At Digital Eclipse, we have always felt that the preservation of video games goes far beyond just the experience that you play on your TV. It is also the story and history behind the games, so when we were first approached by SNK to develop a collection of games that existed before the defining Neo Geo era, we knew that the project could end up being something truly special. Our company is no stranger to classic game compilations, but the idea of being able to explore a period of time that was so important to this industry yet so unknown to most gamers just felt utterly compelling.
I mean, after all, these were the games that not only built the foundation of SNK as a company but also heavily influenced everything that would come after them. Given that, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to not only faithfully represent these games on modern consoles but also to provide their individual stories. We had to not only provide fun but also educate.
As one can imagine, though, trying to dig up the history of 30-40 year old arcade games is no easy task so we truly had to rely on the help of SNK, its past employees, Brandon Sheffield and historians like Frank Cifaldi from The Video Game History Foundation in order to put all the pieces of the story together. Without the openness, passion, and dedication of these people, I can honestly say that this collection would have never been possible.
However, the story behind the games was only one side of the equation… We also had to make sure that the actual games we included were accurately emulated, despite never having been done before, so finding the original arcade boards was a must. The search for these boards originally seemed hopeless and would lead our team across the ocean to Japan and several dead ends before eventually rewarding us with actual arcade PCBs. Carefully flown to the U.S. and entrusted to us for a limited amount of time, these PCBs would prove invaluable and allow for some of the games, such as Fantasy, to be properly represented for the first time since their original arcade release.
So, in the end, while the journey was long and sometimes difficult, it was definitely worth it.
With the release of the collection on Xbox One, we now hope that an even larger number of gamers can take the same journey we did and gain a better understanding of where these games came from and what makes them so important. We are also excited to be able to include an exclusive game called Baseball Stars, which has been a title that SNK fans have been asking for since this project was first announced. And as an added bonus, Xbox One X owners will be able to enjoy the collection in 4K, as well, which really allows you to view the collection’s Museum section in a whole new light.
As always, though, for the latest information on SNK 40th Anniversary Collection and other Digital Eclipse video game preservation efforts, be sure to visit our official site and check us out on Twitter and Facebook.
Thank you for your support and for enjoying our games.