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Retro compilations (was It's Just Emulation-Frank Cifaldi GDC 2016.)

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Yes that's a great talk, especially when he compares how easy it is to get hold of some middling film from 1989 compared to legit emulated games from that time.

 

I've been into emulation for a good 20-odd years since using a ZX Spectrum emulator (JPP) on a 386 laptop. Despite some notable exceptions (companies licensing DOSbox) it is really surprising how publishers and platform-owners still hate emulation. And even when they embrace it they totally misread what people want, and charge an arm and a leg. There's definitely a market out there for these old games for people who aren't savvy enough to set up emulators on PC, Raspberry PI and the like, but it's going to take a big push by someone to really make it worthwhile. 

 

 

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Remember this being linked in another thread.

 

Honestly I didn't like the talk much (though I watched it a while ago, so probably forgetting some points) I don't think it's the right discussion about emulation to make, (other than the fact that yes 1) We should be preserving and 2) Devs are losing out on free money). The example of Mega Man Legacy to me also adds insult to injury simply because of how piss-poor a collection it is compared to Capcom's efforts 10 years prior with both MM and MMX collections. Legacy is just poor value in comparison.

The company in question (that did Legacy) have also been known to making piss poor conversions in the past on 360 Arcade as far as my own memory goes. So much so SEGA re-updated some arcade titles and removed the old ones further down the line. So excuse me for not taking their love of preservation at all serious.

 

It's more a talk on making a quick buck, not one on how re-releasing games should be treated/done right. How even the most minor of differences can affect the consumers that care, even if financially it'll still do well regardless.

 

Release the actual lost things, do it with actual love, and I'll be impressed. Xbox/PS2/GC is the last gen that had that, imo. From a handful of different places, I mean. Not just SEGA.

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On 18/07/2016 at 09:57, NEG said:

Release the actual lost things, do it with actual love, and I'll be impressed. Xbox/PS2/GC is the last gen that had that, imo. From a handful of different places, I mean. Not just SEGA.

 

I'd love a next gen version of the Taito and Capcom collections. They were incredibly generous. The Taito one especially was full of hidden gems. I've given up on Namco doing anything else other than release Pac-Man over and over.

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4 hours ago, Unofficial Who said:

 

I'd love a next gen version of the Taito and Capcom collections. They were incredibly generous. The Taito one especially was full of hidden gems. I've given up on Namco doing anything else other than release Pac-Man over and over.

The Namco comp on 360 was pretty poor, essentially linking to games available on XBLA. Really lazy.

 

The Taito Legends compilations were indeed amazing, although I was a bit cheesed off they had games exclusive to different consoles for the second volume. Not sure what that was all about.

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12 minutes ago, Vimster said:

The Namco comp on 360 was pretty poor, essentially linking to games available on XBLA. Really lazy.

 

The Taito Legends compilations were indeed amazing, although I was a bit cheesed off they had games exclusive to different consoles for the second volume. Not sure what that was all about.

 

 

Someone should drop Square/Enix a line and suggest they re-release those compilations, Money for almost nothing.

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25 minutes ago, Lorfarius said:

I thought the Rare releases was the way this sort of thing should be done.

 

Totally. And if I buy a Bone the Rare compilation will be one of the main reasons.

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Main annoyance with the Rare disc is the N64 ports that were already on 360 weren't...you know, it had to boot into 360 mode. The 360 titles as well. So that leaves...a disc with the oldest of Rare's titles.

 

Still nice, since it can tell what you've done on the 360 combatibility titles and unlock stuff according to that, but a empty disc regardless. That's more a issue with how Bone/PS4 does things of course.

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Not sure what you expect for £20? By buying that disc you get access to loads of extra features and proper decent documentaries etc.

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I'd pay £40 if it meant everything played directly from the disc + everything optimized for the Bone.

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I have to concur that the fact that the game isn't a unified product is really pretty annoying. 

The fact that the N64 and 360 stuff that was already out on the 360 is just here as BC titles just feels cheap and crappy. 

