Developer Retrospective: From the Gridiron to the Basketball court, these are the games of SEGA’s Visual Concepts

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This month we will be celebrating the games of Visual Concepts, a western developer that is best known for the creation of the 2K Sports franchise of games. Not only did they have a long history battling EA on the Dreamcast; but they continue to battle against the EA Sports brand video games even after leaving our favorite publisher. What better month than July to focus on this largely overlooked and talented US-based development team. After the break, let’s look back at the games and history of Visual Concepts!

Developer Retrospective: Rolling with the arcade kings of SEGA’s Amusement Vision

YOTSD-AVAs we hit the halfway point of the Year of the SEGA Developers, we turn our attention to a favorite of ours: Amusement Vision. Okay, so being a SEGA fan site, every SEGA developer is our favorite. But just look at Amusement Vision’s portfolio: imaginative new games like Monkey Ball and Ollie King , follow-ups to classic franchises including Space Harrier’s Planet Harriers, Daytona USA 2001, and Spikeout and Virtua Striker sequels. Amusement Vision also holds the distinction of being the first SEGA developer to take on a Nintendo franchise with the much loved F-Zero GX and F-Zero AX.

As is customary for a developer month kick-off article, join us as we look back on how Amusement Vision came to be, their library of games, and where the staff are now!

Developer Retrospective: Experience synesthesia with SEGA’s United Game Artists

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This month we are proud to celebrate the unique and musical driven games of United Game Artists (ユナイテッド・ゲーム・アーティスツ). The team was made up of members of SEGA AM6 and headed by Sega AM3’s Tetsuya Mizuguchi. Unfortunately, the team was short lived and only released three titles under the ‘United Game Artists’ banner. Regardless, those three games have made such an impact on us gamers that we are still talking about them over a decade later.

SEGA Retrospective: The Music of JSRF – Singing a Tune that’s both Unique and Familiar

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Jet Set Radio and Jet Set Radio Future were two incredibly different games, each with a style all its own.
Considered by some to be a sequel and by others to be a reboot of the original, Jet Set Radio Future set itself apart from its Dreamcast predecessor in a variety of ways, one of which being its incredible soundtrack.

In celebration of Smilebit month, I sat down and listened to the Jet Set Radio Future soundtrack in its entirety, taking it all in and really trying to gauge why it seems both so alike, and yet so different, from the tunes that made up the music of its predecessor.

SEGA Retrospective: Jet Set Radio Future and The Latch Brothers

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Jet Set Radio and its sequel Jet Set Radio Future are often cited as having some of the best music to come from SEGA thanks in a large part to Hideki Naganuma and Richard Jacques. While in-house talent played a large role in creating such memorable soundtracks, the soundtracks also consisted of licensed music from artists that included Guitar Vader, Cibo Matto, Deavid Soul and others. This week on SEGA Tunes (the feature formerly known as Tuesday Tunes) we’re focusing on a third type of Jet Set Radio music contributor: The Latch Brothers.

Developer Retrospective: The wonderfully unique games of SEGA’s Smilebit

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SEGA’s development team Smilebit existed in the public eye for only four short years, yet in that time they managed to create one of the company’s most unique franchises, revived a classic Saturn franchise, contributed to a long running series of popular Japanese sports titles, and managed to create a few new franchises that have gone on to become true hidden gems. It’s fitting that we follow Team Andromeda Month with Smilebit, as Smilebit was actually the bringing together of the SEGA AM6’s Team Aquila, Team Andromeda, and G9 Team (though some staff ended up moving to United Game Artists). This mix of talent lead to Smilebit being primarily tasked with the Let’s Make series of sports titles, franchises that were largely confined to Japan. Utilizing former Team Andromeda staff, the team spearheaded the latest (and thus far last) Panzer Dragoon game. But what really made Smilebit unique were their new franchises including the Jet Set Radio games, Gunvalkyrie, and Hundred Swords.

All month long we’ll be celebrating Smilebit’s eclectic mix of games, celebrating the classics, the lesser known titles, and the ones that never left Japan. Ready to look back? Let’s go!

Developer Retrospective: We take flight with SEGA’s Team Andromeda

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The SEGA Saturn’s surprise early launch in America is considered one of the most disastrous mistakes in the history of the video game industry. It angered SEGA’s third party publishers and retail partners, it allowed Sony to get the drop on the Saturn with a lower price point and it ultimately destroyed SEGA’s dominance in the American market, financially crippling SEGA permanently. The launch did have a bright spot though: it introduced the games of SEGA’s Team Andromeda to the West.

This month is devoted to the games of Team Andromeda, and to kick things off we have a developer and Panzer Dragoon franchise retrospective. Ready to take flight?

Developer Retrospective: A look back at the games of SEGA’s WOW Entertainment

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When SEGA WOW Month began, we took a look back at the games of SEGA’s Overworks. While Overworks existed for only a short span of time before merging with WOW Entertainment, this month has made it very clear that Skies of Arcadia made a major impact on SEGA fans. But what of WOW Entertainment? Unlike Overworks, WOW managed to release a large number of games spanning different genres on different pieces of hardware. From sequels to classic franchises like The House of the Dead and Columns, to new franchises like SEGA GT and arcade oddities like The Typing of the Dead, a collaboration with Namco, and a dog walking simulator. While WOW Entertainment can’t be pinned down to one iconic title, they more than made up for this with an amazing library of games!

