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Not-for-sale "Game de Check! Koutsuu Anzen" from 1987!Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:54 pm
Last edited by Bock on Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:52 pm; edited 15 times in total
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2020
MIRACLE WORLD - Not-for-sale Traffic Safety Sega Master System game from 1987 resurfaces!
Game de Check! Koutsuu Anzen for the Sega Master System / Mark III
Original: ゲームでチェック！交通安全 [gēmu de chekku! kōtsū anzen]
Literally: “Let’s check with a game! Traffic Safety”
The SMS Power! community is happy to celebrate its 23rd anniversary today by unearthing and preserving yet another extremely rare game title for the Sega Master System! We are also releasing a complete Japanese to English translation patch for the game.
Active since 1997, people behind SMS Power! have been meticulously documenting and preserving Sega 8-bit history. About one thousand titles, including many obscure ones, are catalogued and have been digitally preserved. Hardware has been researched, documented, hacked, augmented. Games have been reverse engineered, secrets found, soundtracks extracted, long lost staff credits made public, countless prototypes have been found. Every year the site hosts a competition for people making games, demos or music on Sega 8-bit systems.
This release has been made possible with help from NPO Game Preservation Society (NPO法人ゲーム保存協会) in Japan.
What is it?
Game de Check! Koutsuu Anzen is an educational Sega Master System/Sega Mark III cartridge commissioned by The Tokio Marine and Fire Insurance Ltd and developed by Sega in 1987.
A lengthy research article by SukaSega (in Japanese) has a list of known appearances of this long lost game over the years, mostly from non-game publications. In January 1988, both the Hoken Mainichi Shimbun and Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspapers wrote about it.
(images from SukaSega)
Below machine-translated extracts from for the Hoken Mainichi Shimbun article:
On January 21, 1988, a similar article in “Insurance” states:
On August 30, 1988, another article in Zaigai (~Business World) gives a higher production number::
The game briefly appeared in a Japanese TV show in 1988:
All those findings are courtesy of research done by SukaSega.
It’s not clear today what happened to those 200 or 300 cartridges. Were they actively rented by many schools and associations? We have no evidence of Sega fans saying that they were exposed to this game in 1988. The game seemingly wasn’t promoted to gamers, and the Master System was not particularly popular in Japan either. Likely many of those cartridges were unused, lost or destroyed.
On December 29, 2009, a loose cartridge surfaced and was auctioned on Yahoo Auctions, with an initial price of 3 million yens (about US$33,000 at the time). No bids were placed on the auction, but it appears that the cartridge was eventually sold outside of the auction, to a private collector, for an unspecified amount of money. We were aware of the auction at the time but unable to reasonably bid such an amount, we opted out of it. The collector who purchased the cartridge at the start of 2010 did not intend to share its contents, but posted one screenshot of the title screen on their website.
In October 2019, another copy of the game resurfaced on Yahoo Auctions. This time, the game came with extra previously unseen contents: a briefcase, a Master System console and two large manuals. Initial price was 3.5 million yens. No bids were placed over a two month period and eventually the seller decided in mid December to turn it into a regular open auction, starting at 1 yen. We decided to bid, gathered funds and we won the auction for 521,000 yens (see purchase thanks/credits below). The NPO Game Preservation Society (NPO法人ゲーム保存協会) in Tokyo helped us with handling of the auction and transporting the briefcase to France. We also decided to have them dump the cartridge and fully scan manuals while in Japan, in order to avoid any risk that the game may be lost or damaged while transporting.
We got it !!!
We at SMS Power! have preserved and shared almost a thousand games over the years and we are happy to share this one as well.
See the Game de check! Koutsuu Anzen page for details.
More screenshots at https://www.smspower.org/Screenshots/GameDeCheckKoutsuuAnzen-SMS
All scans at https://www.smspower.org/Scans/GameDeCheckKoutsuuAnzen-SMS
*EDIT* To clarify, the inside pages were all mediocre-quality copies. We scanned them the best we could and Game Preservation Society cleaned the scans a little.
The game supports both PSG and FM audio (the FM chip was only available in Japan).
It is as yet unknown who composed this soundtrack.
Maxim extracted both PSG and FM and created standalone VGM packages with them. See the Game de check! Koutsuu Anzen page for VGM packages details.
Youtube playlist (PSG version):
Unofficial English Translation
Because of the significance and rarity of this game, we decided that we’d try creating a translation patch for non-Japanese reading audiences so they could enjoy it. Maxim (SMS Power!) reverse engineered the game code, extracted the script and created custom tooling to reinject code along with translated text, new fonts and translated graphics into the game. Damian Rogers (Sudden-Desu.net and member of NPO Game Preservation Society) helped translate the game script to English.
A full english version of the game is available today:
Full source code and tooling for the translation will be made available on GitHub shortly after.
The game was purchased thanks to generous donations from:
- RetroRumper (http://www.gamingalexandria.com http://preservegames.org)
Which accounted for about 30% of the total auction price.
The rest was paid by Omar C (Bock) / SMS Power!
*EDIT* The original post accidentally omitted Wiggy2k from that list, apologies to Wiggy2k!
NPO Game Preservation Society (NPO法人ゲーム保存協会)
Auction handling, dumping, scanning & cleaning, transport, translation
Maxim (SMS Power!)
English translation patch, reverse engineering, hacking, soundtrack extraction
Damian Rogers / RyogaMasaki (NPO Game Preservation Society)
Japanese>English text translation
Translation logo graphics
Calindro, Paul Jansen
Additional hacking and translation help
Omar C / Bock (SMS Power!)
Purchase, coordination, additional hacking, screenshots
Temporary Attachment FairyPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:57 pm
Last edited by Bock on Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:12 pm; edited 2 times in total
||Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:43 pm|
Well done all.
||Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:57 pm|
Having played this game an awful lot and listened to the soundtrack a lot too... good luck you guys!
* 100% in Driving Sense Test - especially Driving Technique is tough
* Speed run in You're The Best Driver. There are some interesting hacks, like sometimes you can corner at 40km/h and speed past obstacles...
||Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 3:22 pm|
||Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 3:30 pm|
Thank you !
A nice gift for the community.
||Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 3:41 pm|
Developing speedrun tech on a driving education game. :D
||Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:58 pm|
|Thank you so much!|
||Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:39 am|
This is fantastic and every bit as brutal and charming as I'd hoped it'd be.
It can't be too common for a genuinely ultra-rare piece of software history to be publicly released alongside what seems to be a brilliantly put-together fan translation. The VGMs are very much welcome too.
Thank you hugely to everyone involved; this community is incredible.
||Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:11 pm|
|Thank you! :)|
||Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:50 pm|
|Awesome find! Thanks a lot for your continued efforts, and for the discovery of this lost gem! :)|
||Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2020 11:38 pm|
|Marvelous! Things like this -- new discoveries, sharing, hard work -- are what it's all about. A great treat in a tough time.|
||Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:26 pm|
||Posted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:09 pm|
Sincere apologies, I had your name in my original "credits" list and when typing names in the post it somehow I missed you. I've added you in the list and added an extra note for visibility stating you were forgotten from the original list. Also double-check everyone else while doing so (you were the only missing name). So sorry, and thanks again!!
Thanks!Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:56 am
|I made an account just to say thank you all for doing this. Also, the pedestrian in the driving game looks a lot like the player character from Maze Hunter 3-D!|