It's also worth noting that the N64 games control horribly in the Rare replay collection, mainly due to the C stick buttons mapped to the right stick. Makes things very confusing like attempting to strafe with classic controls on Perfect Dark and you then do a tiny nudge up or down and it all goes to shit. 

I'd far rather play those on the N64 it'self. 

 

But yes! Emulation, it is awesome and I love it. The presentation was great and kinda sold on that Megaman collection

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We gave Rare Replay a ten. It's quite possibly the best compilation I've ever experienced.

It's not just full of great games, but it also features a surprising amount of stuff that's dated badly and is definitely of its time, but they're important additions none the less.

The presentation throughout is faultless, the documentaries often offer amazing insight into the studio and the price point is just utterly ridiculous.

More importantly however, I can't think of a single other compilation from any developer or publisher that covers such a wide range of generations. It's truly astonishing and gives a genuine insight into how the company has evolved over a 30 year period. Yes it's a pity that GoldenEye couldn't be included, but Rare Replay is how you put a body of work together. I'd love Sega, Capcom, Konami or Nintendo to do a similar thing.

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You're tempting me to get a Bone Strider. I love retro compilations. The randomness of the content was always something I loved. It's a similar feeling I get with my Gold and PSN subs (and previously demo discs and tapes.) It's never knowing if that odd game you would never have bought on it's on in a million years becomes a new favourite. I hope Rare Replay is the start of a trend. At the moment I look at all those arcade titles on the PSN store and I just can't bring myself to buy them.

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On 19/07/2016 at 12:46, Vimster said:

The Taito Legends compilations were indeed amazing, although I was a bit cheesed off they had games exclusive to different consoles for the second volume. Not sure what that was all about.

 

Wish they'd release them on Vita

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21 minutes ago, caseycoo said:

 

Wish they'd release them on Vita

Nearest you'd get is Taito Legends: Powered Up on PSP, I guess.

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I haven't checked the links to the talk yet but I strongly suspect Rare Replay was a strict one off and certainly won't be a taste of things to come for a few reasons.

 

Rare are genuinely a rare case of a company still going strong (in a meaningful way) that also have an illustrious back catalogue to exploit AND are backed by a financially strong parent firm. Microsoft could probably afford to fund Rare Replay as a project not expected to turn a profit, therefore allowing the devs to turn a retro compilation into a proper labour of love: a working museum piece also loaded with modern touches, improvements and embellishments.

 

The M2 3DS Sega 'remasters' are in my mind the finest 'emulation' based projects ever produced but they too are something I suspect wont happen again. The improbability of so much genius coding / artistic talent being able slave away for 3-4 years optimising their work and becoming masters of a single hardware platform - driven seemingly more out of love for the source material than anything else - is just too high.

 

As an aside, the excellent Taito Legends releases are indeed great for enthusiasts of old arcade games but even they showed signs of survival against the odds: Volume 2 had all the supplementary info and presentation stripped and several of the games had pretty poor emulation. Elevator Action Returns for example is an outright botch job when compared to the glory of the Saturn port a few years earlier - with washed out colours, treacle-like running speed and loss of visual effects. It's still the only affordable way to own a version of the game so I shouldn't complain, but I also think that the market for retro enthusiasts will always get taken better care of by fellow enthusiasts and homebrew coders than corporate interests, broadly speaking. 

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1 hour ago, spanky debrest said:

 

The M2 3DS Sega 'remasters' are in my mind the finest 'emulation' based projects ever produced but they too are something I suspect wont happen again. The improbability of so much genius coding / artistic talent being able slave away for 3-4 years optimising their work and becoming masters of a single hardware platform - driven seemingly more out of love for the source material than anything else - is just too high.

 

 

 

Sadly less likely after the passing of Akira Saito.

 

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/266262/Akira_Saito_programmer_for_Japanese_dev_M2_passes_away.php

 

Quote

 


Today the president of Tokyo-based M2 Co., Ltd., Naoki Horii, has posted a blog (Japanese-language link) on the company's site announcing the passing of programmer Akira Saito (pictured).

Saito, who was best-known for his sound programming, had been developing games with M2 since the Game Boy Advance era. He died after a battle with cancer, according to the blog, which was discovered in his head last year. He was 43 years old.

