You Can’t Play Your Favourate Game Ever

July 9, 2009 § Leave a comment

I doubt many of you have heard of Sky Odyssey. This PS2 flight sim game, clearly made on a shoe-string budget does little to wow you when it boots up for the first time, and if the comments on its You Tube gameplay videos are to be believed the vast majority of people continue to not be wowed long after. It’s a hard sell to the closed minded, not imbued with the smooth edges of the current generation, or even the art style to make up for it, and thus it’s not surprising that this game would be hard to find on most gamer’s shelves.

But it’s good, really really good, and if you approach it with an open mind you’ll have a lot of fun with it. With such a game though, it takes time for word of mouth to circulate, people to write blogs about what an under appreciated gem the game is, to get people to give the game a fair shot. Such a method of marketing however is almost completely incompatible with the hardware cycle.

When every new generation comes out, it’s predecessor throws in the towel, and with it an entire generation of games become inaccessible to an audience not prepared to keep their old consoles hooked up to their televisions. Luckily my PS2 sits faithfully connected, ready to serve any fits of nostalgia that take my fancy, but without it I’d be deprived of the hundreds of PS2 games that passed me by the first time around.

Some of the best books of all time didn’t become popular at all until after their author’s death. These books, often regarded as masterpieces by modern critics were simply too progressive for their original audiences, and it took time for them to become acceptable. Are console manufacturers denying games that same right by not allowing them to run on the most up to date hardware? Has the best game ever slipped under the radar already, and then been denied entrance into the modern gamer’s library because of hardware limitations?

As it stands, if I want to play an under appreciated game released on the SNES, I have to go the route of the morally ambiguous emulator, unless the game is one of the small number to be released on modern consoles as a retro-game. I could of course go out and purchase a second-hand SNES, and then hunt eBay for the game in question, but at the end of the day the developer won’t benefit at all from my purchase, I’m just filling the pockets of the store in question.

Why don’t developers embrace the emulation scene, put a little promotion behind these old games no one would otherwise play, and maybe try and make a little money in the process. They could put out an ‘official’ emulator and charge a small amount for ROMS. It’s going to reach a fraction of the audience of a full-blown retail release, but surely it’s better than having your game fall into oblivion after just six years?

Hold on to your old cables, your old controllers and power leads. Keep your vents clear and your disk tray dusted, your leads untangled and systems ventilated. Some of the best games out there are just waiting to be discovered. Finding them should be the hardest part, not getting them to run.

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