From Game Developer Research Institute
Less Downtime, More Hidemushi
Our third anniversary was Wednesday, and we went out with a bang...by going out. Something, something, host did a server upgrade. Something, something, failed server migration. Something, something, found an old server to resync with. Anyway, we're back and better than before...maybe. Thanks to the server upgrade, I could upgrade MediaWiki and the skin. Unfortunately, I had problems with the ConfirmEdit extension that did such a good job keeping spam out of here. Until I figure something out, I have disabled anonymous posting. This will keep anonymous bots out, but won't keep bots from registering and spamming the bejesus out of us (whatever a bejesus is). If you run into any other problems, please let me know.
"Esaki to Me" or "There's Magitec in the Air"
If you've been paying attention to the Recent Changes, you've noticed I've been working on the Atlus entry. During some online research this weekend, I noticed a man named Minoru Esaki (江崎稔) worked on an unreleased Famicom game called Dota-kun no Bouken Roman.
- Earlier this month, some of our contributors weighed in on Hidemushi's hidden message.
- GDRI has received confirmation from someone I cannot name at this time that certain LJN-published titles this certain someone was involved with were produced by Atlus. Evidence I presented here earlier suggests that "produced" doesn't necessarily mean "developed."
- A long time ago, we did a code comparison. I'm not sure what games were compared, but they might have been a couple Junzou Shimada worked on that Shouichi Yoshikawa mentioned. The results didn't make a lot of sense back then, but I pasted them into my miscellaneous credits text file:
- Battle Fleet, Bonk, Cross Fire, Kiteretsu Dai Hyakka, NFL Football, Shinobi (Tengen), T&C Surf Designs, Time Diver Eon Man, Wrath of the Black Manta, Xexyz
- We know that Bonk, Eon Man, and Black Manta were developed by A.I. We also know company president and co-founder Hiroyuki Arai was a programmer on Bonk and Black Manta and had previously worked at Sanritsu. The programmer on Kiterestsu Daihyakka is "Ahiru," who might be Arai. Battle Fleet and Xexyz LOOK like Atlus games, so it's possible just the programming was subcontracted to Sanritsu or A.I. I'm not so sure if NFL looks like an Atlus game.
The Foley of Man
In case you haven't heard, former Ultracade Technologies owner David R. Foley was indicted by the US District Court in July on numerous charges in connection with the alleged counterfeiting of Ultracade game packs. Earlier this week, Gamasutra published an in-depth investigation by John D. Andersen. Very interesting stuff. Read it for yourself, then wait for the wheels of justice to do what they do.
It's the YouTube video that's got the whole Internet a-buzzin' (and by "got the whole Internet a-buzzin'," I mean it got passing mentions on NeoGAF and GoNintendo). It's a comparison of a piece of music from NES Rygar and the opening music from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Turns out they're the same song, more or less. I hadn't noticed this myself, but it's not as surprising as one might think. Composer Michiharu Hasuya worked for Tecmo and later worked for Advance Communication, the developer of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (not sure if he was an employee there, though). I can't confirm Hasuya's involvement with either of these games since they don't have credits, but Hasuya's/ACC's stuff on the Famicom/NES has a very distinct sound, right down to the sound effects. There's no mistaking it in these games.
Profiles in Courage: Kirin Entertainment
The Angry Video Game Nerd character as portrayed by Mr. James Rolfe is crass and vulgar, yet I still find his videos entertaining. The latest is his best in a while, and the entertainment is derived almost entirely from the subject itself - the near-softcore "interactive" slideshow Plumbers Don't Wear Ties for the 3DO.
Code Comparisons Like Mom Used to Make
Dimitri recently used CloneSpy to look at Game Boy (regular, not color) games. In case you don't know, CloneSpy is a code comparison program that predates our own; it was originally written by Thomas Jentzsch back in 2000 and was aimed at sorting out Atari 2600 ROM dumps.
There are significant differences between CloneSpy and our program. Our program only looks at two files at a time, while CloneSpy goes over all files in a directory. Our program writes shared data like hex strings to an output file. The user then has to search for that data on his or her own in other files, perhaps using a program like Effective File Search. CloneSpy does all this itself, but it's a mystery as to what shared code is being found unless you want to disassemble the ROMs later and investigate for yourself. This may not be a big deal when it comes to 2600 games, but it becomes a problem when dealing with more complex games. For example, CloneSpy grouped together puzzler Rock'n! Monster!! and Super Street Basketball. Upon further examination, it turned out both games were by different developers, but they do share a music composer, which means they likely share the same sound driver. That likely triggered CloneSpy's reaction.
As for the rest of our Game Boy run, CloneSpy mostly grouped variants of the same game together. There are some interesting findings, however, like a chunk of Tose games and a chunk from a potential mystery developer (see GDRI-009). See the full results here.
More Blog Changes
I just installed an extension that allows you to post comments in the same manner you would on any other blog. To accommodate this, blog posts from here on out will be placed on separate articles which will be embedded on the main page and subsequent archival pages. All these changes are being made to help broaden the role of the blog. Not only will I write about what's going on with the site, but I will also attempt to write about old games and gaming history. I know what you're asking yourself: Do we need another site writing about old games? No, but the posts here will have that special GDRI twist - trying to find the stories behind the games, digging into obscure games, and perhaps even changing conventional wisdom about certain things in gaming's past. Stay tuned!
The "front page" of the blog is now on the Main Page. If you have subscribed to the blog feed, you will need to change the address in your reader or resubscribe.
The LJN Mysteries: X-Men Part 2 and Some Other News
X-Men Part 2:
- According to Japanese Wikipedia, software company Bothtec merged with Quest in 1990. It separated from Quest in 1997, "but it is merged in the B B M F that performed a capital tie-up on May 1, 2009, and the company will become extinct."
- In this old 2ch thread, post 832 says Dungeon Kid (FC RPG from Quest and Pixel) shares a piece of music with the FDS version of Relics (published by Bothtec). Post 856 suggests Pixel and Bothtec may have been in the same building.
- We know Pixel did stuff for Quest, but what about Bothtec?
- I previously pointed out a cheat in FDS Topple Zip which involves entering "PIXEL" as a player name to become invincible.
- The shared music between Dungeon Kid and Relics is not a solid piece of evidence. Composer Masaharu Iwata, who went on to work on several Pixel games, would have been a Bothtec employee when he was working on Relics, going by his profile. He was probably still with Quest when he did Dungeon Kid. He worked for Quest (post-Bothtec merger) for a year before becoming a freelancer.
- Relics does have a X-Men vibe to it...maybe.
- It's possible I read this old post from ArnoldRimmer83 long before he contacted me a couple days ago.
- The Hitoshi Akashi interview is slowly coming along. I keep procrastinating editing it, and I still have more questions.
- Thanks to PingvinBlueJeans for sharing his research of "pre-Crash" developers with us.
- Judgment handed down by Judge Hashimoto from the Osaka District Court regarding the Ikegami/Nintendo/Donkey Kong case. Of course, it's all in Japanese.
- Read GDRI's past LJN exposé posts in their new permanent locations: