This Software Promotion's Gone Missing
March 18, 2023 at 4:20 AM
Super Monkey Ball was really a game of its own in its glory days - one which truly needed powerful hardware to carry out its function of extreme precision movement in a 3D environment. Had it been created in 1998 rather than too late, I'm sure it would've done a lot for Sega to regain a stronghold in the console market. I think I was right in my judgement to get a GameCube for Christmas 2003, for a few months later, someone gave me copies of the first two Super Monkey Ball games, and slowly but surely, I became grappled to them.
But even for those who didn't get a GameCube, another option was on the way, one which combined both games into one package and added some extra stuff as well. I found out about the upcoming release of this game online, just a while before its release in March 2005. Of all things, it was the first game I ever anticipated. I watched a few low resolution gameplay videos of Super Monkey Ball Deluxe on GameSpot (YouTube wasn't even published at that time), and I regularly visited the official website for the game.
Sega was pretty serious about selling this game. They had a ton of goodies, ranging from simple wallpapers all the way over to a complete desktop program... one which appears to have been lost to time. Without a question, I had this program. Since it was taken offline, I haven't been able to find it anywhere else, and now that I've run out of possible leads to it, I must bring it up here.
Okay, so here's what I remember about this program. There's a couple of names to it I recall; I think "InstallSuperMonkeyBallDeluxeNews" was the installation program's name, and it was usually referred to as "Aiai Avatar". It just put an animated Aiai character on your desktop, which was mainly there to do funny dances or whatever, and retrieve some news regarding the game's release. One thing I very much remember is when you dragged him around with the mouse, he'd be put in his ball, and the ball would shatter upon releasing the button.
This is not really one of those "desktop assistants" like Prody Parrot. I don't recall what other features this program had; it certainly didn't have much, and while the program didn't expire, it's safe to say it was designed with a pretty short shelf life in mind. Sega outsourced the development of this program to a little known UK-based software company called Skinkers, which pitched itself as a partner for helping organizations overcome the current communication limitations of existing digital channels. From what I've seen in a snapshot of that site, they helped promote Halo 2 as well.
I've tried going into every little corner I could find on the Wayback Machine; I've gone to the Sega of America webpage, I've gone on the archive of the official website for Super Monkey Ball Deluxe, and I've even looked at the other promotional site at mybigball.com. There was no sign of the program being archived anywhere. The hard drive I know I originally downloaded this to failed in 2009, and although I had backed up some of my files over to newer storage before then, it wasn't everything.
That program wasn't the only thing Sega released to promote this game. They've also released a series of six videos that could be downloaded from the site, called "The True Adventures of Chad" (or is it "My Big Ball"?), and starring the titular character trying to go about his everyday college life in a big ball, 'cuz he was just that big into Super Monkey Ball Deluxe. Can't blame him, I know I would've wanted to live that kind of life at the time.
The entire series has been reposted to YouTube multiple times, so we're good on that front, though having the original movie files as they were distributed on the site out there would be much preferred.
But having run out of personal leads to this Aiai desktop program, including someone who had contact with another guy who had this program as well, I'm pretty much out of options at this point. So, what I'm trying to say here is that I need help finding it. Anyone that has the original installer or the program itself as it's installed, I'm willing to take it. My memories from 2005 are really fuzzy, and I want to experience this goofy program again.
Knowing things, I imagine someone is willing to get on the case, though I hold my reservations on that. Until then, I present you with a gonzo video I made years ago which contains stupidly hilarious vandalisms of the Super Monkey Ball article on "August 15th" Wikipedia.
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