MAXBET Co., Ltd

MAXBET logo © 2000 MAXBET

MAXBET logo © 2000 MAXBET

MAXBET were according to their official site founded on the 28th of October ’98. Strangely enough even through remnants of their official site have been archived it appears that they neither maintained or featured any sort of company biography or corporate information relating to themselves. I would in all honesty describe MAXBET’s official site as being particularly threadbare content wise with only limited information about the company’s last few published titles and reciprocal links to fellow Pachi-Slot manufacturer’s official sites as well as prominent Pachi-Slot fan sites.

It seems that from the time of their establishment in late October ’98 till late ’00 when the company seemingly vanished they published eight titles all of which belonged to the Pachi-Slot genre. Seven of their titles were published on the Sony PlayStation while the company’s final title was released on the Dreamcast. While i can’t conclusively assert that the company’s list of published works totalled eight titles i simply have been unable to find any more titles attributed to MAXBET during my research of the company.

Without being disparaging to MAXBET i personally was of the opinion that they were either a subsidiary or an imprint label of a larger organisation primarily due to the lack of any official information about the company. It’s only when i began researching MAXBET for this article that i finally discovered that the company were in-fact part of the Sammy group of companies. Unfortunately, while this solves one mystery about the company it sadly doesn’t help with what actually happened to MAXBET in late ’00 that seemingly heralded their demise.

Perhaps rather presumptuous of me but i assume in all likelihood it probably related to the lack of commercial impetus that their titles had at retail. I should point out that i’m somewhat ignorant of the Pachi-Slot genre as a whole & while i can appreciate that Pachi-Slot is a very popular & profitable hobby in Japan its appeal is totally lost on me. As i’m not familiar with the Pachi-Slot genre either in its original amusement incarnation or it’s home consumer guise i can’t really provide technical information or comparisons with other genre titles on the Dreamcast.

My admittedly brief research into the genre seems to highlight the fact the amusement market of Pachi-Slot is catered to by a small number of dedicated manufacturers who in turn generate enormous amount of revenue from the industry. The genres expansion into the consumer market was likely a twofold strategy initially to cater to enthusiast’s keen to have arcuate playable digital representations of their favourite machines playable from the comfort of their own homes. And secondly as a way to expand the relatively niche Pachi-Slot market into a boarder spectrum of consumers.

Just as the amusement incarnation of the genre was effectively controlled by a few manufacturers the consumer market had an equally similar distribution model. A relatively small group of publishers were responsible for releasing the majority of Pachi-Slot titles for contemporary formats. As a relatively new and less established publisher MAXBET i’d imagine probably struggled to compete against its more established competitors who generally had more popular simulations amongst their catalogue. While MAXBET’s Dreamcast title wasn’t a low budget title by any means & was based on a popular Pachi-Slot machine originally produced by YAMASA the company’s relative obscurity probably effected its sales potential.

While i wouldn’t even attempt to try and speculate on the numbers MAXBET’s PlayStation titles achieved apparently their Dreamcast title sold under 5,000 copies. While that might seem an unbelievably low number especially by today’s standards where we’re told games have to achieve sales in the millions to be profitable there are many more high-profile commercial titles on the Dreamcast which failed to sell as well as MAXBET’s title did.

Generally, information about MAXBET’s Dreamcast title is almost non-existent to the extent i could only find one solitary pre-release article about the game and that was from Famitsu Online. This article was from around a month before the game was released and has basic information about the upcoming title. The Famitsu article is linked to below. (C) maxbet2000 (C) DAIKOKU DENKI CO.,LTD. (C) yamasa / FAMITSU.com © KADOKAWA CORPORATION 2015

https://www.famitsu.com/game/daily/2000/m08/d08/sw01.html

MAXBET only released one title on the Dreamcast which was 実戦パチスロ必勝法 @VPACHI 〜コングダム〜 or JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI. The title was released on the 28th of September ’00 and it retailed for ¥4,800. While not officially confirmed it appears that JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI was the last title published by MAXBET before they seemingly became defunct. The official site for the game has been archived but doesn’t really contained much information about the game so linked to below you’ll find the games entry on the Dreamcast catalogue which provides basic technical details about the title. © 2000 MAXBET © DAIKOKU DENKI CO., LTD., 2000 © YAMASA © 2000 Sammy © SEGA

https://web.archive.org/web/20140804134851/http://sega.jp/dc/000909/

JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI’s entry on the Dreamcast catalogue has an anomaly which relates to the game having two separate entries. The first listed is T-18801M which is categorised as a limited edition while the other version T-18802M which is classed as a standard edition of the game. Apart from the catalogue code the only intended difference between the two versions was to be the limited edition came with thirty bonus entries to the @VPACHI premium prize network.

Currently the standard edition of JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI is unconfirmed to actually exist. SEGA’s Dreamcast catalogue featured a number of inconsistencies which i believe that the standard edition of the game belongs to. I do however believe before the games release MAXBET had intended to release a standard edition which explains its inclusion on the Dreamcast catalogue. There’s no confirmed information on why the standard edition wasn’t released but if i had to speculate i’d assume as the minimum print run was generally 5,000 copies after the first print run had sold out the intended second print run would’ve had the new catalogue designation of T-18802M. Unfortunately, after over a year on the market JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI hadn’t actually managed to sell enough copies to justify a second print run.

Since the limited edition of the game came with a code for thirty bonus entries to the @ VPACHI premium prize network you might well expect a secure distribution method like a sealed voucher or a card with a scratch off portion like current DLC codes. MAXBET simply affixed a sticker to the reverse of the games manual which had the sixteen-digit code printed on it. Below is a picture of my personal copy of JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI’s manual with its code included. ©2018 dreamcastcollector

JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI's manual with prize entry code sticker attached.

JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI’s manual with prize entry code sticker attached.

The @VPACHI premium prize network was a joint collaboration between various Pachinko & Pachi-Slot publishers. The actual network infrastructure was provided by Daikoku Denki who supported the service with the largest amount of titles for the @VAPCHI premium prize network. The announcement of the @VPACHI service commencement was covered in an article by Softbank Games which detailed the participants involved and you’ll find the article linked to below. Copyright (c) 2000 by softbank Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved.

http://www.itmedia.co.jp/games/gsnews/0008/01/news04.html

For completeness sake each individual @VPACHI publisher will have a link in their respective article to the other @VPACHI premium prize network publishers.

Daikoku Denki.

(Link not active yet)

HackBerry.

(Link not active yet)

Media Entertainment.

(Link not active yet)

My impressions of JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI should be tempered with the knowledge that realistically i’m not the target market for the software. While i’m unfamiliar with the Pachi-Slot genre as a whole i can appreciate that there will be readers of this article who will be avid Pachi-Slot enthusiasts. What i can certainly appreciate is the detail that MAXBET lavished on their digital recreation of YAMASA’s The Kongdam Pachi-Slot machine, to give you some idea of how close MAXBET’s version is to YAMASA’s original the actual machine is pictured below.

The Kongdom Pachi-Slot machine. ©2000 YAMASA

The Kongdom Pachi-Slot machine. ©2000 YAMASA

MAXBET included a feature much like modern digital recreations of Pinball where your free to look over the machine in detail the same was true for their digital incarnation of The Kongdom machine. Your able to look over the machine at your leisure & zoom in & out and while this might seem rather pointless for enthusiasts of the genre its exactly the sort of feature that would appeal.

In all honesty MAXBET’s official site doesn’t really have much information relating to JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI. A much more comprehensive site about the game is provided by YAMASA who maintains an entry on their current site for the amusement version of The Kongdom. This site provides information on the different scoring mechanisms as well as general information about the game and since MAXBET’s title is an accurate digital recreation the information is equally useful for their consumer version of The Kongdom. Below i’ve linked to YAMASA’s official entry for The Kongdom on their site. ©YAMASA

http://www1.yamasa.co.jp/kong/kongtop.htm

I can’t obviously give my opinion about one of the main selling points of MAXBET’s incarnation of The Kongdom as the @VPACHI premium prize network the game accessed was terminated on the 26th of September ’01. Unfortunately, i can’t really relate much information about the games @VPACHI network as you can imagine not having experienced it for myself. The @VPACHI network did however provide a number of prizes with the main prize offered being a holiday to Las Vegas, Nevada. Unlike a lot of Dreamcast titles that needed some sort of subscription the only cost involved with JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI was a ¥10 call charge per minute & needing to actually purchase entries to the @VPACHI network.

One thing that’s puzzled me about JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI is why it was always intended to have a finite lifespan in respect to its network access. It clearly states on the packaging that the @VPACHI network service for the title would end on the 26th of September ’01 essentially providing network functions for a year after the games launch. The games manual provides an exhaustive explanation of the legal agreement but doesn’t as far as i can see explain why the network would only operate for a year. It does however explain why Sammy has a separate copyright as another of their subsidiaries SPIKE were involved with the network for JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI.

The game is still perfectly playable offline today but, in all honesty, i can’t ever see myself playing JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI again. I’m not making any judgement about the overall quality of the title simply i have no interest in the Pachi-Slot genre & from my novice impressions it certainly seems like an accurate digital recreation of the original machine. Even with the original incentive of being able to win real prizes i couldn’t really say i’d recommend JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI to those not familiar with Pachi-Slot in general. For those who are it might still represent an interesting historical curio that has the benefit of still being a perfectly playable replica of YAMASA’s The Kongdom machine.

 

T-18801M JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI

 

Front

 

T-18801M JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI front

T-18801M JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI front

Back

T-18801M JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI back

T-18801M JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI back

 

SAMPLE covers

 

Sample T-18801M JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI

 

Front

SAMPLE T-18801M JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI front

SAMPLE T-18801M JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI front. The sample cover has a slight change to the tokens in the background.

Back

SAMPLE T-18801M JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI back

SAMPLE T-18801M JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI back. Slight difference in text i think the retail is more matter of fact when discussing the network functions. The biggest difference is that the sample states a 30 VMU blocks requirement while the retail version only needs 10 VMU blocks to save. The three pictures have also been changed as they seem too dark on the sample compared to the retail version.

 

(NOT FOR SALE) 非売品 discs & other media

 

As for disc-based content relating to JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI i’m certainly not aware of anything existing. I would in all honesty doubt that there would be an individual Not for Sale disc for the game but there is an individual 非売品 @VPACHI disc for another title that used the service so while it’s unlikely it’s possible one could exist.

With no disrespect to MAXBET’s sound team i doubt that there would be many people clambering for a soundtrack release. With a guide book not really being a realistic prospect i think that only printed media like flyers or point of sale posters would possibly exist for JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI but i’ve never encountered them.

Thank you for taking the time to read this entry on MAXBET & their only title published for the system JISSEN PACHISLO HISSYOUHOU @ VPACHI. I would normally ask for any more information about the game but in this case the software basically speaks for itself and there’s not much more to add. I would however be intrigued to find why the network was only scheduled to last a year i assume since it’s effectively gambling it might’ve been for some sort of legislative reason. You can contact me directly through the site or on Twitter @dreamcastcollector

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