The post by Horii goes into great depth in its praise for Saito, and particularly his passion and perfectionism for sound programming -- noting that his programming on the well reviewed Sega 3D Classics helped push the publisher to the top of the Metacritic ranking for 2015. 

M2's primary business is, in fact, retro collections such as the Sega 3D Classics series. Saito also contributed his sound programming expertise to several of Nintendo's Virtual Console emulators for Nintendo's Wii, including those for the Sega Master System and Genesis/Mega Drive. However, Saito also programmed sound on original games: Notably, Konami's overlooked ReBirth series for the Wii, which included original Gradius, Contra, and Castlevania games. 

"He lived his life with video games," Horii wrote, noting that while Saito truly loved Sega's games, he would undertake the challenge to program for any console. Saito's name comes up repeatedly for his dedication to the Sega 3D Classics project in the extensive interviews posted at the Sega official blog.

 

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On 19/07/2016 at 12:46, Vimster said:

The Namco comp on 360 was pretty poor, essentially linking to games available on XBLA. Really lazy.

 

The Taito Legends compilations were indeed amazing, although I was a bit cheesed off they had games exclusive to different consoles for the second volume. Not sure what that was all about.

 

Can you download them for Vita?  I didn't think you could

 

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The first Midway Arcade Treasures was pretty decent, apart from the awful Egyptian theme and hyroglyphic images for the games. The second had a decent collection of games but cut back on the extras.

 

But I think what people want from retro compilations is a bit more, IMHO one of the greatest retro compilations was Retro Game Challenge on the DS - yet they weren't actually real retro games. But the whole thing of having virtual magazines to read, leading up to the next game release, was brilliant. I'd love to see that along with box art, adverts, replicating a CRT tv with scan lines etc to give a real retro experience. To be honest, I've played the games so many times now that you actually want a little bit more "authenticity"...

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The downside of disc collections with no patches back in the day, on one of the collections on the PS2 Wizard of Wor was just poorly set up/optimised. It ran way too fast. A massive disappointment.

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On 21/07/2016 at 11:54, spanky debrest said:

The M2 3DS Sega 'remasters' are in my mind the finest 'emulation' based projects ever produced but they too are something I suspect wont happen again. The improbability of so much genius coding / artistic talent being able slave away for 3-4 years optimising their work and becoming masters of a single hardware platform - driven seemingly more out of love for the source material than anything else - is just too high.

 

M2 have previous with this sort of mindset, it was their over-dedication on completely rebuilding Fantasy Zone for the PS2 that killed that particular line of remakes. It just stopped making commercial sense to pay a bunch of people to slave away for too many years painstakingly rebuilding old games for a niche audience. Their current emulation work is already a step back from their prior remake work.

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4 hours ago, mushashi said:

 

M2 have previous with this sort of mindset, it was their over-dedication on completely rebuilding Fantasy Zone for the PS2 that killed that particular line of remakes.

 

Are you sure you're not mistaken about, well, everything here?

 

They didn't completely rebuild anything Fantasy Zone for the PS2. The first Ages 2500 Fantasy Zone was indeed a complete remake and played pretty much identically to the arcade original. But M2 had nothing to do with it. They were called in to work on their first Ages 2500 project about 10 or so releases after that one.

 

The final 2500 release was indeed M2 developed and Fantasy Zone related but it was an epic compilation of almost every Sega-based Fantasy Zone game in all of its accurately emulated variants - from the SMS / Arcade originals to the Sunsoft developed Mega Drive version. M2 developed an 'arcade' version of the Master System sequel Fantasy Zone 2 as a brand new game especially for this release, that ran on (almost) the same Sega-16 emulator that they had arcade Fantasy Zone running on. 

 

I find your use of the term 'over dedication' a bit weird here as M2 arguably saved the program and ultimately prolonged the life of Sega's 2500 PS2 line - which aside from the odd exception like Virtua Racing and the aforementioned Fantasy Zone - was beginning to look like some of the worst software on the platform. After all it was monumental turds like Golden Axe 2500 that not only threatened the line of - what was supposed to be - lovingly updated versions of all time classics but also Sega's reputation during a particularly critical time for them. 

