Inside Pulse 12

Retrograding 08.23.03

It’s been an interesting ride for me in terms of Dreamcast news. Of course the big thing to me is SNK Playmore letting fans know that they will bring SNK vs Capcom Chaos to the Sega Dreamcast if enough fans clamor for it. And there’s a good chance this will happen. Why? Because SNK fans are generally scary fanatics, and so are long term Street Fighter fans. But more importantly, because SNK Playmore CARES about its fans first and profiting on multiplatform ports is about fifth or sixth on their list, instead of being the bottom line it is for nearly every other VG company out there. You see, SNK follows a simple strategy: The old systems are the best ones.

There has not been a Capcom vs SNK game that hasn’t been anything less than fantastic since this series has begun. CvsSNK1 & 2 are games I will never part with and both in my top 5 DC games (With Touken Retsuden 4, Vampire Chronicles and Segagaga being the other three.). I do know there’s a small but vocal minority of gamers that didn’t like either of these. Most of their complaints focus on the roster, the point system for character picking, and the fact the NGPC version was a lot better. I’ll admit the latter part is true, but I loved the point system as it did prevent a Sagat/Geese team. The 2 Cardfighter’s Clash games for the Neo Geo pocket were also innovative, addicting, and just plain incredible. Truly, the partnership between Capcom and SNK’s fighting series has not only instilled a love of Fighters for people like myself who used to spend hours in the arcade playing SF2 and KoF, but it is proof that Quality first can still turn a decent profit in the VG world.

Now, there have been a lot of rumours on the web. That SNK would eventually release SNK vs Capcom Chaos on the PS2 exclusively because it’s the closest thing to a system for Fighter fans that we have right now. And that’s a thought so terribly sad it makes me want to weep in Crangrape. Fighters have really taken a turn down the crapper with the three current systems. Yes, we have Soul Calibur 2 coming out in a few days, but other than that, I see nothing to truly whet the soul of a crazed fighter fan. It’s hard to believe that 3 years ago I was in Portland spending loads of free time not with my gf, but in an arcade or on my Dreamcast playing the original Capcom vs SNK. Now? There’s been a huge dry spell for true quality fighters, and for the past month SNK vs Capcom Chaos has gleefully filled the void not only in arcades but in scary fighting game fans like myself. Seriously, go play it. Go worship it. Words can’t describe how much I love this game. Or the fact that Demitri and Violent Ken are in this game! And Mr. Karate!!!

The thing is, SNK knows how to pull at my heartstrings. They’ve given me everything I could want in a game. They’ve combined the KoF and SF franchises for another great fighting game, and they’ve also given us a 1 on 1 fighter. This is the best thing they could have done.

You see, KoF has been a 3 on 3 fighting game series for a while. As well, the Capcom vs SNK games have been team based fighters as well. And SNK decided to go back to basics. A straight one on one ass kicking game, with only the best warrior standing at the end of a bout. Glorious in terms of nostalgia, simplicity and beauty. It’s a return to games that truly made people fall in love with this genre. And hopefully it will continue to fan the flames of Fighter fan’s hearts.

What else is important is the fact they use a lot of characters that have not been seen in this franchise series for a long time. Of course we have Akuma, Ken, Ryu, Terry, Iori and Geese. But DEMITRI! DEMITRI IS IN THE GAME! Now if only Donovan Bane was as well. But enough of my drooling, SNK has decided to go all out on the retro/nostalgia kick. Casual fans won’t recognize a lot of the characters in the games. But long term loyal fans will squeal like a teenage girl to see some of these characters returning to the arcade after a long, long time. It’s a great and subtle gift to reward SNK and Capcom fans who have stuck through every version of both series. Cringed at Street Fighter: The Movie? Well now you have only the true classic characters of SF fame available in this game. Horrified by the Ps2 version of KoF 2k1. Two words to make it up to you: Choi Bounge. Did you weep like a little girl at the non DC versions of Capcom vs SNK 2? (although the Xbox Live gives you online CvSNk2 play so I don’t see how you can’t like THAT!) Well god bless Playmore for giving us this. It has officially righted all slights any fan of either series could have felt.

But here’s the important bit: Sun Entertainment, since reviving the SNK name has just been giving hardcore SNK fans what they want. Which is amazing considering it is primarily a company dedicated to pachinko machines. Sure SNK isn’t showing the best business sense by primarily supporting “old, dead systems,’ but for a retrogamer like myself, I am in heaven. SNK does things right. If the new systems aren’t good enough to release games on, then screw it and take it to an old one. Reward those that kept the older systems. You’ll still make money if you market it right, and you’ll please your core fan base. Sure it’s not Capitalism at its finest, but it’s pleasing your customers. And it’s smarter to have a group of loyal and repeat buyers than it is to have one mass marketed game that sells like shit on all platforms because the time and love wasn’t put into the game.

Go to SNK’s web page. Right now. Open it in another window. http://www.snkplaymore.co.jp/ And tell me what you see. Oh look. A PS2 link. Click on it. And see a whopping total of THREE GAMES. Metal Slug 3 is of course a good thing, but look. King of Fighters 2001. TWO THOUSAND ONE. Not a new KoF game for the PS2 for 2 years. Now click on the Dreamcast link. How many games are there. FIVE. Including King of Fighters 2002. Yes. TWO THOUSAND TWO. That means a DEAD system got a new game over the PS2. Why? Because It’s not because of the joystick. A PS2 joystick could easily play KoF2k2. What made SNK put out their prize game for a system that has been considered dead for years?

