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N-cyclopedia 64 - POWERED BY N64 FOREVER
Topic Started: Mar 27 2017, 06:39 AM (2,959 Views)
bluedogrulez
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Racing for Fulcon Capital
@intendall: not at all. I forgot I pm'd you ... bad form on my part!
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breeding_fear
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I don't know if it has been answered..
All this time of writing, have you ever thought when everything in the book might be ready? Or even discussed it?
I mean the great people working on the book..
:n64: EUR PAL Games: 111/239
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danilochka
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Weigh My Fish
This topic is something we have discussed quite a bit internally. Currently, we have a target in mind to launch the kick starter campaign in the summer of 2018. Hopefully this will coincide with the official announcement of the N64 mini.

At the moment we are focusing all our attention on completing the review section of the book. Perhaps because we are a little crazy, we pour countless hours of our free time into researching the history of each game, before playing it as extensively as possible, in order to produce some of the most thorough reviews out there. I hope people can appreciate that this takes time but we plan to keep updating this thread whenever we reach significant milestones along the way.
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breeding_fear
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There's a lot of work to be done.. I think is important to keep the quality high! Even if you miss the time target..
Time flies though and when is about time for the kick starter campaign, we ll all help!
For example i m planning to promote it in all the retro sites in my country, fb groups and more.
I ll make sure that anybody who cares about N64 in my country, will hear about the book and the kick starter campaign!
:n64: EUR PAL Games: 111/239
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Cabanon
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Does the thought of including a picture of each board from the repository in something you've considered ?
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Shellshocker18
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Cabanon
Oct 24 2017, 02:10 PM
Does the thought of including a picture of each board from the repository in something you've considered ?
I do think showing what actual boards look like would be fine since I see more people getting fakes this year. Since so many N64 games use the exact same boards, it's probably more space efficient to just show what each of the like 5 board types looks like and list games known to use that board. Some games like Mario Kart are also known to have at least 2 different shaped boards which did confuse somebody on Reddit earlier this year who thought their game was fake. Also nobody has offered to do Japanese games yet so it would be an incomplete list as it is now. Really I'd love it if somebody actually contributed some of those. My biggest fear is having people put boards of cheap games into fake shells to make them look more real in pictures. Can't really be avoided though
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Cabanon
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The only one I know who would be keen to do that would be ddr2nite or finngamer as I think they're the only one with complete japanese collection.
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bluedogrulez
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@Cabanon: I think scooter77 has a complete PAL/NTSC/JAP collection, too.
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breeding_fear
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Waiting for a Christmas update! :P
:n64: EUR PAL Games: 111/239
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Shellshocker18
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This project started in March 2017, so we are at the 10 month mark. Breeding Fear you have shown a lot of interest and I'm sure we will have some updates soon. I know the staff have talked to us about some things (not me specifically) and we have got tons of work done.

I'm sure a few people wish we would share stuff more often. We have been talking about what to show and when/where to show it. It may look like we are sitting on our asses but I promise we aren't. Everything is just work in progress and I personally just don't like sharing stuff early only to improve it later without people seeing. I regret even posting those 2 early reviews but I'm not taking them down now. I really need to get over it but even after all 3 other guys praise my writing I sometimes still hate it and judge it too hard. Plus we already have a lot of exclusive information that would be best to share either closer to release or after the book is already out so we can sell people on it, but it's the kind of stuff that would also be cool to show early to give people a glimpse into what we are doing and inspire a little faith that we aren't doing this half-heartedly. It's a big catch 22.

I don't wanna bring this up constantly but I do wanna be honest. I've come to find more and more as time has gone on how incomplete and biased the N64 Anthology is as a book. I will not say any personal feelings I have towards the writer Matt Manent, but he is about to release a GameCube anthology as well. He is one man and being able to recount entire console histories by yourself is hard, it's hard enough with 4 people, and the amount of incomplete and incorrect things in the book is stunning. Just keep in mind we have 4 knowledgeable and diverse writers, a community of very helpful people backing us up, all the time in the world, and we are making it as great as we can. I'm not going to waste 1-2 years of my life then put my name on a book that sucks.

Everytime I come into this thread to respond I'm afraid I'm humblebragging or I'm somehow building it up too much. I don't know why though. It's hard to tell how closely people are watching us when we've barely said or shared anything. When we do share stuff I hope people realize it's less than 1% of our work. I'll share some of my stuff here in the next couple days.
Edited by Shellshocker18, Dec 17 2017, 09:39 AM.
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D.J Cat
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Don't over think it bro, I'm sure you and the team are doing the best and coming up with something pretty bloody amazing.

