It’s hard to deny that Sega has had their share of problems recently. From financial difficulties to other issues it seems like they just can’t get a break sometimes. However it says something when a company like Sega can make their fair share of mistakes and still be considered one of the videogame industries most beloved companies. But how can this still be considered? Well one argument would be that the help of Sega’s hugely dedicated fan base keeps them going.
Maybe it’s a little bit biased to say (I mean you are reading this on a Sega fan blog) but fans do play a hugely important part in any developers history, and it’s not just because they give them money. Fans support Sega in various ways from fan art, to community chats, to even videogames. Yes fan games are becoming a very prominent part of the fan movement and with this in mind I asked the writers of this very site the following:
What improvements or ideas, if any, could fan games give Sega?
What did we think? There’s only one way to find out!
I think there is a lot Sega could learn from fan made projects, not the least of which is a passion for the work they do and a love of the source material they’re working from. Fan made games are derived from a genuine love of the property and a desire to see more of said property. There are no money making motivations as it is done purely because they want what Sega isn’t doing.
Which brings me to my next point: If these fans are willing to make a game based on a Sega property that hasn’t had a game in a while that should tell Sega something, maybe there is a market for an updated game. Or at the very least consider buying the game from the fans and publishing it as the new game in the series, if it is good enough.
I think if Sega took more pride in the games they make, they will make more successful games. You always do a better job when you’re doing what you love.
I haven’t actually played any mods myself, but I have tremendous respect for them. While I feel it’s important to curate games as they were released, there is something very mind-bending about seeing an old game with HD textures and sprites. It is almost painterly in its look. However, these are merely higher resolution versions of games. The real magic happens when people create unofficial sequels to games like Charles Barkley: Shut Up And Jam 2, or more recently Sonic Chronos Adventure. While I think Sega could learn some things from these projects, the only way I see them taking notice is from a market research perspective. Sega has proven that these could lead to actual products in the future though, as is the case with Christian Whitehead’s recent remakes of Sonic CD and the original Sonic The Hedgehog.
Having said that, over the last year I’ve become quite intrigued with haunted games. Games that are seemingly hacked and reprogrammed to disturb the player, then placed back in an unlabeled cartridge. These are typically represented by creepypasta’s, stories written by a player describing strange occurrences, and are frequently just that: Stories. However some of these games are actually real such as the infamous Sonic.exe. There is something almost indescribable about how a videogame can create a sense of horror even moreso than a movie. Perhaps it’s the active role we take in the experience that can make us feel a palpable danger when playing. Another aspect is the modding of something familiar or comforting and making it ghastly. So if I had to pick a favorite mod, it wouldn’t be a specific game, but it would be a haunted game. I’m just kind of into that scary stuff. Perhaps I’ll have a lot of stuff to recommend come October. Stay tuned.
Sega, Sega, Sega. How can it be that amateur programmers are able to create better 2D Sonic games in their spare time than you can with an entire, paid team of developers? Sonic 4 was underwhelming. You know it, I know it, and the rest of the Sonic fan base certainly knows it.
Look at Sonic Before The Sequel and Sonic After The Sequel. Both are fantastic 2D Sonic games with original sprites, abilities, levels, music, bosses and more. Despite neither of these two games taking anything more than the gameplay element from previous Sonic games, both capture the innovative, exciting “essence” of Sonic than either of the two Sonic 4 offerings.
And what about the Unleashed Project? The Sonic Generations mod that allowed PC users to play the Sonic levels from Sonic Unleashed with the superior Sonic Generations engine? The mod that was created by a core of three amateur developers?
Sega darling, I love you — but you’re getting your arse handed to you by a bunch of fans. Pull it together man.
Not only are there a great amount of original fan games like the many mentioned above, but Sega fans also like to improve upon retro titles as well. And as much as I like and respect classic games there’s always something cool about seeing someone’s new take on the Sonic 2 formula by giving it a new lick of paint. Unfortunately that particular HD remake I was referencing was discontinued, but there was still a fun demo and a lot of potential.
So what could Sega learn from this? Well maybe that there’s a lot of options for what people want to see. Do you think Sega would even consider a HD game to be an option before these types of projects? Be it original content or just new versions of old games, these games all received a bunch of recognition from the gaming press, so maybe there are more options for franchises, options being proven by the very fans of Sega itself.
Throughout this article we’ve referenced a ton of fan games, but there’s always more out there waiting to be discovered. Do you know of any interesting ones? Why not let us know in the comments and we’ll get back to you next week when The Sega Addicts Speak! once more.