Join us now for part two of our SEGA WOW retrospective, in which we take a look at the many games of WOW Entertainment.

Developer Retrospective: A look back at the games of SEGA’s Overworks

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Last week when we kicked off Overworks and WOW Entertainment month, we took a look back at how SEGA organized their many internal development teams over the years. Among those teams were Overworks and WOW Entertainment, two separate teams that released games from 2000 through to 2004 when they were merged and became SEGA WOW. This week, we will be taking a look back at the games released by Overworks. While the Overworks softography is small, especially compared to giants like SEGA AM2, in the span of four years Overworks released some truly classic titles.

Developer Retrospective: How Overworks and WOW Entertainment became Sega WOW

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Moving into the second month of our Year of the SEGA Developers, we shine the spotlight on two beloved SEGA development teams as well as their short life as a single entity. SEGA’s Overworks and WOW Entertainment were formed in in the midst of the Dreamcast era alongside several other internal SEGA development divisions. Prior to the formation of these teams, SEGA had a long history of shifting about, renaming, and refocusing the efforts of their many internal developers. To better understand where Overworks, WOW Entertainment, and SEGA’s many other divisions came about, let’s dive into a short history of SEGA’s internal teams!

SEGA Retrospective: Virtua Fighter’s Spin-Offs and Crossovers

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When we kicked off Virtua Fighter week, we took a look back at the main titles from the series. Despite being only five games long, thanks to the many revisions, updates, and upgrades as well as arcade to home console ports, what was five games felt more like ten. While Virtua Fighter didn’t dip into bloody fatalities or energy blasts, there did exist the metallic cyborg final boss Dural. Despite this, Virtua Fighter could be described as a fighter that tends to keep things in the realm of the real world. So where did SEGA-AM2 unleash their pent-up wackiness? In the spin-offs of course!

From 1996 through to today, Virtua Fighter has done everything from turning their adult roster into children, to crossing over with other SEGA fighters and even sharing the ring with a rival franchise! Join us as we look back on the many spin-offs, cameos, and crossovers that the franchise has produced over the years.

SEGA Retrospective: Kicking off Virtua Fighter Week

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As SEGA-AM2 Month enters the final week, we thought it would be fitting to shine the spotlight on the developer’s longest running and most influential series – Virtua Fighter. One of SEGA-AM2’s defining traits is their ability to create “pure” gaming experiences. Looking at their catalog, they seem to have a penchant for taking a simple concept – be it fighting, racing, flying, or shooting – and translating it to a near-perfect 3D arcade experience. I hesitate to call SEGA-AM2’s games simulations, as gameplay is simple enough for any player and often AM2 titles have a bit of an elastic reality. Virtua Fighter didn’t have any gimmicks – there were no fatalities, weapons, adjustable bouncing breasts, or cutscenes. Players simply chose their fighter, each with their own defining style and moves, and fought. This why the term “pure” feels like the best way to describe their many games, and why the Virtua Fighter series is the purest fighting game franchise to ever exist.

SEGA Retrospective: After Burner II – From SEGA arcade classic to SEGA 3D Classics

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After Burner is just one of those franchises by SEGA that took American arcade goers by storm due to the sheer speed of the game, the eye catching cabinet, and its highly detailed (for the time) graphics. I truly believe that After Burner is just one of those arcade games that don’t get enough credit by gamers today, so jump into your F-14 Tomcat and blast through our After Burner retrospective. You never know, you might learn something!

Developer Retrospective: We celebrate the legacy of SEGA AM2

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SEGA AM2 is just one of those developers that always puts a smile on my face whenever I talk about their games. Not only do they have one of the most vast libraries, but they also revolutionized gaming in general multiple times over the past decades. Let’s look at the developer that popularized sprite-scaling in the 80s, gave us modern 3D with their Virtua series and created one of the most expensive games ever as we walk through their legacy.

Don’t forget to join us all month long while we talk more about SEGA AM2 and all their legendary franchises.

SEGA Retrospective: Let’s get sweaty as we celebrate a SEGA Dreamcast classic, it’s Shenmue Week!

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Welcome to a franchise week that many readers have been requesting ever since we began to dedicate seven days to classic SEGA titles, this is Shenmue Week! Like Jet Set Radio Week, we’re going focus exclusively on the first game of the franchise throughout the week. While Shenmue and its sequel are not incredibly different games from each other like Jet Set Radio and Jet Set Radio Future, we felt that both Shenmue titles are both so epic on their own that to try and cram both into seven days would do a disservice to the series. Not to mention, we love Shenmue so much that the prospect of another Shenmue Week in the future is something we’re looking forward to.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s travel back in time, before Shenmue II and before the original Shenmue. Before the series went by the codename Project Berkley, to a time in the mid 90s when SEGA’s Yu Suzuki was working on a SEGA Saturn prototype known as The Old Man and the Peach Tree.