Happy 20th Birthday, Jet Set Radio!

Illustration for article titled Happy 20th Birthday, Jet Set Radio!
Screenshot: Sega
Total RecallTotal RecallTotal Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of Jet Set Radio’s release on the Sega Dreamcast in the United States. This may interest you, make you feel incredibly old or, in some cases, both.


While it was released in Japan in June 2000, the Dreamcast skating/graffiti classic wasn’t out in the US until October 31. There had been nothing like it, and really, hasn’t been anything like it in the 20 years since.

Fusing the skating tricks of games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater with some platforming, an incredible soundtrack, and an authentically genuine obsession with graffiti, Jet Set Radio was vibrant, daring and fundamentally flawed, making it the perfect representation of Sega’s wonderful/doomed final console.

To mark the occasion, Sega has released this short video full of facts and trivia about the game:

I’ve written about the game a bunch of times here on Total Recall, like when it received an excellent Game Boy port:

And its graffiti:


While we also reviewed it back in 2012 when it was re-released:


Sadly, that re-release was the last time we’ve got to see the game, so if you want to play it on modern hardware—PC excepted since it’s available on Steam—you can’t.

Sadder still is the fact that, despite a continued outpouring of love for the game, particularly its art design and soundtrack, Sega has to date remained completely unwilling to make a new Jet Set Radio.


In the meantime, though, you can keep an eye on Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, which is following so closely in Jet Set’s footsteps that original composer Hideki Naganuma is working on the game.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.



A new entry on the Switch/PS5 could be so sick.

Joycons/Haptic triggers to simulate shaking/using cans of spray paint.

Colorful, open-world gameplay with an emphasis on tricks, exploration, rhythm, and harrowing escapes from the fuzz.

Asynchronous online play in which you battle other clans of online players, claiming turf by spaying over their tags.

And of course, the ability to design your own graffiti and share it with others through social media integration.

You really think that wouldn’t make money, Sega?