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Thread: Japan execs were upset that Kalinske was allowed to resign w/o taking blame for 32X

  1. #196
    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    Framerate matters.
    Depends on the game. Did anyone ever care that Pilotwings 64 or Wave Race 64 barely got past 20 FPS? that's before one moves on to Perfect Dark or F1 64 , frame rates were never an N64 strong point
    The best I got Geoff's F1 GP2 running was like 22 FPS too on my then Pentium PC (98) and it wasn't like GT didn't drop frames on the PS either. I think in the early 90's you could get away with it far more. That said GT5 on the PS3 drops frames for fun.

    SEGA Rally on the Saturn for the player's car was really doing some seriously advanced physics simulation, just look in the replays on how the car tyre's, shock absorbers react to the player's actions, the environment Its all independent from each other and well advanced for a 95 game, never mind a game that was basically an Arcade port.

    It's a shame that SEGA never did what Namco did with RR for the PS and looked to build on its work with Saturn only sequels and improvements to the engine and really look to push the Saturn and the the rally engine with tracks totally designed around the Saturn where you are able to hide short comings easier, compared to porting a High end Model 2 game
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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    Depends on the game. Did anyone ever care that Pilotwings 64 or Wave Race 64 barely got past 20 FPS? that's before one moves on to Perfect Dark or F1 64 , frame rates were never an N64 strong point
    The best I got Geoff's F1 GP2 running was like 22 FPS too on my then Pentium PC (98) and it wasn't like GT didn't drop frames on the PS either. I think in the early 90's you could get away with it far more. That said GT5 on the PS3 drops frames for fun.
    I agree with you. Looking back on 5th gen games today the framerates are frequently horrendous, way worse than how I remember them at the time. The N64 is capable of better performance than what we saw though. Look at this rewrite of the Mario 64 source code:



    25+ years of hindsight and improvements in programming techniques opens up a ton of new possibilities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    I agree with you. Looking back on 5th gen games today the framerates are frequently horrendous, way worse than how I remember them at the time. The N64 is capable of better performance than what we saw though. Look at this rewrite of the Mario 64 source code:



    25+ years of hindsight and improvements in programming techniques opens up a ton of new possibilities.
    I just know Gamevet will disagree, but even on a PC, in the early 90's frame rates weren't great. I remember all the PC lot, trying to show off FX Fighter and Screamer, while us console owners laughed
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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    Depends on the game. Did anyone ever care that Pilotwings 64 or Wave Race 64 barely got past 20 FPS? that's before one moves on to Perfect Dark or F1 64
    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    I agree with you. Looking back on 5th gen games today the framerates are frequently horrendous, way worse than how I remember them at the time.
    Well, I'd say that there are several other factors too.

    - Simulation stuff and games released early in a console's lifespan tend to be a bit more leeway from the public. PS1's Warhawk runs capped at 20 fps IIRC, but it's an early title in US, and with good 3D graphics for the time.
    But it works both ways, the PS1 built its image as a good console for 3D games from the very beginning with early games such as Ridge Racer and even the JP-exclusive Motor Toon Grandprix running at 30fps.

    By the end of 1995, no other console had been able to run Doom nowhere near as smoothly as the PS1 version did, which also helped to solidify its image in US/EU as a powerful/good for 3D machine. The game runs at 20-30fps on it for the most part (https://youtu.be/784MUbDoLjQ?t=2799) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Grrlj_f12qY), whereas other versions struggled to keep 10-15 fps average.


    - Sony did pay attention to framerate, especially in flagship releases.
    Even before the performance analyzer machine that was used to help the development of the Gran Turismo games, they had proper hardware-level profiling tools.

    There's this old Mike Fulton's interview (which is not available anywhere else now since the site is defunct and the internet archive didn't save it) which paints a much clearer picture of how Sony worked with the 3rd parties to ensure that their games would perform well on the platform; at least early on:

    Mike Fulton: I was the “Senior Development Support Engineer” for the PlayStation. Aside from things like answering developers questions on phone calls and online, I also contributed to the sample code libraries and was the primary editor when we did our first big documentation revision. I was also the development tools guru and a major proponent of coming up with GUI-based tools instead of running command line tools in a DOS box.

    Mainly, though, I was the guy that helped developers with code optimization. To many I was known as “Mr. Program Analyzer”. This nickname refers to a device called the “program analyzer” which was essentially a PS with a logic analyzer and signal tracer/recorder glued on top of it and with everything mounted together in a PC-style case.

    Some years later, the whole thing was redone as a plug-in PC card and made more widely available but this was right after the initial launch of the system, and at the time it was all hand built and there were just 5 of these devices in existence. I once heard that they cost about $100k each to create. We had 2 of them at SCEA. One sat in my cubicle, and the other sat in a special office we had setup just for hosting visiting developers who brought in a project to be analyzed.

    I started at SCEA in early 1996, just a few months after the PlayStation was first launched. My first month or so was basically an immersion into learning the development kit and everything else I could. Then I was introduced to the program analyzer and told to become its master. To that end, I underwent training with the SCEI engineer who wrote the software, and beyond that I just spent hours with the machine until it all made sense.

    The performance analyzer came with a Windows application that allowed you to capture a recording of up to about 7/60ths of a second that included all of the important signals in the machine. You would run the game and press a button wired up to the analyzer when you got to the point where you wanted to record.

    By analyzing the recording, you could determine when memory was being accessed (indicating a cache miss), when the GPU was active, when information was being sent to the sound chip, etc. This allowed us to make determinations such as: “the game is running at 20 fps, but just barely? there’s only a tiny amount of idle time before the GPU finishes processing and the next vertical blank. It would take a lot more optimization to hit 30 fps, but the main worry is that if that code runs even a little bit longer, the frame rate will drop to 15 fps.” Or, we might say “the game is running at 20 fps, but that’s because the GPU is finishing processing the frame right AFTER the vertical blank and it has to wait for the next one to page flip. In other words, a little code optimization could bump the frame rate up to 30 frames per second.”

    And then, having determined that, we’d look at other parts of the analysis and look for certain patterns. If there seemed to be an unusually high number of cache misses, we could look at the memory being accessed and compare it to a symbols listing from the program. This would let us figure out things like function A and function B are both called all of the time, but because of their relative positions in memory, they’re always bumping each other out of the CPU cache. Rearranging the order of functions in your source code and the order in which object files were linked was a common optimization for the PS.

    Because the first analyzers were hand-built and fragile, they didn’t leave our HQ. So that meant developers came to me. Typically the way it worked was that they would send me a build of their project along with instructions for how to play the game up to the point where analysis was desired, and then I would use the machine and generate a report which I’d send back to them. Then a week or two later, in many cases, the developers themselves would come to visit me in the office and we’d spend a day or two doing additional runs on the analyzer and going over their code. Sometimes they’d make changes after each run and we’d go back and forth with new versions.

    Ultimately, the trick was to correctly interpret what all of this information meant and turn that into a plan for what to change in your project’s source code.

    Case in point: Tomb Raider for the PS. The *ORIGINAL* game, that is, was running at about 5 fps when the developers brought it in for analysis. It was essentially unplayable, and the developers were beginning to get worried that it wasn’t going to get any better. Keep in mind that this is still just a few months after the machine first launched. Many developers were still working on their first title and didn’t really know what sort of performance they could expect from the machine. After doing our analysis, a few simple optimizations brought the frame rate up to 20 fps.
    It was originally available here:
    http://www.fultonsoft.com/an-intervi...tation-museum/
    And it had been referenced here before:
    https://atariage.com/forums/topic/20...h-mike-fulton/
    https://www.sega-16.com/forum/showth...l=1#post777607


    Since it mentions Tomb Raider, here's a developer quote that corroborates which I had said about quads not helping matters with the Saturn:
    Tomb Raider 1 was the first time you had to draw polygons right? Was there actual tech developments between 94-96 that literally made things viable that weren't before like Graphic APIs etc or did you know back at 1.0 stage the tech was there you's just needed time to engineer it?