 

The fact that they ported Gunstar Heroes to the Game Gear - not only intact but cleverly optimised - as one of their first projects is testament to how tackling seemingly impossible challenges and eventually wiping the floor with them is just what they've always done. The Sega 3D classics series is just a result of the same ethos and why modern M2 were reminding me more than a little of classic Treasure some time before news of ex-Treasure stalwarts being M2 employees seeped out. 

 

4 hours ago, mushashi said:

It just stopped making commercial sense to pay a bunch of people to slave away for too many years painstakingly rebuilding old games for a niche audience. Their current emulation work is already a step back from their prior remake work.

 

'Too many years' - really? Are you aware that with both the PS2 2500 projects and the 3DS ones they were continually working on multiple titles simultaneously and ended up being quite prolific with the eventual releases? There's no way we'd have games like Gunstar and Galaxy Force or even Streets of Rage 2 running at 120fps on standard 3DS architecture if it wasn't for the passion that individuals at M2 exhibited. And the numerous enhancements, additional content, bug fixes to original game code and options they skillfully implemented in the 3DS games (particularly in the final batch) suggests to me that this series might be their greatest ever achievement, their magnum opus rather than any sort of 'step back' (?).

 

And clearly it's never made much commercial sense to pay 'a bunch' of people to rebuild old games for a niche audience. Which is why Sega paid the worlds best emulation wizards to convert some of their finest, most influential and evergreen games - some of which also happened to be originally made by one of the worlds greatest games designers - to the current gen platform with the greatest market penetration.

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19 hours ago, spanky debrest said:

 

Are you sure you're not mistaken about, well, everything here?

 

They didn't completely rebuild anything Fantasy Zone for the PS2. The first Ages 2500 Fantasy Zone was indeed a complete remake and played pretty much identically to the arcade original. But M2 had nothing to do with it. They were called in to work on their first Ages 2500 project about 10 or so releases after that one.

 

The final 2500 release was indeed M2 developed and Fantasy Zone related but it was an epic compilation of almost every Sega-based Fantasy Zone game in all of its accurately emulated variants - from the SMS / Arcade originals to the Sunsoft developed Mega Drive version. M2 developed an 'arcade' version of the Master System sequel Fantasy Zone 2 as a brand new game especially for this release, that ran on (almost) the same Sega-16 emulator that they had arcade Fantasy Zone running on. 

 

I find your use of the term 'over dedication' a bit weird here as M2 arguably saved the program and ultimately prolonged the life of Sega's 2500 PS2 line - which aside from the odd exception like Virtua Racing and the aforementioned Fantasy Zone - was beginning to look like some of the worst software on the platform. After all it was monumental turds like Golden Axe 2500 that not only threatened the line of - what was supposed to be - lovingly updated versions of all time classics but also Sega's reputation during a particularly critical time for them. 

 

And clearly it's never made much commercial sense to pay 'a bunch' of people to rebuild old games for a niche audience. Which is why Sega paid the worlds best emulation wizards to convert some of their finest, most influential and evergreen games - some of which also happened to be originally made by one of the worlds greatest games designers - to the current gen platform with the greatest market penetration.

 

The final SEGA AGES 2500 release was the Fantasy Zone collection, which includes a complete remake of Fantasy Zone II developed on actual System 16 spec hardware (the sort of dedication M2 is now famed for) and then run on an emulator, that is not a mere emulation or port or enhancement. The series started off being built in China, you just need to look at the staff credits on most of the early releases to see how many people were involved in making those. After the criticism of the quality, the series got handed over to M2.

 

So back in the day, M2 didn't just do mere emulation, they used to actually rebuild games too, just for the heck of it apparently. The same quality shines through on the other Arcade rebuild ports they released in that first series. The fact they now only do emulation of these games is a step back from that level of effort. The aren't alone in rebuilding old Arcade games for other platforms, it was pretty much the only way to do it for a lot of home Japanese ports then, nobody relied on mere emulation.

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