Shouei System Co,.Ltd are a defunct Japanese software developer and publisher who were established on the 8th May ’81 in Tokyo Japan. Shouei System was involved in a diverse portfolio of businesses of which video game software development and publishing was just one aspect of their company portfolio. Towards the end of Shouei System’s existence they had started to operate an online vending business called ‘premium express’ that was set up in six stores around Japan where you could order goods through an online connected terminals which items such as films, games & music would be supplied by the Softmap & Shizendo stores. Below is Shouei Systems official archive for the premium express service. (c) Shouei System
The company’s archived site maintained a rather outdated database of developed titles for consumer systems which lists ten console titles which Shouei System developed while they were active. The company’s final title they developed and published was their only Dreamcast title which was マイトラックマン or My TrackMan which was released on the 8th of May ’99 and retailed for ¥6,800 My TrackMan was as you’d probably imagine exclusive to the Japanese market. Below you’ll find i’ve linked to the archived entry for My Trackman on the Dreamcast catalogue. ©1999 SHOUEI SYSTEM ©1999 KANTOU KEIBA SINBUN KYOUKAI / © SEGA
The archived site of My TrackMan contains virtually nothing relating to the game itself even the list of published works by Shouei System doesn’t seemingly feature the title. Their archived official site has sections that hadn’t been updated since ’96 and due in part too the financial situation the company found itself in at the time of My TrackMan release i’d imagine that Shouei had more pressing concerns. Initially i had thought My TrackMan was an online enabled utility disc allowing registered users of the software to bet in realtime on online horse races. After some research this turns out not to be the case and the My TrackMan software is actually a horse racing prediction service that was updated daily with information from the JRA (Japan Racing Association) and the Kanto horse racing newspaper association.
Shouei System had some expertise in this kind of software as they developed the Shoumalizer software exclusively for Japanese Windows computers. The Shoumalizer software is effectively the same type of software that My TrackMan uses except for computer users. I suspect that My Trackman is a Dreamcast transplantation of the Shoumalizer software although i can’t confirm it as theres no way to access the content now the servers for either the Shoumalizer or My Trackman software having been long since defunct. Below is the archive site of the Shoumalizer software that you can still navigate to see how it worked the Dreamcast My Trackman software i suspect would have functioned in a similar manner. © 1999 SHOUEI SYSTEM
While the official site might not have much content Shouei System must have been confident in the softwares accuracy as to support the release of My TrackMan on the 2nd of April ’99 they held a My TrackMan event in which a panel of respected horse racing pundits would give their prediction on the 阪急杯 Hankyu Cup (GIII). The data would be analysed by the My TrackMan software to find out which gave the most accurate information about the upcoming race would it be the pundits or the My Trackman software?. I’m not sure but apparently the My Trackman software preformed admirably proving its merit. Below is a report by Gamespot Japan which covered the event. Copyright (c) 1999 by SOFTBANK Corporation. All rights reserved.
Interestingly the above report lists an 8th of April ’99 release date for the My TrackMan software which it would miss being released a month later in May ’99. I suspect the dire financial difficulty that Shouei System was facing meant that everything went into making sure My TrackMan actually saw a release and was actually successful. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case and the My TrackMan software was a commercial failure and the company was declared bankrupt soon afterwards. I’ve managed to find a Gamespot Japan article which details Shouei System’s financial woes which state the company was 800 million yen in debt in November ’99 and bank transactions had been suspended. Copyright (c) 1999 by SOFTBANK Corporation. All rights reserved.
According to the My TrackMan entry on the official Japanese Sega Dreamcast database the My Trackman’s network service was terminated on the 1st of October 2000 due to Shouei System’s bankruptcy. Strangely enough the official Sega Dreamcast database lists the software as not using any peripheral equipment but the software obviously supports the Dreamcast modem for its network features.
The game was planned to give access for free to the Kanto horse racing newspaper association’s information for a year and after that a subscription fee to use the software was to be charged generating some much needed revenue for Shouei System. But due to the company only remaining active for seven months after the My Trackman software was released no subscription service was ever implemented.
All thing’s considered it was fortunate that My Trackman even saw a release as it had already suffered delays and the time between release and the end of the company was incredibly small. I do wonder how exactly the network mode was honoured as with the demise of Shouei System the games servers were still active just over the free period of a year. The only thing i can imagine is that either individually Kantou Keiba Sinbun Kyoukai or Sega themselves took responsibly for the network service remaining active. It would’ve been embarrassing for Kantou Keiba Sinbun Kyoukai not to have customers able to access their data and Sega no doubt would’ve received complaints about the functionality being removed even through it wasn’t really anything to do with them.
The my TrackMan software is as you’d expect completely useless today as the servers that provided access to the information are long since shut down. Any information you might have accessed while they were active would have needed to be saved to a Dreamcast VMU which it filled all two hundred blocks. I assume you could still access the now historical data that you saved on the VMU but it seems rather pointless. Given that the My Trackman used the full 200 blocks i genuinely believe any data that was saved is long since overwritten now.
Interestingly Shouei System Co,.Ltd was developing another title on the Dreamcast called Warrz which was to be an online enabled simulation. It was featured in magazines and upcoming release lists of the time and was said to be quite far in to development. Below is a contemporary Gamespot article about Warrz it repeats much of the same information about the game that other similar sources said about the title. © 2000 GAMESPOT
I’m not surprised by the lack of information on Warrz while the title was officially announced and probably in development at some point for the Dreamcast it ultimately went unreleased. Unfortunately Shouei System’s financial difficulties that they had found themselves in at the time probably caused all development to be suspended on Warrz and Shouei System i’d imagine concentrated all their effort on getting My Track Man Released. Rather than diverting development time & resources to concentrate on continuing development on another title however i do believe that had it seen a release Warrz would’ve been T37002M. Sadly for Shouei System My TrackMan was the final title either developed or published by the company with My Trackman’s online component outlasting the company itself.
T-37001M My Trackman
SAMPLE T-37001M My Trackman
(NOT FOR SALE) 非売品 discs & other media
I’m not aware of anything relating to My TrackMan and i don’t believe that there is any individual 非売品 disc due to the nature of the software. Its possible that there is a guide book or user manual for the title but as of yet i’ve not been able to uncover it.
I’d be really interested if anyone has any screenshots or other media relating to Warrz it seems that while it was touted as an upcoming title for quite a while most of the information about the game including most of the games screenshots are currently lost. As always thank’s for taking the time to read this entry on Shouei System Co,.Ltd and their Dreamcast exclusive title My Trackman if you can help with anymore information about the company please get in touch either through the site or on Twitter @dreamcastcollector.