👍
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Shellshocker18
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So I said I would post an update, and here I am. I thought about posting a review or 2 and covering our recent research methods and changing writing styles. I just couldn't decide which ones I felt were done enough to share and I'm tired right now. These posts take a lot out of me and I just wanted to do a little something for Christmas, so consider this just a mini update from me. Everybody else is probably going to update something too here in a few days. This stuff is just random info I felt like sharing, so I'm sorry of it's copy pasted in such a sloppy way, I promise we are more organized than this behind the scenes. It's just hard reformat everything to look good on the forum.

One idea I had a long time ago for the forum was compiling all old N64 websites as most are only accessible from the webarchive. Nearly every game had at least one no matter how obscure, and some of the ones that don't have websites may surprise you. Since with N-Cyclopedia 64 one of our goals is to be people's first resource for any N64 questions, I wanted website links to be present at the top of pages with all the other supplemental information, along with things like release dates and trade show appearances which I've been trying to cover.

Most game sites are simple to find and only have 1 or 2 pages, while others are more complicated.
For example Majora's Mask I heavily mention 5 websites.

The regular http://www.zelda.com
Japanese https://www.nintendo.co.jp/n01/n64/software/nus_p_nzsj/index.html
By the way, http://www.zelda64.com/ was the Prelauch site for Ocarina. Nintendo was forced to buy http://www.zelda.com because it was a pornohraphic site prior to 1999, as can be seen through the webarchive. Yes I'm serious, and all the images still exist so I imagine many kids were finding it on accident.

There were also multiple promotional websites for Majora. In August Nintendo of America registered 2 secret websites to promote the game

http://www.z-science.com/ was a mysterious website, filled with talk of parallel universes and global destruction on Z-day, October 26th, with reports from fictional researches. Visitors could take a fake fingerprint dna to test if they had the specific genetic makeup to interact with the other universe and save both worlds. The site is filled with anagrams

JRAMOA = Majora
Dr. Mouke Takeko = Koume & Kotake
Dr. Tarin Rugeshi = Tarin & Shigeru
Amonua Magoh = Aonuma & Gohma.

http://www.radiozelda.com/ reported on the alternate universe, complete with on the street video reports of the world ending and people cheering on the kid (Link, the player), with Majora’s Mask commercials linking the website. These commercials even aired across American movie theaters.

In another commercial Nintendo teamed with the World Wrestling Federation, with a commercial featuring Matt and Jeff Hardy. Majora's Mask was sponsored in the November 23rd episode of SmackDown several times along with WWF No Mercy,

http://wwfzelda.com let visitors email to enter a sweepstakes (October 30th to December 4th) to win tickets to the 2000 Armageddon pay-per-view on December 10th, 2000. 1 Grand Prize winner received a trip for 2 to the event, 2 nights hotel accommodation, and a N64 console with the Majora’s Mask collector's edition. 5 second prize winners received just a collector's edition game. This site later promoted Zelda Oracle of Ages/Seasons.

There is also http://camphyrule.com/ which requires more investigation but had a year which was Majora themed.

Anyway most games have only 1 site, maybe some have a website for the developer, as well as any publishers or license holders. I find them fun to compile and our book will be the first place to have them all, and so convienently organized. Everything will find its way back to this forum and across the web eventually.



I've also started a few other sections. On top of covering released games, something I started a while back was coverage on unreleased games. Most lists or articles online don't include every game, or they include them all but don't describe them in any detail. Some games truly don't have much to say, but they deserve to have a readable description that isn't just 2 or 3 sentences long like on some websites. We have already done some that aren't covered on sites like N64ever and unseen64 because they are so obscure, and we are orginizing them all in a very readable way. Many of mine can be even better than some of Unseen64’s articles which are incomplete, abandoned, and not written in a clean way, though of course I give credit where credit is due as they often have great source links and images, plus they have to work with more consoles than N64. Here are a few I have done so far, I'm at about 16 of like 100, though they are often fun because it's very easy to be unbiased about games that are unreleased. It's all just research based, no opinions to rationalize or mechanics to explain in depth.

Here is a basic one that most people don't know exists, but a very interesting one because I uncovered some exclusive stuff for the book. I hesitated sharing it but decided to anyway so consider yourselves lucky. Just know we find lots of stuff like this. It's a game that was cancelled, and until I found the official website, it only had 1 screenshot and basically no information. For a brief moment we all thought I had discovered a new N64 game, but no it's just not well known, for obvious reasons. As someone who has become very familiar with SETA, it's actually interesting to me. Notice how even some cancelled games have official websites accessible through the webarchive. Fascinating stuff I tell you. Also don't worry these will have screenshots in the book to make them easier on the eyes and much funnier to read. They also aren't necessarily finalized. Usually i provide a source reason and/or reasonable explanation as to why a game was cancelled. For this one it's not entirely clear to me yet. SETA had financial troubles in 1998-1999 resulting in several cancellations, but the where I wrote down the specifics is escaping me at the moment.

