UEP-Systems Incorporated are largely now sadly consigned to history which is a somewhat ignominious end as at one point by the mid-nineties UEP-Systems could arguably be considered the preeminent consumer snow-boarding development studio. The company was synonymous with the original PlayStation with their Cool Boarders franchise which had two iterations on the system receiving critical acclaim and worldwide commercial success.
The company’s name is an acronym for Universe Electronic Plant Systems and they were established on the 12th of April ’85. The earliest incarnation of the company was primarily concerned with the importation of computer peripheral equipment & parts like computer graphic cards for the Japanese market. By the late nineties UEP-Systems operated three separate business interests which were consumer, amusement & electrical equipment divisions.
In November of ’00 UEP-Systems announced that they were in talks to restructure the company in an attempt to stave off bankruptcy proceedings. Unfortunately, on the 9th of July ’01 they were declared bankrupt at the Tokyo District Court. While i can’t conclusively state that it’s the case but seemingly UEP-Systems intellectual properties are split between various regional territories & individual publishers. UEP-Systems first two Cool Boarders titles are currently published in Japan by Studio ZAN Co., Ltd with the North American rights for the same titles being held by Sony Interactive Entertainment. The complicated intellectual rights situation was due in part to UEP-Systems selling the North American publishing rights to the franchise to Sony Computer Entertainment who in turn published a further three entries in the series which were internally developed by Idol Minds, LLC. The three Sony published entries by Idol Minds were Cool Boarders 3 & 4 for the original PlayStation and the North American exclusive Cool Boarders 2001 for the PlayStation 2.
Even through UEP-Systems had lost the North American rights to the franchise they continued to develop & publish Cool Boarders titles for the Japanese market. After the first two PlayStation games UEP-System developed an amusement version of the franchise entitled Cool Boarders Arcade Jam which was released by Tecmo.,Co Ltd in late ’98. Personally, given the similarities between the early beta footage of Cool Boarders Burrrn! and the amusement only Cool Boarders Arcade Jam i believe that the Dreamcast exclusive entry of the series was based in part on the arcade version of the franchise. I’ll discuss this in more detail in the relevant section further on in this article.
Even through UEP-Systems previous Cool Boarders title was developed exclusively for the amusement industry they returned to consumer publishing for the final three titles released by the company. The first and in all likelihood best known would be the Dreamcast exclusive Cool Boarders Burrrn! this was quickly followed by Cool Boarders Pocket for the Neo Geo Pocket colour in ’00. Lastly the final title attributed to UEP-Systems was Cool Boarders Code Alien which was a Japanese region exclusive which was released in very late ’00.
As i’ve mentioned the Dreamcast received its own exclusive instalment of the series which was tentatively known as Cool Boarders & Cool Boarders DC while in development before finally the name of Cool Boarders Burrrn! was decided on as the final title for the game. Cool Boarders Burrrn! was released on the 29th of August ’99 & it retailed for ¥5,800. The game was subsequently published outside of Japan where it was released in both North America & Europe where due to the complicated rights issue surrounding the Cool Boarders franchise it received a new title in both territories. ©1999 UEP-Systems, Inc / © 1999 SEGA
The North American version of the game was retitled to Rippin’ Riders and it was published by SEGA of America. The game adopted this new title simply because Sony Computer Entertainment had the North American intellectual rights to the Cool Boarders name. The European incarnation of the game is slightly different as while it was published by SEGA Europe and probably for the same reason as the American version of the game couldn’t use the Cool Boarders moniker. But for unknown reasons it didn’t use the American title either. Instead it was retitled to Snow Surfers Fresh tracks but again for unknown reasons before its release it dropped the Fresh Tracks part of its title & was now simply known as Snow Surfers. Cool Boarders Burrrn! entry on the official archived Dreamcast catalogue is linked to below. ©1999 UEP-Systems, Inc / © 1999 SEGA
Cool Boarders Burrrn! was also amongst the initial six Dreamcast games to be released as a Dreamcast collection title. This collection of reduced-price software was also known as dorikore software which was a continuation of the previous SEGA Saturn satakore budget range of software. This dorikore incarnation of the game was released on the 21st of December ’00 and it retailed at the budget price of ¥2,800. © 1999 UEP-Systems, Inc / ©1999 SEGA
As a way to engage with the Cool Boarders fanbase and provide a promotional opportunity before the game was released UEP-Systems held a competition in association with the Japanese Dreamcast Magazine. This competition allowed its readers to name an as yet unnamed female character. Dreamcast Magazine reported that they had received over three hundred entries which had included submissions from outside Japan. The winning name chosen from those submitted was Tia which was based on Tiara because apparently the character was a ski princess. The official description of the name is reproduced below.