    Everything coded from scratch. We were targeting the Saturn and Playstation 3D capabilities but the game started on PC with a software renderer that was similar to PS1 (fixed point math, texture pages, no z-buffer). Saturn only draws quads so that was a further constraint.

    Was the feeling back then: frustration about the limitations preventing you fully realising what you imagined, or satisfaction that you'd helped create a seminal looking game?

    It would have been nice to have more powerful hardware, but the constraints of the medium shaped the creative solutions. For instance "d-pad" controls and quad polygons on the Saturn led to the tile/grid system and corresponding discrete move-set.
    https://core-design.com/article117.html




    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    it wasn't like GT didn't drop frames on the PS either. I think in the early 90's you could get away with it far more. That said GT5 on the PS3 drops frames for fun.
    GT1 is mostly 30fps though; not a rollercoaster ride:


    And that is mid traffic, with shadows, lighting effects, good-looking tracks, good draw distance, etc.


    See another flagship title in action:


    Similar thing; not locked 30 fps all the time but not a constant 20-30 fps rollercoaster as Touge 2 on the Saturn.

    Another example here:
    https://youtu.be/VutzIK3DqZE?t=410

    And yet another here:


    CTR is mostly locked at 30 fps:


    Keep in mind that CTR has far better AI than Mario Kart 64, for example.

    Here's Forsaken on real hardware, which runs at 60fps most of the time:



    People forget things over time and the context gets lost, but the PS1 main action and racing titles usually had good framerate.
    Games such as Doom, Moto Racer, and Forsaken in their glory days were considered benchmark references and the PS1 performed well with them (yet another example here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5fKBV4oxcQ). This surely helped to craft its image as a powerful 3D machine.

    I think it's Formula 1 97 that has an in-game display setting that allows you to choose between fixed draw distance or fixed framerate. If you fix the frame rate, the game will keep 30 fps at the expense of varying draw distances.
    Those F1 games by Bizarre Creations were stupidly fast for the time; the PS1 pretty much blew up in Europe with them. As TA said, people were used to the awesome Geoff Crammond's Granp Prix games running at snail pace on their PCs.

    The Driver games had a really poor framerate but I guess people were quite forgiven since those were "open world" games and that stuff was seen as revolutionary at the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    It's a shame that SEGA never did what Namco did with RR for the PS and looked to build on its work with Saturn only sequels and improvements to the engine and really look to push the Saturn and the rally engine with tracks totally designed around the Saturn where you are able to hide short comings easier
    Yep. Big missed opportunity IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    The N64 is capable of better performance than what we saw though. Look at this rewrite of the Mario 64 source code:
    25+ years of hindsight and improvements in programming techniques opens up a ton of new possibilities.
    Having unlimited time to focus solely on performance improvements and no pressure for a deadline makes the biggest difference IMO.
    We're seeing this on every platform now, even on the Mega Drive. Hidecade dedicated no less than 4 years in the upcoming "arcade-perfect" port of Fantasy Zone and about the same time on the Darius one.
    M2's Gauntlet was a similar story.

    When you can go back and rethink, analyze over and over and over again why certain things impact the framerate or not, you can come up with far better solutions than when you're coding as fast as you can with barely any sleep and with the survival of a company on the line.


    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    frame rates were never an N64 strong point
    Nintendo forced a bunch of stuff on the developers; one of the main ones impacting framerate was the enforced use of Z-Buffer. With Z-Buffer on, the fillrate was quite lower than with it disabled.
    Boss Studios disabled it for World Driver Championship and were really afraid that Nintendo wouldn't approve the game if they noticed any Z-fighting on screen; they managed to dodge that bullet but they didn't officially inform Nintendo about what they had done.
    You also had very limited access to the hardware itself so most of 3rd parties were stuck with far from optimal libraries, etc.
    Nintendo enforced practices that would guarantee solid geometry and smooth-looking textures; I'm yet to hear stories about them trying to enforce framerate thresholds or something to that effect.
    Last edited by Barone; 06-07-2022 at 01:55 AM.

