Shangri-La Co., Ltd

Shangri-La logo ©2000 Shangri-La

Shangri-La logo ©2000 Shangri-La

Shangri-La Co., Ltd are a defunct Japanese development and publishing studio that was established in August ’86 and at the time of their Dreamcast release Shangri-La where located in Fuchu-shi Tokyo, Japan. According to the company’s archived site they were primarily concerned with the development and production of computer software. Before the company became defunct their archived site lists software for the Sony PlayStation, Windows 95 & 98 and finally the Dreamcast.

I can’t attest to the software that Shangri-La either developed or published before the late ’90’s as there archive site makes no mention of their previous works they were involved with prior to the PlayStation & Windows software titles. One thing all the company’s later titles share in common is the fact is they all revolve around horse racing of some description.

While i’m not sure of what the PlayStation horse racing simulations contained the company’s home computer software ‘High Stakes Owners Club‘ was a horse racing prediction software that used the internet to browse the latest race results as well as containing a wealth of historical data relating to the sport. Shangri-La’s Dreamcast software was very similar in nature to it’s computer counterpart.

夢馬券'99 インターネット logo © Shangri-La Co., Ltd

夢馬券’99 インターネット logo © Shangri-La Co., Ltd

Shangri-La only published one title on the Dreamcast and that was 夢馬券’99 インターネット or Yume Uma Ken ’99. The software was released on the 21st of October ’99 and it retailed at the budget price of ¥2,800. Unsurprisingly Yume Uma Ken ’99 was a Japanese region exclusive and was the last software title that Shangri-La released before they became defunct. The softwares official genre is described as a Simulation (communication dedicated software) and the games entry on the Dreamcast catalogue is linked to below. ©1999 Shangri-La / © SEGA

https://web.archive.org/web/20140806101309/http://sega.jp/dc/990802/

Personally, i believe the software’s budget price was to entice horse racing connoisseurs to purchase the software. The disc was basically a portal which allowed access to the JRA ( Japan Racing Association ) servers where race information was updated daily. The amount of data that was available through the Yume Uma Ken ’99 software is quite staggering in its breadth. Some examples that you could search through was race results going back ten years when the software was released. This amounts to 33,000 JRA races, information on over 40,000 different horses & details of 600 jockeys as well as data on 600 stables and supplemental information on differences between race courses which incorporated track guides and weather information on any chosen race day. I’m sure you’d agree that Yume Uma Ken ’99 certainly was comprehensive in its nature and with the software taking advantage of the Dreamcast’s online connectivity, it was constantly updated. You’ll find Shangri-La’s official site for Yume Uma Ken ’99 linked to below. ©2000 Shangri-La

https://web.archive.org/web/20000127171452fw_/http://www.shangrila.co.jp:80/yumebaken/top.htm

To actually use the Yume Uma Ken ’99 software you had to pay a subscription fee to access the data although if you bought it new it came with a fourteen day trial pass to allow access to the service. The subscription service Yume Uma Ken ’99 used was called Credit PASS and there were two different subscription options available the first was a ¥1,500 subscription which gave access for thirty days. The second option was a ninety day subscription which cost ¥4,050 you’ll find the actual archived subscription page linked to below. Which as well as containing the two subscription options explains the payment details available in order to actually purchase a subscription for Yume Uma Ken ’99. © 1999 Shangri-La

https://web.archive.org/web/20000419191849/http://210.254.231.67/kakin/dp_top2.html

Honestly, i’ve never attempted to ‘play’ Yuma Uma Ken ’99 for a variety of different reasons. I suspect personally that due to having no discernible interest about horse racing either simulated or in reality the software would’ve been quite meaningless to me. I never took advantage of the software’s free fourteen day trial due in part to my inexperience with the genre and more importantly acquiring it after its network service had been terminated. Obviously i can’t give my opinion about how well Yuma Uma Ken ’99 functioned as a horse racing prediction simulation and unfortunately, i’ve been unable to find any contemporary reports from users of the software.

I think the intention of Shangri-La was to provide an alternative to traditional print media with both software like their computer ‘High Stakes Owners Club‘ software and the Dreamcast’s Yuma Uma Ken ’99. The involvement of the JRA and the wealth of data plus the daily updates would’ve provided an alternative to purchasing daily racing  periodicals and all from the comfort of your own home through the Dreamcast’s internet connection.

Personally, i think while Yuma Uma Ken ’99 was a comprehensive package it might like the Dreamcast itself have been too foreword thinking. As due to the relatively small number of Japanese households who actually owed a computer around the turn of the millennium and an even smaller number of installed Dreamcast’s its actual user base would’ve been relatively small. Its hard to imagine a time when the internet didn’t encompass all facets of daily life as it does today but online infrastructure was very different twenty years ago with generally specific dedicated software for tasks rather than either hardware or software that encompass everything as it does presently.

Yuma Uma Ken ’99 release on the Dreamcast was generally early on in the systems lifespan which while the system had sold well i’d describe it as a niche genre which in my opinion strangely did have a number of competing releases for the system. Perhaps i’ve underestimated the popularity of the genre but i think a number of smaller development company’s saw a gap in the online horse racing simulation genre for network terminals like the Dreamcast and decided to try and take advantage.

I’ve as of yet been unable to uncover a definitive reason why or indeed when Shangri-La actually became defunct. While trying to research Shangri-La the general online  consensus is that they ceased operation sometime in early ’01 while the exact date is unknown i’ll continue to research in the hope i’ll locate some confirmed information about the end of the company.

While Shangri-La only published one title for the Dreamcast they did however develop another title for the system. パンツァーフロント or ‘Battle Tank Simulator’ Panzer Front ‘Tanks in the European Theater’ which is a World War Two tank simulation. It was published by ASCII Corporation exclusively for the Japanese market. The game was released on the 22nd of December ’99 and when the ASCII article is published i’ll link to it here.

 

T-40101M Yume Uma Ken ’99

 

Front

 

T-40101M Yume Uma Ken '99 front

T-40101M Yume Uma Ken ’99 front

Back

T-40101M Yume Uma Ken '99 back

T-40101M Yume Uma Ken ’99 back

 

(NOT FOR SALE) 非売品 discs & other media

 

Personally, i’m not aware or even expecting any individual Not for Sale disc to exist for Yume Uma Ken ’99 due to the actual nature of the software. It’s always a possibility off some sort of content to exist for Yuma Uma Ken ’99 i suspect probably video footage but i haven’t as of yet been able to uncover anything relating to the title.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article about Shangri-La and their one and only Dreamcast title Yume Uma Ken ’99. If you can help with information about either the company especially any official confirmation about when they actually became defunct i’d appreciate you getting in contact either through the site or on Twitter @dreamcastcollector

 

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