Diversity, that’s something we all appreciate in life is it not? We want different things, excitement, the thought that we aren’t treading the same ground over and over again. The same can be applied to most aspects of human nature, especially in the luxuries market where gaming resides, we choose to continue supporting our Sega console because we don’t want what everyone has; Dreamcast gaming has a certain air of exclusivity to it.
What we have in the Dreamcast community is a unique situation when it comes to software creation and sales, for years we recalled active gamers still purchasing new software that the vertical shooter genre was becoming stall and was almost seen as a lazy way to create a profit (I use profit very loosely) much of this being aimed at Hucast in general in which a small amount of backlash was launched for re-issues of their previous games in different packaging styles, RedSpotGames gave up and went underground after the uproar of the release of probably one of the most fantastic experiences on the Dreamcast this decade, Sturmwind. Let’s also not forget that it’s been long rumoured that NG.Dev:Team no longer support the Dreamcast with new releases; Why?
Well, we’ve got a number of barriers which have actually been in place since the console was still in active circulation 16 years ago, the piracy scene for the machine is still very active, I’ve known of ‘gamers’ who justify their theft of software by paralleling their apparent lacks of funds to buy the latest games, we couldn’t care less if you want to burn a scabby copy of Crazy Taxi since Sega doesn’t make any money on the game anymore, but why on Earth is there still Dreamcast owners making copies of Pier Solar, Redux, Fast Striker and other releases which are still available brand new from the development teams? Is this helping sales for these games, and thus continued support?
Another barrier with any hardware that isn’t supported any longer is the components of the machine in question become tired and worn, especially as the youngest Dreamcast console is probably from late 2001 now, this is leading to ever decreasing circles of commercial viability from developers since the gamer base is shrinking year in year out. It’s probably safe to assume that peak Dreamcast ownership would be between 2002-2009 before machines were posing more problems than their worth. Of course, many developments have been made recently with getting the console to play ball with SD cards and IDE hard disk drives to remedy the Dreamcast’s major failing point; The GD-Rom drive – but ask yourselves this is you will, are these mods pro active in the Dreamcast development scene or are they again promoting piracy? Could be not actually have a sure fire connection from the existing board to an external disc drive? Would this not actually help to play our own bought games and help continue support the Kickstarter campaigns and latest Hucast releases since we’ll actually be able to play them?
Of course, this article is actually released in a timely fashion due to the cancelled Kickstarter of Xenocider, a 3D action game which was seeking crowd funding last month, we didn’t cover much on the game because to be honest, considering the factors above, we were sceptical from the beginning, sure we pledged but one thing we would point out is the demo was possibly not a great idea. The funny thing about playing something before you’ve paid for it takes away the mystery surrounding how the software will handle and play – a closed beta would have been a far better option. Xenocider was looking fantastic and the work that has been completed thus far is far more impressive than we could have even hoped for, but is the instal base still there in the cold light of day? We don’t think it is as tragic as that is and it won’t be until someone works out how to replicate Dreamcast parts or ideally, release a retro console with CD support allowing for full DC emulation.
Retro Sumus still plan on pursuing their promising game, whether it’ll be for Dreamcast is another matter but as fans of the Dreamcast, we should have hit that target. Something’s not right, and success within the development community is rapidly dwindling.