Tuesday Tunes: Space Channel 5’s Spaceport: Introducing Ulala and Mexican Flyer

It’s only fitting that the final Tuesday Tunes for Dreamcast month be about one of the Dreamcast’s legendary rhythm titles. Tonight’s track? A bombastic, jazzy little tune from Space Channel 5,You got to love when that awesome saxophone solo at the 2:55 mark, too. This is a real swinging, sexy piece of jazz that’d be absolutely great to dance to even outside of the game. Spaceport: Introducing Ulala. You got to love when that saxophone solo starts playing at the minute mark, too. This is a real swinging, sexy piece of jazz that’d be absolutely great to dance to even outside of the game. Definitely a great song to introduce one of the coolest rhythm game characters out there.

What many of you might not know is that one of Space Channel 5’s most iconic tunes wasn’t even made for the game! It’s actually a remix of an awesome song from the 1966 spy thriller movie “The Thriller Memorandum” called Mexican Flyer. The song itself is performed by Ken Woodman & His Piccadilly Brass, and the version Space Channel 5 uses seem to be ripped straight from the movie.

I don’t know what possessed Tetsuya Mizuguchi and the good people from United Game Artists to go with this as one of their game’s headline songs, but I’m glad they did. We can always use more jazz in gaming soundtracks, especially these days! Check out the original Mexican Flyer, which was also in Space Channel 5, below the fold.

SEGA Saturday Morning Ads: Shenmue! It’s so good, you’ll dream about it during sex!

As the Dreamcast entered its second (and final) year on the US market, SEGA moved away from their awesome “inside the Dreamcast” ads and went back to a style somewhat more conventional. These later Dreamcast ads are reminiscent of some of the better Genesis era stuff, albeit they are typically cleverer and better written.

Here, we’ve got a man who’s clearly been playing too much Shenmue. I’ll admit this is a funny ad that conveys the immersion factor of the game pretty effectively, but at the same time I can’t help but think that this would have been a game better advertised as a dramatic, epic masterpiece than as a game you’ll be thinking about in bed.

There was an ad made in this vein…though I’m unsure if it ever aired on television. It’s a direct translation of the Japanese ad and a pretty epic piece of advertisement. It features a great vocal track called “Song of the Bay”, which was only ever featured on the Shenmue orchestral soundtrack. Check out this ad below the fold!

Tuesday Tunes: Shenmue’s Original Soundtrack

When Shenmue was being hyped by SEGA as the next big step in gaming immersion, Yu Suzuki often liked to classify the game in its own genre, “Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment” or FREE. These days we tend to either call it an RPG or an adventure game, but even back then the phrase didn’t really work because it ignored one of Shenmue’s best qualities: its utterly marvelous, epic, emotional, cinematic, beautiful soundtrack. For Shenmue Week Tuesday Tunes will be doing something new: instead of posting one or two tracks, we’re posting the entire soundtrack.

The above video was put together by Shenmue Dojo. Aside from being a marvelous way to listen to the entire Shenmue soundtrack, this video was also the first request Tuesday Tunes ever received. Someone from Shenmue Dojo really wanted us to highlight it, but I knew we couldn’t just do it for any occasion. It may have taken awhile, dude, but you finally got your wish. Now please, join us as we take a musical journey through part one of Yu Suzuki’s magnum opus!

SEGA Saturday Morning Ads: There’s a Party Going on Inside Your Dreamcast

 

If there’s anything SEGA learned from the Saturn, it’s that it was important for their console to have an identity. The system wasn’t just a box that played a selection of games, it was a gateway to hundreds of worlds and thousands of characters, all of whom had the little white box in common. Through these commercials, the Dreamcast was able to establish an identity for itself as a quirky and colorful system that was more focused on fun and good times than anything else. What’s even better is that it wasn’t just SEGA characters who got into the action.

These commercials were fun and hilarious, and I’m surprised we haven’t seen more campaigns like this from the other console makers. The only company since SEGA that has really tried to sell their console in a similar fashion is Sony, with its PS3 and PS4 commercials, which is strange when you consider that Nintendo has the largest selection of recognizable characters and brands of any console maker.

The Dreamcast had numerous ads like this in its first year on the market, and all of them are still great to watch now. These commercials are filled to the brim with Dreamcast characters both notable and obscure, some of whom wouldn’t even get their games until the Dreamcast was on its death bed. How many characters can you spot in this ad? Let us know in the comments. I apologize for the poor quality of the ad, but just do your best, okay?

The Weekly Five: Best Unknown SEGA Dreamcast Games (revisited)

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Back in 2011, I wrote a Weekly Five about the five best “unknown” Dreamcast games. The goal was to highlight some of the Dreamcast’s best titles that no one really talks about. Among the handful of comments it received was a complaint that I didn’t go “obscure” enough, even though that wasn’t really the point (though I will admit my topic is and continues to be pretty vague). Since then, I’ve done some real digging into some of the deepest parts of the Dreamcast library and I feel ready to come up with an all new selection of titles.

I hope some of these titles are new to you! There’s no better way to celebrate 15 years of the SEGA Dreamcast than with a new game.

Unboxing a Launch Day SEGA Dreamcast

When I originally bought my Dreamcast in December of 2000, it was a refurbished GameStop unit in a bland white box. At the time I was trying to be a good son and save my parents some money, but unfortunately this also means I never had a box to proudly display, but I would never even know what the system’s original packaging was like.

