A Quick Look At Real Sound: Winds of Regret
Winds of Regret actually started life on the Sega Saturn and was the brainchild of celebrated game designer Kenji Eno. The story goes that because Eno's previous games on the 32-bit Sega platform (D, Enemy Zero) were so well received by the blind community, he was bombarded with messages asking him to create a game specifically for the visually impaired. He obliged, and managed to persuade Sega to allow Warp to develop Winds of Regret, a sort of 'audio novel' in which players could choose their own path through the adventure at certain points with the aid of audio cues. Naturally, this game also found its way onto the Dreamcast in 1999 and this week I was lucky enough to procure a (factory sealed) copy from Genki Games. My ability to play the game is extremely limited due to the fact that I can't speak Japanese, but I am able to appreciate the concept and also the incredibly high production values afforded to the audio.
this website the story revolves around a young couple whose relationship stutters while they are school students. Years later, they are reunited - somewhat oddly - when something in the Tokyo subway system starts to murder/devour commuters seemingly at random. Typical Kenji Eno weirdness ensues and it's up to you to decide how the story unfolds and ultimately solve the mystery. This is a very loose interpretation of the story and it appears that there is a lot more to it than that...and to be totally honest I'm a little bummed out that I can't actually play the game/story, as it sounds freaking awesome to me. I'm a big fan of weirdness and urban horror, so this would be right up my street...if only I could speak Japanese. Those Linguaphone CDs suddenly seem quite appealing.
Anyway, in absence of me being able to play Winds of Regret, let us turn our attention to the game's packaging. It comes in a double GD set, and the box is contained inside a perspex sleeve (with spine card) with clouds printed on it. The clouds motif continues inside the case with the set of cards that replaces the usual manual, all of which have a different cloud formation on one side and (I presume) instructions for the game on the other.
Can I play Winds of Regret? No. No I cannot. But I paid £10 for this insight into the genius of a man, a creative mind and a game developer who is as legendary as his impressive body of work. The world lost a true visionary when Kenji Eno passed, and while his later productions hardly reached the same heady heights as the earlier Warp titles, it is ideas like those seen in Winds of Regret that will forever cement his place amongst the true legends of the video games industry.
Genki Games, the online retailer from whom I acquired this mint condittion, factory sealed copy of Winds of Regret. Genki are primarily a seller of Japanese games, hardware and merchandise and I usually buy my Neo-Geo CD games from them as they are one of the the most reasonably priced stores anywhere online for that system. But with this purchase (which also included King of Fighters '95 for the aforementioned SNK system), it really dawned on me that Genki offers such outstanding value for money and exceptional service that they deserve a shout out. They haven't asked me to write this, but the speed with which games are delivered, and the way that they are individually wrapped in plastic wallets really should be applauded. Not only this, but the customer service is outstanding. If you're looking for NTSC-J games or hardware of any denomination, please consider checking Genki's online store and supporting this small independent retailer. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.