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Propeller Arena - Sega's Lost Dreamcast Title? 51

Thanks to TNL for their new feature exploring the unreleased Dreamcast online-enabled flight title, Propeller Arena, which was cancelled in 2001 "at the last moment in the wake of the September 11th tragedy." The article points out: "Initially, Sega's pulling the plug on Propeller Arena might have seemed a bit of an overreaction to the events of 9/11. After all, what did a fantastical WWII-style arcade game have in common with modern day events?" However, the writer has had a chance to play a near-final Beta of the title, and suggests that "...once one actually plays the game Sega's decision seems much more understandable. One level is called 'Airport,' while another, 'Tower City,' is apparently patterned after Manhattan, the anchoring feature of the stage's city skyline being huge replicas of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers." But he finishes by praising it as "one of the most graphically pleasing ganes for the console", and arguing that the "fun factor of the online mode would have been through the roof."
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Propeller Arena - Sega's Lost Dreamcast Title?

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  • The WTC attacks happened over two years ago, and while it may have been a very large shock to those whose lives were directly touched by the tragedy, there seems to have been a swing towards not mentioning the attack at all in anything but the most rose colored speech.

    A bad thing happened and we are all trying to 'get over it'. However, I fail to see how a game based on a propeller plane flying around a big city in any way defames those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks.

    There is a time to be somber and thoughtful, but there is also a time to realize that not everything revolves around you and your personal tragedies.
    • The problem is, though, that people aren't really willing to see ANY form of imagery that reminds them of what they saw.

      As a reminder, remember when the DC (District of Columbia, not Dreamcast) sniper was running loose? Around the DC area (which I happen to live in) people were throwing a fit over the game Silent Scope. Even though you were sniping criminals, and you were a police officer (or bounty hunter, can't remember which), the fact of the matter was you were sniping people who half of the time wer
      • As a reminder, remember when the DC (District of Columbia, not Dreamcast) sniper was running loose?

        Just a side note: when I turned on the local news to check the weather this morning, the sniper trial news came on (this trial is being held in the city where I work, the trial of the other guy involved was held nearby), I saw a nice sketch of the sniper as well as images labelled 'Matrix' and 'Ghost Recon'. Apparently now his defense is 'The Matrix made me do it and Ghost Recon showed me how, but really I'm
    • I don't know about anybody else, but after over two years, I'm done mourning.

      Now before you mod me down, hear me out. I still wish it had never happened. I'm still unhappy that 2,000 people died unnecessarily. But I'm finished with being unable to look at anything resembling two towers, complaining about any movie which shows the WTC in the skyline of New York. I was finished a long time ago. I'm mature, I can tell the difference between bad taste and geographical accuracy.
      • But the game was ALSO shelved two years ago. I'm not saying that it's wrong to bring it out NOW, I'm saying that they were justified not bringing out the game THEN. But how many people do you think would keep a straight face at Sega releasing a Dreamcast game close to 2 years after they announced it was dead?
      • by Anonymous Coward
        9/11 - 2,000 people died. This was an isolated incident.

        Obecity - 30,000 dead EVERY YEAR.

        Do people shed a tear when they drive past McDonalds?

        • In the WTC bombing, a lot of people with great potential died. Young people, people with families, people who might have done good things for society. Probably some of them were coaches for kids basketball teams. Maybe one of them had a child whose birthday was that day, and they were going to come home early for a party.

          Nobody really cares when 30,000 big, fat, lazy, disgusting people with no will power keel over while choking down their last Big Mac. Maybe they had reached the maximum size of stretch
        • Do people shed a tear when they drive past McDonalds?

          Yes - for poor old Grimace. His untimely death from morbid obesity is an omen for us all.
    • by bjb ( 3050 ) * on Tuesday December 09, 2003 @09:57AM (#7667677) Homepage Journal
      Hey, I agree that flying a propeller plane around a big city doesn't defame the lives of the 9/11 attacks, but at the same time, I would get slight hee-bee-jee-bees doing certain things in the game. Basically, because I was in tower 1 when it was hit (see this [] if you want). To this day, I can't quite watch people doing any kind of free fall (amusement park, cliff diving, bungee jumping, etc) and if I saw someone fly even a computer plane into a building, it hits a nerve with me.

      Yeah, I'm more or less over the event, I've talked about it 1000s of times (literally, not figuratively), but there are some images I will have trouble with for years to come.

      Regardless, I want to see this game get released some day :-)

    • Keep in mind that immediately following 9-11, video game publishers changed the box art or software on dozens of games. Microsoft made software changes to Flight Sim 2003 and dozens of publishers changed box art (Westwood's C&C box at the time had two planes headed directly for the WTC, Project Gotham Racing's art was backdropped by the WTC, etc etc).