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Like Thunder Ultra High Speed Go

雷のごとく ~超高速囲碁~
Pronounced Kaminari nogotoku ~ chō kōsoku igo ~
Website: http://www.seta.co.jp/game/igo/igo.htm

Being developed and published by SETA, this would be a video version of Go, a 2 player strategy board game in a similar vein to SETA’s shogi games, where they mostly add graphics, music, and modes to an already existing piece of software. This was likely chosen since the Computer Go Association and Computer Shogi Associations often sponsored each other's events, and had some overlap since both games promoted community, mental health, fun, and advancements in programing.

Go originated in ancient China and was even 1 of the 4 arts of the Chinese scholar gentleman along with painting, Calligraphy, and the guqin stringed instrument. It is one of the oldest known board games and is still played nearly identically to its original form.

Each player chooses black or white and takes turns placing them across a 19x19 board. The game also depicts 13x13 and 9x9 boards often used by beginners or people who only have a short time to play. Stones can't be moved once placed and points are scores by completely surrounding opponent’s pieces. Those pieces are then removed from the board, since at the end of the game both players count how many of their pieces remain and add that value to their score. Captured territory counts as points, meaning any empty intersections a player surrounds are also counted. Despite the simple premise, Go has a wealth of available moves and tactics similar to chess or shogi.

The website says the Controller Pak would take 12 pages, the game would cost 9,800 yen (the equivalent of around 75$/80$), and that the cartridge would be 32m (presumably this means 32 megabits which would be 4 megabytes). 10 total characters were featured and there would be 5 computer difficulty levels.


The 3 title screen options are Niimon, Dragon Gate, and Introduction to Go.
The website also boasts that the faces of opponent changed during the gate mode such as getting frustrated.

According to the title screen Toyogo Inc. supplied the artificial intelligence algorithm. Toyogo was founded by artificial intelligence programmer Bruce Wilcox, who wrote landmark Go programs in the 70s and 80s such as NEMESIS Go Master, which was the first commercial Go program in Japan in 1991. He eventually worked at 3DO on games like the Army Men series and later worked for Telltale, and won multiple Loebner prizes for his work on artificial chatbots.

Also mentioned on the title screen is David Fotland, gold medal winner at the 13th Computer Olympian and seasoned Go programmer including the Many Faces of Go program. He likely was the primary creator for the AI used in game.

EGM issue 90 had a screenshot which notably featured a sprite based character, while the website screenshots show pictures of real people.

Issue 41 of Edge Magazine had a release list placing the game down for January 1997 which didn't happen.

The webpage on SETA’s site was last archived on July 4th, 1997, with the release date still to be decided. By October 15th, 1997 the game was removed from the upcoming game list.

-----

Here is one of the biggest ones, Zenith. This is also an example where most of the information comes from other more recent sources like Unseen64 or various interviews, which is unavoidable for this type of project. We’ll be taking lots of information but I'm trying to always give credit where credit is due, combine it all into a very readable format, and make plenty of our own original contributions so it's not so plagiaristic. Sometimes I'm just afraid it turns out that way. But yes this one is made up mostly of other people's interviews. I also make specific mention of screenshots in this one, so I'll include them so you can see what I'm talking about. Also sorry I didn't resize them, I'm lazy.

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Zenith was under development by DMA Design and set to be published by Nintendo. It was handled by at least 9 members of the younger staff: Andrew Eades, Andrew West, David Osborne, Doug Smith (the same Douglas E. Smith who created Lode Runner), Frank Arnot, Harry Thompson, John Gurney, Mike Dailly, and Paul Reeves.

Tentatively titled “Climber”, the game was never publicly shown, though it's title had some convinced it was a 3D take on the NES game Ice Climber, and even appeared on release lists with that title.

The game itself was vertical obstacle course racing game where players would pick a handful of characters ranging from humans, to aliens, to other bizarre creatures. The towers had various motifs like wild-west or medieval themes. Players could walk, run, jump, and use grappling hooks to swing around as well as attack with punches, kicks, and special attacks.

Head of DMA art David “Oz” Osborne, who eventually founded Realtime Worlds, had this concept drawing in his office.

Spoiler: click to toggle



It was cancelled during the ongoing development hell surrounding Body Harvest. Worse was that the cancellation occurred during the Body Harvest team’s trip to Japan, so they found out the news after they got home from an already stressful visit to Nintendo. With Zenith cancelled “about 10 people” left DMA according to White (John Whyte? Need issue 121 of edge) while the rest continued with the Body Harvest team or other projects.