  5. #200
    Hero of Algol TrekkiesUnite118's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    GT1 is mostly 30fps though; not a rollercoaster ride:


    And that is mid traffic, with shadows, lighting effects, good-looking tracks, good draw distance, etc.
    From what I can tell Gran Turismo doesn't appear to be doing any actual real lighting effects. It looks to just be done with clever texture work and palette swapping. Similar to what Sega Rally and Daytona USA are doing on Saturn. The shadows almost look to be pre-baked into the textures. The cars don't really react to them as if they were done with shading or transparencies. The cars just go a shade darker when they're in a shadow. When you go into a tunnel the car again just goes darker, and doesn't react to the baked in lighting in the tunnels textures. The cars lighting doesn't really change either as it goes around the track. If it was being lit with shading and a lightsource I'd expect it's shading to react more like what we see in something like Ray Tracers or Ridge Racer 4. But in Gran Turismo it looks to be all static save for the reflection effect. Even the night levels the cars don't really react to the street lights, the only change is when the lights glow texture covers most the screen as you pass it, which is just it's transparency blending with the entire frame. So I wouldn't really say with certainty that Gran Turismo is doing that with lighting and shadows. It looks like it could just be really good texture work and art direction.

    Also Gran Turismo's car models have surprisingly low polygon counts. The cars are around 150-250 polygons each, and then there's a very aggressive LOD system with 3 levels of detail. First is the full polygon detail, the next level cuts that in half (75-125 Polygons) and the final level is about 32 polygons or less. The full level of detail is only used for the players car and if another car is very close to the player car or camera. Once it gets maybe a car length away it switches to the next Level of detail. A little bit further away it switches to the final level of detail. You can see this happening in the video you linked. Going further, you can even see that eventually the game stops doing the reflection effect on other cars that are far enough away. So I'd imagine when you factor in the LOD and about how many polygons are actually visible from the cars, I'd imagine you'd be looking at about 500 polygons per frame for all 6 cars visible at a given time (2 cars at full detail, 2 at mid detail, 2 at low detail, and about 2/3 being deemed visible and rendered each.)

    The tracks are also again fairly low polygon. They're about 7500-10000 polygons for the entire track. Let's say you're seeing maybe 500 of those polygons in a given frame? That would be about 1000 polygons per frame, so about 30,000 per second? That's well within what we see Sega Rally doing on the Saturn if going off of how many draw commands are in VDP1 VRAM at a given moment is accurate (It may not be if it's rendering in batches). Daytona USA looks to be about the same.

    So from a technical standpoint I don't think it's really doing anything that's really stressing the hardware on PS1, and it's not really doing something the other consoles wouldn't have been able to do either. Not saying it's not a nice looking game, but it seems to be more about it's art direction rather than anything technically complicated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    And yet another here:
    Again, supporting what I said with actual sources:
    As such, the tone was set from the off, and WipEout never really wavered from this initial concept of anti-gravity cars set to dance music. Nick was given the role of lead designer, and then, David says, it was a case of making a game that looked as close to the concept movie as possible. He began by creating a ship on a straight track, then started to add loops, gradually working out how far he could push the PlayStation.

    "Because it was unknown hardware to us, it was clearly a serious challenge for the programmers to try and master this device," Nick recalls. "Bear in mind they were using a lot of Japanese documentation to reference against, but still managed to make it do what we needed it to do. Everyone seemed to be starting every possible element of the development pipeline from scratch. We had lots of experience with 2D work, pseudo-3D FMV and other pre-rendered assets, but when it came to producing a fully 3D, texture-mapped game - the programming team were pretty much writing everything required in the development pipeline from scratch."

