Maxbet Co., Ltd were a Japanese development & publishing studio which according to their archived website were established on the 28th of October ’98. The company was exclusively involved in the development of Pachi-Slot software for home consumer systems. Maxbet is seemingly quite the enigma as they were a relatively small development and publishing studio that were surprisingly prolific in their output releasing eight titles over the two years the company was active for. The only confirmed information about Maxbet is that they released seven titles for the Sony PlayStation and one for the Dreamcast between late ’98 & ’00 before they became defunct sometime in late ’00. The actual reason behind Maxbet’s demise is currently unknown and i’d be intrigued to find out what happened to them.
Maxbet’s official site has been partly archived but rather unusually it doesn’t seem to feature any sort of company biography or any corporate information relating to Maxbet. The only information their archived site contains is individual pages based on the last few of the company’s published titles as well as reciprocal links to fellow Pachi-Slot manufacturer’s official websites. Researching Maxbet the only other information i could uncover about the company was the date of their establishment & that they published eight titles which were all licensed Pachi-Slot simulations exclusively released in Japan.
While Pachi-Slot is a popular hobby in Japan with various licensed machines to capitalise on brand exposure as well as being its own distinct form of entertainment. With the Pachi-Slot industry generating an impressive amount of revenue for a relatively small amount of manufacturer’s it was almost inevitable that digital representations of Pachi-Slot would be made for home consumers. Perhaps due to the very nature of Pachi-Slot the digital recreations haven’t enjoyed anything like the popularity of the physical incarnations of the genre.
Pachi-Slot if you’re unfamiliar with the genre i’d describe as being related to what is colloquially known as a ‘fruity’ or fruit machine here in the United Kingdom. If your not from the UK it’s a gambling machine which generally has three or more reels and frequently uses licensed properties to entice players. They offer cash Jackpots which can range greatly in valve depending on the initial stake. I mention the similarities between the two types of machine as this might put into perspective the allure of Pachi-Slot. The ambiance & excitement of the genre simply couldn’t be replicated as an experience at home which would explain why the digital versions of Pachi-Slot remain a niche genre. The digital versions of Pachi-Slot generally face another hurdle in that the lack of any monetary rewards or prizes would mean that the home conversions would have to sell based on their licensed properties.
Maxbet had quite an ingenious solution to this problem for at least some if not all their published PlayStation titles in that they enabled players of their software to be able to win real prizes as if they were playing the actual physical Pachi-Slot machines. Maxbet maintained an online catalogue for some if not all their PlayStation Pachi-Slot titles and remnants can be found on their archived site. This no doubt helped their titles standout against their competitors Pachi-Slot titles.
Maxbet published one title for the Dreamcast 実戦パチスロ必勝法 ＠VPACHI 〜コングダム〜 or Jissen Pachislo Hissyouhou @VPACHI. The game was released on the 28th of September ’00 and it retailed for ¥4,800. I believe that the game was the last title to be published by Maxbet before they ceased operation. While the official site for the game has been archived it doesn’t really contain much information about the game so below i’ve linked to Jissen Pachislo Hissyouhou @VPACHI Dreamcast catalogue entry. © 2000 MAXBET © DAIKOKU DENKI CO., LTD., 2000 © YAMASA © 2000 Sammy © SEGA
The games entry on the Dreamcast catalogue throws up an anomaly where Jissen Pachislo Hissyouhou @VPACHI has two entries. The first of which is the released T-18801M which is categorised as a limited edition. The other edition T-18802M which was intended to be a standard edition this version of the game is unconfirmed to actually exist. The only difference between the two versions of the game apart from the different catalogue designations was the included 30 bonus entries to the @VPACHI premium prize network.
While you might well expect that the thirty bonus entries that came with the limited edition might come on a separate card with a scratch off portion much like modern day DLC codes or some other sort of secure distribution method. In fact the sixteen digit code was simply printed on a sticker affixed to the back of the games manual. I’ve included a picture of my personal copy of Jissen Pachislo Hissyouhow @VPACHI’s manual which still has its code attached. © dreamcastcollector
Personally, i believe that only the limited edition T-18801M was actually released and i think that there’s two competing reasons for the standard edition of T-18802M going unpublished. The first reason i suspect was down to the games performance at retail which unfortunately wasn’t a big seller so i think could’ve influenced the decision to abandon its release. I fully expect that Maxbet intended to release T-18802M once the limited edition version had either sold out or sold enough copies to press another print run.
