Materials scanned in at 600DPI.
Tag: shark shark panic
In the process of dumping, releasing and scanning the Namco Elemecha Encyclopedia, there was something of an elephant in the room regarding punch-list items left before this thing was “preserved”, and that’s this giant 80-page booklet.
I initially invested in a fairly powerful X-ACTO knife, at the cost of eight US dollars. I was fully prepared to slice out the pages one at a time, maybe a few at a time if I really pressed down, but was fully aware that pressing down too aggressively could have the likelihood of pushing down the edge where the cut was made, then it doesn’t sit flat on the scanner, there’s blurring, all hell breaks loose, it’ll be anarchy.
I then had a halcyon moment of remembering that my parents used to buy me those countertop calendars, the ones with 365 days on them, and you read the little nugget of Pollyanna information on it and chuck it.
However, once you get to about mid-March, right about as this post goes up, there tends to be a rather large cliff of glue hanging off the top of the calendar as you rip away the paper it’s holding together. I usually get rid of this as soon as I can, but some people who I don’t understand let the glue overhang topple there indefinitely, pushing it away daily as they tear away a new day’s blessing.
So I figured I’d just do what I do with those, pull pages slowly, and when there’s an overhang, just rip it away slowly with your thumbs, pages fall out, and then do it all over again. And that worked.
I retained the edges, no cutting. Cutting would have been fine, but since I was scanning these by the exact page dimensions, I’d have to delete them in Photoshop anyway.
Once this process was complete, I had a nice snowy pile of spine glue and paper on my desk, as if a mouse had shredded a napkin I used to plug the hole the mouse was using to get into the kitchen from the basement. Upon this process completing, it was time to scan, rotate, level, de-screen, combine, OCR, reduce, upload, and then write.
At this point, my time with this disc has come to a close. I’ve followed it for years, first seeing it appear in my Namco searches on Yahoo! Japan Auctions, wondering what the heck it was, and then being fairly astonished that there were STILL some 90’s Namco soundtrack releases on Victor that were unknown to me. They were pretty prolific during this time, a time where this could only happen then.
CD production was cheap, cassettes were mostly dead, music was rich and lush enough to require 72 minutes of lossless greenfield, and someone who loves these games very much, made a heck of a love letter to them.
I can only hope in my efforts to permanently preserve this release, I can honor the legacy of all the people that created it. I’m not sure distributing it for free is necessarily doing the job there, but on a long enough timeline, like all non-modern CD releases not re-released on modern platforms, this work would have disappeared into the wind, at least the ability to make a lossless copy of it.
Enjoy it now. PDF, CBZ, PDF compressed with OCR, and RAW scans: archive.org
I first came across this CD during my usual scouring for the keyword of “Namco” on Yahoo! Japan Auctions. I saw this disc here, that didn’t seem to have a proper name attached, but I was able to closely zoom in on the screenshot and saw the catalog number: VICL-40191.
What caught my eye was the price, an equivalent of a “Buy it now!” for some 500 USD. I scoffed.
Some time later, a second auction showed up, and I believe it ended up going for something in the 150 USD area, and I assumed that though the price of this was inflated enough, it could be a rare disc – and it’s now some 26 years since it’s release. I can’t see Namco making a large print run for this, nor can I see them ever re-releasing it. It’s esoteric at it’s core, soundtracks to ancient (by modern standards) electro-mechanical games.
After the auction ended, I came across some mp3’s of the release floating around, and it was certainly something unique. A couple weeks later, the same 500 USD auction changed its price.
Needless to say, I’m a bit of a sucker for new and unopened CDs. I had the honor of unwrapping numerous late 90’s Wonder Spirits discs that were unopened for over 20 years, and though this guaranteed a nice rush as well as an untouched booklet and obi, I cannot in good conscience spend 2400 USD on this disc.
So, turns out a very well-known online shop was selling it used for only 135 USD. I think I’ll take that!
Usually, when I preserve a CD, I’ll rip it to .bin/.cue for Redump first, throw the .cue into foobar2000 and listen to it while I’m ripping and tagging the FLAC version, or editing scans. I was pleasantly surprised! Some of the sounds here I can almost recognize some flavors of Namco musicians I know and have heard before, or certain synth/soundchip tones I know and love from their catalog. There’s also some “soundtracks” here that nearly impossible to listen to more than once, due to aggravating repetition.
Have I played a single one of these games? No. Am I even interested in them? Not wildly. However, as a dedicated 90’s Namco preservationist, this is a Namco release from the 90’s, and it needs to be preserved.
There’s also a 78-page booklet, that will come later, I’m afraid, will take some time, and I need to take a sharp knife to it and really get in there. 🙂