    ---

    "There was this generation of gamers who had reached adulthood, and would be prepared to drop £300 or £400 on a new gaming device... So it was perceived from the outset that the PlayStation wasn't a kid's product" - David Rose
    ---

    They ran up against the limits of the machine quite quickly, says David. "In a game like WipEout, where frame rate was vital, we had a design goal from the outset that we had to be running at 30 frames per second. Then you draw the maximum number of polygons that you can do while remaining within those constraints." David gives huge credit to programmer Jason Denton for optimising the graphics. "A large part of the success of the game is due to that work, because that meant that we could keep the frame rates."
    https://www.gamingbible.co.uk/featur...ssic-psygnosis

    And here's a first-party game, captured from real hardware, which also was designed around frame rate:

  7. #202
    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    By the end of 1995, no other console had been able to run Doom nowhere near as smoothly as the PS1 version did
    Let's not go on Doom because we all know the issue with the Saturn version and like you say it can work both ways, didn't Hexxen run better on the Saturn?. TBh I would say more people were more impressed with Alien Trilogy on the PS than Doom and to give Probe credit the Saturn version is just as smooth even if its making little use of the Hardware.

    I seem to remember Wipeout producer Nick, telling Retrogamer than the Saturn wasn't 'that' far behind the PS for polygons. I well remember how impressive Wipeout was at launch, but I was also quite impressed with Gran Chaser on the Saturn in May of 95, that had some nice 3D, was full screen and run a decent frame rate, very impressive for an early Saturn game. The PS was an awesome system for racing games. Codemaster was like on another level and the only game that really hurt me as a Saturn fan was F1 97, that game was brutal and a killer move to any Saturn fan and Tocca World Tour has the best AI I had ever seen in a racer on any system at the time.

    But let's remember the Saturn did a lot of good 3D stuff and it wasn't like the N64 run games at a perfect 30 fps. People were more forgiving for frames back then IMO. I would say that Virtual Racing in the Arcades dropped frames and went below 30 fps, Wave Race64 barely got up to 24 FPS, Pilotwings never got passed 20 FPS a and we all know how bad the frames were in GoldenEye 64 and Perfect Dark 64 and they'll held up has classics.

    GT1 is mostly 30fps though; not a rollercoaster ride:
    The game drops frame and given MTG Saturn's need for speed doesn't have working dials. I wonder how much of his PS and Saturn vids are actually running on real hardware, just like with DF Need for Speed comparison, where John was caught out.

    Sony did pay attention to framerate, especially in flagship releases.
    I'll sort of diff with SONY Europe myself. Porsche Challenge wasn't that great, F1 98 was a mess and SONY Europe looked to not speed optimised many of their Pal games so bang went 30 fps. To give SEGA Europe a little bit of credit at least they looked to speed optimised their pal stuff. SONY still shit on gamers too with crappy Pal ports used on the Mini and now the new subscription service


    When Saturn was used well, you had great 3D at solid frame rates









    Last edited by Team Andromeda; 06-07-2022 at 04:17 AM.
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  8. #203
    Japanese Sonic CD FTW!!! Master of Shinobi Ecco's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Barone:

    To me, Sega Rally is still the best I've seen on the system as far as racing games go.



    ^I appreciate this post because I'm just reading through the thread, and you've basically convinced me that I need Sega Rally, with your vote of confidence that it's best on console.

    I recently finished getting 1st on each track in Virtua Racing Deluxe (and I started the same in mirror mode), but so I wasn't sure where to go next, for some more solid 3D racing. VRD was really the only 3D racing game that I've put time into, lol.

    The mountain scenery in Sega Rally is appealing too, in VRD my favorite is Highland, this all seems based on Rocky Mtn National Park and I dig it.

    Last edited by Ecco; 06-23-2022 at 02:22 PM.

