of Gary A. Griffiths to CEO. He retains the titles of president and COO. Griffiths joined the independent interactive entertainment company when it was officially announced in November 1995. “I am very pleased to announce Gary’s promotion to CEO,” said Nobuo Mii, SegaSoft chairman. “Under his able command, SegaSoft has been vigorously attacking all interactive fronts since day one. Gary is the ideal executive to have at the head of SegaSoft’s aggressive and energetic organization.”
In its first 12 months, SegaSoft has published eight interactive titles, including the current hit Obsidian, acquired stakes in or signed strategic agreements with key technology partners, signed several high-profile licensing agreements, and announced a new online gaming service, HEAT.
CRIME WAVE RELEASED IN US
Eidos Interactive’s Crime Wave was released in the US yesterday. Crimewave pits the gamer in a once peaceful city on the brink of an all out urban war. In this apocalyptic environment, the corrupt mayor has seized control and established a bounty hunter regime to control law and order on a cash reward basis. The gamer plays one such hunter, better known as a “security provider,” as he/she races the other hunters to eliminate the felon and cash in. Gamers can choose from a variety of heavily armored vehicles as they patrol the freeways and city streets of Makeo anxiously awaiting the next assignment to appear on the scanner.
March 10, 1997
MANX TT RELEASED IN JAPAN
Manx TT has been released in Japan and should be available from some import stores today. Manx TT is the Saturn conversion of the great AM arcade racer featuring some new motorcycles and possibly other Saturn specific features.
NEW IMPORT RELEASES
Cube Battler Limited Edition, Henry Explorers and Planet Joker have been released in Japan and should be available for import. Cube Battler is a 3-D puzzle with story & animation. Henry Explorers is the Japanese version of Crypt Killers. And Planet Joker is a 3/4 perspective rendered shooter.