BECAUSE THAT’S SNK. They reward good systems. And even after Sun revived them, the basic principles behind the company stay intact. Let me repeat it: REWARDING GOOD SYSTEMS. The Dreamcast was a great system in terms of catering to a loyal fanbase and innovation. And SNK is still giving us games for it. Who didn’t enjoy Garou, one of the last games to come out for the US Dreamcast. A great little fighting game! And I love KoF2k2. It’s classic KoF action with 3 on 3 fighting. And you know what? Don’t bother comparing it to SNK vs Capcom Chaos. Why? Because there’s no point. It’s got some characters in common but they are different games! Chaos doesn’t try to be Street Fighter. It doesn’t try to be KoF. It just tries to be a wonderful game. And it suceeeds hands down.

Now click on Neo Geo. What’s that? THREE games. For a system that is HOW old? And they’re all incredible games. I’ll admit it. When a new Neo Geo game comes out, I pick it up. And play the shit out of it. I have no problem paying over $100 for a game if it’s for a system I love and for a company who I support. If SNK is willing to take the time to release new games for a system like this, how can you not support them back. I know Frederick Badlissi and I are both NEO Geo fanatics and actively enjoy supporting a company this loyal to their own fanbase. And yes, when SNK vs Capcom Chaos comes out for the Neo Geo I WILL put down the 325$ for this game. Because it’s a throwback to what games are supposed to be: FUN. No complex shit. No CGI. Just a game where two people can bash the shit out of a controller and throw fireballs at each other for a minute. And yes, when KoF2k3 comes out, I’ll be buying that too. ;-) And Metal Slug 4. And oh crap… You see why I don’t bother with the Xbox or Ps2 very often? Because I’m either playing my Game Cube, GBA, some old Sega System or the Neo F’N Geo. Because THEY have the games I enjoy. The games that make me happy.

But I’ll also be honest. This isn’t for the average gamer. I can afford to plunk down a couple hundred dollars on one game. That’s not saying “Ha ha ha, Alex has money.’ It’s saying I’m f*cking lucky that I can afford my Neo Geo Addiction. A lot of gamers can’t and that’s the downside here. Because of the cost of not only Neo geo games, but trying to find the system as WELL, a lot of gamers are denied from every enjoying this truly great system. I know my friend that come over to play games with me drool over the fact I have the Neo Geo. But here’s the thing: THEY LOVE PLAYING IT!!! Not because it’s rare or expensive. But because the games are GREAT. And so people are torn. But thankfully intelligence and common sense wins out and people keep that money for food and rent. But they know in the pit of their soul they are missing out on something they would truly love to own.

And that my friends, is why you must help to make this Dreamcast version of SNK vs Capcom Chaos a reality. Yes there are rumors by IGN and a few other places that SNK is going to release Capcom vs SNK Chaos on all systems. Or that it will be coming out to the PS2 only. Well they are all bunk people! Go ASK SNK what there plans are. Email them! They respond! Hell, go to snk-capcom.com. And see what is written there! Yes, initial gossip from E3 will probably correct. But people placed the game being on consoles by Summer 2k3. And that’s nearly over. Will copies for the PS2 and Xbox come out? Yes. Of course they will. Eventually. The winter is when most people will put their money on. And SNK needs to do this. SVC Chaos will make crap loads of money when released onto console form. And no one wants to see SNK die twice. But the fact SNK wants to do a DC version if there is enough fan support shows the difference between its business model and oh say…EIDOS? Eidos churns out buggy craptastic games to all platforms in order to make as much money as they can before fans finally revolt and burn their company to ashes. SNK acknowledges it needs to make money, but acknowledges its true fans over the casual “I Bought this game because it had pretty box art and because Egm told me too.’ And that’s truly rare these days.

Do you really want to see SNK go the way of 99% of developers? Putting out games that you know could have been so much better if they had just used Quality Control or let the game stay in production a few months longer? They’re already trying KoF 3D for the PS2 to appease people that actually want 3D fighting Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. Okay, SOME 3D fighting games are good. SOME. But KoF in 3D is like seeing your little sister dressed up as a cheap hooker? It’s creepy. But they’re trying it. God help us all. But you know, even if it sucks and pisses off the KoF fanbase…at least they’re trying something new. And they’re doing more than one game a year finally…

So yes, email SNK. Beg them for a Dreamcast version of SVC Chaos. THANK them at the very least for even considering it. Tell them you have no problem buying one more game for a system that game you hours of joy. That you’d rather see this game on a dead system that can play it properly rather than on a new one where something is lost in the translation. Tell them how important it is to have the CHOICE to buy games for an old system. That the option alone is worth buying a game for. But most of all, tell them you appreciate the fact they care about each and every one of us. That they don’t look at consumers AS consumers; but as fans. Fans who care about them as much as they care about us.

See, as sappy and stupid as it sounds, it is companies like SNK that are why I’m a Retrogamer. Because the past means quality. Now, don’t get me wrong. Every system has SHIT games. And the current ones have some great games that are going to be classics a decade from now. But when a developer makes a game for an old system, it’s not to make money. It’s not because they were bored or tried to be alternative. It’s because they looked at the old system and said, “You know. I can make something for this. It won’t be as flashy as an Xbox Game, or as advanced at the latest system. But I loved this system and I want to give something back to it, as well as to the people like me who loved it too.’ Games released for “old dead systems’ are labours of love. LABOURS OF LOVE. And that’s why I have no problem putting down 10-20$ for a new Sega CD game. Sure it’s 16 bit. But it didn’t have to be made. The creator isn’t going to make scads of money off it. They’re just trying to give back something to the VG community. Because they can and because they care. And if even one out of a hundred developers did that, the gaming industry as a whole would be a hell of a lot happier place.

Now email SNK and then get your ass to the Arcade.