Andrew Eades lead programmer of Zenith shared words with unseen64 in 2015,

“We had a really innovative split screen effect that showed the leading player on top but as the follower caught up the split would start to rotate until it was vertical as they were side by side. The effect of an overtake was really awesome as the split would turn upside down as the bottom player became the top player. It’s hard to describe in words. I left DMA to go to work for Virgin Interactive but I think you can see the ideas of Climber in the agency towers of Crackdown.”

Artist Paul Reeves said

“This was the first video game project that I worked on, during my time at DMA. Zenith was a future sport style game show, where the participants had to scale various towers on different themes, while avoiding obstacles and other players. The first to the top wins.

My involvement on the project was mainly character and level design, this also included the 3d modelling and texture mapping of both of these. Using Alias on an SGI Extreme 2, I also animated the characters. The animations involved a basic run, walk and jump. The more complex animations were climbing, hanging, swinging hand over hand, and a small selection of combat moves, punch, kick, and flying kick. Each character had two unique animations.

Each character had roughly 250 polygons, and 8, 16-16 texture maps. The texture and polygon budget was an incredibly small amount to work with compared to present day titles. The texture maps were made using Dpaint on an Amiga 3000. This project never completed production.”

Later in a March 21st, 2016 interview with TheGebs24 of juicygamereviews.com, Paul Reeves revealed more on Zenith including this detailed character banner.

Spoiler: click to toggle

Spoiler: click to toggle


“Every game I worked on went through a long name changing process. Body Harvest went through some really weird name suggestions. I think The Human Seed, was the weirdest one I heard. Zenith had some hilarious name suggestions. Cling On, was my favourite. If you're a Trekkie fan, you'll get the joke.”

When asked what the highlight of his career was so far

“I don't know about highlight, but there's several things I had a lot of fun with and was proud off. As you may know, Zenith was cancelled and we, the Zenith team, were put onto Body Harvest. I was sad about this because Zenith was a really awesome game with a great variety of characters of both sexes without sexualizing the strong female characters. So it was breaking a lot barriers on many fronts. So I decided to create some textures that were renders of the Zenith characters and created a decorative frieze that I used on some of the buildings and temples in Body Harvest. Some sharp eyed gamers out there may be able to find the Zenith characters in Java on the temples and in America on some of the decorative parts of the buildings. I hid some other things in there, but won't say what they are. Lots of developers I know do this sort of thing.”

Body Harvest Easter eggs
Spoiler: click to toggle

Spoiler: click to toggle

Spoiler: click to toggle


Art of what appears to be characters from Zenith is seen behind Richard Ralfe, a picture predating Paul Reeves revealing the character designs himself. Before Reeves interview it was only speculation that the characters were from Zenith.

Spoiler: click to toggle


---

Here is a famous one, Kirby Bowl. Unfortunatly today I'm not covering any games which have had appeared at trade shows or had their roms dumped since they were cancelled, but I don't skimp those details either.

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Kirby Bowl 64 was 1 of the original 13 N64 games shown at the console’s reveal at Shoshinkai from November 22nd-24th 1995. Along with Mario 64, it was the only other game with a playable demo at the event. It was reported the game was only 20% finished despite claiming to be 1 of 3 launch games for the system along with Mario and Pilotwings.

It was being developed by HAL Laboratory as a sequel to the Super Nintendo title Kirby’s Dream Course, the Japanese title being Kirby Bowl.

The single player involved rolling along undulating 3D plains to collect items for points and hit enemies. The analog stick was used to gather momentum and change direction, while B made Kirby jump, which is different than the power bar and miniature golf gameplay of the SNES game. Kirby Bowl promoted the N64’s 4 player with a demo in which players competed to knock each other out an arena, and the game was even shown to have ground polygons which could terraform in real time, a feature used later in Doshin the Giant.

The game also saw moments where Kirby surfed down levels collecting stars. Kirby went unmentioned at the N64 launch but reappeared in Japanese magazines and at Shoshinkai 1996 a year later as Kirby’s Air Ride. It showed Kirby surfing, doing tricks, and puffing in the air. Though it had no playable demo, it had a release date set for mid-1997 in the U.S. and in a July 1997 interview Satoru Iwata said a release date would be announced soon, but it was put on hiatus for many years as HAL focused on Kirby 64 and other projects.

Kirby Air Ride resurfaced for GameCube in 2003 in a short gameplay clip at D.I.C.E. Summit. It released that same year, but no playable roms of the N64 version have surfaced.

In July 1997 Satoru Iwata revealed in an N64.com interview that Kirby’s Air Ride featured not only splitscreen, but also 4 players playing on 1 screen, and that this new screen display technology was being used to make an unnamed HAL Golf game which also never released.
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That never released Golf game is overlooked because it never received a name. But I've got it covered. This is what I like to call “Unnamed Golf game from Hal Laboratory”.
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In July 1997 Satoru Iwata revealed in an N64.com interview that screen display technology from Kirby’s Air Ride, which allowed a wider screen for 4 players to simultaneously race on 1 unsplit screen, was being used in a golf game. He said we would understand more with Jack and the Beanstalk (another unreleased game) and that it would pioneer a new genre of software.

