Open Letter to the Dreamcast Community


Staff member
The Sega Dreamcast. It was, and is, an amazing system. To this day, a lot of people still declare that it was the last true "hardcore" system. I personally think that this has to do with the fact that the Dreamcast was the last system to be made by an arcade manufacturer who ported many of their arcade games to the system with spectacular results.

Since the initial release of the Dreamcast, the arcade scene worldwide has given way to new styles of gaming. Consoles like the Xbox 360 allow you to play 'arcade' games in the comfort of your living room and consoles like the Wii allow gamers to interact with games in a way that is new and unique. The Dreamcast really stood at an interesting turning point in gaming and what we were able to accomplish could have only happened like it did with the Dreamcast.

Everything done in recent years for the Dreamcast would not have been possible without the efforts of a small group of people known as Cryptic Allusion. Shortly after the release of the system, when the Dreamcast was still viable, it was reverse engineered to see what could be done with it; everything on the Dreamcast was borne out of an intense curiosity about the system and how it functioned. This group of people then set to work developing their own game demos for the system to see what it could do. Nowadays, between today's legal climate and the complexity added to today's consoles, it would be nearly impossible for the same thing to happen again.

The GOAT Store, LLC was lucky enough to be put into contact with these developers in a complete chance happening. At the 2002 Midwest [Gaming] Classic, a group of people came to show underground Dreamcast development. I took my disc home from the event and put it on a shelf, never intending to play it until I got a call from a friend who told me that the games on the disc were amazing and easily as good as some of the released games. I plugged the disc into my Dreamcast and was blown away...

These game demos weren't "homebrew" game demos like I expected; these games were fully realized 2D and 3D worlds with unique gameplay ideas that were unlike what we had seen elsewhere. We set about contacting these developers to try to bring their dreams into the real world as games, and had great success.

In 2003, the first GOAT Store Publishing title, Feet of Fury created by Cryptic Allusion, was released. Following this release, and after a huge series of legal wranglings, GOAT Store Publishing released three more titles in 2005: Inhabitants, Maqiupai and Cool Herders.

All of these games were developed and released with strict guidelines in place and the quality of the games speak to what these developers were able to accomplish with limited resources. This success was noticed by a multitude of people both fans of the Dreamcast and beyond. Some developers were contacted by large companies and offered projects from them to consider for mainstream systems. The International Game Developers Association asked me to write an article detailing the games and how they were made, and invited me to do guest speaking at some of their meetings discussing what we did, why we did it, and what the plans were for the future.

The future side of the equation was perhaps the most interesting. In 2006, we announced 12 titles that were in development which we hoped to release within the year. However, despite our optimistic view, the work done by our independent developers is not like a large firm where developers clock in and out for the workday; our independent developers are just that and work, usually at their home, on their own schedule. We do not have any way to ensure that a game is completed or released and external factors in many cases shifted the attention of the developers away from what they had planned.

In other cases, occasionally developers would bring us games that had fatal flaws -- the gameplay was'nt developed well, the game didn't feel 'complete', the controls didn't work -- whatever it was, we decided with our first release that if we didn't have 100% faith in the games we were releasing, we wouldn't publish games just to dupe the public into purchasing a game that wasn't exceptional. Even though this has limited releases, we genuinely believe all of our releases have all been held to a high standard of design and gameplay.

Speaking to the future, we will continue to uphold our high standards of level of design and gameplay ensuring each release is truly fun and enjoyable. With that in mind, I can't sit here and promise that we will have ten, twelve, five or even one more game ever come out. However, we do have a number of projects which are still in development by top notch developers right now and it is our hope the developers will be able to finish the games so they can be released. Going forward, we have learned that until games are ready to go to the presses not to talk too much about them. I only hope we will have the opportunity to tell you all about the wonderful things these developers were able to accomplish on this unique console.

We thank you for supporting the Sega Dreamcast and GOAT Store Publishing. We hope you continue to play your Dreamcast well into the future enjoying all of your favorite games. The Dreamcast truly is an exceptional system and perhaps it really is the last true 'hardcore' system. We are honored, and humbled, to have been able to add something to its legacy.

Dan Loosen

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