The Mega Drive Unleashed – Bad Apple

BadAppleBelieve it or not, this screenshot is taken from an animated demo sequence on the Sega Mega Drive. Entitled Bad Apple, and based on the Japanese indy vertical-shooter Touhou, this demo is arguably one of the strongest examples of full-motion video and near CD quality music on the Mega Drive. That’s right, the Mega Drive! In the latest addition to the Mega Drive Unleashed series, MegaBites catches up with Stephane Dallongeville – the man behind not only Bad Apple’s 16-bit Sega conversion, but also a rather special Mega Drive port of a SNES Super FX chip classic.

More on the ‘enemy’ later… First, here’s Bad Apple:

What is Bad Apple?

Initially conceived as a fully rendered full-motion video, Bad Apple was unveiled in 2009, upon Japanese video sharing site Niconico DougaAs a prominent showpiece of the Japanese MAD video subculture, what later transpired was a veritable supernova of ports, conversions, and homages to the iconic Niconico original. However, the origins of the Bad Apple musical theme can be traced even further back, to the mid-to-late 90’s and the cult video game series Touhou.

Revered for its colourful visuals, larger than life characters and addictive – if not obscenely difficult – gameplay, Japan’s Touhou saga is a series of vertical shoot’em ups created by one-man software house Team Shanghai Alice. Coded, designed, scored and illustrated by Junya ‘ZUN’ Ota, the first title in the series was released on the NEC PC-98 in 1996. Over the ensuing years, Touhou spawned a 20 further sequels in rapid succession, eventually making the move onto Windows PC in 2002. From the outset, Touhou received a huge following. However, it is with the fourth game in the series – Lotus Land Story – where our Mega Drive interests lie. Continue reading

The Mega Drive Unleashed: Titan Demo Group

Interview HeaderTitanIn the great console wars of the early 90s, no fight came as heavyweight as that between Sega and Nintendo. It was Sonic vs Mario, Mega Drive vs Super Nintendo, Mode 7 vs… err… the SVP chip, perhaps? Although the Mega Drive may have struggled to find an answer to the SNES’s graphical capabilities – not that it had a need to – it has recently become apparent that Sega’s 16-bit battler was a far more powerful machine than initially anticipated. In the first in a series of related posts, MegaBites uncovers the modern day pioneers who have discovered new hidden potential beneath the Mega Drive’s shiny back bonnet. First in line is Titan Group, with their incredible 16-bit demo Overdrive.

Through a fusion of fantastic graphical, audio and coding techniques, Overdrive combines a series of effects designed to push the Sega Mega Drive beyond its intended abilities. However, Overdrive is no game, nor is it a product of the 90s; it is a new breed of Mega Drive ROM – a demo to showcase Sega’s console not only as a games machine, but also as an art form. How is this possible you might ask? Take a look for yourself and read on…

Formed in 2004, Titan demo group was created by members Alien^PDX and Irokos – both founders originating from Holland and France respectively. In the years since, the group has grown to 25 members, encompassing Europe and beyond

Titan members (L–R): Arvenius, Sim1, Mueslee, Fizzer, Red, Iks, Moqui, Neoman, Fuxx, Alk, Medo, Kabuto

Titan members (L–R): Arvenius, Sim1, Mueslee, Fizzer, Red, Iks, Moqui, Neoman, Fuxx, Alk, Medo, Kabuto

Combining an array of disciplines – including graphics, graffiti, music and coding – Titan earned its place amongst the demoscene subculture, releasing a series of scene art packs and demo sequences, which breathed new life into retro consoles, in ways never seen before.

Of these consoles, Titan has produced releases for the Amiga, Atari ST, Gameboy Advance, Wonderswan and of course, the Sega Mega Drive. The group also extends its skills to a number of modern day equivalents such as the PSP, Nintendo DS, PC and Mac.

Continue reading