In a 1999 issue of Used Games Magazine, Satoru Iwata was interviewed as President of HAL Laboratory, a position he would leave the following year. Here he describes the golf game was cancelled after Mario Golf released in June 1999.

Full interview: http://shmuplations.com/iwata/

-- Were you involved in all of HAL’s game developments?

Iwata: There were games I wasn’t involved in, but I worked on all of the golf games: Golf, Japan Open, US Open, Mario Open for Nintendo, and then our own HAL’s Hole in One Golf for the Famicom and Super Famicom. I had really wanted to make a golf game for the N64 too, but the timing wasn’t right. Then while we were working on other things, Nintendo released the definitive golf game for the system, Mario Golf 64. I admit that we felt kind of emotional about that, given our history of making golf games for Nintendo. It was like, “we’re supposed be the ones making the Mario golf games!” (laughs) But the people at Camelot who made Mario Golf 64 told me that NES Open Tournament Golf was one of their favorite games, and that they had taken all the good parts from it for their Mario Golf 64, so I was personally very satisfied with what they created.”

----

And I'll end with another Golf game. Actua Golf 4 is barely a cancelled game because it got converted into something extremely similar, but even it gets a piece.
Notice before you read how it breaks down in the middle and goes off topic.

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Actua Golf 4 was being developed and published by Gremlin Interactive as a sequel to Actua Golf 3, Fox Sports Golf ‘99, and VR Golf ‘97, which are both titled Actua Golf for the PC and European PlayStation versions. Gremlin sports games renamed to unify under the Actua brand which includes Actua Tennis, Actua Pool, Actua Soccer, and Actua Ice Hockey, all of which normally released on PlayStation.

On February 1st, 1999, and IGN reported that Gremlin had acquired the rights to the PGA European Tour and had finally announced Actua Golf 4 for N64 after Actua Golf had appeared on release lists occasionally over the previous 2 years. It was said the game would feature motion captured golfers like Lee Westwood.

Only a month later on March 24th, 1999, Infogrames, who already published Gremlin’s titles in Spain and France, offered to purchase Gremlin as they were a prime acquisition target after management troubles and finance issues made them weary of floating the company. IGN reported $40 million dollars was being offered but Ian Stewart, 1 founder of Gremlin, says the final purchase was £24 million pounds. Both of Gremlin’s majority stockholders supported the takeover and Infogrames would expand publishing Gremlin titles to Europe, Australia, and the U.S.

Stewart wanted the company to go from a privately held company to a publicly traded one, but the London Stock Exchange flotation raised £8m instead of the anticipated £12m. This left Gremlin short of money after their previous acquisition of DMA Design, which wasn't helpful profit wise since their hot Grand Theft Auto series was not included in the acquisition as it had already been sold to Bertelsmann’s BMG Interactive Entertainment. When Bertelsmann exited video games in 1998 BMG merged back with DMA reuniting them with GTA, then DMA were purchased by Take 2 for $11 million in April 2000 where they became part Rockstar.


The Gremlin sale was made, giving Infogrames the PGA European Tour license while Gremlin renamed to Infogrames Sheffield House. PGA European Tour was announced on October 12th, 1999, to become the first game to make use of the license and released in May 2000. Lee Westwood ended up not doing motion capture. :(

Infogrames never used the Actua title again though the brand had been struggling previously by not having major sports licenses.

---

I went off topic about Gremlin being sold and DMA Design losing then reuniting with their Grand Theft Auto series. I'd like to move this stuff eventually to a section about companies, what happened to them during or as a result of N64 dealings, their specific impact on N64, company stories, their financial reports etc., because it's usually too detailed to work into the "reviews" in a clean way


Other consoles have closer to 1,000 games not counting any other pieces of writing like cancelled games, betas, prerelease, company dealings. So they have to cut corners or skimp details, and would need upwards of 10-20 writers all working constantly which would get confusing and make fact checking each other impossible. With N64 400 games giving them all their dues is an actual attainable goal.

But yeah things are going smoothly. I have got several suppliers of Japanese manuals that I can translate to better research the games which has been fun. I've even got my first interview with an N64 developer in January, one none of you have ever heard of, but I'm very excited about it because it's possible I'll be able to learn more about the company, see beta art, and promote our research using things like unseen64 and of course out forum. I'll probably post the interview here eventually

Coming hopefully sometime soon I might post a review or 2 and talk about those. But I need to get back to work. These posts are hard. And wow seeing a few of these unreleased games stacked on top of each shows me how many freaking words I write.
Edited by Shellshocker18, Dec 25 2017, 05:00 PM.
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Cabanon
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good lord, that one hell of a post filled with information like never before.
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No64DD
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Neva wizard Kee
Y'all want to hear my hot take for an update on what i think of this book?

