Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gaming Treasures - JSR Part 2

Jet Set Radio Remix – Part 2

Cel Shader – During the earlier systems, animation styles such as rotoscoping, used a technique filmed with a live-action sequence portrayed in non-existing space. In such a way, anything was possible from taking a character on the moon, to being on a train that wasn’t really there. In JSR, the team came up with a concept of using the same idea, but giving it a comic book styled edge. Just like comics, they express themselves in words and color. Whenever you move your character, they are exuberant in colors that actually tell you what type of personality they inhabit.

Choice -*For those that aren’t aware, a lot of Japanese concept makers love to incorporate themes with characters they create. Like blood type, or color expression, it reveals a bit more if they are good/evil. In JSR, colors actually redefine the characters, depending which paths you take. And the characters envelope the city, shape the in-game world and change it wherever they tag. (this is also a continuation with Future, with more in-depth details actually depend on what side you’re on)

Alive - Like animation, every crew member in the JSR series has their own gang they find themselves working with or against. The flipside with JSR, is that the characters you couldn’t play show up in Future. (Say Coin for example was the mysterious rouge who caused a ruckus, but couldn’t be played from the get-go). Another shift in gears between the original and future, was the Versus option. Opening up a different way to play, like other multiplayer games “tag” or “capture the flag” and a ball tag type of game.

What is by far the biggest difference between the original JSR, and Future? Aside from the consoles, the data limit was actually capped on the Dreamcast. Since the disc can only store so much data, some things were cut. What was missing in Future was the upload feature, although Live was just being incorporated with the in-game engine. It didn’t happen because of budget reasons. Team Smilebit was in fact working on 3 other titles at the time, Panzer Dragoon Orta and GunValkyrie. The other said titles were more of the fantasy fare, and a mixture of sci-fi. Although the titles were separate from JSRF, they shared a kinship in the fact that they were based on platforms that the Sega brand let go for so many years.

Next generation – Is this current generation of gamers ready for the return of JSR? Many were just born into this world during the late 90’s or 2000’s. Now those new kids are looking towards titles we grew up beside, before we became more internet crazed and dependent upon. With all of the networking that was capable back then, to now there is a huge difference in what attention spans grasp upon. Oddly enough the team that produced JSR were aiming for every kind of audience that was playing their titles. The biggest gap that JSR will have to cross with the current crowd is that the music may have to re-adapt. However at the time, the music styles that blended so well, were in fact ahead of their time. Many weren’t aware of the huge collaboration of indie bands, to well-known names pushing to get their names featured on a title that many would dare to take a second glance towards.

But I believe that is the hidden charm behind a title like Jet Set Radio, its one of the few titles from the Dreamcast era that refuses to go away. It ages, yet it rekindles something special about it that brings you back, wanting to learn more from that past experience, maybe there was an opportunity missed. And finally you went back to challenge that missed goal, and found that special gift about the game you put away for so many years.

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