Oh boy. Here we go again. Whenever a retro game developer/publisher makes a move there are people who see the worst in any forward movement. Collectorvision and its recent acquisition of classic brand names is one such move coming under scrutiny. Horrifying visions of cash grabs and sequel soul sucking abound. Can avarice be their motive? Can it be pure altruism? Time will decide but their past actions can be a very good guide. I’ve been both a retro gaming observer and a development partner with Collectorvision so I’ve got some introspection on the subject.
The Sydney Hunter series started as a means to keep a homebrew title alive. Although originally slated as a Smurfs platformer various licensing issues made Collectorvision switch gears and go with their own original branding. Even with a branding setback late in the process they forged ahead, kept the fun of the original Smurfs platform game and improved upon it; not unlike authors making new works out of old fiction. Collectorvision navigated the risky waters of development, licensing and publishing to keep titles like this relevant.
Fast forward to what was the Coleco Chameleon. Collectorvision worked to place themselves at the forefront of cartridge based gaming by being a named developer. Changes and missteps eventually caught up with the Chameleon as a system. Collectorvision only pulled out when it was clear nothing beneficial could come to the classic gamer. I personally stopped trying to become a developer targeting the system long before they did. My inability to see a profitable future was an easy excuse. They took the chance and rolled with the punches when everyone else was sure a new cartridge based platform was unfeasible.
Now they have expended time and money to bring back Acclaim and Exidy (among others). Scratch that: to revive the spirit of those nostalgic brands. Old games still need licensing and as a business they are unavoidably aware of this fact. What Collectorvision has done time and time again is to gamble on classic gamers and the spirit of classic game makers. It has grown because we reciprocate their efforts. It has grown because this group of people set aside a portion of their lives for classic gaming. I give them more than the benefit of the doubt: I give them a huge thanks for continuing the spirit of classic gaming.
Source: Jean-François Dupuis’ Facebook