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    Raging in the Streets Moirai's Avatar
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    I’m probably in þe minority wiþ þis opinion, but my favorite racing game of all time is DAYTONA USA - Championſhip Circuit Edition for Sega Saturn. Þe USA verſion, not þe Japaneſe one.  Everyone ſeems to þink þe handling is better in þe JP releaſe, but I diſagree…

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecco View Post
    ^I appreciate this post because I'm just reading through the thread, and you've basically convinced me that I need Sega Rally, with your vote of confidence that it's best on console.

    I recently finished getting 1st on each track in Virtua Racing Deluxe (and I started the same in mirror mode), but so I wasn't sure where to go next, for some more solid 3D racing. VRD was really the only 3D racing game that I've put time into, lol.

    The mountain scenery in Sega Rally is appealing too, in VRD my favorite is Highland, this all seems based on Rocky Mtn National Park and I dig it.

    Play the Netlink/Plus version. It has updated visuals.

    https://youtu.be/ZcbXxZmkfuI
    Quote Originally Posted by year2kill06
    everyone knows nintendo is far way cooler than sega just face it nintendo has more better games and originals

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecco View Post
    ^I appreciate this post because I'm just reading through the thread, and you've basically convinced me that I need Sega Rally, with your vote of confidence that it's best on console.

    I recently finished getting 1st on each track in Virtua Racing Deluxe (and I started the same in mirror mode), but so I wasn't sure where to go next, for some more solid 3D racing. VRD was really the only 3D racing game that I've put time into, lol.

    The mountain scenery in Sega Rally is appealing too, in VRD my favorite is Highland, this all seems based on Rocky Mtn National Park and I dig it.

    Only now you're thinking of Rally? The game is ace, way better than the Arcade version too. Its gets little credit, but Need For Speed is awesome on the Saturn and is an amazing racer to get into, I like that game almost as much as Rally and I loved how its 2 player mode had AI racers on the track too, me and brother would play so much of its amazing 2 player mode

    Also, try and look into getting Drift King 97 on the Saturn. It starts off slow, but when you start to build your car up it becomes a seriously great racer, that looks and runs fantastic on the Saturn, such a shame that like to so many Saturn titles, it was Japan only. I still to this day love Import Tuner Challenge on the 360

    Genki always used to make great racers back in the day.
    Last edited by Team Andromeda; 06-24-2022 at 05:11 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    As I've mentioned before the biggest issue I see with having both the 32X and Saturn is that there was no consideration to have cross compatibility between them. If 32X games could have run on the Saturn it would have eased the transition for both consumers and developers. Look at the success of the Xbox Series S as a lower cost next gen console, Sega needed to create something similar if they wanted to have two 5th gen systems out at the same time.
    I agree with what you're thinking here and as a Sega adopter I would've appreciated this from Sega. I had the powerbase so I could keep playing my old Master System games. I'd also imagine that if the Saturn had the ability to play 32x games that many of the cancelled games would've seen completion and release (that rumored Castlevania game? Yes please) and those with a 32x would have the ability to keep playing on the new Saturn console when they decide to purchase one.
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    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
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    Might as well throw in Sega CD backwards compatibility while we're at it.

    The absolute last thing the Saturn needed was even more hardware inside it, driving the cost up even more.

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    catching up here & wanted to say this is one of the more insightful threads here in ages, really digging Gryson's efforts to shed light & help expel more ancient memes about the "us vs japan" downfall stories

    thread could do without andromeda's weird mad-on for nagoshi (another talent sega sadly lost, but thankfully left a good team in place) but can't win em all i guess


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    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IrishNinja View Post

    thread could do without andromeda's weird mad-on for nagoshi (another talent sega sadly lost, but thankfully left a good team in place) but can't win em all i guess
    We'll see, He's one talent all SEGA fans should be happy is gone. We'll start to see the creative side of SEGA back again, the only bad point was he took Hosokawa-san with him.
    Still we got Ueda-san back, so not all bad
    Panzer Dragoon Zwei is
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