Articles Chat Classic News Collectors List Comic Strips Contests Fan Fiction For Sale Interviews Links  
Message Board Online Arcade Postcards Publishing Puzzles Release Lists Staff Token Museum More!
New Games
by James Eldred

The Playstation 2 is the most powerful video game system on the planet. It is faster and has better graphics than any other system evermade. In fact, many consider it to be greatest video game system of all time.

Just don't tell that to Mark Shaker.

"The first video game I bought was a Vectrex in 1982, and I've been playing it eversince." Mark said. TheVectrex was released in 1982 and quickly faded into obscurity. It was the only system ever made to use 'vector graphics' an obsolete graphical form that allowed for 3D-like graphics. Except all the games were in black and white (for color you had to buy and put plastic color sheets on the monitor), and to play them you needed a special monitor, and the system cost $400, as much as the Playstation 2 costs now. This has not deterred Mark, though, who said that the Vectrex is still his favorite game system.

Even though Mark said he loved the system, he was still surprised to learn about the support the system has online, "I got connected to the internet and discovered the classic gaming community. I was blown-away by the fact that people were programming new games and manufacturing multi-carts and such. These new toys breathed new life into my Vectrex."

Since then Mark has been making his own games for the Vectrex, and has even been selling them for a profit at his website (,and he's not the only one.

There are hundreds of sites supporting classic video game consoles, from the Vectrex to the Atari 2600 and the Sega CD. Even rare systems like Atari's handheld Lynx continue to get support online.

While Mark has just been making these games in his spare time, others have set up entire companies to sell old video games, as well as new ones, for obsolete systems. Good Deal Games has sold original games for systems such as the Atari2600 and the Sega Genesis for years, but they have now moved from selling games to distributing new games for defunct systems. Bug Blasters: The Exterminators and Star Strike are their first efforts at this, and are the first games to be commercially released for the Sega CD in almost a decade. Both games were developed years ago, but never released.

Bug Blasters
is a shoot-em-up game that has you fighting a group of warrior insects that have taken over Los Angeles and is the vein of Sega CD games such as Sewer Shark. It, as well as StarStrike, a space-war action game, contain full motion video and CD quality sound.

"TheSega CD was definitely ahead of its time, and truly the 'Next Generation' machine as it claimed to be," said Good Deal Games owner Michael Thomasson, who, while not selling classic video games, is an animator in Lexington, Kentucky. Michael is also a die-hard gaming collector, "My private collection is almost complete. Just about every cartridge game ever created is in my personal collection, and most CD based games released - spanning over thirty consoles!" he said. His company focuses on games for classicsystems, but supports new systems as well, including the Playstation and theSega Dreamcast. His website,, touts having1000s of games for sale or trade on over 35 systems.

Michael believes the Sega CD was a great video game system that just did not catch on. Unfortunately, it's development cycle ended earlier than it should have, and so the true power of the machine was never fully realized. Knowing that there were games that were developed for the system that were never released, Michael said he thought these games would be ideal launch titles for Good Deal Games (GDG) new publishing division. "We needed to find a platform which would allow us to produce games in a cost-effective manner. Especially considering that GDG is a small entity. This meant that a CD platform was preferable, since cartridge manufacturing is very expensive," he said.

Despite his love for the Sega CD platform and his enthusiasm for the two games his company released, the effort has yet to turn a profit. "Releasing games for defunct systems is not a profitable business. We have yet to recoup our initial costs for BugBlasters: The Exterminators and Star Strike." Michael did say however, that this is not the end of GDG's publishing enterprise. "The idea is that once these titles can turn a profit, we then will use that money to release other titles. We have access to under a dozen yet-to-be-released Sega CD titles, and are very close to closing negotiations for Penn & Teller: Smoke and Mirrors. This has been an incredible demanding (and expensive) title since the game needed to be negotiated with both the original developer and Penn& Teller," he said.

Michael also said he hopes to expand past the Sega CD and onto other systems, "The 3DO platform also interests us, and we are doing ample research!"

Also, despite the lack of sales, Michael still holds optimistic feelings about the games. "Are they a success? I'd say, overall, certainly. It is really rewarding to get e-mails from purchasers that really like the games. We also received contact from many of thegame creators, and they were pleased that their hard work had finally materialized. More importantly, the games are now available to those which will enjoy them, instead of sitting idly on a shelf being lost to everyone."

GDG certainly does have support from gaming fans. "I love the Sega CD and I'm glad to see people are still making games for it," said Bryan Macafee, a Freshman English major or Ohio University, and an avid Sega CD fan.

"I own a dozen or so games for the system and I still play some of them. I'm always looking for more and I plan on getting these games as soon as I can. When I found out about this site it was so cool, I was so happy to see people are still making games for the Sega CD."

GDG is not the only company that continues to make video games for systems that one would consider to be extinct. Songbird Productions is another, with their main focus being on old Atari systems, mainly the very powerful but short-lived handheld Lynx and their (even more) short-lived Jaguar. Carl Forhan, an engineer for a large computer company in Rochester, Minnesota, started the company in his spare time because of his love for Atari. "I was an Atari fan since age 11 or 12, and it's unfortunate that they no longer exist. All these great systems don't have support,and that's a shame." Said Carl.

Since its inception in March of 1999, Songbird has released 10 games, four for the Jaguar and six for the Lynx. Among some of the Jaguar games are Protector, a shooter in the vein of classics like Gradius, and Soccer Kid an unusual adventure game where the main character uses a soccer ball for a weapon. One of Songbird's most unusual and high-profile releases has been for the Lynx, the expansion pack for the puzzle/adventure game Crystal Mines 2, entitled, Buried Treasure. Not just a game, it allows the user to connect the game to their computer and make their own levels for the classic game. Other games for the Lynx include Ponx,a remake of the classic Pong and Championship Rally an overhead perspective racing game, which was their most recent release. Like GDG, Songbird Productions usually does not make much money on their games, but this is something Carl does not mind, "Songbird certainly does make some profit on some releases, but I think everyone understands that I do this as a labor of love first. Though compensation is always nice, I have to admit."

One reason that Carl as well as Mark with his Vectrex games and Michael at GDG are able to make money with their releases is because of the tight-knit classicgaming community on the internet. "They tend to be very supportive of new releases." Carl said.

It is true that the classic-gaming community is very close. Dozens of web rings are out there, some just dedicated to a single system or company, such as Atari, a company that has a lot of support on the internet. The sites also have a strong sense of community and work together. There may be dozens of sites out there making games for the Jaguar, but they never seem to compete with each other, infact they tend to do just the opposite and promote each other.

"The classic gaming community online is great. A while ago I was bored and just went online looking for a few sites about the Sega CD, I expected next to nothing, but I found so much, it was great. I certainly didn't think there would be new games for it and other old systems." Bryan said.

And if anything, the gaming fans online will keep these old systems alive. Even if no more new games are made and even if you can't find a used Sega CD on E-bay anymore, there will always be a place for these games online.

"A lot of people like these games, I don't think these systems are ever going to die, which is great." Bryan said.

This article was originally a college term paper prepared by He kindly chose to share it with us, and so it is available for all of us to read and enjoy here. Thanks James!


Copyright © 2003, GOOD DEAL GAMES