The winning submission as well as information about the prizes for both the winning entries and the runners up is detailed on the competitions archived page. You’ll find the competitions archived page is linked to below. © UEP-Systems
To commemorate the launch of Cool Boarders Burrrn! UEP-Systems held another competition which was in conjunction with five different Japanese Dreamcast periodicals entitled the editorial office board design contest. The five magazines that took part in the contest were Dreamcast Fan, Dreamcast Press, Dreamcast Magazine as well as Dreamcast Dengeki & Famitsu DC. This competition was slightly different as the editors of the five magazines each designed various snowboards that readers of their respective magazines could then vote for. The archived announcement of the editorial office board design contest is linked to below. © 2001 UEP-Systems, Inc
After the competition had finished the various boards that the editors had designed were made available to download by UEP-Systems on their official site. You were able to save to your VMU by navigating to the respective page and selecting the boards you wanted to download. The only restriction was that only three boards could be saved to an individual VMU at one time. Below is the partially archive page which featured all fifteen boards of the editorial office board design contest. © UEP-Systems
From around the time of Cool Boarders Burrrn!’s release UEP-Systems held another competition once again in association with Dreamcast Magazine. This time it was a time trial competition in which people could participate by using the trial version of the game that was included on the Dreamcast Magazine GD-Rom Vol.2 disc 1. In this competition you had to use Accele who was the only character available and compete on the game’s first course Mountain Review in the quickest time possible. Participants had until the 24th of September ’99 to submit their entries directly to UEP-Systems.
There were three prize tiers and the third place Prize was a Richman t-shirt and a QUO card while for second place the prize was a pair of Arnette sunglasses & a Richman t-shirt. The grand prize was an actual RC-M snowboard which was orange with the familiar Dreamcast swirl logos at each end and the Cool Boarders Burrrn! livery in the middle. I’ve been unable to find any information from RC-M about this exclusive snowboard but i do know ten in total were produced for UEP-Systems. Dreamcast Magazine featured a Cool Boarders Burrrn! advert which included a picture of this exclusive snowboard and i’ve reproduced it below. ©1999 UEP-Systems, Inc ©1999 Softbank Publishing. Inc All Rights Reserved.
Famitsu DC also ran its own competition in association with UEP-Systems which was known as the replay score attack contest. This competition as its name suggests was simply to amass the largest score possible on Cool Boarders Burrrn!’s Super Pipe stage and submit your entry to UEP-Systems by uploading your data through the games Dream Passport 2 browser. Once again, an RC-M snowboard was the grand prize while the second place received a selection of Cool Boarders Burrrn! goods & a Dreamcast VGA box, developers autograph & an exclusive telephone card. Lastly for the third-place finalist they won a selection of Cool Boarders Burrrn! goods & a Dreamcast rumble pack. The winning entries were posted on UEP-Systems official site and you were at the time able to directly download the winning runs to your VMU to see for yourself just how good the winners actually were. The page for the official replay score attack contest has been partly archived and is linked to below. ©2001 UEP-System, Inc
Cool Boarders Burrrn! release coincided with the height of the extreme sports genre’s popularity. Major extreme sporting events like the X-Games were now receiving mainstream coverage and other extreme sports were permeating into other forms of media including television & film with the like of Vin Diesel’s extreme sports inspired XXX film. With this explosion into mainstream media the extreme sports game genre was quick to adapt and release entries in new extreme sporting events like BMX, skate boarding & snowboarding as well as surfing & ski mobile racing which became major extreme sports franchises of the early millennium.