      The Dreamcast was on its last legs anyway, and all that was trickling out were titles that had been in development and were close to completion (i.e. Ali
    • No kidding. I decided that I'd had enough when I heard how they cut up Spiderman to remove the long WTC sequence. Far from being insensitive, it would have been a damn good tribute.

      For those who haven't seen the one trailer of the scene that exists, some bad guys try to escape from a scene via helicopter, and suddenly they get stuck in the air... in a giant web Spidey put between the towers.

      They should have left the scene in the picture. Instead of being upset, I think most people would cheer in the theat
      • I was under the impression that the scene you are refering to was a 'trailer only' scene, and was never intended to be seen in the movie, even if 9/11 hadn't happened.
        • I was under the impression that the scene you are refering to was a 'trailer only' scene, and was never intended to be seen in the movie,

          Well, that's a good point, I hadn't thought that the trailer might have lied about the movie. I googled "spiderman wtc scene" and got various conflicting reports, from a spokesperson who said it was only the trailer that had to be recalled to a lot of other people saying otherwise. I guess if it was just the trailer, I would be more inclined to agree, because it migh

  • The Dreamcast was great system that just couldn't make inroads against the Sony marketing behemoth. And now, with the Sammy acquisition in play, it looks like Sega is going the way of Atari.

    Oh, how the great ones have fallen...
  • That is a shame that game was cancelled. The online multiplayer aspect sounds a lot like Crimson Skies for Xbox. Crimson Skies is (IMHO) turning out to be the best Xbox Live "destroy stuff" game.
    • Crimson Skies is a great game. But the honor for the best "destroy stuff" game must go the great MechAssault.

      Watching a chain reaction of exploding Ragnaroks collapse tall builings in River City is a sight to behold.

      Doing this from your sofa while playing with and talking to other players from around the country jacks up the "fun factor" off the scale.
      • mechassault is cool, but there it is too hard to destroy a mech for my taste... river city is hella fun though...

        crimson skies is a nice medium between ghost recon's kill-ya-with-one-shot and mechassualt's beat-on-ya-for-10-minutes-till-ya-explode...

        I like how you get in behind someone and and light them up with your guns (please no greased yoda doll replies) and they cannot shake you...

        gamertag is peeweejd in case anyone wants to play crimson skies...
  • Is it just me or does this game look a lot like the Xbox version of Crimson Skies? 3rd person, dogfighting over cities, online play..

    Probably just a coincedence..
    • Man, you're right!

      Hey, have you noticed that Quake III and Unreal Tournament look similar? First person, shooting guys in narrow corridors and outdoor terraces, online play...JESUS CHRIST! this conspiracy has gone unnoticed...

      Wait a second, Daytona USA and Ridge, going around a track, WOW! How deep does this rabbit hole go?

    • Yeah...another thing...this game (or its predecessor) was out in arcades in the US around 1997. I remember dogfighting people in the dorms because we were always trying to decide who the better Wing Commander pilot was.

      So if it looks a bit similar to Crimson Skies, that's the CS people's fault.

      On top of that...Troll...all games nowadays look like some other game that's out nowadays. The trick for the Marketers is trying to act like that other game never existed.
  • Propeller Arena (Score:5, Informative)

    by Propeller Arena ( 731153 ) on Tuesday December 09, 2003 @01:21PM (#7669718)

    I was working at Sega during the development of Propeller Arena.

    At the time, the game was in its last stage of development. The game was debugged and on its way to being mass produced. The packaging had also been completed in the early days of September in 2001. It was simply days away from being released.

    During the game, there was a powerup you could collect that would allow you to release a huge bomb. The explosion from the bomb created a large, mushroom cloud looking graphic. If your plane was destroyed in any way while carrying one of those bombs, the bomb would explode. The camera would zoom back to show a distant shot of the explosion. If your plane crashed into one of the buildings, it would do the same. The image was eerily similar to those we saw on 9/11.

    To complicate the matter further, the packaging for Propeller Arena showed the City level on the cover. It also showed a plane crashing into one of the large buildings while carrying one of those big bombs.

    With this in mind, Sega management decided to pull the game. I can't say I blame them at all. It was a shame that we all worked so hard on such a fun game but at the same time, the sinister acts that had occurred were on everyone's minds. Releasing such a game could easily reflect negatively on the company. It would have been real easy for a critic to say something like, "Sega is trying to capitalize on a national tragedy." So, the game was quietly put away.

  • Is this something Sega is releasing into the public domain? If this website got a hold of it perhaps they could do the community a nice favor and release it for download.
  • I'm sure it'll get released on the internet eventually like how Half Life was.

    The only thing is, I wish sega would release server software for their discontinued games... I miss playing chu chu rocket online =(
  • yes this game looked great i had really wanted it, its too bad that it had to be canceled... hopefully someday the almight belokk or someone else will get the ability to rip this hes looking for it now if anyone has it and wants to realese it or any other unrealesed games hes always looking for them... well i can pray something happens... nice to see info about this get slashdotted...

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