Author Topic: I was a programmer in Sega's arcade division.  (Read 1963 times)

Offline Ylle

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I was a programmer in Sega's arcade division.
« on: January 11, 2008, 09:08:59 AM »
Suddenly, we recieved a request to create a game, which was very odd. This would have been ignored, but the source was supposedly a secret organization called "SINNESLOSCHEN", opearting with some sort of governmental power. I am still not sure to this day what country they were working for. We were given a project sheet, and a map of thehuman brain, and how to stimulate those areas, and were told to integrate them into a video game. Sega had quite a bit of money riding on this deal, and were not doing so well. The game took quite a bit of time, and we created technologies that were far beyond our time. A member of the group suggested the name "Polybius", which I remember veing the name of a scholar of some sort. The game's genre could be puzzler, but it also had some odd elements. THIS GAME IS REAL. The game testers who worked for us had odd mind prolems, like losing memory and other such things, like loss of arcadegame fandom. I cannot remember what we designed the arcade case to look like, because it was done by another group. After the project, we signed papers promising secrecy, and if I am discovered, I may get in serious trouble. However, I believe that this needs to be known.

At the beginning of this page, I mentioned the "Sega Genesis CD". I was involved in several projects after "Polybius", and eventually, I ended up on the "Sega Genesis CD" team. While we were designing this, an issue came up. I cannot remember the details, but it involved the two processors synching up. It turns out that Polybius was discovered to use two processors, working in a way similair to what we wanted for the "Sega Genesis CD". We were afraid of getting in trouble for using that game;s code, but we altered the game's BIOS anyway. However, MOST OF THE CODE THAT ACTIVATED THE MIND ALTERING SYSTEM (Details Classified) WERE IN THAT BIOS. The actual game ROM needs the BIOS to run. It was very much like a modern console in that manner. The point is, that I believe we left quite a bit of the "Legacy Code" of "Polybius" in the "Sega Genesis CD", at least in the earliest revisions. However, I was laid off shortly after, and though it was for "Misconduct", I practiced no such thing, and I beleive it was because I accesed Polybius's files. They were likely deleted from Sega's system afterwards.

I have heard rumors of an arcade ROM floating around on the internet, but cannot find it. If I ever do find the ROM, I will start researching it, and hopefully will be able to find a way to get it to run. That is, if I am not caught.

~PRG017
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Offline Ylle

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Re: I was a programmer in Sega's arcade division.
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2008, 09:10:00 AM »
by stevenroach. Comment: "I think it's about time I laid this to rest, however entertaining the speculation. My name is Steven Roach who is primarily based in the Czech Republic. Sinneschlossen was a company set up by myself and several other mainly amateur programmers in 1978 that worked on component parts for Printed Circuit Boards that saw programming as a limited but very profitable sideline. I think the fact that it wasn't the focal point of our business took the pressure off of us and hence we created some quality work which quickly gained a reputation within the industry. We were approached around 1980 by a Southern American company that shall remain nameless for legal purposes to develop an idea they had for producing an Arcade Game with a puzzle element that centred around a new approach to Video Game Graphics. They were very keen indeed to gain an upper hand in what was already a very competitive market so we were offered a staggering commission-based renumeration package to develop something special that utilised the technology. We developed the game in little more than two portacabins that were knocked together where we spent many stressful mornings, evenings & nights which was a great pity because it compromised our relaxed and innocently amateurish approach to our business in spite of the financial possibilities. Marek Vachousek was the programmer who came up with the name Polybius - he had studied Greek Mythology at Masaryk University and came up with the name because it sounded quite bold and mysterious, which is what we wanted quite simply. The inspiried graphics combined with the puzzle elements and scintilating gameplay was something to behold - we playtested it for hours and hours and it certainly was an addictive game that was well loved professionally and recreationally by all that played it. The company couldn't have been happier and we all thought we were on the verge of something very special indeed. We then received a phonecall stating that there were concerns within the company that the basic graphics which featured prominently in so many other games of the time were fine for the average gamer to spend hours at a time without any noticable physical or mental detriments but the intense and engrossing gameplay of this new step was very much an unknown quantity so the game was put back several months due to divided opinion within their board of directors, much to our consternation for breaking our backs to finish it on time. We received heartening collated playtesting figures and were then told that the game would receive a temporary limited release which bouyed us significantly but shortly after, we received terrible news - a thirteen year old boy from the Lloyd District of Portland, Oregon had suffered an Epileptic Fit while playing the game, only six days after the machines had literally been installed. One of the senior employees that I knew very well contacted me to tell me that it caused immense ripples of panic throughout the company who were of the opinion that they had "created a monster" as such. It may sound laughable now but please bear in mind that this was 25 years ago when the Video Game Industry was in it's infancy. Every effort was made to withdraw the game from the public domain as quickly as possible but the scaremongering was already out in force and a lot of the children were queueing up or daring their friends to play this supposedly nightmarish game. Company Directors descended on the town to assess the situation which may account for these reports of "Strange Men in Black Suits hanging around" and the machines were often taken in daylight, causing minor but noticable incidents. As far as I was made aware, only seven machines were distributed around the area and no other health-related incidents were reported. I heard "off the record" that the company made a one-off settlement to the boy's family and no more was heard, apart from all the internet-based speculation and resulting paranoia. We disbanded Sinnesscholssen shortly afterwards because we didn't want to restrict ourselves to the stringent deadlines of other companies and favoured distancing ourselves from the game in case of any lingering recriminations which could have done a great deal of damage to our personal and professional reputations which was our livelihood and with some of us having very young families, this was extremely important to us. As far as I'm aware, no ROM's or otherwise exist unless they remain in the bowels of the company that distributed it. We only received a basic payment in view of the fact that the game was withdrawn without nationwide or international distribution so we grew to loathe it and was often a cursed word whenever we used to meet up and still is today, which is a shame. I still believe we created something that should have changed the face of gaming and would have set us apart from the rest of the industry but Arcade Games were often compared to drugs at the time because of their addictiveness and we created something that small-minded bureaucrats perceived to be the Heroin of the Video Game World that's only crime was to be many years ahead of it's time. I'm sure people will doubt the sincerity of this so feel free to drop me a line at stevenrroach@yahoo.com as I'm happy to answer any questions. Steven. " (2006-03-20 14:21:27Z)
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