UEP-Systems Cool Boarders Burrrn! was perfectly placed to take advantage of this popularity with the franchise already having two successful entries on Sony’s PlayStation. While the Dreamcast incarnation was a clear generational leap over the previous instalments it was set to compete with a number of announced or known in-development Dreamcast exclusive snowboarding titles. Cool Boarders Burrn! main early competition was arguably from Infogrames who had the heavily promoted Boarder Zone which perhaps rather fortunately for UEP-Systems actually went unreleased on the system. This left Cool Boarders as the only snowboarding title available for the Dreamcast.
Upon starting the game there are six default characters available to choose from which are from left to right on the player select screen ACCELE, TIA, RONNIE, MONICA, DJ KEN & BOB. The game also features three more hidden characters which are unlock by fore-filling in-game conditions. The final three characters are SNOWMAN, GREY & ???. As well as unlocking extra characters through gameplay you can also acquire a third costume for each of the six default characters extra boards are also available which when unlocked make navigating the games stages much easier.
Cool Boarders Burrrn! features three gameplay modes, Free ride which is the games equivalent of an arcade mode in which you have to compete the games five initial courses + two hidden stages which are unlocked when the requirements have been met. Each course has a number of trick points that by landing a successful trick will add an extra time bonus to the ever-decreasing timer. By the later stages landing complex tricks is almost a seemingly mandatory requirement to complete the course. If you don’t actually land your intended trick, you’ll lose precious seconds as you’ll start from something of a standstill.
The various stages featured in the game definitely become much more extreme in nature than you’d probably expect even for an arcade snowboarding title. Unlike the majority of Snowboarding titles i’ve played Cool Boarders Burrrn! has a wide variety of different locations to compete on most transition to a different environment over the course of their respective stage. This means the first few playthroughs of a stage can catch you unaware as logically some of the stage transitions are somewhat strange design choices. The five default courses that make up Free Ride are Mountain Review, Emerald Forest, Urban Striker as well as Cave Slider & finally Dancing Devils. Ending is unlocked when you complete the Free Ride mode and it’s based on a course from a previous Cool Boarders title. It is essentially the credits of the game where you can perform tricks for your own amusement while viewing the names of those behind the game there’s no competitive element and is a rather ingenious way of displaying the game’s credits. There is also one final stage to unlock and is as you’d expect the hardest one to manage to acquire which is Secret Force which relates to an unlockable character i’m sure you can guess which one!
The game also has a multiplayer mode which features a number of interesting game modes which have a bit more thought put into them than the usual simple race against your opponent. Trick Boost is a mode much like its name implies that sees you performing tricks to build up your boost gauge and by pressing the guard button propels your character at high velocity allowing both a speed boost and an opportunity to perform even more complex tricks. Line Versus is a more visually competitive mode in where by performing tricks shrinks your opponent’s screen size by as the name suggests moving the dividing line in your favour. This obviously hinders your opponent as it makes it harder to see upcoming obstacles giving you an distinct advantage.
Honestly, when revisiting Cool Boarders Burrrn! i generally just tend to play the games Super Pipe modes which are essentially the games score attack modes. The game actually features two versions the first Super Pipe is the only one initially selectable once you complete the Super Pipe you unlock the Super Pipe Extra. To be honest the first Super Pipe is quite limited in nature as its very short and just completely straight while it does provide some decent potential for tricks the Extra Pipe realistically provides much better gameplay. This is due to it being much longer with various hazards that you are able to trick your way across as well as many higher sided walls which give much better scope to perform more complex tricks. Its surprisingly addictive to try and improve your score with each successive run but in all honesty i don’t think i’ll be challenging those scores from the replay score attack contest anytime soon.