That is, until I plunked down some cash to buy a near mint system on eBay a few days ago! In order to mark the occasion, I decided to record the experience so anyone in my predicament can finally get an idea of what it was like to get a (sort of) new Dreamcast in September of 1999. A few screw-ups aside (calling the controller a Dreamcast, not looking at the manual, not knowing what some of the launch games were) I daresay this might be the best launch edition Dreamcast unboxing video on the internet. At least, I couldn’t find one. I hope you enjoy my belated little birthday gift for the DC!

Tuesday Tunes: Sonic Adventure’s “Emerald Coast” and “It Doesn’t Matter”

Today we’re focusing on two songs represent both ends of Adventure’s soundtrack: cheery and Genesis-esque instrumentals of “Emerald Coast” and the corny rock tunes of “It Doesn’t Matter” that would go on to become more prevalent in many later Sonic OSTs.

Emerald Coast will probably always hold a special place in my iPad for one simple reason: it was the first song I ever heard on a Dreamcast. Seeing Emerald Coast on a Target Dreamcast kiosk is what ultimately made me buy the system, and the graphics and sound played a large part in that decision. I imagine many Dreamcast owners will feel nostalgic over this track for this very same reason.

It Doesn’t Matter was my introduction to Crush40 and its brand of cheese rock. I loved this stuff when I was a teen. Even today, this song always give me a warm feeling because it’s so goddamned optimistic! As cheesy as its lyrics may be, I love the sound, and it continues to be one of my favorite Sonic vocal tracks. Back then I would listen to this a lot whenever I was feeling down, and to my surprise it still has the same effect on me today.

For me, this song is in many ways the theme song of the Dreamcast. This was SEGA’s last shot and they put everything into it. The system’s short lifespan had the greatest concentration of legendary titles in the history of gaming, at least since the onset of 3D consoles. SEGA may have given up the fight, but in many ways the Dreamcast never did. It continues to enjoy one of the most prosperous afterlifes of any console on the market.

Check out “It Doesn’t Matter” below the fold.

SLaVE announced for SEGA Dreamcast

The Dreamcast’s life-after-death continues with yet another new game from the indie scene: Jay Townsend’s SLaVE. This new game is considerably different from most other indie projects the Dreamcast has received over the last few years. Neither a sh’mup nor an old school RPG, SLaVE is instead a colorful first person shooter built around an enhanced Doom engine called 3DGE.

Jay Townsend is making this game in collaboration with indie developer Isotope and GOAT Store Publishing. Only 484 copies of the game will be produced, including 400 limited edition copies and 84 “Limited Limited” edition copies, which will be sold for $20.84 and $30.84 respectively. You can pre-order them here. Production is slated to begin in April 2015.

SLaVE is supposed to combine the game design sensibilities and aesthetics of 80s arcade shooters with old school first person shooters like Doom and Wolfenstein. The game was originally revealed for the PC and is not currently slated for any other platforms besides the Dreamcast.

This isn’t the only Dreamcast project GOAT Store and Isotope are working on. Earlier this year GOAT Store revealed that it would be publishing another Isotope project running on the same technology, Hypertension: Harmony of Darkness. Check out a developers diary for SLaVE and a trailer for Hypertension below the fold. Check out the official press release here.

SEGA Saturday Morning Ads: It’s Evening in America…

The Dreamcast had one of the best advertisement campaigns in video game history. Period. Its ads took all of the best parts of SEGA’s Genesis era advertisement and infused it with fun and consistent quality. Every single time I click a Dreamcast ad and expect something ho-hum, I’m surprised by yet another kick-ass ad.

Here we have a parody of the classic Reagan re-election ad, “Morning in America”. With narration by Seaman. And whistling by guys from Quake 3, NFL 2K and NBA 2K. And a bunch of SEGA characters screwing around inside people’s Dreamcasts. And while Seaman gives a beautiful speech about Americans coming together so they can whoop each other’s asses, you’ve got gamers celebrating and raging over victories and losses. You’ve got house fires, decapitated teddy bears and exploding trailers. This ad is a perfect example of a great SEGA ad: well written, well directed, well voiced, plenty of game footage and plenty to get you pumped.

This ad is a thing of beauty. I hope you enjoy it, have a fine Saturday morning and play some Dreamcast.

SEGA Import Guide: Cool Cool Toon (SEGA Dreamcast)

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More than eight years since the death of SEGA’s final console, SEGA fans have been left digging deeper and deeper into their console’s libraries, looking for new games to play. Though impressions, reviews and videos for SEGA’s English language releases are typically easy to find, information on their console’s Japanese exclusive selection of games can be quite elusive. That is why we at SEGAbits are launching a new feature focused on the quality and playability of SEGA console regional exclusives. Today, we will be looking at an obscure rhythm game released by SNK exclusively for the Dreamcast in mid-2000: Cool Cool Toon. I’d like to give a special shout out to my niece for getting me this for my birthday!

Cool Cool Toon is a unique game in SNK’s Dreamcast library. A rhythm game made from the ground up for the Dreamcast, it was neither a fighting game nor an arcade port. It is so far removed from what SNK did for the system that it doesn’t even look like an SNK game at first glance. It does share one common thread with other SNK games though: it is very easy to pick up and play.