Spoiler: click to toggle
Edited by No64DD, Dec 28 2017, 07:48 PM.
A Secret star
lie here~





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Tyree_Cooper
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I am sweating at that long, thick and nutritious post, good job and thanks for the update.

Reminds me I have not made much progress except for some scans. It's hard sitting in a small room all alone >_<
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Shellshocker18
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The Shockmaster
Tyree_Cooper
Dec 29 2017, 09:39 PM
I am sweating at that long, thick and nutritious post, good job and thanks for the update.

Reminds me I have not made much progress except for some scans. It's hard sitting in a small room all alone >_<
Do remember I called it a mini update. There were a bunch of other things I wanted to share to show off a better range of things, but like I say sharing is exhausting :coffee:
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Cabanon
Elite
I think is worthy to be put in the n-cyclopedia.

http://s9.zetaboards.com/Nintendo_64_Forever/single/?p=10012924&t=7397963
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Pimpin Mainer
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When I shoot, I shoot to film
Thats really cool, spent some time reading several articles, good post
My Nintendo Collection

NES - 93
SNES - 45 N64 - 147 Game Cube - 5 Wii - 45 Switch - 11

Nintendo Friend Code: SW-8019-6333-1909

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danilochka
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Weigh My Fish
JANUARY 2018 UPDATE.

Hi everybody,

We have decided to try and provide the forum with monthly updates to let you all know how the project is coming along. For our first update of 2018, Italia64 has sent me an extensive article to post and apologises for not being as active here as he used to be, but I'm sure you can understand that it's for a good reason. Here's what he had to say about what goes into one of our reviews:

Why Isn't the Book Finished Yet?

This is a very understandable question that I'm sure a few people have. Every Monday - Friday, I spend up to 12 hours working at my new job where I have the position of project manager, which comes with a lot of responsibilities and even more stress. So, as you can imagine, during the week my free time is very limited, basically when I'm not sleeping I'm working on the book. God bless the weekends, where I can spend more than 10 hours a day doing what I love, playing N64 and writing the reviews. Considering all the hours we put in the book would probably already be on the shelves, but our ambitions have continued to grow from what I first had in mind back in February 2017. Everything is now more detailed and professional but sadly the trade-off is the pace at which we can finish each review.

Researching the Review.

Throughout December I decided to tackle all 12 basketball games on the system. For many gamers, the old sports sims are rather unappealing, outdated and can be regarded as useless, I can see this point of view however I couldn't disagree with it more. I consider myself a soccer expert as well as an N64 soccer games expert, so every time I read soccer game reviews I get frustrated that they are leaving things out, or all too often, giving out inaccurate information. While it has been easy for me to avoid these plagues with my soccer reviews for the book, it has been an issue with basketball. In fact, I have never played it, nor was I ever really a fan of the sport.

However, with N-Cyclopedia 64, we aim to give the same meticulous attention to every game, be it a Mario or a Zelda, or a cheap sports title, so reviewing these games would require much more research than normal. In one month I started to learn about the NBA history, gradually assimilating the teams, players, statistics and everything related. During those few short weeks I had become addicted to the NBA. I started watching documentaries and classic highlights about Pistol Pete, Drazen Petrovic, Latrell Sprewell, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, along with literally dozens of other players I hadn't heard about before. I have even watched entire final matches, such as games 3 and 6 of Miami Heat vs Dallas Mavericks 2006, and game 1 of the 2001 finals when Allen Iverson let the 76ers fans dream big.

Alongside all of this, I was researching each game in turn in our usual way. That is to pour through all the existing reviews I can get my hands on and absorb as much as possible from them. As well as using old magazines and contemporary websites to go through the development history of the game. I strive for every single review we do to be the best out there, providing the reader with a vastly detailed account of the game that is concisely contained to a page or two, whilst ensuring that everything we print is entirely accurate.

Playing Through the Game.

When playing each game for review, we don't just whack it on “easy” and play for ten minutes, we aim to complete it properly. Sadly, we just don't have the time to 100% every game, poor Shellshocker has spent the last few months slowly grinding his way through the Japanese RPG Shiren 2, but we do complete most, and certainly play the games until we have gotten as much as we can get from them. For the ten basketball sim games, I literally spent hundreds of hours playing and checking every feature to be as thorough as possible. NBA Jam 2000 in particular, was a long journey. I beat all the 29 teams in arcade 2 vs 2 mode, just in order to unlock secret body types and every court. Another example of us going above and beyond was when danilochka amazingly unearthed the roster update download for NBA Live 99 that EA once hosted on their website long ago. The idea was that you could add the update to your controller pak by using a DexDrive and it would give you all the official line-ups for the season due to the game releasing during the 1998-99 lockout. Eagle-eyed fans of each game may be able to pick up on these kind of details with the screenshots we include.

