Xacrow's friend comes forward in 2022

RoU...a friend of Xacrow who came forward in 2022

On August 14, 2022 the neogeo community at www.neo-geo.com was shocked to find a post in the international sub forums. The title of the thread was "my last hope". The author used the screen name RoU2022 and in their profile was the statement "my last hour may come". The post began with a brief introduction in where this person stated that they used to be a big neogeo collector, but that all of his possesions were sadly washed away after the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. He had also recently lost his job to covid. Certainly a sad scenario and a hard set of circumstances for any person to suffer through. However, after this brief synopsis, he then posted emulated screen shots of one of the unreleased NEOGEO protos; the fighting game "The Warlocks of the Fates". It caught everyone completely by surprise, myself included, and as quickly as I could, I proceeded to ensure that these things were preserved.

So, what happened next?
When I proceeded to save these screen shots on my computer, I immediately noticed something even more significant then the pics themselves. Keep in mind that we've already had emulated screen shots for Warlocks of the Fates since 2005. And having them in English is nothing to special (other then a mild curiosity) as all neogeo software isn't region specific. Any rom file just as any cartridge contains the localization for both regions. But rather, what caught my attention and sent chills up my spine was when I saw the files name while saving it. It was "shinryusenki(077)" (Shinryu Senki being the japanese name of the game, but more importantly, 077 being the games software product code number: (NGM-077 / NGH-077)

So, why did this matter so much?
It is simply impossible for most people to understand and/or appreciate just how significant and relevant the confirmation of a NEOGEO software product number is. As a point of referance, prior to that very moment, we had managed to confirm 3 numbers over the course of over 20 years. And before this rollercoaster ride with RoU would come to an end, we would end up confirming 4 numbers in total. It was the single most largest acquisition of neogeo proto information in the entire history of the consoles lifespan.

So, what else happened?
Before the day was over, he returned and posted again. And this time he put up screen shots of Alpha Denshi's Block Paradise. Again, in English, as seen for the first time by the public. And on Monday morning, the deluge of information began when he posted an actual video of the Warlocks game running in both languages on a NeoRage emulator. Again, having video wasn't the ground breaking news, as we have also had video of this particular game since 2012. But rather, the revelation was seeing the game selection menu on his neorage emulator screen as he loaded the game and captured the video.

So, what was on the screen?
Well, again, it wasn't just that he had several unreleased protos on his menus game list, as almost all of the titles had already been seen before in the past. It was the file names of the entries that caught my eye. Again, 2 of them had the NGH numbers visible. Block PARADISE was tagged NGH-012 and The Eye of Typhoon was listed with NGH-210.

Has anything else happened since?
Ah yes, so RoU eventually left the forum, went to another forum, left there as well, and then eventually opened up his own Twitter and You Tube accounts, where he proceeded to reveal more screenshots and videos of more games. With that said, lets go through the whole list of all that was gained. Let the historical record show that since the 33rd week of August 2022, RoU has provided the following list of relevent discoveries:

AUGUST 2022 RoU COMES FORWARD!

HISTORICAL RECORD OF CONTRIBUTIONS.

WE ARE ETERNALLY THANKFULL!

1990 BLOCK PARADISE by ALPHA DENSHI

- confirmation of the software product number at position NGM-012.

- first screenshots of the english "How to Play" instructional screens.

- first emulated video of the game.

- first video of the game in english mode. (although with no sound)

1991 DUNK STAR by SAMMY/AICOM

- confirmation of the software product number at position NGM-028.

- first screenshots of the "1 or 2 player" select screen.

- first emulated video of the game.

- final stage and game ending screen shots and video.

1995 The Record of the Divine Dragons War BY ASTEC21

- confirmation of the software product number at position NGM-077.

- first screenshot of the english title screen.

- never before seen pics of the english "How to Play" screens.

- never before seen pics of the english story mode dialogue.

- first video footage of the game running in english mode.

- final stage and game ending screen shots and video.

1994 EARLY BETA OF BREAKERS BY VISCO

- first screenshot ever seen of the English title screen.

- first screenshots of the english how to play screens.

- first video seen of the game running; (in both languages)

- final stage and game ending screen shots and video.

1995 LAST ODYSSEY PINBALL FANTASIA BY MONOLITH

- confirmation of the games NGH number at 072.

- first ever seen English How to Play screenshots.

- first emulated video of the game.

- final stage and game ending screen shots and video.

1996 THE EYE OF TYPHOON BY VICCOM

- confirmation of the games NGH Number at position NGM-210.

- first audio ever heard from the games effects, sounds, and music

- Hopefully, coming soon, the first ever seen emulated screen shots.

1997 BRICK FLOP / MAGIC MASTER by SAURUS

- first screen shots of the english title and how to play screens.

- first video ever seen (emulated or otherwise) of the game.

- final stage and game ending screen shots and video.

- (sadly no NGH confirmation, but, deduced to be NGM-099)

Additional contributions from RoU
In addition to the above, RoU also has the earlier 1994 rom builds of Zupapa and Bang Busters, the early beta of Power Spikes 2 known as Super Volley '94, other builds of Ghostlop and Ironclad, and the original MVS rom build of Zintrick with its full audio sound effects, voices, and music.

My closing thoughts.

Conversations about unreleased prototype games are never without controversy. And it is never possible to make everybody happy. However, there is one fact that is beyond doubt and above debate. And that is: "TIME IS NOT KIND". Time is the biggest enemy to everyone involved. Failure to preserve the rom data of a proto in time could result in bit rot and data loss. Holding onto rom data indefintely can result in loss of interest from the target group as they grow older and move on. Games that went unreleased were usually held back for reasons. And the aging game system platforms for which they run on slowly fade from center stage. And so these old, outdated, unreleased games age like a fine wine. Wait for the right amount of time, and they are extremely desirable, but wait too long and that fine wine sadly turns into vinegar. But let's be clear. As evidenced by the fact that he retrieved and published his findings to the world, RoU had the foresight to secure and back up his proto games rom data on a CDR which at least saved them from a digital destruction after their physical destruction in the 2011 Earthquake/Tsunami disaster. However, ironically, here we have a situation where RoU has been hospitalized and while undergoing medical care, as well as alluding to his final hours, he hasn't stated nor given any kind of instructions whatsoever on what is to become of this data which already cheated death once before.