The Dream That Will Never Die: Dreamcast Independent Gaming in 2016

I still remember the day I found out that SEGA was going to discontinue 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 PS2 hits. Thanks to those successes and the massive preference for PlayStation over SEGA Saturn in the previous generation, Sony had almost single-handedly pushed SEGA out of the console business, leaving them to focus solely on software from that day on. With the Dreamcast topping a meager 9 million and sales turning around and the PS2 reaching dizzying heights of over 150 million units sold, the Dreamcast was destined to be little more than a footnote in the pages of history. of the games.

If you had told me that day in 2001 that we would still be seeing new games released for the Dreamcast fairly regularly in 2016, I would have simply smiled and nodded as I slowly backtracked. And yet, here we are fifteen years later and the SEGA Dreamcast has a surprisingly vibrant community of independent developers who are still releasing games despite the fact that SEGA has had little to do with the console (other than repairs) since the early 2000s. So if you still have one of those nifty white boxes stashed somewhere in your attic, or even if you’re just thinking about playing retro games for the first time, there’s probably something on the horizon worth checking out. .

Although we are only a month into 2016, the Dreamcast has already seen the release of a console-exclusive game in Leona’s Tricky Adventures. Inspired by the Amiga puzzle game Gem X, Leona tasks the player with increasingly complicated color-based puzzles similar to the mid-90s Lights Out handheld game you may remember. Leona’s Tricky Adventures is available for purchase as you read this on Steam, but the Dreamcast version comes with a full jewelry box including artwork. Which is obviously much better.

Looking ahead, the long development 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 then a successful campaign Launched on Kickstarter in 2014, Elysian Shadows is an RPG with customizable characters, a dynamic day/night cycle, and a striking hybrid 2D/3D 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 given magical powers by the Creator and atheists forced to rely on futuristic technology. While there’s no solid release date yet and the game’s development has had a couple of hiccups recently, developer GyroVorbis maintains that the title will release 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 traverse the 2D mazes using their bombs to clear paths and destroy the other players on the stage, while searching for power-ups to increase the number of bombs they can drop or the damage their bombs deal when they detonate. 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 first-person horror shooter that began as an extension to 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, development on Harmony of Darkness has progressed and the game is expected to release at some point. moment. 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 live and there’s a snazzy collector’s edition that includes a CD with audio and a DVD of extras if you’re willing to pay for that sort of thing. The vanilla game features seven all-new stages and a two-player co-op mode for players who like to do their arcade shooting with a friend in tow. If you are a fan of R-Type or other ship shooting games of that type, then Redux 2 might be a game worth checking out.

If you’re looking for something a little more off the beaten track, away from 2D shooters and puzzle games, then the Dreamcast indie scene may meet your needs with a title like SLaVE from Isotope and Jay Townsend. SLaVE tries to combine the flashy aesthetics of 80’s arcade games with the addictive first-person shooter gameplay of titles like Doom and Wolfenstein. If the combination of bold colors and punishing first-person shooters appeals to you in the right way, then SLaVE could 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 planned for release.

SEGA gave up on the Dreamcast in the face of stiff competition from the Sony PlayStation 2 after just two years on the market, but there’s a community of dedicated indie developers who simply refuse to move on. It has a cult following that continues to churn out new content fifteen years after the console’s commercial demise. Since the console’s discontinuation in 2001, over thirty standalone titles have been released, including Sturmwind, Rush Rush Rally Racing, Wind and Water, and Gunlord. So maybe the next time you’re in the attic and see your old Dreamcast hidden between a Furby and a Spirograph, consider digging it up, dusting it off, and seeing what the old lady can do in 2016.

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