The Dream That Will Never Die: Dreamcast Independent Gaming in 2016
I still remember the day I found out that SEGA was discontinuing the Dreamcast. It was early 2001 and the PlayStation magazine I was reading (we used to read magazines back then) was covering the demise of the Dreamcast before quickly moving on to the hits of the PS2. Thanks to those successes and the massive preference for PlayStation over the previous generation SEGA Saturn, Sony had pulled SEGA almost single-handedly out of the console business leaving them to focus on software only from that day forward. With the Dreamcast surpassing a meager 9 million and the turnaround in sales and the PS2 reaching the dizzying heights of over 150 million units sold, the Dreamcast was destined to be little more than a footnote in the pages of history. the games.
If you had told me that day in 2001 that we would still be seeing new games released for the Dreamcast quite regularly in 2016, I would have simply smiled and nodded while slowly backtracking. And yet here we are fifteen years later and SEGA Dreamcast has a surprisingly vibrant community of indie developers still releasing games despite the fact that SEGA has had little to do with the console (other than fixes) since the early ’90s. 2000s. So if you still have one of those nifty white boxes tucked away in the attic somewhere, or even if you’re just looking to get into retro gaming for the first time, there’s probably something on the horizon worth checking out. . .
Although it’s only been a month into 2016, Dreamcast has already seen the release of an exclusive console game at Leona’s Tricky Adventures. Inspired by the Amiga Gem X puzzle game, Leona assigns the player to increasingly, erm, complicated puzzles based on colors similar to the Lights Out handheld game from the mid-nineties that you might remember. Leona’s Tricky Adventures is available for purchase as you read this on Steam, but the Dreamcast version comes with a full case that includes illustrations. Which is obviously much better.
Looking ahead, the long development of Elysian Shadows is scheduled to hit the streets sometime in 2016. After reaching public awareness through a series of YouTube development videos in 2007, and following a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014, Elysian Shadows is an RPG with customizable characters, a dynamic day / night cycle, and a striking 2D / 3D hybrid art style. Set in a fantasy world similar to that seen in the classic JRPG Final Fantasy VI, Elysian Shadows tells a story of conflict between religious fanatics who received magical powers from The Creator and atheists forced to rely on futuristic technology. While there isn’t a solid release date yet and the game’s development has had a couple of snags recently, developer GyroVorbis contends that the title will be released in 2016, and who are we to argue?
Scheduled for June this year, Alice Dreams Tournament is a 2D Bomber Man from French developers Alice Team. Players must navigate 2D mazes using their bombs to clear paths and destroy other players on the stage, while searching for power-ups to increase the number of bombs they can drop or the damage their bombs do when detonated. The game features a robust multiplayer mode that includes seven different game types ranging from standard deathmatches to more elaborate modes involving math puzzles.
Hypertension: Harmony of Darkness is a horror first-person shooter that started as an extension of the Blood franchise, but morphed into its own story as development progressed. After some disputes with Atari due to Blood assets being used in the production of Hypertension, as well as a brief cancellation of the project due to that, the development of Harmony of Darkness has progressed and the game is expected to see a release in sometime in 2016.
Hucast Games is looking to release Redux 2, the sequel to its remake of the scrolling shoot-em-up DUX sometime in 2016. Pre-orders for the game are now available and there is a stylish collector’s edition that includes a soundtack CD. and a DVD of extras if you’re willing to pay for that kind of thing. The vanilla game features seven all-new stages and a two-player cooperative mode for players who like to do their arcade shooting with a friend in tow. If you’re a fan of R-Type or other such ship shooters, Redux 2 might be a game worth keeping an eye on.
If you’re looking for something a little more out of the ordinary, away from 2D shooters and puzzle games, then Dreamcas t’s indie scene can satisfy your needs with a title like SLaVE by Isotope and Jay Townsend. SLaVE tries to combine the garish aesthetics of 80s arcade games with the addictive first-person shooter of titles like Doom and Wolfenstein. If the flashy color scheme and first-person shooter punishment bothers you, then SLaVE might be a game for you. However, if you are interested in it, you may want to move quickly; The game is planned to be an ultra-limited edition with no more than 484 copies of the game destined for release.
SEGA abandoned the Dreamcast in the face of stiff competition from the Sony PlayStation 2 after just two years on the market, but there is a community of dedicated independent developers who simply refuse to move on. It has a cult following who are still churning out new content fifteen years after the console’s commercial demise. Since the console’s discontinuation in 2001, more than thirty independent titles have been released, including Sturmwind, Rush Rush Rally Racing, Wind and Water, and Gunlord. So maybe next time you’re in the attic and see your old Dreamcast tucked between a Furby and a Spirograph, consider digging it up, dusting it off, and seeing what the old lady can do in 2016.