Archive for April 29, 2008

BS Dragon Quest

These videos were originally on NicoNicoDouga, but I’m not sure of their position on things such as redistributing videos. If anyone has a complaint, they can post a comment and I’ll remove the offense.

So, right.

I’ll start with these BS Dragon Quest videos. Why? Because the videos of it are abridged, making for easier viewing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Satellaview Content, Part 2: Downloads

This should be a bit easier to explain than the Live Broadcast stuff.

Downloads are stored into a BS-X Memory Pack, and did various things. Read the rest of this entry »


Satellaview Content, Part 1: Soundlink, Live Broadcasts of games linked with audio

This article has required some serious video re-linking due to me actually thinking Youtube reliable. Hah!

With the Satellaview, various kinds of content distribution was performed. I’ll try to explain these here. Let me start with this one:

The most creative and gimmicky kind of content was Soundlink, a sort of “Live Broadcast” gamestyle. (Note that for a while I actually called this “Live Broadcast” games. I forgot how I coined that term, but it was likely in lieu of research on what the proper term was. Most of the references to the old term have since been removed from the blog.)

The name “Soundlink” was coined by St. Giga around 1996 or so – when BS Zelda was first distributed they originally used the term “Live Voice”. (Perhaps I got the term from that?)

These games were an experiment in limited-time speedrun game contests, live audio broadcast, and episodic content, among other things.

This Youtube video, uploaded my makuchan, shows how such a game was downloaded. This specific example is BS Zelda, which was the first of this kind released on the Satellaview.

I have since uploaded more BS Zelda content. Be sure to check it out on the blog.

Note that nowadays, when you try to play these on an emulator…

There is no music. The reason should be readily apparant: Live audio was not saved into the ROM data. As far as I know, clean versions of the original audio are not available anywhere, and very few of the musical pieces are around.

(27Neon12 had that BS Excitebike video up – originally in this post was a BSFE video. oop.)

Playing these games, you will notice a clock. These games ran in tune with the BS-X’s internal clock, and played in real-time. The majority of the games had a time limit of slightly less than an hour. They would also use the clock to cue various in-game events.

The games could ONLY be played when permitted as such by the service. Between “broadcast dates” and after the Satellaview service ended, none of the games could be played anymore, and save data from them was useless on the actual Super Famicom Hardware. To make this situation more problematic, little of the content was re-released in any form officially. ROM dumps, a few musical pieces, and video uploads are currently the only known remnants of the Satellaview Live Broadcast games going around the internet – and they are far, far from a complete set in any form.

Currently, the only way to try to play these games is from a ROM Dump. However, very few emulators properly support BS-X games. I will post a guide on what I know here later on, but for now, I’ll state that for these games, the emulator called SNESGT is the most likely to play any of them.

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To put it short – What is the Satellaview and the BS-X?

I’ll get this question out of the way with as short an answer as I can.

The Satellaview was an add-on for the Super Famicom. Its “Gimmick”? “Satellite Broadcasting”.

The whole package came with the hardware add-on at the bottom as well as it’s BIOs cart, dubbed the “BS-X”, which would plug into the SFC’s cartridge port.

What does that mean? It means data was sent to you from Satellite. The most relatable comparison I can probably think of is to Sega’s USA service “Sega Channel”, which was a similar concept, although that used Cable instead of satellite, and tried more to simulate on-demand programming than a channel per se.

Using the Satellaview, you could download various things into memory packs, including games, news, and magazines. You could also take advantage of the Satellite Audio capabilities to listen to your favorite radio shows, or play special games which made use of live audio broadcasts to enhance the gameplay.

The Satellaview was a cooperative project between Nintendo, whom need no introduction, and St. Giga, a Japanese Satellite Radio service.

Later articles have dug into St. Giga’s history as a Satellite Digital Radio station in the New-Age Ambience genre, although when the Satellaview was released, there was a radical shift towards celebrity and videogame-oriented programming.