Retro is not dead yet. The fans of retro games are still looking out for this tiny fraction of the gaming community. Retro games are obsolete, but the fans are still eager. What happens then? The consoles have gone off the shelves. But, the story hasn’t quite ended. Retro games maybe part of a forgotten history of video games that we all once loved and fancied, but for those fans out there, developers are still making games and keeping the fascination alive!
We hear there are developers still making games for the NES, N64 and Dreamcast consoles. The sad truth about this industry is, however, that player loyalty has no pull in determining the lifecycle of a video console.
According to zam.com:
“While many console developers have pulled systems from retail shelves to make room for more powerful hardware, other companies have abandoned their products and left the business completely. Once the end is in sight, die-hard fans of a vanishing console quickly transition to the rear view.”
What happens to these players then? Do they have to vanish too?
For some gamers, understanding that a discontinued console is forever gone has become a right of passage. You’ve got to go through with it and move on. A major chunk of the gaming population may give up and accept the newer consoles, while some others may opt for “preserving” old consoles for a trip back in time. These two represent the obvious of choices people tend to make. However, what is interesting is that there is a third kind, those that prefer to not give up on their favorite consoles. They prefer to extend the shelf life themselves…by creating new games.
Some of their creations include: Silent Hill 2 that was redesigned for 8-bit systems, Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes, and Mario Kart R to name a few. The developers here are the unsung heroes. They have taken up the battle for their favorite console’s survival onto themselves. We wonder though, with almost nil opportunity to make revenue, a severely limited audience and a myriad of technical challenges, how does the retro game development community actually click?
“In 1997, Rare’s GoldenEye 007 took the world by storm. Millions of players across the globe hungrily devoured the single player campaign and sank countless hours into the game’s split-screen multiplayer deathmatches. GoldenEye’s commercial success revealed the enormous potential of console shooters and inspired Rare to set to work on the game’s spiritual successor, Perfect Dark. A large player base would maintain their loyalty to the Rare shooters far beyond the Nintendo 64’s commercial discontinuation in 2003.”
This hasn’t deterred Canadian game hacker Donald J. York. His team is working hard to bring GoldenEye X to life. His plan? Integrate the GoldenEye experience in a more capable Perfect Dark Engine. The result? Added features such as weather, improved light and dark environments, multiplayer mode, cooperative machines and an all-new Virtual Assignments segment added to the original game.
Zam.com quoted York as saying:
“What you see in the GoldenEye X project (as well as many of the releases you can find on the GoldenEye Vault website) is the direct result of years upon years of hacking GoldenEye and Perfect Dark.”
York is one among the very few dedicated retro developers you will hear about today. Developing a retro game requires uncommon levels of skill and commitment. The work that these developers have embarked upon leaves a mark of respect in all our hearts and most importantly, we know they will never fail in breathing new life into our old game consoles.