Apart from the not insignificant challenge posed by Cool Boarders Burrrn!’s Free Run mode’s later courses and the score attack challenge provided by the games Super Pipes. UEP-Systems packed the game with many extras from secret characters & boards to a hidden course all of which can be unlocked through various gameplay requirements being met.
Cool Boarders burrrn! Definitely encapsulates the late ’90’s extreme sports genre’s popularity. Personally, while i enjoy Cool Boarders Burrrn! i do recognise that it does have a number of issues mainly relating to its design. While i’m not aware that UEP-System ever had any intention of releasing a Naomi version of the game it definitely feels like it was intended to be an arcade title first & foremost that was subsequently ported to the Dreamcast. While i can’t conclusively state is the case but as i alluded to earlier in the article i suspect that the basic structure of Cool Boarders Burrrn! was built on the foundation of Cool Boarders Arcade Jam which UEP-Systems developed in ’98 a scant year before Cool Boarders Burrrn!’s arrival.
My suspicions about Cool Boarders Burrn! being developed on the groundwork that was the previous amusement only Cool Boarders Arcade Jam was the striking similarities between the beta footage of Cool Boarders as it was known in-development for the Dreamcast and UEP-Systems previous arcade title. In the beta footage it appears to show a character either very similar or actually Irin from the Arcade Jam instalment on what appears to be a course from the arcade incarnation. Again, completely unconfirmed but it makes sense that UEP-System would use their newly developed arcade title for the basis as their upcoming Dreamcast title given that they were in the scheme of things a relatively small studio with less than a year to develop an new title on a new hardware platform.
The Cool Boarders franchise always at least to me in its consumer releases seemed to straddle the fine line between arcade title and pure simulation. The Dreamcast exclusive entry in the series Cool Boarders Burrrn! feels much more like a straight arcade title with short stages with over the top environmental hazards designed to impede your progress. This is most obvious in the strict time limits which in later stages almost necessitates the need for performing & landing tricks just to add extra time to be able to finish the selected course. This realistically, means you have to become intimately familiar with navigating your chosen stage and take advantage of its short cuts if possible, to be able to progress.
This i’d argue has more in common with the traits of an arcade title designed to entice the use of credits to be used rather than a traditional consumer snowboarding title. This doesn’t mean that its a bad game in-fact i rather rate the game but i think it’s very much of it’s time when compared to modern snowboarding genre titles which have enjoyed something of a resurgence of late. The later stages of the game can be somewhat frustrating until you’ve learned their nuances and a single mistake can result in a failed run. The Super Pipes on the other hand offer some cathartic release as while still timed or featuring obstacles are much more relaxing to play and developing trick strategies feels much less pressurised and more enjoyable. Overall even through it ended up being the only Snowboarding title on the Dreamcast of an intended three in-development for the system at the time Cool Boarders Burrrn! manages to be a fun arcade style title which provides a good challenge, plenty of replay value and is well worth picking up especially considering how cheap it can be acquired for.
T-36901M Cool Boarders Burrrn!
T-36902M Cool Boarders Burrrn! dorikore
SAMPLE T-36901M Cool Boarders Burrrn!
SAMPLE T-36902M Cool Boarders Burrrn! dorikore
(NOT FOR SALE) 非売品 discs & other media
A standalone 非売品 disc does exist for Cool Boarders Burrrn! unfortunately, i don’t currently own it but i’ll endeavour to try to obtain it and once i have it will be added to this section of the article once it has been. The game does however have a multitude of content relating to it on various other Not for Sale discs which feature a multitude of other Dreamcast software titles.
The first one i’ll discuss is probably the best known of these 非売品 discs to be available to the general public and that was the Dreamcast Magazine GD-Rom Vol. 2 disc 1 which contained the first playable trial of Cool Borders Burrrn! This trial was able to allow participants to enter the Dreamcast Magazine’s time trial competition. Below is a picture of the Dreamcast Magazine’s front cover which came with the Cool Boarders Burrrn! trial.