The second and final reason i suspect behind the cancelation of T-18802M was simply Maxbet went out of business before it could publish the standard edition. As both versions of Jissen Pachislo Hissyouhow @VPACHI were to retail for the same price they’d be no incentive to pick the standard version of the game rather than the limited edition. Maxbet would have to wait to issue the standard version after all the limited edition stock had been sold and in the intervening period they had become defunct. Both theory’s seem equally possible & would explain why the game was never confirmed to have been released.
While i’ve covered the @VPACHI collaboration before i’ve included information on each respective manufacturer of software that carried the @VPACHI premium prize branding. The @VPACHI branding covered both Pachinko & Pachi-Slot titles and the following Softbank media article covers the announcement of the @VPACHI premium prize network and the number of titles that they released. @ Softbank Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.
While i’m unfamiliar with the Pachi-Slot genre as a whole i appreciate that there will be people who read this article who will be or have more of an interest in the genre. My impressions of Jissen Pachislo Hissyouhou @VPACHI will be rather limited in nature. I’d definitely recommend visiting it’s archive site as i’m not the games target market and if you’re a Pachi-Slot enthusiast that should make your mind up if you’d like to get a copy of the game. What i can say about the game is it features a highly realistic representation of the actual ‘The Kingdom’ Pachi-Slot machine. The only drawback to the games presentation is the fact the game doesn’t support the Dreamcast’s VGA display mode which is a shame.
Jissen Pachislo Hissyouhou @VPACHI features a wealth of information relating to the game with pages on winning percentages and the different winning combinations. While this is lost on me i can imagine this is exactly the type of information that fans of the Pachi-Slot genre would really appreciate.Below is the actual ‘The Kingdom’ Pachi-Slot machine released by YAMASA.
The original The Kingdom’ Pachi-Slot machine was developed by YAMASA and due to my unfamiliarity with the genre i think it’s best to link to ‘The Kingdoms’ official archived site which contains much more in-depth information about the machine. © 2000 YAMASA
The main selling point of the Dreamcast incarnation of ‘The Kingdom’ was that the game used the @VPACHI premium prize network which allowed players to win real prizes which according to the games manual had at some point offered a main prize of a holiday to Las Vegas, nevada. The game was subscription free apart from a ¥10 call charge and ticket entries to the @VPACHI network. If your interested in how the @VPACHI network actually functioned Daikoku Denki who maintained the network helpfully provided a diagram showing how the Dreamcast connected to the @VPACHI servers. ©2000 Daikoku Denki.
According to Jissen Pachislo Hissyouhou @VPACHI’s entry on the Dreamcast catalogue the games network features including access to @VPACHI premium prize network was terminated on the 26th of September ’01 just under a year after the game was released. Personally, in all honesty i couldn’t really recommend Jissen Pachislo Hissyouhou @VPACHI i’m quite sure it’s a competent Pachi-Slot simulation but there are better Pachi-Slot games with more content available on the system. Personally, i’d recommend either one of Media Entertainment’s Pachi-Slot titles as for a genre novice like myself i found them to be the best example of the Pachi-Slot genre on the Dreamcast.
T-18801M Jissen Pachislo Hissyouhou @VPACHI limited edition.
Sample T-18801M Jissen Pachi-Slot Hisshouhou! @VPACHI: Kingdom
(NOT FOR SALE) 非売品 discs & other media
I’m honestly completely unfamiliar with anything relating to Jissen Pachislo Hissyouhou @VPACHI let alone any individual 非売品 discs. I suppose this might lend credence to the theory that Maxbet became defunct soon after he launch of their one & only Dreamcast title.
Thanks as always for taking the time to read this article about Maxbet and their title Jissen Pachislo Hissyouhou @VPACHI. If you can provide any other information about Maxbet or their Dreamcast game please get in touch either through the site or on Twitter @dreamcastcollector.