Once we have beaten a game, that doesn't mean we stop there. Usually the first version of a game we play is the USA release, if one exists, but then we also check all the known ROM updates and versions for other markets. All the time we are discovering little, and sometimes not so little, differences between these N64 versions. When required, we also compare versions of the game released for other consoles, in the case of the basketball games, I compared them to their PS1 counterparts, and I can confirm, in most cases, we definitely got the better deal there.

Writing the Review.

By going the extra mile at the research stage, it really helps us to give an informed analysis of each game. Of course, gaining knowledge about the sport has been especially useful to me when it comes to games like NBA Courtside 2 Featuring Kobe Bryant, where the AI is particularly challenging on the hardest difficulty. You try to make 3 pointers with your best shooter, try to use the raw power with big men, rely on passing and dribbling with the skilful players, etc. Having learned all the real NBA play calls, I now know which games faithfully replicate them and which don't. When I reviewed Fox Sports College Hoops '99 I spent a whole day just learning about the NCAA and, as real names aren't in the game, trying to understand what were the future NBA drafted players of the game.

As English is my second language, the other guys go through my reviews to ensure nothing has gotten lost in translation and that my grammar is correct. No64DD also helped me find the best way to put forward my concepts and the right b-ball terminology to use as he is a fan of the sport; go Spurs!

What's Next?

Now that all the basketball games are done and dusted I have set myself a new challenge; to review all 13 NFL games this February. With Super Bowl LII having just happened, I feel like now is the perfect time for this mammoth task. I also promise that I will do my best to provide the same level of care and attention that I've so far used for the soccer and basketball game reviews. I just hope my girlfriend won't be too annoyed that I'll be playing some old American football game this Valentine's Day.
Edited by danilochka, Feb 10 2018, 06:32 AM.
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Cabanon
Elite
I dont care if it takes 1 or 5 years, but I sure can wait until it's properly finished instead of a ass-halfed product.

you guys have my entire admiration for this project, the amount of dedication is above and beyond.
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Shellshocker18
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Cabanon
Feb 9 2018, 06:32 AM
I dont care if it takes 1 or 5 years, but I sure can wait until it's properly finished instead of a ass-halfed product.

you guys have my entire admiration for this project, the amount of dedication is above and beyond.
Good because that's how I view this. If we wanted to half-ass it we could have been done by now. It's no rush. Plus I recently got a job right after Christmas so I've slowed a little bit personally, but I still have been working on this pretty much daily for almost 11 months now
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D.J Cat
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Feb 9 2018, 06:32 AM
I dont care if it takes 1 or 5 years, but I sure can wait until it's properly finished instead of a ass-halfed product.

you guys have my entire admiration for this project, the amount of dedication is above and beyond.
I think that's how we all feel.

No one is in a rush for it.
It takes is long as it takes, and I love the stories of just how much detail is going into it 😊
Edited by D.J Cat, Feb 23 2018, 11:04 AM.
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Milage007
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It’s very admirable what you’re doing on the book. I do hope you reach out to others at some point for their input whether it be pictures, general conments, collection snaps or whatever it may be as I no doubt think it will add to the charm of the book. It will basically really reinforce how much the system is loved all these years on, whether by more recent gamers, or those of us who had one back in the day and continue to love it.

I totally understand the book needs a core people working on it and you can’t have too many people working on it “too many cooks spoil the broth” and all that. But myself and a few of my UK collector friends have a whole load of stuff we could contribute which I hope doesn’t go under the radar, not to mention Intendall and the prototype consoles etc which had only been rumoured until his recent discovery. Things like that have to be included in this book.

:fireballmario:
Edited by Milage007, Feb 24 2018, 04:20 AM.
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Tupac Shakur - 'You know it’s funny, when it rains it pours they got money for wars but can’t feed the poor’
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Shellshocker18
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Don't worry Milage. I know we have gone 11 months without a ton of clear community involvement. There has been a little behind the scenes help here and there but not a ton. It's just because the book progresses very slowly and our own life schedules and changing writing/research priorities mean that only certain areas of research get focus at certain times. It would be pointless to go out and gather information from a bunch of people months before we are totally sure what we are going to do with it. We are trying to be thorough so I guess what I am saying is we don't want to do everything all at once. There is still plenty of time

And your right about the "too many cooks" situation. We worry about that often. Hopefully nobody feels sour we haven't contacted them yet, this project is still in what i would call an early state where its still taking shape. I am confidant that by the end we will have gotten help from everybody we need, just after we have done most of what we are personally capable of doing ourselves.