The next available Not for Sale content could be found on the DREAMCAST EXPRESS Extra disc which was distributed at Lawson & TSUTAYA stores in December ’99 to patrons who bought a Dreamcast system from those respective chains. The DREAMCAST EXPRESS Extra featured included the same playable demo of Cool Boarders that had been previously featured on the Dreamcast Magazine GD-Rom disc Vol. 2 disc 1. Below is my personal copy of DREAMCAST EXPRESS Extra.
The next known discs i’m aware of to feature content relating to Cool Boarders were once again part of the DREAMCAST EXPRESS range this time Vol.2 & Vol.3. Unlike the DREAMCAST EXTRA disc which was available to the general public the seven numbered volumes of DREAMCAST EXPRESS were only sent to members of the Dreamcast Partners program. These discs provided a look at upcoming Dreamcast titles in playable or video form as well as saves and exclusive content available through the partners program. Currently they provide an intriguing look at some early incarnations of Dreamcast titles which is exactly the case for the Cool Boarders content featured on the discs. My copy of DREAMCAST EXPRESS is pictured below.
Both versions of the DREAMCAST EXPRESS Vol.2 & Vol.3 contained trials of Cool Boarders and i’ll discus them in chronological order. The first trial version contained on Vol.2 is a non-playable video trial which showcases a very early look at the game when it was simply known as Cool Boarders (tentative).
The only character that is featured in the video trial is what appears to be a reworked Irin from Cool Boarders Arcade Jam. It shows the character navigating what seems to be a course from the arcade instalment. Later on, in the video it shows a very early look at what would become Mountain Review’s cave section without the environmental hazards having been implemented. The last course showcased is seemingly the start of Urban Striker which has much less detail on display the video footage is abruptly stopped at this point. I’ve already stated my opinion that Cool Boarders Burrrn! was probably based on the previous arcade iteration as it incorporated the arcade instalments trick boost mechanic as well as featuring the same number of stages and sharing some graphical elements although in a much higher resolution in the Dreamcast game.
As i’ve stated the DREAMCAST EXPRESS discs were only distributed to members of the Dreamcast Partners program however they were seemingly produced in large enough numbers to be fairly easy to acquire. My copy of Dreamcast Express Vol.3 which has a playable trial of the game is pictured below.
The proceeding DREAMCAST EXPRESS Vol.3 has a much more complete version of the game that still has significant differences from the final retail version. The character of BOB hasn’t been implemented yet and bizarrely the game has much more detail on the only available course Mountain Review. You can clearly see at the start of the course it features gates for the riders and has more spectators lining the course. The natural assumption is these were removed to maintain a smooth 60fps but i think the actual speed of the game is actually slightly faster feeling in the trial than the retail version. Obviously i have no way of knowing if this is conclusively the case or not but i do think the sense of speed is greater in the trial version of the game.
I’m convinced that there is Cool Boarders content on the Dream Preview discs but I’ve not managed to catalogue their contents yet. Once I’ve gone through the discs and ascertained their content, I’ll update this section.
Strangely even through Cool Boarders Burrrn! is probably the earliest Dreamcast title with the most content available for it on various Not for Sale media it has a surprising lack of promotional content released in support of its launch. I only know of promotional posters and point of sale media but outside those all i’ve been able to find is an official soundtrack. The official Burrrn! Cool Boarders Burrrn! soundtrack was published by pony Canyon on the 17th of November ’99. The official soundtrack is pictured below.
The Burrrn Cool Boarders Burrrrn! soundtrack retailed for ¥3,150 and its catalogue code is PCCG-00516 and its still available from select retailers if you’d like to purchase a copy for yourself. I suspect the reason i’ve been unable to locate a guide book for the game is simply due to the various contemporary Dreamcast magazines did in-depth guides which covered all aspects of Cool Boarders Burrrn! comprehensively thus mitigating the need for a dedicated guide book.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article about UEP Systems and their Dreamcast title Cool Boarders Burrrn! If you think i’ve missed anything pertinent relating to the company themselves or their Dreamcast title then please get in contact either directly through the site or you can find me on Instagram.com or on Twitter @dreamcastcollector