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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Letting folks know I'm still kinda alive.

I apologize for not posting much here... it's honestly kinda difficult to make long, distinct articles when the research has been slow and the emulation still hasn't progressed much.

That's not to say I've been doing nothing. In fact, if you've seen my Youtube Channel, it's got a few new videos lately. I'm not entirely sure what'd be article-worthy, though.

Anyway, I'll also add that I've been trying to work on a more unique/special Youtube video for June 28th, which would be the Sega Pico's 20th anniversary. I hope I'll be able to post it here. If anyone would like to help on it, feel free to contact me.

In the meantime, here's some Google affiliate ads.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lessons You Shouldn't Teach Kids 02: You'll Be A Slave To Minimum-Wage Labor Forever.

Didn't think I'd have another one of things this fast, huh?
As it turns out, InvisibleUp has also been looking into the Pico - or rather, the PasoPico line, which is a series of Japanese Sega Pico games which were ported to PC. He's uploaded some footage from the PC Version of "McDonald de Asobou!" here!




... And now I regret watching it. Aw, well. Give some likes and subs to InvisibleUp anyway, he deserves it! With "edutainment" like this, is it any wonder how the salaryman mentality has been so ingrained in Japanese culture? Teaching young kids the hard labor of deep-frying and getting your hands burned is just cruel, Sega.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lessons You Shouldn't Teach Kids 01: Lady Luck Can Be Cruel

So, I just thought of another set of article ideas of which the amount I can write is dependent on what's available in the Pico library. This will take a look into some of the aspects of the Japanese Pico library that can be rather offsetting to someone who sees it as just a "Edutainment" machine.

Today I'll write about how many Japanese developers had the idea to traumatize kids with early experiences in literal luck-based gaming.

To give a nice idea what I mean, I'll embed a video of this game... but in particular I'll say to take note of the mini-game that's about 24 minutes in.

Click here to jump to the mini-game being discussed.

In this tooth brushing mini-game, you choose one of the teeth and pray to your deity that it has plaque on it. If not, the plaque monsters assault you. There is no apparent way to tell beforehand what the correct areas to brush are, making this basically consist of "click somewhere and hope I don't screw up".

I'll just say that that is not quite how I'd try to teach my kids dental care.

Just to let you know I got multiple examples to go on here, here's a video with the luck-based minigame from "Pocket Monsters Advance Generation: Hiragana! Katakana! Kakechatta!"

You see, the Japanese Pico library consists of this often. It's... sort of disturbing, in a way. Why would you make a kid go through luck-based minigames? To teach how failure can be random? To teach about the cruelty of the world we're in? To teach kids that they're puny mortals who need the grace of Buddha to pass a minigame?

There aren't any elements of these in internationally-released games. In fact, a whole page of casino-themed minigames was removed from "Sonic the Hedgehog's Gameworld". Now, what do they expect kids to learn from Casino minigames? Hopefully it's how to copy with a gambling addiction...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pico Accessories 03: Multiply your drive today!

Alright, a quick write-up for the time being.

While recording some gameplay of a certain Pico game, I managed to learn quite a bit about the Pico accessory known as...

The Multidrive!

You can see it on the left, in yet another picture I've obviously had stored from Japanese auction sites. The Multidrive has the shape of two gears, four buttons and a big button akin to the Pico's own traditional buttons, and a knob that looks kinda like the Drive Pico's key.



The game below it in the picture is the game that it is designed to be compatible with, "Exciting! Hataraku Norimono-tachi" (エキサイティング! はたらくのりものたち). That is also the same game I have most recently uploaded footage of to Youtube.



And indeed, said footage is from emulation!

Similarly to the Drive Pico, the Multidrive is emulated, albeit strangely, by a combination of the buttons and mouse movements. In fact, it seems to control very similarly to how the Drive Pico does. It makes me wonder if I could swap out the gears for the Drive Pico's steering wheel on the actual hardware...

Anyhow, the instructional modes on "Exciting!" show you how the Multidrive is meant to be used, although in the video I only popped in one to show as an example (Play the ROM and you can see the rest, although it's all Japanese, of course). Based on the game, the Multidrive was designed as a "generic" big vehicle control accessory, in contrast with more specific car or train control sets. The construction and demolition trucks were given particular attention in the game.

I'm currently not sure of any other games the Multidrive is compatible with, or at least meant to be compatible with, anyway.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Slow month, huh?

Apologies for going a whole month without an update. A mixture of Hurricane Sandy and other duties really clogged my schedule.

While I was idling, a lot of Pico ROMs were released, this time from Cowering's GoodPico set. I am examining them now and will upload some videos of them to my Youtube in the coming days. Rather frustratingly, the "Toy Story 2" Pico game didn't want to boot in Kega Fusion. I really wanted to see how that looked. :(

Well, at least we got the McDonalds game now. Also, the Japanese version of "Sonic the Hedgehog's Gameworld", and some others.

Team-Europe has also released a few other Pico dumps, including "A Bug's Life" and some "Voice Pico" game series entries.

I'll let you all know more about them as I continue to examine them.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Wanna Flyer Sky High

So, like, a real long while back, Team-Europe scanned this Pico flyer.

When I saw it, I was like "Hey, I think I have something like that lying around somewhere..."

And indeed, buried in my copy of "The Magic School Bus" (Don't ask why I have that lying around), I found a similar flyer.

Similar, but not exactly the same.

I managed to pull out my scanner to scan it. It's a bit bent and wrinkly, but hopefully this serves a good compare-and-contrast with the one Team-Europe has.

These scans are kind of large, so they're linked rather than embedded;

Front - Top
Front - Bottom
Back - Top
Back - Bottom

The main differences between this flyer and the one Team-Europe scanned are the showcased game selection and arrangement. Most notably, "Sonic the Hedgehog's Gameworld" and "Muppets on the Go" are in this one while "Adventures in Letter Land" and "The Great Counting Caper" are absent. Also, "The Magic School Bus" has art that more closely resembles the actual game's art. One oddity both flyers have in common is the art for "The Berenstain Bears" that doesn't resemble the final product.