Just rambling here, but we aren't trying to ignore people who want to help or fell they have good stuff to contribute, it's just we are waiting for the right time.
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No64DD
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I was too many cooks at one point.
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lie here~





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Jsboger
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Shellshocker what an amazing post!! I can't wait for this to be completed. :)
Nintendo Sixty-FOOOOOOOOOOUR!!!!!!
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Shellshocker18
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Mar 3 2018, 12:37 PM
Shellshocker what an amazing post!! I can't wait for this to be completed. :)
Well I'm glad you liked it because pretty much every time I post here I end up regretting it almost immediately because I feel like without proper images, formatting, and updated bits that I'm giving a poor representation of the work we are doing. I'm just paranoid of showing early stuff even though usually the light reactions we get are positive.



Anyway I know the topic was started on the 27th of March last year, but today March 15th marks the 1 year anniversary of the book project starting when italia first sent private messages to me and Danilochka about starting the project, and the day we first opened our chat which at this point has like a bazillion messages and enough pictures and dumb memes to crash my phone if I don't delete most of them.

Since then we've added a 4th full timer in Dan No64DD, i got my first job. We announced the book pretty early, before we had an actual solid name (thanks Pimpin), and before I even knew if I wanted to do it or not. I feel this way every year, especially given I'm only 20, but after working on this daily for a year I feel a thousand times smarter than I did at the beginning and I wouldn't want to do anything else in my spare time. Though I have my active times and down times especially with my new job, it's still an everyday thing.

We still have a very long way to go. Honestly we were a lot less ambitious at the beginning which I'm sure Gabe can agree with, but we've got a lot better over time at literally everything, which is why I feel bad sometimes sharing stuff early and why we maybe don't show off as much as we could. This next year should hopefully pick up a bit. We (and by that i mean usually Danilochka) make new interesting discoveries on a surprisingly consistent basis, research has gotten faster and more thorough as we gained experience, and we have certain things covered in more detail than any other sources. My writing style has noticeably got better and thankfully updating my old writing actually doesn't take too long because most critical information is there, I just have to imploy some new research methods, maybe update some of the focus on certain aspects of a page, and change some of the mild conjecture and update it with more fact based writing. Hopefully I can find some time to share examples of what I mean soon.
Edited by Shellshocker18, Mar 15 2018, 08:35 AM.
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bluedogrulez
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Happy Anniversary N-Cyclopedia 64 Team!!
Switch Friend Code: SW-0786-9287-1202 (bluedogBDR)
MK8Deluxe Tourney: N64Forever.com 2332-7277-8283
Nintendo Network ID: BDR2010 / Twitter: @bluedogrulez
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stinger9142
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Endure and survive...
I think it is great you all have the passion to do this. I am sure it will be amazing when it is all done :yeah: Happy Anniversary!
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danilochka
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Weigh My Fish
FEBRUARY 2018 UPDATE.

Hi everybody,

Sorry this update comes slightly later than originally planned, but we have some great stuff to share with you all this month! As Shellshocker pointed out, the 15th of March marked our 1st N-iversary, and the scope of this project has wildly surpassed what we first imagined just one year ago.

One of the goals we have is to treat every game with the same amount of research dedication. However, it seems that only the most popular games (and Superman) have detailed accounts on their development history. So, in a bid to understand more about those less-loved N64 games, we have been reaching out to certain people that were involved with them behind the scenes. Our biggest success story, so far, happened back in February, when Shell managed to get a one-on-one Skype talk with Xavier Schon, who was the director of Infogrames' Starshot: Space Circus Fever.

Xavier was very enthusiastic to help us out and gave a great and honest interview about his experience working on the game. Thanks to this we have learned some amazing things, like how its long development cycle actually started before Super Mario 64 was even released. To our surprise, he even shared this detailed spreadsheet file which the company used to keep track of the game's progress:

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Due to the overwhelming amount of information we now have on the game, it seems a waste that we won't be able to include it all in our book. So we came to the decision that we would like to share the interview with you guys, which Xavier was fine with. Sadly, Diddy Kong Racing narrowly beat the platformer to being the forum's Game of the Month, so we missed a great tie-in opportunity there.

But wait, there's more!

Not only do we have this fantastic interview to share in full, but Xavier also shared literally hundreds of design documents and artwork for the game with us. Hidden amongst all this were even more startling revelations, who even knew there were plans to make a Starshot movie? It was only this morning that we finally got these images, and we've hurried to get them all uploaded straight away.

So without further ado, check it out, the N-Cyclopedia 64 exclusive chat with Xavier Schon:
http://s9.zetaboards.com/Nintendo_64_Forever/topic/9026933/1/


Hopefully we can continue to delve deep into the N64 library and get more interviews and share the forgotten history of these games with this wonderful community.
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