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Old 03-22-2003, 03:27 PM   #1
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Play Saturn emulation games on PC, directly from Sega

Nights On Your PC
Sega held a public demonstration event today in the Akihabara section of Tokyo to celebrate the recent launch of their B-Club broadband game-rental service in Japan. Sonic Team's Yuji Naka was on hand for the occasion, showing off Nights, Panzer Dragoon Zwei, and the rest of the service's Sega Saturn lineup...and also revealing a little bit more from his devious plans for the rest of the year.
Sega's B-Club service allows broadband users in Japan to download Genesis, Sega CD and Saturn titles for a fee, then play them on their PC via Sega's own console-emulator technology. Depending on which ISP you're on, you can "rent" downloaded games for anywhere from a week to a month; fees range from 300 to 500 yen ($2.47-$4.10) per game.

The Saturn emulator used in the B-Club service is the first one that runs commercial titles flawlessly on the PC platform, something that amazed Naka as he played Nights on one of the terminals. "There are around five processors on the Saturn; two CPUs, a digital signal processor, and a few more," Naka said. "Porting late-era Saturn games that used all these processors to their fullest over to other platforms would have been very difficult... If Nights can run on this, then I bet Burning Rangers could run on this, too." Nights is just one of the several dozen Saturn titles, including Clockwork Night and the entire Panzer Dragoon series, that'll be made available for download over the next few weeks.

Nights, the last game Naka personally programmed himself (he's acted as producer of Sonic Team's games since then), debuted in 1996 and amazed gamers with its otherworldly graphics, vaguely soothing gameplay and innovative (for the time) analog control. The emulated Nights shown at the event ran nearly perfectly?although the analog control could've used a little more fine-tuning, the game itself looked and felt completely faithful to the original. "At the time," Naka said at the event, "we needed to have something to compete against the PlayStation with. We wanted to make a game that would be impossible to do on the PlayStation, so we came up with a lot of new and different ideas."

While at the event, Naka couldn't help discussing his current projects, including Sonic Adventure DX and two other Sonic titles. For one, he revealed that all (yes, all) of the Game Gear Sonic titles are in Sonic DX; "there are so many," he commented, "that I almost wanted to make it Sonic Mega Collection 2." He also confirmed that Sonic Team's working on a couple of non-Sonic titles for a late 2003 release: "Besides the E3 event, we're planning a new product announcement for the middle of April right now. You'll be surprise how much we'll be putting out starting in June." Hmm...

The handsome Yuji Naka checks out how his game runs. Playing Nights used to require $250 worth of hardware and software?now it can be yours on a PC for a couple of bucks.
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