Multimedia Exploration Journal: October 23, 2002

I made another trip today to the video game shop for lots and lots more, shall we say, vintage games. Total score: 11 old games.

Revolution X/Sega Saturn (MobyGames entry)

Another game from Seanbaby's Crapstravaganza list, but that was the SNES version. Honestly, I think this one must be better, if only because this has a bunch of CD tracks for audio. Except that the last several tracks contain atrocious voice acting by Aerosmith band members. On to the hackable media: I was rather disappointed. There is a gfx/movies directory that contains several files from 130K-200K with .ANM extensions. Format does not look familiar. And judging by the filenames, they correspond to the brief voice tracks on the CD. I may take this back to the store tomorrow since it is basically worthless for my purposes.

Kingdom: The Far Reaches/3DO (MobyGames entry)

I thought I would investigate a 3DO game. This game touts, "Over 57,000 hand painted animation cels captured in full-motion video..." So far, the disc cannot be mounted as an ISO-9660 filesystem. I will have to check for utilities for examining the disc (I know it's possible because of the Lemmings FILM files).

Beauty & The Beast/CD-I

I also decided to investigate a Philips CD Interactive title. I remember from looking through the Linux kernel cdrom.h header file that there is a slightly different sector format for CD-I discs. So I can't get anywhere with this game right now. Actually, it's not a game. Rather, it's an interactive storybook adventure, or so the store clerk warned me. Perfect. Sure to have plenty of FMV.

more Sega CD games...

Now for 8 more Sega CD games:

Who Shot Johnny Rock?

Umm, who took the CD? The CD was missing when I opened it up. Memo to self: Always take the ~3 seconds required to actually open up the case and see if it is occupied. Looks like I definitely need to take another trip to the store tomorrow. Hopefully they have another copy of it since it is listed as a TruVideo title.

The Colors of Modern Rock

Not actually a game, but a "VirtualVCR" disc. It has 6 music videos on it, all in .SGA format. I have only heard of 1 of the 6 acts, Mr. Big. The other acts are Too Much Joy, T-Ride, The Belltower, Xtra Large, Dramarama. The disc has a 1993 Copyright date and the music is licensed through Warner Bros. There might be a reason that the record company selected these acts for this particular project.

[Link: SGA sample files]

Marky Mark: Make My Video

I guess this is similar to the Kriss Kross "game". Lots of .SGA media.

[Link: SGA sample files]

Ground Zero: Texas

TruVideo title from Sony ImageSoft and Digital Pictures. 2 discs with lots and lots of .SGA files.

[Link: SGA sample files]

Midnight Raiders

TruVideo title from Sega. "All live video action!" shouts the cover. The CD is loaded with media files. Each movie is split into 2 files, a .joe file (big) and a .cmd file (always 2048 bytes). Both file types begin with their own filenames.

[Link: .joe/.cmd files from Midnight Raiders]

Tomcat Alley (MobyGames entry)

You guessed it, a TruVideo(TM) Production. First, here's the copy that was in the ad for this game in the manual for Midnight Raiders: "Tomcat's active matrix software creates each video dogfight with millions of possible outcomes." I guess that means that there are lots of little video clips that are branched to in real-time. But the disc layout is very curious: 3 game files: maincode.prg (61440 bytes), subcode.prg (40960 bytes), and tca.bin (493299712 bytes). The latter file you have to see to believe. It starts off with an early FILM header. There is the abbreviated FDSC chunk followed by a very short STAB chunk. At the end of the STAB chunk is a Quicktime 'mdia' atom! The pattern repeats further down. Final analysis: I don't think I'll give this game much attention. In fact, I believe I will take it back tomorrow.

Ecco The Dolphin (MobyGames entry)

Precursor to the other Sega CD Ecco title I have. This one does not boast any video and I can't find any discernible media files on the disc. Though there are 2 files in the neighborhood of 22-23 MB but no recognizable format. Back to the store. But I would be remiss if I didn't note that the manual has lots of informative facts about dolphins as well as resources where you can learn more about these marvelous marine mammals.

Followup: This title is revisited in the February 16, 2003 entry.

[Link: LMS samples from Ecco: Tides of Time]

Prize Fighter

The last TruVideo title of this score. More .SGA files. 'Nuff said.

[Link: SGA sample files]

thoughts on FILM...

Right about now, I'm thinking that the "TruVideo" branding doesn't indicate a whole lot. However, browsing through some of these non-FILM-type files, I do see data patterns that resemble the audio and video I saw in the FILM files.

by Mike Melanson (mike at

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