A slew of Genesis developers and companies have appeared in the past five years, and with them has come some great new titles, ranging from licensed to homebrew games. Joining the ranks of Super Fighter Team, Watermelon, and Alternativo 1985 is the Houston-based Piko Interactive; run by Eleazar Galindo. In only a few short years, Piko Interactive has managed to acquire the rights to several anticipated Taiwanese Mega Drive games, as well as creating its own original titles. The company also offers consumers the choice of buying a loose cartridge or one complete with plastic clamshell and manual, Piko Interactive has begun to carve out a niche of its own by using new materials and offering great customer service.
We recently had the opportunity to speak with Eleazar about his young company and what it’s like to join the wonderful, growing world of after-market game development.
Sega-16: How and when did you decide to form a company to make retro games?
Eleazar Galindo: One thing lead to another. I was unemployed and recently graduated from college when I decided I wanted to make a new SNES game. This is back in Christmas 2011. From there, I was able to use Kickstarter to fund the production of the game, and slowly launch the company.
Sega-16: How strong has public support been for you? It must not have been easy to get the word out about a new company making games for old consoles.
Eleazar Galindo: Honestly, it is been great! We would not be alive if it wasn’t because the community, so we owe them everything to them.
Sega-16: Have you found the process of acquiring brand licenses like Duke Nukem to be harder than you anticipated?
Eleazar Galindo: It is weird, Duke Nukem was extremely easy. But there have been cases where it was hard to license a game, because the IP owners are hard to find. Those are the tough ones.
Eleazar Galindo: Scott Miller, the President of 3D Reams was great! He only asked me “why Sega Genesis?”.
Sega-16: Retro fans are very finicky when it comes to the quality of after-market releases, particularly cartridges and clamshell cases. Has it been hard to balance quality and cost in this regard?
Eleazar Galindo: Yes it has, especially since we used vendors for the cases. However, we have fixed that for the Duke Nukem release, and I hope fans are pleased with the quality.
Sega-16: Piko Interactive sells both loose cartridges and complete games. Which sells better for you? Are there many people who prefer loose cartridges?
Eleazar Galindo: No, not really, most of our sales are the complete in box version, but is good to have that option and not force extra costs on people that don’t need/want the case and manual.
Sega-16: Piko is a strong supporter of after-market Genesis releases. Is this out of a personal preference, or is that market stronger than others?
Eleazar Galindo: I consider Genesis the second best market, from what I’ve seen, with NES being first. But we haven’t had our big break like other companies selling cart-based games, where they get 500-1000+ pre-orders. We’ve been able to survive with 100 or so orders per title. Then orders keep slowly coming every week. GBA is the weakest and the SNES for some strange reason!
Sega-16: Piko has also balanced new homebrew releases and titles that were unreleased or originally had a limited release. Which do you prefer, personally?
Eleazar Galindo: Both of them have different benefits. New content is always fresh, but sometimes it doesn’t have the same level of quality found in a game that a company with full-time employees could roll out. Some unreleased games have resources and assets, that if found in a homebrew game, would take several years and over five figures to achieve.
So I can’t say one if preferred than other. Love them both!
Eleazar Galindo: Unfortunately, not at the moment, If we would expand to one of those, it would be the Master System.
Sega-16: What’s next for Piko after Duke Nukem? Can you tell us anything about your upcoming Genesis releases?
Eleazar Galindo: We have at least nine more Genesis games under our sleeve, starting with Jim Power: The Lost Dimension opening for pre-orders on December of this year (and taking 2-3 months top to ship).
Our thanks to Eleazar for taking the time to chat with us! For more information about Piko Interactive’s products, head over to its website.